By Stephen Carpenter
On Nov. 2, Wizards of the Coast announced that they would be changing the format of their World Championships from a huge event, to an exclusive sixteen-person tournament. The largest of changes to this tournament include reducing the number of players that participate in the World Championships, leading Magic players to feel that their countries have a smaller chance of being able to participate.
In the new format, the sixteen invited to the new world championships are from these five sources:
- The 2011 World Champion
- The 2011 Magic Online Champion (determined at the 2011 Magic Online Championship held at Magic Weekend San Francisco)
- Winners of the previous three Pro Tours (Philadelphia, Dark Ascension in Honolulu, and the second Pro Tour in 2012). Pro Tour Philadelphia champion Samuele Estratti is the first invitee to the 2012 World Championship.
- The top-ranked player from each geo-region (Asia Pacific, Europe, Japan, Latin America, and North America) in the Planeswalker Points 2012 Professional Total who are not yet invited based on the above criteria.
- The top-ranked players in the worldwide Planeswalker Points 2012 Professional Total who are not yet invited based on the above criteria sufficient to bring the total number of invited players to the 2012 World Championship to sixteen
On the website Change.org, players have put together a petition to Wizards of the Coast, asking the company to reconsider the changes, stating that: “With the long standing history of Worlds, Team Worlds, and POTY, to change this in such a radical and rigid way, not only is a shot at the players who try their best to compete, but also will essentially take away from the history of these events.”
While WotC CEO Greg Leeds posted a message in response to the player’s petition, stating that they are aware of the player’s views and anger, Leeds replied “…is obvious now that we have not given enough information on exactly what the new plan will look like to reassure our most dedicated and important players that the changes are positive ones.”