No matches

Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) are about to kick off their entrance into esports this March. During the PAX East weekend of Mar. 28-31, the publisher will hold the first Magic: The Gathering Mythic Invitational tournament. Played online in MTG: Arena, the event comes with a $1 million prize pool, to be split by 64 players. It’s the start of MTG’s $10 million esports circuit, which WOTC revealed in December.

What should’ve been great news for the Magic community which has been waiting decades for such an opportunity was instead met with much disdain from the dedicated MTG pro players. Why? Well, because of whom Wizards decided to invite to the party.

The PAX East Mythic Invitational will have 64 players total. One half is the 32 that will take part in the Magic Pro League, to start later this year. So far, so good. It’s the other 32 spots that players took issue with.

Eight of those will go to the top 8 on the Mythic Ladder Ranking season for February. A grueling test of time, skill and endurance, it’s one of the harshest way to qualify for a tournament. Still, it’s a chance for an aspiring MTG: Arena player to take shot at a good payday.

The other slots, however, have gone to a selection of not just MTG pros, but Twitch streamers alike, and is what’s pissing off dedicated competitors. The way many saw the announcement was Wizards disregarding their hard-earned achievements, like getting Platinum rank in MTG’s Pro Players Club, for example. The general feeling is that of disappointment.

It’s easy to understand why the displeasure. Many of those who feel snubbed have been a part of MTG’s paper competitive scene for years. In contrast, many of those invited instead came from different scenes and have entered the contemporary MTG scene by streaming Arena on Twitch. Wizards’ decision, however, makes sense and some went on Twitter to defend it — or at least try to explain the reasoning.

Needless to say, this is only the first MTG esports event of the circuit, so there’s  plenty Wizards can still do to improve and appease its hardcore fan base. The handling of Mythic Invitational’s invites has not been ideal PR-wise (and could even set up a dangerous precedent), but it’s a common tactic to boost up a budding scene.

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