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Posted May 23, 2016 by Scott Gerhardt in Card Games

Planeswalker Points, GP Byes, and more – some needed fixes

So I just got done with GP-LA.  I didn’t play nearly as much paper magic this year as I had in previous years, and consequently will end with around 1,450 Planeswalker points, considerably down from the 3,552 last year and 5,252 the previous year.  This is going to leave me with having 1 bye at GPs starting whenever the next one I play is.  In some ways I am okay with this, because I certainly have played a lot less paper magic, but then I thought “but I still play a TON of sanctioned magic.”  So I have some various things I personally think need to be changed:

#1 – For gods sake, give MTGO events PWPs.  Many people pour a lot of money into MTGO, often playing events for more money and less prize than they would at most stores.  These are tournaments sanctioned and run by Wizards of the Coast.  Why aren’t they worth PWP?  I understand Magic promotes paper play, but there are PTQs online and an entire tournament series that gets the winner Gold Pro Status.  So, I make the following suggestions as it pertains to this to improve the system without cannibalizing paper magic too much.

  • Events by default at 1x multipliers.  Drafts, on demands, dailies, set championship qualifiers.
  • PTQ Qualifiers & MOCS monthly events are 2x multiplier.
  • PTQs and MOCS seasonal are 3x multipliers.  Basically, cap anything online at 3x.
  • Like PTs, the yearly MOCS championship event should only count towards lifetime
  • For the purposes of GP byes (the only thing PWPs are good for except making your e-peen bigger), you can only earn as many points online as you do in paper magic.  This will force people to still get out there and play paper if they want the full benefits.

#2 – Add back in seasonal byes.  I personally think the yearly bye system is great!  It keeps people from having to consistently grind every 3 months to keep up byes.  I once went from LA to Richmond to play modern (I’m terrible at modern) just because I needed the PWP to hit 1,500 and 3 byes.  That was exhausting, and I pretty much thank them for getting rid of the thing that would drive me batty trying to hit every season.   Now, that said, I’m at one bye.  For me to get to 2, I have to accumulate 2,250 points.  Reasonably, that’s a least half a year if you’re reasonably on the grind (which is a very small minority of people who have less than 2 byes and are grinding enough to hit that threshold quickly), and probably closer to the entire year for most people.

That is dumb.

Reinstitute the seasonal policy again:  400 points gets you 1 bye, 750 gets you 2 byes.  These numbers are both greater than the 25% of a yearly needed, so they pace you above what is needed for yearly byes, and they give people something to strive for in the short term.  I know if I go out and pick up 750 points in a 3 month period I can have 2 byes for whatever is left in that season and the next season.  It makes it reasonable for me to earn my way back to 2 byes without having to take forever to do it.  I know WotC swapped to the yearly schedule to prevent the consistent grinding, but this is a horrible (I hope) unintended consequence of it – those who are less than 2,250 are forced to grind harder and for longer.  Let me tell you, every single bye at a GP is important, so losing even 1 can be huge.

Now, I’m not saying drop the yearly.  If they hit 2,250 in a year, great – they are good for that year and all the next.  But there isn’t a good reason I can think of that they don’t use both seasonal and yearly point totals in conjunction.

#3 – Sunday Super Series multiplier needs to be fixed.  I don’t see the official number yet, but yesterday I played a nine round tournament with over 300 players that broke to top 8 and then qualified 1 person for an exclusive tournament.  Minus the over 300 player part (I think 125-250 was norm), does this sound like any other events from Magic’s past?  Oh yeah – PTQs.  These events always have some of the best judges around, often with better staff than the old PTQs did, generally have more players, and follow the same structure.  Like PTQs, they need to be a 5x multiplier.  I think the only reason they aren’t is because WotC just hasn’t really thought about it.  Hey WotC person reading this – please think about it.

#4 – Give GP Sundays PPTQs.  Would it kill the GPs to have 2 PPTQs on Sunday:  one constructed and one limited?  I remember back in the day playing PTQs on Saturdays of PTs and Sundays of GPs to give people a chance to qualify.  Why not at least throw them a PPTQ bone – it will likely increase Sunday attendance.  Since these no longer qualify people directly for the PT and invites are no longer based on RPTQ attendance, give the players a second chance to work their way back towards the PT.  Between these two, I think it gives players much better options as to what to play on Sunday so they can choose the path they want.  I’d likely continue to play in the SSS, but that is me.  This gives scrubbed out pros and other non PPTQ eligible people something to play in the SSS, and other people a chance to choose limited or constructed for the PPTQ.  You’re still going to well into an 8 round tournament for all 3, so why not.  Now, that said…..

#5 – Increase RPTQ qualification slots based on attendance.  If a PPTQ hits 65+ players, qualify 2.  If it hits 129+, qualify 4 – you can cap it at that, though in the very rare occasion is goes 257+, 8 slots wouldn’t be bad. I’m assuming they aren’t running TOO short of promo Snapcasters, and being able to hit any of these numbers based on the attendance is an accomplishment worthy of being able to play an RPTQ.  Furthermore…..

#6 – Allow people who qualify via PPTQs to hold over their RPTQ invite if the RPTQ is not the same type of events as the PPTQ.  Don’t make sealed players go play modern to qualify.  Don’t make standard players have to play sealed, or even modern to qualify.  When you PPTQ qualify, say, via limited it should be for “the next RPTQ or the next limited RPTQ”.  I have been rather inactive in PPTQs because I don’t want to play limited (all I play for PPTQs) to have to qualify to play constructed.  It’s very non-intuitive to me.

That’s basically everything in a nutshell.  What do you think?  Agree, disagree, or have any suggestions of your own?  That’s what the comment box is for.

Until next time, keep playing everyone!

Scott Gerhardt

Scott has....thoughts. They can be about this, that, or just about anything. Seldom at a loss for words, you can find his thoughts chronicled here