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Looking at the Pro Tour Qualifier Schedule

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The letter A!s I write this, I am surrounded by the best players in the world.

We have the 2013 Magic World Championship with the best sixteen players in the world that, except our MTGO Champion, all of whom compete on the Pro Tour. The World Magic Cup features a captain who leads each country into battle, also competitors on the Pro Tour in almost all cases. How did they get there?

For the vast majority of them the answer is this: through a Pro Tour Qualifier tournaments.

In April, Helene Bergeot, Director of Organized Play at Wizards of the Coast, wrote about the 2013-2014 Premier Play Season. In it, she talked about many things from Pro Player Club thresholds, to Grand Prix byes, to the Pro Tour Qualifier season.

With the introduction of a fourth Pro Tour, it requires some necessary changes to the season. I had a chance here in Amsterdam to sit down with her and chat about what these changes are, what they mean, and why they're such good news for players around the world.

Few players realize how many Pro Tour Qualifiers take place around the world. In 2013, 639 are being run. That's more than ten each for every weekend of the year. And if you consider how many weekends are blocked off either for Prereleases, Pro Tours, or holidays, it's closer to twenty a weekend on average. So, with the introduction of a new Pro Tour, that number is increasing to a staggering 800.

Those 800 PTQs will take place around the world, breaking out in increases per region as follows:

Region Yearly slots per Season
North America 372 93
Latin America 52 13
Japan 44 11
APAC 68 17
Europe 264 66
     
Total 800 200

Helene and I dove into the details a bit more with a look at the PTQ allotments on a country basis. "While we see increases per regions, it's a bit more difficult for players to understand how this stands per country. Some countries, such as in Europe, only get one PTQ for the year and this means that they might not get that PTQ until the end of the year."

Let's take a look at the breakdown by country:

North America PTQ/year
United States 331
Canada 39
Puerto Rico 2
   
Latin America  
Brazil 19
Mexico 11
Argentina 4
Chile 4
Colombia 2
Venezuela 2
Peru 2
Bolivia 1
Costa Rica 1
Guatemala 1
El Salvador 1
Dominican Republic 1
Panamá 1
Ecuador 1
Uruguay 1
   
Japan 44
   
APAC  
China 24
Australia 16
Philippines 4
New Zealand 4
Korea (South) 4
Taiwan 4
Malaysia 3
Singapore 3
Indonesia 2
Thailand 2
Hong Kong 2
   
Europe  
Italy 47
France 35
Spain 29
Eng/Sco/Wal 25
Germany 23
Russian Federation 11
Netherlands 8
Czech Republic 8
Poland 8
Portugal 4
Sweden 4
Greece 4
Belgium 6
South Africa 4
Denmark 4
Austria 4
Finland 4
Switzerland 3
Croatia (Hrvatska) 2
Norway 2
Ukraine 1
Hungary 2
Serbia 2
Ireland 3
Romania 2
Slovak Republic 1
Turkey 3
Israel 3
Bulgaria 2
Cyprus 1
Slovenia 1
Estonia 2
Northern Ireland 1
Lithuania 1
Belarus 2
Iceland 1
Luxembourg 1

I asked Helene to talk more about how these allocations were determined and she explained that it is based on the active players in a country and has no input from other variables. When we say active players, this obviously refers to the players active via sanctioned events such as Friday Night Magic, Prereleases and other Planeswalker Point sanctioned events.

While it is an increase to 800 PTQs a year, with the introduction of the fourth PTQ Qualifier season, it is a reduction in the amount of events per season. While we had roughly 213 per season this year, next year features 200 PTQs per season.

The reduction is an important decision by Helene and the Organized Play team. She explained its reasoning by saying, "Pro Tours have a target attendance we aim for of roughly 350 players. We don't always succeed in hitting it due to surprises such as Grand Prix Las Vegas. With that 'fixed' number of slots on the Pro Tour, we had to decrease the amount of PTQs per event due to adding invites to Grand Prix events, allowing for growth in the Pro Player Club, and preparing for growth again in the 2014-2015 season."

Here are what those seasons look like, including their formats, for 2013-2014:

  Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4
PTQ Season Journey into Nyx M15 (US) 'Huey' 'Dewey'
Format Standard Sealed Deck Modern Sealed Deck
Season starts Dec 7, 2013 Mar 15, 2014 Jun 7, 2014 Aug 30, 2014
Season ends Mar 9, 2014 Jun 1, 2014 Aug 24, 2014 Nov 30, 2014
 
Pro Tour City Atlanta, Georgia Portland, Oregon Honolulu, Hawaii TBA

As you can see, we haven't announced the location of the Season 4 Pro Tour "Dewey"since this will be first event of 2015.

If you have questions about this process, Helene makes herself available via Twitter (@HeleneBergeot) as well as via email, you can email her via this link. If you have feedback about specific events, you are able to report those from within the Planeswalker Points website.

Who knows? Perhaps you'll be here at the Magic World Championship in a few years after playing at one of your local Pro Tour Qualifiers. Dream big!

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