Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The New Planeswalker Points System and You (if you actually got to GPs) by Ryan Clark

Hello and greetings. Sorry for the long time since my last post, but with it being end of school and all the testing/homework/mowing/actually playing magic, I have failed to set time aside for writing.  Today I thought about talking about standard for the new PTQ season but saying all info I would be providing would be obsolete in about 2 weeks when Avacyn Restored comes out, I thought I would talk about something often looked over: Planeswalker points.
First of all, if you don’t know what planeswalker points are, they are awarded to magic players for wins (or participation) in all sanctioned magic events from prereleases to the Pro tour. What they do is track your records and participation for entry into certain events or byes at Grand Prix’s. If you just play at FNM each week and don’t particularly care for larger events, then perhaps this article isn’t for you (I will you remind you, though, that there will be a FNM championship next year bases off of points from FNM. Once Wizards announces what it is and how to get there I will let you know). If you are curious as to how many points you have follow this link: to the page and enter the info it asks, its fun!
There are five different categories for planeswalker points: Seasonal, Yearly, Lifetime, FNM, and Professional.
These are points earned by high finishes at Grand Prix’s and Pro Tours. They are very hard to get (Not even I have any) and are used mainly by pros. It determines if they are at a certain pro level to earn an appearance fee when they compete  at large events and if they automatically qualify for Pro Tours . If you have any of these skip the next few paragraphs and get to the seasonal part where I have the most to say and that everyone should listen to and think about.
These are points only earned from FNM and will be used for that FNM championship I talked about earlier… Whenever that is… and whatever that is… So yeah…. Moving on…
Any time you compete in a sanctioned magic event, you get lifetime points. They never disappear or go away. You have them-- you guessed it-- For life. They don’t qualify you for anything, and are mainly used for bragging at how many you have over the years.  Who has the most? Shuuhei Nakamura with 69,336 points. Keep in mind you only earn 3 points for a win at FNM, so basically, you got a long way to go.
It tracks your points over a 12 month period, hence the name. The only thing it’s used for is to determine your eligibility for participating in your country’s World Magic Cup Qualifiers. Plain and simple, don’t worry about it too much.
Finally, we get to the reason why I decided to write this article. Seasonal points are based off of each four month season and show if you qualify for any byes at all at Grand Prix’s (you want byes at GP’s if you want to do well. Its free wins, and who wouldn’t want that?). In fact a new season just started at the start of April, and with it, new thresholds for achieving those precious byes. Under the old system, racking up 300 points got you a one round bye, 600 got you two bye rounds, and 1,200 for 3 rounds. As many as 300 points seems like a lot, but in reality it isn’t.  In fact there were 5091 people in the U.S alone who earned at least 300 points this past season, 1209 had two round byes, and finally 128 Americans earned the all so great 3 round byes. What the problem is, is that with all those byes, Magic games don’t get played at Grand Prix in the early rounds. This makes harder to separate the records of people to decide the top eight in sixteen or so rounds which means people with the same record as some in the top 8 might not get in because of tiebreakers (which also favor byes). So in order to help the problem wizards decided to make it harder to get byes and thus make more people play Magic in the early rounds of GP’s. Now, 400 points get a one round bye, 750 for two and 1500 for the three. If that was in place for last season only 2919 in the US would even have a one round bye, 620 would have two byes, and only the top 61 in the States would have the three. This makes a HUGE difference.  This is going to make so many GP’s easier to determine top 8, 16, 32, and 64 based more off of record and less of opponent match win percentage (tie breakers).  Many of the pros have been asking for it (even ones who wouldn’t have earned the 3 byes) and here it is. Now, if you earned byes last season (December 26- April 1) on the old levels, you get those for this season (April 1-August 19) Starting with points earned this season for byes next season is when the new system starts. So with that in mind (and a GP in San Antonio next season) my goal is to get the 750 points to earn the 2 round bye. I hope this was helpful and remember to hit up those PTQ’s, SCG open events, and GP’s to earn those points and I’ll see you there. Until next time, this is Ryan. May you never get mana screwed.


  1. I definitely had no clue about this aspect of MTG... makes me want to join some tournaments. Definitely need to get used to losing to those pros down at the shop though haha.

  2. It hasn't been a long time since you've posted :p