Games that have been around for more than two decades need to shake things up to stay relevant. That’s exactly what Wizards of the Coast is doing with Magic: The Gathering. The company announced on Thursday that it’s overhauling its traditional tabletop competition into an esports format and adding in the new digital version of the game, Magic: The Gathering Arena, to boot.
“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,” said Elaine Chase, Vice President of Esports at Wizards of the Coast in a statement. “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.”
Wizards of the Coast and its parent company Hasbro are also throwing a substantial amount of money into the project. There will be a $10 million prize pool across the tabletop and digital competitions in 2019. The company is also forming a Magic Pro League, which will make changes to the format for professional play.
The League will give the top 32 players across the world streaming and gaming contracts. These players will compete weekly in the digital Magic: The Gathering Arena tournaments and in the periodic tabletop Mythic-level tournaments, which were previously called Pro Tours. The prize pools for those tournaments are getting a bump as well. Each of the Mythic tournaments will have a prize pool of $500,000.
The first of the new Mythic tournaments will take place at PAX East in Boston March 28-31.