Robert Chesley

Wizards announces new “Planeswalker Points”

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In a surprising move, Wizards replaces old DCI ELO ratings system with new “Planeswalker Points”.

There is a lot to cover so bear with all the quotes. I strongly suggest reading the entire article posted here before reading what I have to say about it. There is far too much information to quote.

From the official announcement:

Planeswalker Points is a replacement for the system previously used by Wizards to rate and rank Magic players’ participation in sanctioned Organized Play events. It’s a point accumulation system built on a simple premise: Playing is good; winning is even better.

At its most basic, Planeswalker Points rewards players for playing in sanctioned events (with larger and/or more competitive events awarding more points) and for winning matches (with 3 points for each win, 1 for each draw, and zero for each loss). You can’t lose points for losing matches and you don’t have to “spend” them to get the perks of a high rating, so your lifetime total never goes down*.

Planeswalker Points tracks your points in various ways, including a Lifetime total that allows you to level up and gain ranks in an advancement system. There are also different totals, like the Competitive total and Friday Night Magic total, which are used to invite players to exclusive events and offer other rewards.

Finally, Planeswalker Points is retroactive. If you already have a DCI number and have participated in OP events, you already have lifetime points since we have applied the Planeswalker Points system to all the matches in which you have already played. In addition, you already have a level in the advancement system!

There are a lot of ways you can earn points, most stem from playing in high level sanctioned events (such as Grand Prix or Pro Tour events) offer the highest point values, while playing in sanctioned but not Friday Night Magic events offer the lowest. I logged into my account and noticed that even though I played better at some events (such as the many Vintage events I played in) I got far more points in FNM events that I “scrubbed” out in. For the record, I don’t really play in as many sanctioned events as I would like, there isn’t any near me to do so. However, over lifetime points, I’m dangerously close to cracking the top 500 in the state. I am at level 29 at 858 points. Not bad, considering the last event I played in was over a year ago.

Critics of this system will argue that there is no “penalties” anymore. Your rating will no longer go down, ever. You’ll accumulate points based on how prestigious the event is and eventually you’ll crack “level 50” status. I’m ok with this. I mean, there will always be people with higher point totals than everyone else, but it gives you a good idea of “progress” as a competitive magic player and you’ll be able to track that a lot better than an ELO ranking system. The ELO system encouraged players not to play in events off of fear of losing a lot due to losing to a bad player or a bad match up. This alleviates the pain caused by losing out on a bye or invite due to “bad draws”. It also encourages higher level players to play more often rather than just hiding behind a number. This can’t be bad for attendance or the game. I was always confused on why I gained or lost points under the old system and this is far easier to look at.

For more information check out this.

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