Last updated on February 23, 2023

Tournament Grounds - Illustration by Cristi Balanescu

Tournament Grounds | Illustration by Cristi Balanescu

Magic has long been one of the most popular and enduring collectible card games in the world. It has evolved and expanded over the years and boasts a vibrant competitive scene today.

One of the most exciting and dynamic aspects of this competitive scene is the growing number of MTGA tournaments. WotC and third-party groups organize these tournaments, which offers players an opportunity to compete against others from around the world, win prizes, and build their reputations in the MTG community.

Today I'm going to explore the various aspects of MTGA tournaments including how to find them, their formats, and their impact on the community as a whole. Intrigued? Let's get started!

Official MTGA Tournaments

Qualifier Play-Ins

MTG Arena Qualifier Play-In event

Entry cost: 20,000 gold, 4,000 gems, or 20 Play-In points

Play-In events are the first step towards MTG Arena's Premier Play. Winning players earn Qualifier Tokens to compete in the month's Qualifier Weekend. These events run at least twice a month, once for BO3 and once for BO1.

You have to pay with gold, Play-In points, or gems to enter these events. Winning earns you an invite to play the Qualifier Weekends. Players can enter multiple times, but additional Qualifier tokens earned after the first won’t give you any extra bonus.

These events are great for players who don't want to push hard to #250 in any Constructed or Limited ranking but are comfortable enough to still reach at least top 1,200 in Mythic, since you get enough Play-In points to play at least once.

If you’re serious about playing on a competitive level, you should play each of these events regardless of the format. But if your aspirations are just to get some gems, I recommend using your Play-In points as an entry fee.

Note that Qualifier Tokens are only valid for the specific date they’re assigned and can’t be used in future months. If they're not used by the entry deadline for Day 1, they’ll be removed from your account.

Best-of-One Match Wins

MTG Arena Qualifier Play-Ins reward screen
  • 0 wins: 500 gems
  • 1 wins: 1,000 gems
  • 2 wins: 1,500 gems
  • 3 wins: 3,000 gems
  • 4 wins: 4,500 gems
  • 5 wins: 6,000 gems
  • 6 wins: 6,000 gems + Qualifier Weekend token

Best-of-Three Match Wins

  • 0 wins: 500 gems
  • 1 wins: 2,000 gems
  • 2 wins: 4,500 gems
  • 3 wins: 6,000 gems
  • 4 wins: 6,000 gems + Qualifier Weekend token

Qualifier Weekends

MTG Arena Qualifier Weekend - Day 1 event

Qualifier Weekend is a two-day MTG Arena event. Top eligible players will receive invitations to compete in the first Arena Championship. These events run monthly with fixed entry windows for Days 1 and 2.

You can only get access to these events if you have a Qualifier token, and for Day 2 you need to get the maximum number of wins in either BO1 or BO3 during the Day 1 events.

There's no reason not to play these events if you have a Qualifier token since they’re basically free, and even just qualifying for Day 2 grants you an absurd number of gems.

Day 1 Match Wins

MTG Arena Qualifier Weekend - Day 1 reward screen
  • 0 wins: 500 gems
  • 1 wins: 1,000 gems
  • 2 wins: 3,000 gems
  • 3 wins: 5,000 gems
  • 4 wins: 7,500 gems
  • 5 wins: 10,000 gems
  • 6 wins: 15,000 gems
  • 7 wins: 20,000 + Day 2 token

Day 2 Match Wins

  • 0 wins: 250 gems
  • 1 wins: 500 gems
  • 2 wins: 1,000 gems
  • 3 wins: 1,500 gems
  • 4 wins: 2,000 gems
  • 5 wins: 2,500 gems
  • 6 wins: 3,000 gems
  • 7 wins: 5,000 + Arena Championship & Pro Tour invitations

MTG Arena Championships

MTG Arena Championship graphic

The MTG Arena Championships are also known as Arena Pro Tours and are the highest-stakes online tournaments so far.

The Championship includes 32 top players selected based on four months of competitive play on MTG Arena. The prize pool is $200,000. The top three winners and runners-up of the Arena Championships will qualify for the World Championship.

Monthly Qualifier Weekends lead up to each Arena Championship, each consisting of two days of BO3 matches in a shared format. Invitations are given to supplement the number of direct qualifiers, and players with high win records who were unable to pair with an opponent may also receive invitations.

The prizes can change depending on the prize pool WotC has determined.

If you already qualified for these, you have to practice and, ideally, get a team. In my personal experience, the best part about qualifying for these events (I did it twice back-to-back) is the preparation process. I got to meet tons of talented players worldwide and train with the likes of Andrea Mengucci and Jim Davis. I wouldn’t swap that experience for anything, and you’ll get to play with the best players in the world during the actual tournament.

Arena Opens

MTG Arena The Arena Open - Day 1 event

Like Qualifier Weekends, Arena Opens are two-day events with cash prizes, and there’s a fixed entry schedule for both days. The only way to participate in these is to spend gems or gold, and you can enter as many times as you want/can for Day 1.

You should at least try these and get to Day 2 if you have a surplus of gems or gold. These events feature Limited formats only, though, so you’re better off entering a different tournament if you’re not comfortable in Limited.

Day 1

Entry cost: 25,000 gold or 5,000 gems per entry

Best-of-One Rewards

  • 0-4 wins: No rewards
  • 5 wins: 1,000 gems
  • 6 wins: 2,500 gems
  • 7 wins: 5,000 gems + Day 2 token

Best-of-Three Rewards

  • 0 wins: No rewards
  • 1 win: 1,500 gems
  • 2 wins: 3,000 gems
  • 3 wins: 5,000 gems
  • 4 wins: 6,000 gems + Day 2 token

Day 2

For Draft 1, each player plays 4 matches and the rewards are based on the final record.

