All in-person Magic: The Gathering events for the rest of 2020 have been cancelled, with the trading card game’s competitive tournaments to be held fully online, in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this year, MTG publisher Wizards of the Coast announced that it would be taking the game’s Friday Night Magic events online as the result of health concerns surround the global spread of COVID-19, as well as lifting pre-release restrictions on latest set Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and rescheduling a number of competitive organised play events for later in the year, including the 2020 Partial Season, Mythic Invitationals and Players Tour.
Wizards of the Coast has now confirmed that all of its remaining in-person “high-level” events for Magic: The Gathering in 2020 have been cancelled. This includes the game’s MagicFests, held every few weeks in cities around the world and open to players of any level. As of June 1st, there were 24 outstanding MagicFest events planned for the rest of 2020, including an event in London on December 11th and Seattle on June 5th.
Upcoming Players Tour and Mythic Invitational events will be held online via Magic: The Gathering Arena, the trading card game’s digital counterpart. Wizards recently announced the first MTG Arena Open tournament for the app, allowing players of any skill level the chance to win up to $2,000 in the two-day competition taking place from May 30th.
All players who qualified for a Players Tour will be able to carry their invitation across to MTG Arena, Wizards confirmed, including the next Mythic Qualifier on June 20th. The top 1,200 competitors will be able to participate in the tournament. Players Tour qualifiers will also be held in Magic Online until June 7th and via daily ChannelFireball events until June 15th.
Four Players Tour events will be held from June 13th to 14th and June 19th to 21st in MTG Arena, each with a $150,000 prize pool. The Players Tour Finals will follow on July 25th and 26th, with the Top Eight players concluding the competition a week later on August 1st. The finals will feature a total prize pool of $250,000. A Mythic Invitational will then be held from August 28th to 30th with another $250,000 prize pool.
The competitive season for upcoming set Zendikar Rising, due for release this autumn, will see a set-based Magic: The Gathering tournament season held for the first time. Qualifiers will lead to a best-of-three championship held in the Swiss format, including a prize pool. Wizards of the Coast said that further details would be revealed later this summer.
Following Zendikar Rising’s release, a new event - the 2020 Season Grand Finals - will be held in the autumn. The top 16 players from the summer Players Tour Finals and Mythic Invitational will compete for a $250,000 prize pool.
Wizards of the Coast suggested that its experience running Magic: The Gathering tournaments online this year could influence the format of future competitive events for the game, writing “as we look to 2021, we're planning to be adaptable and flexible as pandemic conditions evolve and as we test and learn from online remote-play competitions”.