A Grand Prix, frequently abbreviated GP, is a type of DCI-sanctioned Magic: The Gathering tournament. Grand Prix events are open to all players, with no need to qualify for the event, unlike a Pro Tour or Players Tour event. As a result, these tournaments have had the largest turnouts of any Magic tournaments. Grand Prix were held regularly from 1997 until March 2020; subsequent Grand Prix were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Premier Play program introduced in 2022 does not include plans to relaunch them.
Grand Prix events are split into two days, with the top players advancing to Day 2 and a final single elimination top eight playoff taking place at the end of Day 2. Grand Prix tournaments are the main event of a minimum three-day mini-convention. The term "Grand Prix" can refer to either the tournament or to the entire weekend. Starting in 2019, as part of a broader re-branding, the term "MagicFest" was introduced to refer to the overall event, which includes both the Grand Prix main event and a number of Side Events, which last for only a few hours and which have comparatively smaller prize pools
The first Grand Prix was held on 22–23 March 1997 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and this was also the first professional Magic tournament held outside the United States. The total prize pool was $30,000, compared to $250,000 at Pro Tour Paris a few weeks later. The scheduling of Grand Prix events has varied over time, with 20 to 30 events per year in the 1990s growing to 50-60 events in 2018-2019. Grand Prix main events are the largest Magic: the Gathering tournaments to take place, with the 2015 event in Las Vegas, NV, having a record 7,551 entrants.
Most Grand Prix weekends host only a single main event, however, some contain multiple. GP Las Vegas in 2015 was large enough to be broken up into two independent events. GP Las Vegas in 2017 was scheduled as three separate events - one each starting on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The main event at MF London in 2019 was scheduled as four separate events - two starting each on Friday and Saturday. Players could drop from an earlier flight and register for a later flight, to get multiple chances to perform well enough to make the cut. All four events re-combined on Sunday morning for "day 2" of competition. Other events have also used these formats, especially in locations where the number of players likely to attend would make a single event prohibitively large.
By the end of 2018, 654 Grand Prix events had been held, the biggest being GP Las Vegas 2015 with 7,551 competitors, making it the biggest trading card game tournament ever held.
In October 2018, it was announced that Grand Prix weekends would be getting a new look and a new name: MagicFest. These weekends would play host to the Grand Prix main event but also include side events, artists, panels, qualifying tournaments, etc. Each Mythic Championship would be hosted at a MagicFest. The main tournament is still called a Grand Prix.
As of 2020, Grand Prix continued to be the keystone tournament at MagicFests run by CFB Events and the Top 8 would receive invitations to the Players Tour, but in addition the winner would also receive an invite to the Players Tour Finals. This gave an added benefit to winning at a Grand Prix. Grand Prix would award Lifetime Player Points, but they would not apply to seasonal qualifications. Lifetime total Player Points used Pro Points as a starting basis.
Only the first (not best) two GP finishes (per 4-month cycle) would count for the Player Points rankings.
Effects of the Corona pandemic
As a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic all Grand Prix of the 2020 Players Tour Season were cancelled and MagicFest Online was created. It is unclear if and how tabletop Grand Prix will return.
In November 2021, ChannelFireball organized the first large event after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in Las Vegas. Although Magic: the Gathering Las Vegas wasn't billed as a MagicFest or Grand Prix and wasn't DCI sanctioned, it was considered a huge success.
In 2022 Wizards of the Coast started to organize standalone events again. However, CommandFest seemed to have replace the Grand Prix/MagicFest style. Tournaments played at these event are not integrated in the Premier Play system, with the Pro Tour qualifications being distributed at the regional games stores' discretion.
As of 2018, 8 rounds of Swiss were played on the first day of competition (9 for individual Limited events). In order to advance to the second day (including the ninth round of individual Limited events, which took place on the first day), players needed to have at least 18 match points (a 6–2 record) after round 8. After the cut, 7 more rounds were played (6 for team events), followed by a top eight playoff (top four for team events). In the past, Grand Prix had rounds according to the size of the event; individual Grand Prix events had 11 to 17 rounds of Swiss, but the most recent individual events had 15 rounds regardless of size, while team events had 14.
