In an effort to keep our Magic calendar a little fresher, and to better cater some of our programming to the casual crowd for which it was intended, we’re making a few adjustments to our regular events.
First of all, Standard Showdown is now free! Standard has been a difficult format to maintain over the last few years, and it seems the bulk of the competitive community isn’t as tuned into it as they once were, so we’re lowering the barrier to entry as much as possible by removing the entrance cost. The only prize support offered will be the official Standard Showdown boosters, but that’s still free cards and free competition. This change is effective immediately. For the Thursdays between Standard Showdown seasons, we’ll still be charging $5 admission, and will once again offer store credit as prize support, but for War of the Spark and the rest of Ravnica Allegiance season, we’d like to try running Standard Showdown at no cost.
The other big change revolves around our drafts. For many years we’ve run drafts on Fridays and Sundays, but we’re always looking to improve our programming and cater to as many players as we can. At Wizards’ request, we tried out the Quick Draft format for FNM this month, and the overwhelming response was “this works a lot better on Arena”. Beginning in March, we’re going to try a brand new prize support structure for Friday night drafts, that pays out just as well as we always have for going 3-0, but also guarantees a prize payout to all 2-1s to prevent feel-bad tiebreaker math and slightly flatten our prize payout, so that more players get more prizes. The price to draft remains the same, but we’re giving out more prize support overall, and more players are getting a piece of it. To contrast this model, we’re trying out offering booster packs as prizes for our Sunday drafts, clearly delineating Sunday as the more casual event and Friday the more competitive. I’ve long been opposed to the idea of boosters as prizes because it seems like a strict downgrade from store credit, so this is an experiment I’ve been talked into. Reception to boosters was lukewarm during Quick Drafts, so please let us know if you’d rather have store credit than boosters when you draft.
Finally, in the spirit of dubbing Sunday drafts “casual”, our evening draft each Sunday is now a BYOB event, so feel free to bring your favourite brew and relax. Just so we’re clear, I’m using the words “BYOB” and “brew” in their traditional senses, not as Magic jargon. We’re still providing basic lands for drafters, only now you’re also getting to drink while you use them.