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A simple question with a whole lot of complicated answers closed out our Thanksgiving weekend, and it got a lot of Magic players, myself included, thinking. Do I think the PPTQ system works, and is it an improvement over the old PTQ system? For those unaware, the Pro Tour qualification system was not nearly as complicated as it is today. You used to go to a PTQ (only one P) and if you won the event, you would qualify for the Pro Tour. It was that simple. Obviously, PTQs were significantly larger than PPTQs are today, which led many people to feel like they had no shot at the Pro Tour.

Melissa’s tweet was mostly met with criticisms and hardly any praise. And while some responder’s disdain seemed misinformed and based on very few facts (this is the internet after all), the majority seemed rooted in very real problems and concerns. And while I could sense the sincerity or understand the validity in their dismissals, I simply could not agree because of one personally important fact.

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I do not know if I would have made the Pro Tour if it wasn’t for PPTQs.

And even more so, I don’t think I care what the structure is for the path to the Pro Tour, because I love this game so much I’d play in anything. Getting to play the best game ever created is a privilege and Magic is a luxury hobby. I’m simply happy that I get to play this game in any capacity. PTQs or PPTQs, it doesn’t matter; I want it bad enough that I’ll play in whatever structure they go with, but I will say I’ll gladly take the one that offers the least resistance, and for me that has definitely been PPTQs.

For me, winning a 200-300 person PTQ felt impossible. Winning a 30-50 person event? Doable. Being in the top 4 of a 70-120 person RPTQ? Doable.

Maybe you hate PPTQs and you miss the old system. Maybe they seem small and unimportant and don’t offer the glory that the old PTQ system offered. Maybe PPTQs are few and far between for your geographical region. Maybe the success you used to have just hasn’t showed up since we’ve moved to PPTQs. Whatever the reason is, whatever your complaints are, they aren’t helping you get on the Pro Tour. And if you cared enough to play in old PTQs for that to matter, then I bet getting on the Tour still matters to you now.

If you have complaints about the PPTQs, by all means please do make them. But, like any aspect of life, if you want to be heard and taken seriously, do it like an adult. Be eloquent, precise, and respectful. Tweet at Helene Bergeot or email Organized Play with your concerns and do it in an articulate and respectful manner. No one takes trolls or immaturity seriously, especially busy Tournament Organizers or representatives of a multi-million dollar company.

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And while you are doing that, what do you do if you still want to get on the Pro Tour?

You keep playing in PPTQs. You play in a whole bunch of them and you take it seriously. Don’t let your disdain for the system be an excuse to half-ass it. If this is seriously something you want, then don’t skip out. If you really hate PPTQs so much, then you probably don’t need this. Take a break from Magic, focus on the other important things in your life and come back when the system works better for you. Or just focus on the SCG tour. There is more than just the Pro Tour in this game after all.

But what if it’s the PT that drives you? Do you spend every waking minute thinking about Magic and how to get to play on the biggest stage of them all? If you’re like me, you can’t give up. So swallow your pride, put your head down, and do the work. Complaining will only get you so far.

Aside for those who have limited access to PPTQs:

Okay, your complaints have legitimate logistical problems and I see you and hear you. Not having access or the ability to get to play in PPTQs has got to suck and I’m fortunate enough to live in a large metropolitan area where that is a non-issue. So, what do you do? My suggestion is to MTGO and to MTGO hard. There are online PPTQs and RPTQs with decent regularity and I’d shift my attention to those. You might need to make sacrifices or adjustments in order to get a working computer and an online collection, but if you want it bad enough, it will be worth it. Treat it just like you would for a paper event and do the work and the testing.

How do you get on the Pro Tour? For me, it meant one thing: playing as much Magic as I could. We all know about the variance of Magic and the nature of tournament pairings. Sometimes you just draw badly and your pairings break the wrong way. It’s a numbers game. The best shot you have at winning a PPTQ is by playing in a whole bunch of them. If you throw enough spaghetti on the wall, some is bound to stick.

I’ve won 3 PPTQs so far since the system started, and I’ve played in a lot of them. Coincidently, when I was playing a bunch of Magic with a clear goal in mind (winning a PTQ), I also just so happened to be playing better, and making better deck choice decisions. If you want something you have to work for it. That probably sounds obvious and redundant because it is, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

I understand if you’re frustrated, and I understand that it can be hard to be motivated when you’re frustrated, but Magic is worth it. This game and the goal of playing on the Pro Tour is important enough to endure. You might feel like your options are limited, or that the path is unnecessarily complicated, but you have to work with what is available to you. It’s an oversimplification, but it’s the best advice I have. And while you may think the system sucks, it is the easiest way to get on the PT. Spiking a Grand Prix is not something you can bank on, ever. It may sound glorious and convenient, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

If you’re a grinder like me, there is one clear path to the Pro Tour. It might be the answer you want, but you know what it is.

This deck that Charlie Rinehart-Jones put a spotlight on could be the next evolution of control in Modern. Read all about it here.

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