A limited edition coin, a Limited Grand Prix, more paths to the Pro Tour, and Standard in the wake of a Pro Tour. These are your news stories from the last week.
Changes to the Magic Online Championship
Last Monday, an article by Alli Medwin gave us insight into what the 2019 Magic Online Championship would look like. The headline is that there will be a prize pool of $250,000, $50,000 more than the 2018 Magic Online Championship.
There are some minor bookkeeping changes, such as the shift away from the nomenclature of monthly events and instead calling the qualifying events preliminaries, but the largest change is how format specialists can now qualify for the championship.
Competitive Constructed Leagues and format challenges will now offer format points. Format challenges will take the place of regularly scheduled challenges and offer regular prizes, as well as format points. Earn enough format points and you can participate in a format playoff. The Top 8 of each playoff qualify for the format championship and winning that sends you to the Magic Online championship. The formats available in this structure include Modern, Legacy, Vintage, and Pauper.
Pauper is getting some additional attention in this update. The format is getting a competitive League, in addition to its friendly offering. In the event that the format cannot support two leagues, the friendly League will be retired.
Speaking of retired, 1v1 Commander will cease to be a supported format for events. The format will still exist for casual play but it will no longer have tournament offerings. This change is slated to take place in January around the Ravnica Allegiance update.
Wizards of the Coast, in conjunction with the New Zealand mint, is releasing a special Liliana, the Last Hope silver coin. This is the second such coin—the first minted coin featured the likeness of Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
Heads up to our numismatic-inclined fans! A brand new pure Silver Coin is coming to the MTG collection, featuring the legendary Planeswalker, Liliana. Orders are available from Nov. 22, while stocks last. Visit the New Zealand Mint for more details 👉 https://t.co/eedoqrhD5x 💀 pic.twitter.com/WfpJoPhYTa
— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) November 15, 2018
Grand Prix Melbourne and Milwaukee
This weekend we got two tastes of Guilds of Ravnica: Limited in Melbourne and Standard in Milwaukee.
First up was Grand Prix Melbourne. The first day was all about Boros as three players went undefeated with the red and white guild, and all three players had a copy of Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice in their deck. And those same three players—Calvin Liu, Taiga Tsujikawa, and Shawn Khoo—all made the Top 8. Liu and Tsujikawa were able to repeat their preference by drafting Boros in the Top 8. Khoo was not so lucky and ended up with the white and green Selesnya guild.
And it was those two Boros players who met in the finals. Liu took the first game with Tsujikawa winning the second. In the decider, Liu kept a skeptical hand that did not pan out while Tsujikawa dropped the hammer with his four copies of Hammer Dropper, cementing his victory!
— Magic Pro Tour (@magicprotour) November 18, 2018
Meanwhile at Grand Prix Milwaukee, the Magic world got to see what Standard looked like a week after the Top 8 of Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica was awash in white-red aggressive strategies. While one such deck made the Top 8 in the hands of Jacob Tilk, the rest of the elimination rounds featured three different archetypes. One player—Owen Turtenwald—was on Izzet Drakes while two players, including Adrian Sullivan, brought Jeskai Control to the table. The rest of the Top 8 was made up of Golgari Midrange and one of those Overgrown Tomb decks was piloted by recent Hall of Fame inductee and Player of the Year runner-up Seth Manfield.
It was one of those Golgari decks—in the hands of Brian Lynn—who squared off against Sullivan’s unique take of Jeskai Control. This Jeskai deck ran the full four copies of Niv-Mizzet, Parun in the main deck. It was an innovation that proved fruitful as Sullivan, long known for his deckbuilding prowess, took down the tournament!
Congratulations to #GPMilwaukee Champion and tireless archetype innovator @AdrianLSullivan! His unique take on Jeskai Control took down the tournament, with a little help from Niv-Mizzet. pic.twitter.com/hM1CiPHA9g
— Magic Pro Tour (@magicprotour) November 19, 2018
Next week the Grand Prix circuit travels to Warsaw for another round of Guilds of Ravnica Limited. Then the spotlight shifts to Shizuoka for Legacy. But before that, this Wednesday we will know the full list of Ultimate Masters.