News Brief: Pro Player Consultants, Pro Tour Updates for 2019, and Grand Prix Detroit

This week in Magic news we saw the number of Pro Tours go up and three people hoist one Grand Prix trophy.

Pro Player Consultants

While this was announced two weeks ago, I neglected to include it in last week’s news recap. The Pro Player Consultants have been selected. These players will work closely with Wizards of the Coast to help ensure Organized Play endeavors have been vetted by those who compete at the highest level. Congratulations to the first group of consultants: William Jensen, Willy Edel, and Eduardo Sajgalik!

Pro Tour Updates for 2019

Buckle up because lots of changes are coming to the Pro Tour next year. Announced on Thursday, the big news is that the 2019 calendar year will feature six Pro Tours.  The locations and dates for the six Pro Tours are:

  • Cleveland, February 22-24
  • London, April 26-28
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, June 28-30
  • Barcelona, July 26-28
  • Richmond, November 8-10
  • Brisbane, December 6-8

The events will be known by the city in which the tournaments take place. This is a shift from the most recent model, which names tournaments after the closest set release. Pro Tours will no longer be tied specifically to set releases to allow for some flexibility in when the events can take place.

The total prize pool for the Pro Tour in 2019 will be $1.5 million. The goal is that after Cleveland and London, there will be fewer people at each Pro Tour—from between 300-400 down to between 200-300. Fewer participants means that fewer people finish out of the money.

This will necessitate a change in the way people qualify for the Pro Tour. That system has not yet been released as the final details still need to be ironed out. The goal, as stated in the linked article, is for the total number of qualifications to remain relatively constant, just spread out across more events. Cleveland and London will use the current qualification system while the remainder of the 2019 Pro Tours will use the new, as of yet unreleased, methods of qualifying.

The team series for the 2018-19 season gets underway in November during Atlanta’s Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica. It will then include Cleveland, London, Dallas-Fort Worth, and conclude with Pro Tour Barcelona.

Grand Prix Detroit

The penultimate weekend of the 2017-18 Grand Prix season has wrapped with Team Unified Modern at Grand Prix Detroit. Aside from basic lands, no decks could share any cards. In other words, if you wanted to run Lightning Bolt in a deck, only one player on your team of three could do so, so you’d better be the best Lightning Bolt deck on your squad. Many teams broke the format down into Ancient Stirrings decks (Krark-Clan Ironworks, Hardened Scales Affinity, Tron), Noble Hierarch decks (Humans and… well mostly just Humans) and the massive “neither Ancient Stirrings nor Noble Hierarch” decks.

The finals pitted William Courson, Antonio Perez, and Andrew Lopez against the team of Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Matthew Nass, and Sam Pardee. Courson, Perez, and Lopez entered Day 2 with two losses and had their backs against the wall. It didn’t seem to matter as they rattled off win after win. The finals proved to be a similar affair with the team from Jacksonville, Florida triumphing over the established pro squad.


William Courson, 1st place at Grand Prix Detroit

Mono-Green Tron

Antonio Perez, 1st place at Grand Prix Detroit

Jeskai Control

Andrew Lopez, 1st place at Grand Prix Detroit

Elsewhere in the tournament, all three contenders for Player of the Year did not improve their standing. This means that going into the final week of the season, Seth Manfield holds a 3-point lead on both Reid Duke and Luis Salvatto. Salvatto is traveling to Grand Prix Stockholm next week for his last shot at the title. Will waves be made? We’ll have to wait and see.

Looking Forward

Next week is it—the final weekend of the 2017-18 season. With Modern Grand Prix in Stockholm and Hong Kong, it’s the last chance for players to try and reach the next level in the Pro Player’s Club. The week after it’s all on the line at the 2018 Magic World Championship. 24 of the game’s best players will battle it out in Standard and Dominaria Draft for the title of World Champion. The Team Series Final will also take place, pitting Team Ultimate Guard against Hareyuya Latin in Guilds of Ravnica Team Sealed. The finish line is in sight, and what an exciting finish it is shaping up to be.

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