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Phantom Events Coming to Magic Online

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The letter M!agic Online is constantly looking for ways to improve the game experience for players of all skill levels. While we have many offerings that appeal to more experienced players, such as the Magic Online Championship Series, classic product sealed deck events, and the 4-round Daily Events, we are still trying to find ways for newer players to learn the ins and outs of both the user interface and Magic in general.

The Planeswalker format takes a step in that direction by giving new players a bunch of cards that they can use to build decks and test the waters in the New Player room. Since the cards are not tradable, we don’t have to worry about limiting the rarity of cards in the Planeswalker Deck Packs and can give players access to powerful spells and creatures, some of which they may already be familiar with from either previous experiences in paper or playing other Magic games. The Planeswalker format, however, only lets those players dabble in constructed; it does not introduce new players to the awesome play experiences that limited formats, both booster draft and sealed deck, have to offer.

To address this concern, we have developed a new event type for Magic Online limited events: Phantom Events. A Phantom Event is a booster draft or sealed deck tournament that lets players open booster packs, build decks, play in the event, and even win prizes (when they are offered) but does not add the cards played with to players’ collections.

That last point is very important, so let's repeat it. Players who play in Phantom Events DO NOT keep the cards they play with.

Phantom Events will be called out clearly in Magic Online in their name (they will be the ones with Phantom in the title), on the event details page, and in the entry options window so players can tell exactly what kind of event they are entering. Phantom Events will have entry options like all other tournaments, though they will usually only require Event Tickets, and these events may have prizes as well. Once the tournament is over, however, the cards used to play the event will not be added to any of the players' collections.

Check out the Sealed Deck event below -- an event we never could have run without Phantom Events, but will be running beginning August 28:

Updated September 13, 2011

New Player Phantom Sealed Deck Tournament
START TIMES: Every other Sunday at 10:00 AM PDT (17:00 UTC).
LOCATION: Premier Events room.
ENTRY OPTION(S): 4 Event Tickets.
PRODUCT: Magic Online will provide 6 Planeswalker booster packs for this event.
SIZE: 16 Players minimum, 512 Player maximum.
DURATION: Deck building time plus four rounds, Swiss pairings.
PRIZES: Prizes are based on total match points at the end of the tournament. Each match win awards 3 points and each match loss awards 0 points. See prize schedule below.

Points Prizes
12 3 Magic 2012 booster packs
9 2 Magic 2012 booster packs
6 1 Magic 2012 booster pack

In this event, players get to open six booster packs, build a deck, play four rounds, and potentially win prizes, all for only 4 Event Tickets. If this were an event where players kept the product they played with, entry would require at least 24 Event Tickets (or 6 booster packs).

Of course, we will also be able to offer draft events as well! These events will begin September 4 and will alternate with the New Player Phantom Sealed Deck events above.

New Player Phantom Booster Draft Tournament
START TIMES: Every other Sunday (beginning September 4) at 10:00 AM PDT (17:00 UTC).
LOCATION: Premier Events room.
ENTRY OPTION(S) : 2 Event Tickets.
PRODUCT: Magic Online will provide 3 Planeswalker booster packs for this event.
SIZE: 8 Players minimum, 512 Player maximum.
DURATION: Drafting and deck building time plus three rounds, Swiss pairings.
PRIZES: Prizes are based on total match points at the end of the tournament. Each match win awards 3 points and each match loss awards 0 points. See prize schedule below.

Points Prizes
9 2 Magic 2012 booster packs
6 1 Magic 2012 booster pack

While we will be rolling this feature out slowly, we look forward to offering a wide variety of Phantom Events for players of all skill levels in the future. Don't be surprised to see additional Phantom Events popping up on the schedule in the coming months.

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