Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast has recommended that stores follow the guidelines of local health authorities regarding pre-release events for its upcoming trading card game expansion Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths due to public safety concerns regarding COVID-19.
Restrictions on Pre-release Packs and Commander decks have been lifted, meaning customers can take them home without joining an in-store event. Event organisers will also be able to enroll players in a home-based pre-release so that they can receive promo packs and exclusive products regardless of in-person attendance.
“The health and safety of our players is our utmost priority,” said the publisher in a recent announcement. “As the world grapples with COVID-19, we are committed to doing our part to help stop its spread. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution and a regard for the health and safety of our players, we are adjusting our policies surrounding [Wizards Play Network] in-store play and our Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths pre-release events.”
Wizards also rescheduled a raft of its competitive season events for later in the year, impacting Magic Pro League’s 2020 partial season. Reschedules include the three tournaments that comprise the Players Tour Series 2 and the cancellation of the Players Tour Finals Houston (qualifying players will instead have their invitations transferred to the Finals in Minneapolis scheduled for June) and Mythic Invitational Ikoria (invites of which have been shifted to the Mythic Invitational Core Set 2021 in July).
The publisher will be providing travel reimbursements to its qualified players with non-refundable flights on the impacted events.
An online event option accessible digital version of the game, Magic: The Gathering Arena for players unable to attend in-person events is also scheduled. The new MTG Arena event will take place on June 13th through to the 14th and will not award any prize money.
In addition, the MagicFests due to run alongside these events have been cancelled by organiser CFB Events worldwide up to mid-April.
The safety of MagicFest attendees is important to us and we have been monitoring the evolving public health situation closely. Based on additional guidance from government and public health officials, #MTGDetroit, #MTGSaoPaulo, #MTGLouisville, and #MTGPalmBeach are cancelled. pic.twitter.com/eeDrA5EamD— ChannelFireball (@ChannelFireball) March 11, 2020
Wizards of the Coast has warned that further changes to MTG events may be possible as the COVID-19 pandemic develops.