This evening, Magic: the Gathering developer Wizards of the Coast and its parent company, Hasbro, announced that the trading card game would receive a $10,000,000 cash injection to expand its pro gaming scene. With a player base of more than 20,000,000 people and the recent beta release of a new digital platform, Magic: the Gathering Arena, this investment marks the dawn of a new era in Magic‘s competitive play scene and brings several sweeping changes with it.
Announced at this evening’s Games Awards, these enormous investment funds will be used to grow Magic‘s presence in the rapidly expanding e-sports sector, with the funds being shared among Arena and traditional tabletop Magic. Over the next year and in each year to follow, players will have a chance to participate in 10 “Mythic Championship” tournaments and other partner-run events. The first of these events will be held at next year’s PAX East in Boston, where competitors will fight for a $1,000,000 prize.
Chris Cocks, the President of Wizards of the Coast, commented on the significance of this investment, stating:
Today is an extremely important day for Magic: The Gathering as we announce our commitment to e-sports and our Magic players by introducing a new tournament structure with a $10 Million prize pool. We have worked diligently to create a program that will establish Magic as a major player in e-sports, particularly with Magic: The Gathering Arena in the collectible card game category.
Additionally, Wizards announced the introduction of the Magic Pro League. This league will be comprised of the 32 top ranked Magic players in the world, who will all receive a competitive pro contract that automatically qualifies them for all Mythic Championships. This move marks a step forward in increasing the visibility of pro players in the Magic community and potentially increases the appeal of Magic professional gamers around the world.
Elaine Chase, Vice President of E-Sports at Wizards, said:
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. Magic 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.
This all said, the arrival of Mythic Championships also heralds the coming end of Pro Tours, which have been a staple of the game since 1996. The previously announced 2019 tabletop Pro Tours have been rebranded as Mythic Championships (with two of the announced six being cancelled), unifying Arena and tabletop Magic professional play under one banner.
On a tangentially related (and tantalizing note), ScreenRant reported that Wizards plans to introduce a “Standard Plus” format on Arena that will include cards that eventually rotate out of Standard, ensuring that players’ cards will be playable in Arena in the long term.