It’s been a busy old time at Wizards of the Coast recently.
Between sweeping changes to organised play, the increasing popularity of MTG Arena and the end and revival of GP coverage, we’ve hardly had time to catch our breath before something new arrives on the scene.
The Wizards Play Network (WPN) is the latest thing to get a makeover. Changes to store support were announced on Monday, followed by a 32-question long FAQ article breaking down what it all means.
In spite of this a lot of people are still confused to what this means for their FLGS and how it compares with the old system. I’ve therefore compiled a more palatable dive into the brand-new Wizards Play Network, which should clear up some questions!
Store Levels Are No More
Previously, every WPN store was classed as being one of four levels – Gateway, Core, Advancedand Advanced Plus. The level dictated the number of promo cards and prerelease boxes that stores could receive, as well as what events they were able to run – PPTQs, for example, were an Advanced level store only event.
As the WPN grows in size, however, this structure becomes less efficient.
The rigidity of the levels system meant that there were vast differences in the experiences of some stores – some would have 200 players over the course of a week, others would have significantly less, but as long as they were at the same WPN level, their allocated stock and prize support from Wizards would be exactly the same.
As a result, the levels system has been abolished and the Wizards prize support for stores is directly linked to the size of their player base. This will be tracked by two metrics – Tickets and Engaged Players.
Tickets represent the general number of players that take part in events. These apply to any format (including Commander) and count for the same player for multiple events, so you can play a prerelease in the morning and then do another in the afternoon, and both count.
Engaged Players are intended to be indicative of the quality of experience offered by a store. An engaged player is one who has taken part in at least six Standard, Draft or Sealed events over a year.
Both of these will be used to assess the player experience stores offer – and in turn, what rewards these stores will receive.
WPN Premium Has Been Announced
“WPN Premium is a public recognition of the best stores in the world, a way for Wizards to support them as such that it equals their contribution to the Magic community.”
Currently a status held by fewer than 5% of stores worldwide, WPN Premium status affords all the same benefits as regular WPN status, but also qualifies for things like upgraded promos, exclusive events, and recognition and priority listings in the Store and Event Locator.
WPN Premium status is, essentially, a way to reward stores that put a significant focus on providing a great customer experience as well as having a large player base attending their events.
New Promo System
Previously, promo cards were linked with events. You had your FNM promos, Open House promos, Game Day promos etc, all of which were different and all of which had to be given out at that specific tournament.
The new system is moving from these individual event cards to promo prize packs, which will be delivered to stores in a number based on their community size at the beginning of each season. One of every four promo packs will contain all-foil contents (and will be marked as such, so they can be identified), but all the packs will contain:
• A promo-stamped rare or mythic rare from the most recent set
• A promo-stamped rare or mythic rare from a list curated by the Magic design team, from standard legal sets. Occasionally these will include a “curveball” promo thrown in by the designers.
• A promo-stamped alternate-art basic land.
• One of a selection of season-specific promotional cards. Wizards haven’t offered any information on these, other than that they will usually be in the style of the FNM promo cards we’re used to with the occasional “curveball” promo as well.
Stores can choose to award the promo packs in whichever way best suits their player base, allowing them to reach a prize structure for events that best suits the size and needs of their community.
There will still be standalone promotional cards in stores, but these will be in the form of things like Buy-a-Box promos.
Overall, there’s nothing here that sets alarm bells ringing. The WPN Premium status gives stores something to aspire to, but the changes seem positive, and would seem to indicate that Wizards aren’t walking away from store-level play in favour of MTG Arena – which can only be a good thing. It means, in theory, more prizes and more events – and with those, more chances to build on our communities.