Danation: What is Planeswalker Points? Part 1 with Daniel Harborne

Danation – Top 8 Tips for Top 8 Nationals by Daniel Harborne


So it’s that time again, Wizards has made an announcement that shakes things up and “the sky has fallen!” (The guy that has to clean up every time the sky falls must have a pretty big grudge against WOTC by now). All joking aside, this time the announce was pretty huge in terms of impact but what’s worse is it truly takes some thinking to work out what the exact impact is. For those who missed it, Wizards abolished the traditionally used ELO system for ratings and adopted a new system based on the accumulation of something they have called Planeswalker Points(PWPs).

I will post a link to the announcement article at the end as reference but this article, part 1 at least, is going to be explaining everything as clearly as possible. Sadly most of the information currently is spread over 3-4 different pages and PDFs which is rather unhelpful and has left many people (including myself at first) unsure of what exactly is going on. By the end of this you should know everything there is to know. Part 2 of this article will be my final views on the impact to us, Wizards, the game and tournament organizers.

As I said there’s a lot of numbers to crunch and knock on effects to take into account, I am nearly there though!

A disclaimer before we start, we know there could be some more announcements adding to this system which might change things. This is an explanation of what we have so far and any opinions are also based off the information we have.

So without further ado, the new system is as follows:

The very basic principle is that you accumulate Planeswalker Points based on your match results, 3 points for a win , 1 for a draw and 0 for a lose. Where things get more complicated is that each type of event has a multiplier that adjusts this value. E.g FNMs have a multiplier of x3 so a match win at an FNM is worth 9 points (for a breakdown of the multipliers see below). In addition to the match result points, players receiver a participation bonus which awards you points just for turning up to an event and is a value dictated by the turnout. This value is also effected by the same event multiplier that match results are. (For the breakdown of participation points awarded against event turn out also see below).










Here’s a quick example to make sure we’re all still following…

For 8 players my participation bonus is 1 x 3(multiplier) = 3 (checked this one on a calculator don’t worry!! ) and then for my 2-1 record I received 2 (match wins) x 3 (Planeswalker points) x 3 (Multiplier) A total of 21 points earned.

Now to add the next level of intrigue to the change… the purpose of these points: Points earned in events can contribute to one or more of four PWP totals

The four totals are:

Life time – All the total PWPs you’ve ever earned. This total is used to “level up” through ranks. The ranks are arbitrary titles and gain you nothing more than bragging rights. So far nothing else has been announced but we all know promo cards mailed out like the WPR for levelling up would be sweet, right Wizards… right? (a guy can dream!)

(See right for lift time PWP ranks)

Competitive – This is contributed to by any event that isn’t casual… i.e anything that would have gained (and lost) you rating through the old system now contributes to this total. This, for most people will be the important one as it’s this total that awards your Grand Prix BYEs (free round wins at GPs which under this system still count as match wins for the purpose of PWPs). Furthermore it also will be what’s looked at to award invites to the Pro Tours.

Unlike lifetime points this total resets every 4 months. These four month periods are referred to as seasons and at the end of a season your world ranking, based of your final competitive total for the season, awards you the BYEs and PT invites for the following season. As such players must stay active if they want to continue reaping these benefits. I shall list the specific break downs for Receiving BYEs and Invites in the key points section below.

FNM – As the name would suggest, this total is only contributed to by points earned at FNMs. Some may say a less important total than competitive, this total is solely used for offering the players with the top 100 FNM totals after a designated cut off point an invite to the newly created FNM championship. The season for 2012’s FNM championship is 5th September 2011 to 1st July 2012. Not much detail on the championship event itself has been published yet.

Professional – The final total, professional is contributed to by Grand Prix and Pro Tours (and as far as I can tell from all official publication not Nationals… which is contrary to what some other 3rd party publications have said). Your professional total is currently only announced as solely a way Wizards will offer out invites to the World Championships.

