Magic: The Gathering launches esports league with huge price pool
One of the most popular card games ever made, Magic: The Gathering is going digital – or rather, the digital version is going esports. At the Game Awards 2018, it was announced that a pretty big esports pool would be created for the game.
Magic tournaments, originally often held locally at game shops, in players’ homes or anywhere else have been around for decades – literally, since the first cards were released in 1993. As of 2015, the game had still over 20 million players, and 20 BILLION cards were produced between 2008 and 2016 alone.
This last year, the game has slowly been digitized with the development of Magic: The Gathering Arena. This is the second way to play the game online as Magic: The Gathering Online has been around for a while.
The new Arena is in open beta for PC users, full release planned for next year. Exact details aren’t known yet, however it’s expected that it’ll be ready a few months into the new year. The $10 million prize pool that will be created for the popular game will be split in two – one half will be used for the traditional tabletop game in order to keep alive the spirit of ‘traditional’ card tournaments and games.
The other $5 will be used for the new Arena. As for the details of the tournament itself, it will consist of 10 individual rounds, the first of which will be the Mythic Championship that will be held at next year’s PAX East.
Then there is the Magic Pro League – it will include the 32 top-ranked players in the world. Every player on the list will automatically be invited to tournaments and championships. Don’t worry though, ‘normal’ players will get plenty of chances to qualify and enter tournaments as well. Those top 32 players will each receive a $75k ‘play and stream’ contract as well, adding stability for top players that can really commit to the game.
Wizards of the Coast, the company behind Magic has promised more details for 2019, including info on the ‘competitive pro contracts’ they announced at the event where it was all revealed.
“Magic is not a new entrant into competitive gaming,” Elaine Chase, vice president of esports at Wizards of the Coast said. “We’re a new entrant into esports, but we have a very proven game, we’ve got a proven fanbase, we’ve got a proven competitive structure that’s held up for 25 years. It’s got the full weight of Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro, making this a major initiative for us. We’re coming into this and we mean business, and we’re eager to make business with all of the other folks in the ecosystem.”
For now, the best thing you can do is check out the new Arena beta test, sign up for it and practice, practice, practice. Players can receive esports starter kits by entering a promo code – simply type “GameAwards” into the appropriate field and get playing!