Grand Prix London 2018, and the Recent GP Changes That You Might Not Be Aware Of
Disclaimer: The side event information for MTG GP London has not yet been confirmed. This article takes key information present on the GP Santa Clara page and is subject to change for GP London. A link to this information is present below. Channel Fireball have confirmed via e-mail that London will have three round side events.
Update: CFB have now provided a reason for the drop to 3 rounds. This has been added at the bottom of the article.
With less than a month to go till the London GP, it’s time to start thinking about which events I’m targeting.
To start with, let me say that I’m not a fan of competitive Magic. I’ve only ever played one PPTQ in my life, and after achieving a winning record, my prize ended up being less than my buy in. This felt like a major slap in the face, and showed me how top heavy competitive Magic can be. This fact, coupled with the odds to qualify for day two at a GP (to make day two, you need 6-2 or better at the end of round eight, and making day two doesn’t even guarantee cashing), was already putting me off the main event. To top it all off, the format for the main event is Ixalan block limited.
This means that, once again, I’ll be looking to the side event packages. Taking information from GP Santa Clara, it seems like there’s going to be big changes to side events, so I had to do my research to see what kinds of events I’d be looking to enter and what my EV would be for each one.
For a start, you no longer buy a side event package for a set format. Now, instead you buy a package for six (£80) or ten (£120) constructed events. This allows you to mix formats such as playing Standard in the morning and Modern in the evening, giving you the freedom to play more formats as well as to be more flexible with your plans for the weekend. Both packages contain the GP promo card, Mutavault, as well as the GP London playmat (artwork still to be confirmed).
This means that, unlike last season, you will not be pre-registered for events. As such, you will need to make sure you signed up for the events you wish to play in.
Standard, Modern and Legacy
Constructed side events have also now changed from four round events to three round events. This means the top prize has dropped from 500 tix (50 boosters) to 200 tix (20 boosters). I’ll cover the prize breakdown and compare it to last year later on.
Double up events continue this year, with the first event for each format on the day. A double up event contains double the prizes, with less than double the entry fee. Players also get a copy of the GP promo Mutavault, meaning, if a player buys a package and plays in all three double up events over the weekend, they will receive a full playset of Mutavault! This is excellent value, considering the possible prize payouts, for those of you who fancy your chances of winning out at the side events.
It’s also to be noted that last season (at GP Birmingham at least) there were only two events for each format each day, a morning and evening one. Now, players have the choice of four events over the course of each day (with three on Sunday – timings taken from GP Santa Clara) which shows that there’s a two and a half hour window between each event.
This means that if you only have access to one Constructed format, you should buy the six event package. This allows you to play the double up and the 3rd event of the day, giving you a solid break for lunch as well as trading with vendors, and still getting great value Magic for your money.
If you have access to different formats, then the ten event package is a good pick. But, before you make a final decision, it’s best to wait for final timings to be confirmed, so you can be sure that you have adequate time to finish one event and register for the second!
Since the GP is a week after the release of Rivals of Ixalan, I had been tempted to play Sealed all weekend. It’s an additional £40 cost for a package (receiving a total of £80 worth of sealed product). As the format would be very young at the time, I felt like I would have more of a fighting chance as most of the field would be inexperienced.
There were two main issues with this plan; the first being that I’ve no experience with Ixalan, having sadly not even attended a pre-release event, due to work commitments. This means I would be going into an event with no experience of 33% of my sealed pool.
The second element is how the weekend is structured. With two events each day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and with the main event taking part on the Saturday, I think that the Sealed side events on the Friday will be packed with players getting last minute experience before the main event.
Follow this trend, the Saturday afternoon event could be filled with players who have dropped from the main and rebounded. Again, these are type of players who are more skilled and advanced than those whom I wish to be playing against.
And finally, I’m looking to walk away from the event breaking even at least. With Sealed, I would have needed to claw back at least £40 extra of prizes or value. The rares and mythics from the six sealed pools could be worth £40 or even more, but with the GP floor flooded with cards from the main event, selling to vendors on site would be hard to secure a good return.
If you really enjoy Ixalan limited or are looking to score some of the cards from the new set, then Sealed could be a good way to go, but for pure value for money, if you are not expecting to win out then the Constructed event package is probably a better choice.
Prizes for scheduled side events
With a drop to three round events, prizes have reflected on this and the breakdown is as follows: (Cashing in a double up event, players will win double the number of Tix)
- 3-0-0 (9 Match Points) – 200 Tix
- 2-0-1 (7 Match Points) – 150 Tix
- 2-1-0 (6 Match Points) – 100 Tix
- 1-1-1 or 1-0-2 (4-5 Match Points) – 70 Tix
- 1-2-0 (3 Match Points) – 40 Tix
Last year, the prize breakdown was as follows:
- 4-0-0 (12 Match Points) – 500 Tix
- 3-0-1 (10 Match Points) – 350 Tix
- 3-1-0 (9 Match Points) – 200 Tix
- 2-1-1 or 2-0-2 (7-8 Match Points) – 110 Tix
- 2-2-0 (6 Match Points) – 20 Tix
Now this change is big. The top prize outside a double up is now 200 Tix, down from 500 tix last season.
