- Magic the Gathering is one of the most popular collectible card games in the world, with more than 35 million players spread across 70 countries.
- The game’s parent companies, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast, recently announced a $US10 million esports program for tabletop and digital competitions in 2019.
- The announcement follows the launch of “MTG Arena,” a fully digital version of Magic the Gathering for PC.
- The prize money will be divided between the Magic Pro League, supporting the 32 best players in the world, and Mystic Championships, which will allow any Magic player to qualify and compete.
Magic the Gathering is one of the most celebrated card games ever created, reaching more than 35 million players around the world in 70 countries. The collectible card game will enter a new phase in its history in 2019 with a brand new esports program announced by Magic’s parent companies Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast during The Game Awards on December 6th.
Launching in 2019, the new esports program introduces a $US10 million prize pool split between traditional tabletop tournaments and digital competitions using the new “MTG Arena” video game.
Magic the Gathering has a long history of competitive play, with the first Magic Pro Tour dating back to 1996. The decision to introduce a larger scale esports program alongside “MTG Arena” will help introduce a wide range of new players to the game. “MTG Arena” is still in beta, but is free to download. The game is the first fully-digital representation of “Magic the Gathering” and offers learning tools for new players.
“Today is an extremely important day for Magic: The Gathering as we announce our commitment to esports and our Magic players by evolving our tournament structure to include a $US10 million prize pool,” Wizards of the Coast President Chris Cocks said in a statement. “We are fully embracing esports and affirming Magic as a leader in the collectible card game category while providing lucrative opportunities for pros, players, sponsors, and esports partners.”
The esports program will be divided into two types of competitions: The Magic Pro League (MPL) will be focused on premier events between 32 of the top-ranked Magic the Gathering players in the world; Mythic Championships will let players from around the world compete in “MTG Arena” online to qualify for a chance to play against the stars of the MPL.
Official tabletop tournaments will be considered Mythic Championships as well, and each in-person event will award $US500 in prize money.
The Magic Pro League will focus on developing the top level of professional Magic the Gathering competition, with the top 32 players earning contracts worth $US75,000 each. Those top players will face-off against each other each week, with the matchups building toward new Mythic Championship events.
To kick off the 2019 esports season, Magic the Gathering is hosting a special $US1 Million Mythic Invitational at PAX East 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts this March. Details on qualifying for the event will be revealed in early 2019. The first Mythic Championships for tabletop players will be held in Cleveland (February 22 to 24th), London (April 26 to 28th), Barcelona (July 26 to 28th) and Richmond (November 8 to 10th).
“The past 25 years of Magic competition has led us to design this comprehensive esports program that would support Magic: The Gathering Arena, while increasing our investment in tabletop Magic,” Elaine Chase, Vice President of Esports at Wizards of the Coast said in a press release. “Our investment in esports will catapult the game to new heights while providing support to the players by giving them the platform to build their brand and bring Magic to a broader audience.”
For more details on the new Magic the Gathering esports program or to play Magic the Gathering Arena for free, visit the official website.