very wise man once said: "Whenever three Germans come together they either found a political party or a club." The same seems to be true when it comes to German Magic-players: Germany is the only country that runs a National Magic-League.
It all started in 1997. Back then a sort of rivalry existed between the cities that were big in Magic. Everyone claimed their home city to feature the best players. There was only one way to find out who was correct: in a really big tournament!
In every major city teams of five players (one for each of the formats) got together and played each other for the right to compete in the finals that were held at the headquarters of the German distributor, AMIGO Games. After a gruesome battle not one but two champions emerged, but that was not what made this tournament special: what was left was the feeling to have competed in what was probably the coolest and most fun Magic-tournament ever.
From there on it all started. In the next year what was once called the German City-Championship became the German National Magic-League. People liked it from the beginning: it became a little bigger with every following year and this year reached an impressive number of about 800 players who currently play in the league. They are organised in 120 teams from all over Germany. Those teams are divided into six different regions. In every region there are up to three divisions of the league, depending of the number of participating teams of that region, with 8 teams playing in the first, 16 in the second and 32 in the third division.
The teams meet seven times a year, and play three other teams of their region on each occasion. One of those teams, the "home-team", has to provide the location and the judge. Each team sends three of their players, one each for Extended, Type II and Block-Constructed. When the teams have played each other in those formats, they play a second round on that day, which is Team Sealed-Deck. All of those rounds are, of course, DCI-sanctioned. Due to that probably 95% of all Team-Constructed entries in the DCI-database are from the German Magic-league – who else plays in this rare format?
Although a lot of the players play on a more fun basis, there is a lot of competition going on. A lot of the well-known German players play in the league: Kai Budde and Marco Blume, the Zinks or Falk Bernhardt, to name just a few. Sometimes there are more than three players in a team that want to play. At that point a team becomes a club. A club can provide more than one team to play in the league. Currently the biggest club in Germany is the CMA Darmstadt, which has the incredible number of six different teams playing in the league.
At the end of the season, the winners of the first division from the six regions compete for the Title of German National-Magic-League Champion. The champion wins a slot for and a trip to the next Team-Pro-Tour. This year the winning team will not be competing at PT Seattle (for the time in between is to short), but in the Team-PT following that. Last years Champions were the Auenland Avengers Dortmund 1, who sent Falk Bernhardt, Ottmar Keil and Soeren Kerner, who made day two.
The finals are played a little different, though. They are held on two different days, with the Team-Sealed Deck on day one and Constructed on day two. But even here all the teams play against each other, which means they have to play five rounds on each of those days. The top two teams after these rounds face off to play in the finals, which are Team Rochester-Draft.
You get all that fun and the chance to play for a trip to a Team-PT for only 25 € per team per season. That is a very good deal, especially when you look at all the other bonuses you get for being in a Magic-League team. AMIGO games, the organizers, supported all teams for this Grand Prix, for instance. They not only paid the entrance fee (90 €), but provided some free training material. About 50 teams liked that offer and showed up at GP Bochum, unfortunately none of them managed to make day 2, even if it was close in some cases.
For the future no big changes are planned, for the league is a huge success as it is at the moment. AMIGO Games, the national coordinator of the Magic-League, promises the teams "there will be a lot of surprises and bonuses like this one for the next seasons as well".
For more information about the league you can visit the webpage of the German distributor, AMIGO-Games: www.amigo-spiele.de