Other key points to note announced as changes:

  • Firstly this system, while currently being tracked and posted on http://www.wizards.com/magic/planeswalkerpoints is not being used to calculate anything until the 1st season of 2012. The ELO ratings system and pro players club which will be used for this seasons BYEs and invites. This means if you want to sit on your rating and preserve your BYEs for the last few GPs coming up in 2011 you are going to have to sacrifice doing all you can to get your 2012 season BYEs and invites. A decision I myself am faced with being on 1950… (and therefore just earning myself my second BYE at GP Milan which I am heading to).

  • It would appear that the Pro Club will cease to exist after 2012… with no way to earn Pro Points.

  • Also in the announcement, Grand Prix no longer award PT invitations as of next year. This means that a high finish at a GP doesn’t guarantee you a spot at the next Pro Tour but does certainly get you a big contribution toward being where you need to be in the ranking in order to receive one.

As promised the break down of how to earn the Invites and BYEs.

The Pro Tour invites are handed out as follows:

  • Take the Competitive totals of every Magic player.

  • Deduct those who have qualified through other means (PTQs, Hall of Fame and for 2012, Pro Players Club).

  • Award invites to the top 10 players from Europe and the top 10 from North America as well as the top 5 from Japan, top 5 from APAC and top 5 from Latin America.

  • Remove these 35 from the list and then take the top 65 players in the world who then also all receive invites.

The Grand Prix BYEs are awarded as per the following competitive ratings positions in the world rankings at the end of a season:

  • Top 300 – 3 BYEs
  • Top 2000 – 2 BYEs
  • Top 15000 – 1 BYEs

Ok so that’s the system. There’s a lot to it but I found with all the useful information gathered together in one place it becomes a lot easier to digest.

If you have any questions or think I have missed anything please leave me a comment and I will add or correct where needs be.

My complete views on all this will be in part 2 article, needless to say there’s some stuff that works nicely but the more a crunch number the more I get the feeling that they reward quantity of play over quality and good luck any other country other than USA in the top 65 worldwide ranking PT invites… Perhaps we have a chance during the season we’re currently in but when they have 8 Gps in season 1 of 2012 and we have 3 it’s unlikely they’ll be many UK players in that 65 considering the weight of the points earnt at GPs.

And in regards to quantity I shall leave with this example:

A player we will deem to be of a good skill level plays in the 1st NQ of the season with an about average turnout of 37 and X-1s the event (1 loss the rest of the rounds he wins) .He gets 90 points and can longer play in the rest of the NQs for that season.

A second player, who may be new or inexperienced but in no way is of a competent skill level, decides to go to the all of the 6 National Qualifiers he can legitamtely travel to for the season. He consistently goes 2-X (two wins the rest of the rounds he loses) and all of the events have a similarly average turnout to the first. He ends up with 270 points. So at this point the National Qualifier season has awarded a poor performer 180 points more than a good player.

But to be fair player 2 isn’t going to Nats.  At Nationals the 1st guy can make up the points by going 6-8… Which ok he should probably do if he is as good as we have assumed.

Where it gets really silly is if another player, player 3 who isn’t incompetent but makes it to his win and in match for the first 5 NQs he chooses to attend and sadly doesn’t win and in leaving him on 4-2 for all 5 events. Then at the 6th event he “gets there” with a result of 5-1. This string of ok results with one good result has put him to 465 a difference of 375 with player 1. Even if Player 1 wins Nationals there is a likely chance he is still behind player 3’s total and that’s without taking into account player 3 will actually be playing in nationals and earning himself more points.

A sad note to leave on perhaps I’ve done some maths wrong somewhere but I think it may just be a sign that some adjustment needs to be made.

Have a great weekend all and I shall see you on Part 2 with more in depth looks at what this change has effected.


The announcement (http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/159b)

The PDFs containing further details (http://www.wizards.com/wpn/Document.aspx?x=Magic_The_Gathering_Premier_Event_Invitation_Policy)


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