With players now on one win cashing, the percentage of players cashing has gone up to 70%, an increase on last season, which was 50%.
Now that more players are cashing, the average prize has dropped from 135 Tix an event to 89. This means that if a player played in all three double up events last year and cashed all six events played, on average, they would have won 1210 Tix. This year, that player playing the same amount of events and cashing in all six can expect on average to win 800 Tix, about a 33% loss of estimated value with the buy in remaining the same.
Therefore, for scheduled side events, the EV for the average player has gone up, since more people are cashing, however the overall average value of the prizes has gone down so you are less likely to make your money back in its entirety. The choice here is yours to make: how well do you fancy your chances against the rest of the field?
ChannelFireball confirmed to me, prior to this article going live, that London will have three round side events.
The Grand Prix London will have a very similar schedule structure like Santa Clara (well, probably without the Team Events), and will have 3 round events.
Let us know if you need anything else.
Have a great day!”
With this approach, the prizes are more thinly spread out. If you win at least one round, you cash. Winning your first two rounds and getting an ID means you win 15 boosters, (30 in a double up). It feels more player friendly than last season, where most players would drop after going 0-2, knowing they would have to win back to back games and only earn two boosters for their effort.
Something that was brought to my attention is an update to the trading information section, present on GP Santa Clara webpage. The rules now state the following:
“Trading is, of course, permitted at Grand Prix Santa Clara.
Everyone is welcome to trade cards with the goal of building decks or collecting their favorite cards. Trading cards for the primary purpose of gaining value or earning a profit is restricted to those who have purchased a vendor booth for the event. Buying and selling cards with anyone other than official vendors is strictly prohibited. The enforcement of all event policies is at the sole discretion of the CFB Events staff.
Some additional things aren’t permitted on site and may result in ejection from the venue without refund. Examples include:
- Buying, selling, or soliciting to buy or sell cards with anyone except Authorized Vendors.
- Altering cards in exchange for money or any type of compensation.
- Taking up excessive space while trading or transporting excessive amounts of trade stock.
- Advertising without permission from CFB Events admin staff.”
This means that if you wish to trade on the floor, it must be solely for building decks and not profiting, or risk facing enforcement action from CFB staff.
Another addition which was brought to my attention is an update to the FAQ, affecting players who have received a DCI ban or suspension:
“Can players with a DCI ban or suspension attend your events?
Our policy is that players who are DCI banned or suspended are not welcome at our events.”
This was an addition to the Santa Clara FAQ and was not present in the Birmingham GP FAQ.
Taking all the current information into consideration, my plan is currently to play in six Modern events over the course of the weekend. But, I’m also entertaining the idea of picking up Legacy burn pieces, to play in four Legacy events. This all depends on final timings which are TBC by ChannelFireball. Hopefully, we’ll see the schedule within the next three weeks, and when it’s released I’ll produce a break down on side events.
In the next piece on the road to London 2018, I’ll cover which deck(s) I’m planning on playing. Until then, take care and enjoy the anticipation of the run up to a GP!
What’s your plan for the GP weekend? Playing the main event? Planning to play side events? Drafting or just playing Commander?
Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you there at GP London.
You can find news and updates on the unofficial GP London 2018 events listing here.
Preregistration details can be found here: http://
Magic: the Gathering GP London 2018
Dates: 26th – 28th January, 2018
Royal Victoria Dock
1 Western Gateway
London E16 1XL, UK
(Venue info: https://goo.gl/obQ9As)
Format: Limited (Sealed Deck)
Hall Hours: (subject to change)
Friday, 26 January: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Saturday, 27 January: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Sunday, 28 January: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Thanks for reading,
Update: 9:30am 28/12/18
I have just received this email reply from CFB regarding my question on the changes to the number of rounds per side event.
We feel that having quicker events will allow more flexibility to players and have a better experience.
Also, the Events team is working hard to make sure that your entry fee is reflected in the quality of experience we provide. The events department’s focus for 2018 is to provide an incredible experience for all players attending, so if anyone attends GP London or any of its isde events and feels, during or after the weekend, that they haven’t received an experience that’s in line with the cost of entry, we would be extremely happy to receive feedback, either via this email or (preferably) on site at the event, so that we can make improvements for the future.
Let us know if we can do anything else for you
Have a great day