Last updated on January 24, 2023

Eliminate the Competition - Illustration by Joseph Meehan

Eliminate the Competition | Illustration by Joseph Meehan

The world of competitive Magic saw a major facelift with the most recent organized play update released by Wizards coming with Streets of New Capenna. This announcement included a new tournament structure, the return of the Pro Tour, a new MTG Arena Championship, and a complete overhaul of the path to those tournaments among other quality-of-life updates for players.

But the new system can be kind of tricky to navigate which is why I’ve done the research for you! Today I’ll be going over the very bottom of the tournament system, the Qualifier Play-In events. I’ll go over how they work, how much they cost, when and how you can expect to play in them, and more.

Let’s get started!

What Is the Qualifier Play-In Event?

MTG Arena Qualifier Play-In event


The Qualifier Play-In Events are single-day tournaments that work as a path of entry to Qualifier Weekends on MTGA. They come in two forms: a best-of-one single-day event that takes place one week before the Qualifier Weekend, and a best-of-three single-day event the day before the Qualifier Weekend.

MTG Arena Qualifier Play-In event rewards


These are essentially just qualifiers for the qualifiers and are the first stepping stone on the path that leads to the MTGA Championship and even the returning Pro Tour, similar to the PPTQ’s of years past. They have varying formats including Alchemy, Limited, Historic, and Standard, with a different format each month to make sure players who enjoy specific formats have a chance to get to a Qualifier Weekend event.

What Does it Qualify You For?

Winning a Qualifier Play-In event qualifies you for the upcoming Qualifier Weekend, which happens once a month. They’re the first step on the path to qualifying for the Arena Championship and Pro Tour, which makes them an important step for any upcoming tournament grinder.

When Is the Qualifier Play-In?

The Qualifier Play-In events happen monthly, with the BO1 event happening a week before the Qualifier Weekend while the BO3 event takes place the day before. There are Qualifier Weekends every single month which means there are Qualifier Play-Ins alongside them, so don’t worry if you don’t manage to get maximum wins on the first go around.

How Often Are Qualifier Play-Ins?

There are Qualifier Play-In events right before every Qualifier Weekend, which is a monthly event. That means you’ll have the chance to play in a Qualifier Play-In every month, including both BO3 and BO1 formats.

What Does it Cost to Enter?

Qualifier Play-In events have a somewhat steep cost of 20,000 gold, 4,000 gems to enter, or 20 “Play-In Points.” You’re likely already familiar with gold and gems and can come up with that much gold in just two or three weeks, so you can reasonably expect to play in each Qualifier Play-In if you save your gold.

MTG Arena Traditional Draft Play-In Points reward

“Play-In Points” are a new currency system that was introduced with  New Capenna and are awarded when you reach the maximum number of wins in Constructed events and Traditional Drafts. They’re awarded in quantities of 2 to 4, meaning you’ll have to “trophy” multiple events or Drafts to earn all 20 ahead of a Qualifier Play-In event.

Is it a Good Deal?

Qualifier Play-In events are worth it if you have a serious drive to attend a Qualifier Weekend, or just earn enough Play-In Points to enter without spending any gold or gems. Personally I’d spend my gold on Constructed events that award Play-In Points and packs and gems, and enter Qualifier Play-In events with the Play-In Points I earn from those.

Can You Enter Qualifier Play-Ins More than Once?

You can enter Qualifier Play-In evens as many times as you’d like. Just don’t break the bank while trying to qualify since these events are pretty expensive. 20,000 gold or 4,000 gems is no joke, but if you have plenty of Play-In Points sitting around you might as well put them to use!

What Formats/Play Modes Are Qualifier Play-Ins?

Qualifier Play-In events come in a different format each month: Standard, Historic, Alchemy, or Limited. But they’ll always have the same play modes, including a BO3 day where players have to win 4 games undefeated, and a BO1 day where players have to reach 6 wins before 2 losses.

Competitive Conclusion

Rivals' Duel - Illustration by Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai

Rivals’ Duel | Illustration by Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai

That wraps up just about everything there is to know regarding the new Qualifier Play-In events and the Play-In Points. I’m really happy with the new organized play system. I grew up watching the Pro Tour and all the excitement that went along with it, and this seems like a great way to revitalize the pro scene in Magic.

What do you think of the new system? Is it a great start to the return to organized play (and paper Magic) or is it too little too late? Let me know what you think in the comments or come talk about it in the Draftsim Discord.

Oh and since you play on MTG Arena, you absolutely need Arena Tutor if you don’t have it (free) — it uses AI to help you with your draft picks and to identify your opponent’s constructed decks!

Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!

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1 Comment

  • Avatar
    Frank May 2, 2022 2:44 pm

    Before Play-In points I could break event on gold in constructed events with 4 wins. I broke even in traditional constructed events after 2 wins. Now I need 5 wins to break even in constructed events and am still not breaking even after 3 wins in traditional constructed. So this is an obvious rip off and hidden cost increase for constructed events. 2 Play-In points are also clearly not worth 500 gems, but still they reduced the prize money for 3 wins in traditional draft from 3000 gems to 2500 to include the prize points. This is a massive smash in the face and I’m never playing any of these events again, sadly, because I played them a lot before. But I hate being spat in the face.

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