Best-of-One Rewards

  • 0 wins: 500 gems
  • 1 win: 1,500 gems
  • 2 wins: 2,500 gems
  • 3 wins: Draft Two entry token
  • 4 wins: Draft Two entry token

Best-of-Three Rewards

  • 0 wins: 5,000 gems
  • 1 win: 15,000 gems
  • 2 wins: $500 USD + Qualifier Weekend invitation
  • 3 wins: $1,000 USD + Qualifier Weekend invitation
  • 4 wins: $2,000 USD + Qualifier Weekend invitation

Arena Decathlon

MTG Arena Decathlon 1 Jump In! Event

The MTGA Decathlon is a popular event that was first held in December 2020 and has been running annually ever since. It typically runs for several days and consists of 10 challenges that test a player’s skill and knowledge of the game.

These challenges range from building a deck with specific restrictions to winning games with specific cards in your deck. Each challenge comes with its own rules and requirements and covers both Limited and Constructed formats.

The prizes through the years have varied, but they usually consist of gold and Draft tokens along with custom avatars and cosmetics for sleeves and lands. The entry cost for each challenge is 2,000 gold or 400 gems. You can win an Arena Decathlon in these events, which get you an invitation to the final event where the biggest prizes are.

Best-of-One Events

  • 0 wins: No rewards
  • 1–2 wins: 1 pack
  • 3–4 wins: 2 packs
  • 5–6 wins: 3 packs
  • 7 wins: 4,000 gold + Arena Decathlon token

Best-of-Three Events

  • 0 wins: No rewards
  • 1 win: 1 pack
  • 2–3 wins: 2 packs
  • 4 wins: 3 packs
  • 5 wins: 4,000 gold + Arena Decathlon token

Third-Party Tournaments

Third-party MTGA tournaments aren’t organized by the official MTGA platform and typically have their own rules, prize pools, and registration processes. These prize pools can vary widely, from small amounts of in-game currency or booster packs to significant cash prizes.

Some third-party tournaments are free to enter, while others may require a fee.

GladiatorMTGA League

GladiatorMTGA League graphic

The GladiatorMTGA League tournaments are organized by the MTGA Gladiator community and are open to all players interested in competing in the format. The tournaments are held regularly, with several events taking place each month.

These tournaments follow a Swiss-style format, with players competing in several rounds before the top players advance to the playoffs. The tournaments are broadcast on Twitch, allowing viewers to watch the games and engage with the format.

There’s no entry fee for these events and the prizes may vary from monetary ones to in-game currency.

The Pizza Box Open

The Pizza Box Open graphic

The Pizza Box Open has become a popular tournament in the MTGA community thanks to its unique prizes and friendly atmosphere. It allows players to compete in a relaxed and fun environment while offering a significant reward. The tournament is known for its engaging commentary and high production values, making it an exciting event for viewers and players.

These free events are run three times a month and have cash prizes.

Crokeyz Tournament

Crokeyz Dominaria United Tournament graphic

These are events run on Melee by Crokeyz, a popular MTGA streamer and content creator. The tournament features a variety of formats including Standard, Historic, and Limited and is open to all players. Crokeyz usually provides game commentary through this tournament and broadcasts it live on Twitch.

These tournaments are usually run with the release of every new set with a free entry and a prize pool of up to $2500.

How Do Tournaments on MTG Arena Work?

The organizer can set a different set of rules on entry fee, tournament structure, and prizes depending on the tournament.

Third-party tournaments are usually run through Melee, Cards Realm, and Challonge, among others. These platforms allow organizers to set up their tournaments, which players can quickly join and compete in. WotC’s preferred choice for their championships has historically been Melee.

Most of these platforms have their in-built chat, but they also use other resources like Discord to clarify questions or discuss any abnormalities throughout the tournament.

Which MTG Arena Tournaments Have Cash Prizes?

The only official tournaments with a cash prize that WotC organizes are the Arena Championships and Arena Opens. Third-party tournaments may have cash prizes as well depending on which one you sign up for.

How Do You Get Paid Your Tournament Winnings for MTGA?

WotC pays your tournament winnings through i-payout, an eWallet site. If you don’t already have an account they’ll send you an email so you can make one.

Payment typically takes a couple of weeks to process. From there you can transfer it to PayPal or your bank account through the platform. For non-US players, WotC takes 25% of the prize for tax purposes, which you can appeal through an accountant.

As for third-party tournaments, this depends on the organizer, but most of them provide rewards through PayPal.

Wrap Up

Main Event Horizon - Illustration by Mike Burns

Main Event Horizon | Illustration by Mike Burns

MTGA tournaments have become an essential part of the MTG competitive scene, providing a platform for players to showcase their skills, win prizes, and build their reputation. These events have also contributed to the game's growth, attracting new players while keeping veterans engaged. The prize pools for these tournaments are often substantial, which adds to the allure of participating.

On a more personal note, MTGA tournaments were the only way I could meet and play against some of the community’s most respected players. Traveling to in-person events can be difficult without a visa or excess cash. Thankfully MTG Arena tournaments have a much lower barrier to entry.

I hope I’ve answered all your questions regarding MTGA tournaments, fees, and rewards. If there’s anything else you’d like to know on the subject, feel free to ask us a question down below or over on Twitter.

As always, take care, and I’ll see you next time!

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