Today between the quarterfinals and semifinals of Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad, Director of Organized Play Helene Bergeot and Developer Ian Duke provided insight into the changes coming to Organized Play next season. The full text of the updates can be found in this announcement.
The 2017 Pro Tours have had their locations and formats announced. All Pro Tours will use Standard as their constructed format, to go along with the latest limited format for draft. The dates and locations are:
The World Magic Cup will take place December 1-3, 2017 in Nice France and will use Team Sealed and Team Unified Modern.
With regards to Modern, Ian Duke took the floor to go over the changes while Aaron Forsythe posted an article detailing why there would be no Modern Pro Tour. From Forsythe:
So why isn't it right for the Pro Tour? It comes down to our goals for the events. The first is that we want to reward good drafting, innovative deck building, and tight gameplay in unestablished environments. Second, we want to highlight the newest card set. To those ends, we positioned the Pro Tour events just a couple weeks after each new set comes out, which both provides the fresh new proving ground for our players and showcases each new set in a premier-level setting right at the beginning of its life cycle.
As time has passed since Modern's inception, some cracks started to appear that made us question its relevance to the Pro Tour. Our top players pointed out to us that Modern wasn't often about innovating or solving the puzzles presented by a new card set, but rather it rewarded huge numbers of repetitions with established decks, and while that kind of play can be interesting and is relevant to a lot of the Magic audience, it wasn't what the Pro Tour was supposed to be about.
In order to try to present the players with a new environment to explore, we'd implement the changes to the banned list that we had identified throughout the previous year right before the Pro Tour, which often cast a shadow of dread over the impending Pro Tour for many of the format's fans, as the spotlight of a Pro Tour accelerated the rate at which we'd ban problematic cards in the format. On top of that, the skill of the pro players combined with the high incentives of the event really accelerated the tuning and development of the best decks (such as this year's Eldrazi menace) to a large degree, which isn't great for a format that is designed to change very slowly over time. We'd rather let those deck evolutions play out over months on Magic Online or at store-level events, as that accelerated metagame pace often just means speeding up more changes to the banned list as well.”
The article also details brief mission statements for Standard and Modern.
Modern will continue to be an event at the Grand Prix level.
Starting with the 2016-17 Pro Tour season, the following changes will take place:
From the announcement:
These decisions were not made lightly, and were finalized only after much discussion about the goals of the Pro Tour Players Club. The appearance fees we awarded for Platinum pros were meant to assist in maintaining the professional Magic player’s lifestyle; upon scrupulous evaluation, we believe that the program is not succeeding at this goal, and have made the decision to decrease appearance fees.
The World Championships, September 1-4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington, USA, will have an increased prize pool of $250,000, with $70,000 going to first place.
The 2017 World Championships will take place October 6-8 2017 and will have a $500,000 prize pool. The slots and qualification methods for the 2017 World Championships will be announced at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.
The formats for the PTQ system and their corresponding Pro Tours have been announced:
Additionally starting with the RPTQs for Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (May 28-June 5, 2016), the Top 8 of each RPTQ will qualify to the next round of RPTQs.
Starting with RPTQs for Pro Tour Honolulu, the offline RPTQs will award four invitations to the Pro Tour (Magic Online RPTQs will still award eight invitations). In order to accommodate the large number of qualified players in Italy, an additional RPTQ will be added to the region, increasing the number of European RPTQs to 32 events.
Helene Bergeot took time to discuss the situation surrounding Grand Prix Charlotte and North Carolina’s recent law that forces individuals to use the bathroom which corresponds with their sex assigned at birth. Following the statement from the tournament organizer, StarCityGames’ Pete Hoefling, Bergeot added that a Wizards of the Coast representative would be present to ensure all participants feel comfortable. She added that inclusivity is a core value and that trans players, judges, and guests should feel welcome at all Magic events. In order to ensure that all do feel welcome, Organized Play will be looking into alternative cities in the region of Charlotte for the 2017 Grand Prix season to ensure all fans will be able to participate comfortably.