In partnership with ESL, Wizards of the Coast has announced the Magic: The Gathering Arena ESL ANZ Championships. This is a two-season series of online tournaments for Magic players in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). The first season will kick off on August 7, and will run until late September. It’s a chance for fans from around the ANZ region to compete for money, in-game items and physical prizes.
MTGA Champs event structure
The first of the two seasons will start in August. There will also be a casual tournament in the first week of August to introduce players to the ESL play platform. The regular season will then feature four open tournaments leading up to the finals.
- 1 August – Casual Education cup
- 7 August – Event 1 Open Qualifier
- 8 August – Event 1 Top 8
- 21 August – Event 2 Open Qualifier
- 22 August – Event 2 Top 8
- 4 September – Event 3 Open Qualifier
- 5 September – Event 3 Top 8
- 18 September – Event 4 Open Qualifier
- 19 September – Event 4 Top 8
- 26 September – Champion Stage
Each above qualifier will have seven rounds of Swiss Stage and then the cut to the top eight. Players will earn points during each stage and players with the most points at the end of each event will advance to the Champions Stage.
No tournament is complete without prizes. The MTGA ESL ANZ Champs will feature several prizes for players to strive to earn. There’s a $2,500 AUD prize pool with plenty of in-game loot, along with some physical card rewards. Players ranked 1st through to 32nd will receive the following prizes:
- 1st – $800 AUD + 5,000 Gems, 1 x Set Booster Box + 1 x Collector Box + 1 x Uncut Sheet of cards
- 2nd – $600 AUD + 5,000 Gems, 1 x Collector Booster Box
- 3rd – $400 AUD + 5,000 Gems, 1 x Set Booster Box
- 4th – $300 AUD + 5,000 Gems, 1 x Set Booster Box
- 5-8th – $100 AUD + 5,000 Gems, 1 x Set Booster Box
- 9-16th – 3,000 Gems, 1 x MTG Bundle
- 17th-24th – 1,500 Gems, 3 x Set Boosters
- 25th-32nd – 1,000 Gems, 3 x Set Boosters
MTGA ESL ANZ Champs, is this the future for Magic esports?
This new format for Magic esports is not something we’ve really seen in the esports scene. Is this an indication of the direction for competitive Magic gameplay? According to the Wizards of the Coast team, this tournament has no connection to what’s occurring globally for Magic: The Gathering Arena. There has been some recent news for the Magic Pro League, however there is no indication Magic will change into this format being used in Australia and New Zealand.
We had the chance to chat to Henry Williamson, the Brand Manager at Wizards of the Coast. Henry gave us a little bit of insight into why the MTGA ESL Champs are being run in ANZ.
“We’ve heard from our community in ANZ that they want more opportunities to play competitive MTG at a local level, both in person and online. By partnering with ESL Australia for 2 x MTG Arena seasons, in addition to the 5 x Store Challenger Series events in WPN stores, we hope these events are exactly what players are looking for so we can find out who is the best in the region in 2021!”
How to enter
Players can sign up to be part of MTGA ESL ANZ Champs on the ESL play platform. The competition is open to all Australia and New Zealand residences, where players must be 16 years of age or older to enter. Participants will need to create an ESL Play account to sign up too, as explained here.
Ahead of the competition starting, we also sat down with the team, who spoke about their upcoming card set collaboration with D&D.