Magic: The Gathering is a game that is ever changing, and with that, our players' expectations and preferences change too. We've seen a trend in recent months toward more casual games, more relaxed events, and more Commander play - all things we are happy to support! That said, we want to make sure our competitive players are supported too.
This does mean we'll be making tweaks to our normal Magic offerings in store, which will come into effect from the beginning of January. Before you worry, here are the things that are staying exactly the same:
- Commander will still run on Friday afternoons at 5pm. Entry will still be £2 or free with Friday Night Magic, and the winner of the first game for each pod will still win a promo card.
- Friday Night Magic will still run weekly at 7pm, and every player will still receive a Token with their entry.
- We will still be running Prereleases (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) in the same fun, relaxed manner we always have before.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's take a look at things that we expect to change.
Friday Night Magic will no longer have a competitive tier.
As soon as we introduced a casual tier to FNM, we found competitive numbers dropped significantly - and conversely, casual player numbers went up. We can see the appeal in being able to turn up and play some fun games at your own pace, so we want to make sure players are able to do that regularly. We want players to feel free to play multiple formats, rather than being locked into whatever format we happen to have chosen for that week.
We also hope this will invite our newer and less competitive Magic players to take part in Friday Night Magic, as it becomes a much less pressured and far more relaxed experience!
Competitive events will be reserved for weekend tournaments.
We will aim to run two weekend events for Magic per month - one for Commander (using our in store points system), and one competitive tournament with whatever format is relevant for that month. These events will have a more competitive focus, rather than casual play, for the players who prefer more of a challenge.
All events will be getting more prize support.
Competitive tournaments in particular will see more promo packs and boosters being added into the prize pool, but we intend to make promo prizes more accessible to all our players. Competitive events will have prizing structures (and entry fees) that reflect an emphasis on skill and top-down rankings, while casual FNM will provide more opportunities to earn prizes based on how much is played in store.
Friday Night Magic will now have stamp cards to earn promos.
Our new stamp cards for Friday Night Magic are designed to encourage both regular weekly play, and playing different formats (Standard, Draft/Sealed, Commander, and Pack War). The reason for this is simple - the more people play, and the more different sanctioned formats that are played in store, the more promo packs we can earn to give back to the players.
On your stamp card, you earn one stamp per week for each of these formats you play at Friday Night Magic. When you have played a format four times, or you have played each format at least once, you earn a promo card from our collection. If you completely fill a stamp card, you earn a promo pack. If you fill three cards in a single season, you get a premium promo pack. You can only have one card at a time, but you can choose to end your current one for a new card at any time. All players will get new stamp cards when a new main set releases (with the exception of Theros Beyond Death). Your card will also be kept in store to make sure it doesn't get lost!
As a note of importance, in order to gain stamps for draft/sealed games and pack wars, all booster packs used for those events must have been purchased in store at the event. Apologies if this causes any disappointment, but we need to be able to keep the lights on!
Drafts during Friday Night Magic will run any week where there are at least four players who want to draft.
Obviously without predetermined formats to play each week, drafts are going to need a bit more player engagement to fire. To make this easier to achieve, a Friday Night Magic casual draft will run at 7:30pm on any week where there are at least 4 players who want to participate. (Casual drafts have the same drafting process at the start, but use open play rather than tournament rounds.) Draft players will need to purchase three booster packs on the night.
To make sure there are enough players to fire these drafts, we strongly encourage players communicate with each other as much as possible. You are welcome to use the store's Magic group on Facebook, or talk to players in store to arrange games for following weeks. Either way, don't be afraid to ask for more players! The more players we get drafting, the more opportunities you all have to get additional promos!
That's it! Keep an eye out for upcoming events in the calendar, and let us know if you have any questions!
*This article has been edited to reflect changes to stamp rewards.