By: Travis Allen
This was supposed to be a joyous occasion. Everyone showed up to a party to have a good time. We got eight different decks in the top eight, and it was one of the most stacked Pro Tours we’ve ever had. (With a finals between two of the three least qualified, but oh well.) We got to watch a vibrant Standard unfold before us, played by some of the best in the game. And yet, my Twitter timeline is full of players talking about boycotting Wizards and quitting Magic. What the hell happened?
Some time in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Helene Bergeot got on camera to make a few announcements. (I think; I was sleeping.) The tl;dr is that HOF players can now only receive a maximum of $1,500 a year for playing on the Pro Tour, as opposed to $7,500 in years past. (They only get the $1,500 for showing up to exactly one Pro Tour, the one with the HOF induction, rather than all four PTs and the World Championships.) Platinum pros will now only receive $250 for showing up at a Pro Tour or the World Champs, rather than the $3,000 and $1,000 they used to pay out, respectively.
Assuming both my interpretation of the announcement and math is correct, which is admittedly a leap, that amounts to a $6,000 pay cut for Hall of Famers, and a $11,750 pay cut for Platinum pros. Even more of a kick in the teeth is that that’s effective immediately following Pro Tour: Eldritch Moon. This means that since June of last year, players have been working to earn platinum for the coming 2016-2017 season. Now, as they’re finally crossing that threshold, the rug is being pulled out from under them. All those GPs and PTs you ground out over the last year to earn that cushy $12,000 next year as a plat? Gone. Suckers.
Matt Sperling wrote up a great piece on the changes Monday morning and is absolutely worth a read. There’s also Jon Finkel’s, and The Ferret’s. These guys, along with many others, are much more qualified to talk at length about this, so I won’t add too much. I’ll toss in my quick thoughts, and then we’ll hit the other announcement to come out of this weekend.
EDIT: On Tuesday afternoon (while this article was in the pipe to be published) Wizards announced that they’re retracting the Platinum benefits change, at least for the upcoming season. All the other changes will remain in place. They’ll also be seeking feedback ahead of Pro Tour: Eldritch Moon in August from pro players, and I expect that we’ll get a new announcement regarding platinum changes at that time. This is a positive change for platinum players, but make no mistake, this is only delaying the inevitable unless in the next two months Wizards decides to completely change course. Unlikely.