MTG Arena Tournament Mixes Pros And First-Timers At PAX East

The Mythic Invitational kicks off this Thursday in Boston
The Mythic Invitational kicks off this Thursday in Boston Wizards of the Coast

Magic: The Gathering has altered its esports structure for this year, with a new focus on MTG Arena, the latest digital version of the popular card game. The latest professional tournament, the Mythic Invitational, will be played exclusively on MTG Arena, and kicks off at PAX East in Boston.

Player.One talked to Elaine Chase, the VP of Esports at Wizards of the Coast, ahead of the tournament to get a better understanding of how the Mythic Invitational fits into the world of Magic, and what players can expect to see during the tournament.

“We have 64 players competing in the Mythic Invitational,” Chase told Player.One. “They come from three buckets. The first is from our Magic Pro League players. This takes the top 32 players from around the world from last year’s season, and they have contracts for playing and streaming that let them play competitively for the whole year.”

While it seems obvious that pro Magic players are entering this tournament, they only represent half of the overall field. “These pro players are put up against challengers like community favorites who are popular streamers and influencers,” said Chase. “There are also the top eight ranked players from MTG Arena in February who qualified to participate.”

These eight players grinded through MTG Arena in February to become the highest ranked on the platform. According to Chase, they also represent a wide range of players. “There’s a former grand prix winner and a whole lot of great competitive folks in there,” she said. “There are also two players who haven’t played in tournaments bigger than the ones at their local store. It’s a great mix of seeing the best of the best, while giving that opportunity for a Cinderella story.”

The influencers invited include popular streamers and podcast hosts. One of the invited influencers is Autumn Burchett, the winner of the first Mythic tournament held last month. Autumn won $50,000 in the tournament.

Interestingly, the Mythic Invitational features a new format called Duo Standard. “Players bring two decks to the table and they play both through the course of the match,” Chase explained. “It has caused all the participants to do a thorough round of testing to find the differences between this and the traditional tabletop format. Even though people might have been a little skeptical when we first announced the format, but now that it has gone through the testing cycle, they are really excited for it. Contestants have already submitted their decks and we’ve taken a look at them. It looks like it will be a pretty interesting show.”

If you feel like this focus on MTG Arena will kill off the tabletop version with physical cards, don’t worry. The next Mythic tournament is scheduled to be a tabletop tournament. Of course, that means the one after that is back to MTG Arena. The goal is to allow both formats to live side-by-side and work as one.

The Mythic Invitational will be broadcast live on the official Magic Twitch channel beginning at 10 a.m. EDT on March 28 through March 30. The Top 4 is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. EDT on March 31.

So what do you think? Are you interested in watching how the Mythic Invitational will play out? Do you think one of those MTG Arena players can stand a chance against the pros? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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