Magic: The Gathering tournaments, whether they're informal competitions at local game shops or large, formal affairs, have been an institution for years. And as announced at the 2018 Game Awards, those tournaments are now being brought into the
arena with the reveal of Mythic Championship events and a pro league.
Magic: The Gathering has increasingly been digitized this year, with the development of Magic: The Gathering Arena, a new way to play the game online separate from the preexisting Magic: The Gathering Online. Arena is currently in open beta for PC users, with a full release planned for 2019. But even though awareness about Arena may benefit most from this reveal, this new esports structure won't just apply to the digital version of the game.
The prize pool is split evenly between two ways to play the game. The traditional tabletop game and Arena will each have a $5 million prize pool, with a total of 10 tournaments that begin with the Mythic Championship being held at next year's PAX East.
The Magic Pro League, meanwhile, will include the 32 top-ranked players in the world. Though everyday players will have means to qualify for championship events (with more details promised for 2019), each of these players is afforded automatic entry and are promised "competitive pro contracts," according to Wizards of the Coast.
Arena players can also receive an esports starter kit by entering the promo code "GameAwards."
This move follows in the formalization of several other competitive gaming communities, whether it's the Overwatch League, Fortnite's Summer Skirmish events or DotA 2's The International.
Watch the Game Awards' new trailers, reveals and winners right here.