Grand Prix events were either Limited, Standard, Modern, or Legacy (individual), or Team Limited, Team Unified Modern, or Team Trios Constructed (teams). For Limited Grand Prix, day one of competition was Sealed deck, while day two was Booster draft. For Team Limited Grand Prix, the Swiss portion was Team Sealed, while the single elimination was Team Draft.
|Attendance||Individual GP||Team GP|
|Up to 2,999||$50,000||$60,000|
Grand Prix prize money distribution
The prize money used to be distributed as follows:
Pro points (obsoleted)
For individual Grand Prix events, players with 30 or more match points (equal to a 10–5 record) used to earn Pro Points. At team Grand Prix events, teams with 30 or more match points (a 10–4 record) also used to get Pro Points. This system is now abolished.
Individual Grand Prix Pro Point payout:
Team Grand Prix Pro Point payout:
Additionally, the top finishers at Grand Prix events qualified for the Pro Tour it fed. All players reached to single elimination stage received an invitation. Additionally, for individual Grand Prix, all players with 39 or more match points (a 13–2 record) won an invitation; for team Grand Prix, players on teams with 36 or more match points (a 12–2 record) received invitations. Starting with the 2015–16 season, all invited players would get free airfare regardless of the way they qualified.
It was possible to earn free wins (byes) at individual Grand Prix events by fulfilling various requirements. Byes were awarded at the start of the first day of competition; a player with three byes got an automatic win in the first three rounds of a Grand Prix.
The requirements for byes were as follows:
- One bye:
- Have 1,300 Yearly Planeswalker Points (current season or previous season)
- Two byes:
- Have 2,250 Yearly Planeswalker Points (current season or previous season)
- Be Bronze-level or Silver-level in the Pro Players Club
- Win a Grand Prix Trial
- Three byes:
Previously, winning a Grand Prix Trial or having a sufficient number of Planeswalker Points (or a high enough DCI Rating, prior to 2012) could make a player earn three byes; however, the requirement for three byes was later tightened, as Wizards found the number of three-round byes awarded to be detrimental to tournament play.
No byes were awarded at Team events.
Grand Prix Trials
Grand Prix Trials, or GPTs, were tournaments associated with a particular Grand Prix, often using the same format. Winning a GPT would give a player two byes (previously three) for the Grand Prix it fed. Until Grand Prix Las Vegas 2017, GPTs were held locally around the world, and at the Grand Prix itself. Later GPTs were held on the day before the main event (the Friday), and were 32-player single elimination tournaments.
Super Sunday Series
Between 2015 and 2017, the Super Sunday Series was the main Side Event of the Grand Prix. Each Grand Prix hosted a Super Sunday Series event on Sunday, the final day of the GP weekend. The winner at the end of this big tournament would receive a trip to Seattle, Washington where they would battle other Super Sunday Series winners for the title of champion and their share of a $20,000 prize pool.
Grand Prix promos
- The largest Grand Prix tournament of all time was GP Las Vegas 2015 (Modern Masters 2015 Limited), with 7,551 players. However, this event was split into two Grand Prix; if these are counted as separate events, the largest Grand Prix was GP Las Vegas 2013 (Modern Masters Limited), with 4,500 players.
- The largest Standard Grand Prix: GP Tokyo 2016 – 3,335 players
- The largest Modern Grand Prix: GP Richmond 2014 – 4,303 players
- The largest Extended Grand Prix: GP Atlanta 2011 – 1,223 players
- The largest Legacy Grand Prix: GP New Jersey 2014 – 4,003 players
- The largest Block Constructed Grand Prix: GP Madrid 2004 – 1,465 players
- The largest Team Grand Prix: GP Washington, D.C. 2016 – 3,366 players (1,122 teams), playing Team Limited.
- The smallest Grand Prix tournaments of all time were both in Melbourne: GP Melbourne 1998 (Limited) and GP Melbourne 2005 (Extended), both with 140 players.
- The most successful Grand Prix player of all time is Shuhei Nakamura, with seven wins in 32 top eights.
- The only player who has finished a Grand Prix with a perfect record (no draws or losses) is China's Gan Yan, who finished the Swiss portion of the Standard GP Seattle 2018 15–0, and then proceeded to win the event.
- Seven additional players have finished the Swiss portion of the event 15–0: Kevin Grove at GP Brighton 2009, Jeremey Schoefield at GP Vancouver 2012, Fabrizio Anteri at GP Madrid 2015, Josh Buitenhuis at GP Toronto 2016, Mike Sigrist at GP New York 2016, Brian Braun-Duin at GP Richmond 2017, and Takuma Morofuji at GP Shanghai 2017.
- The oldest Grand Prix winner at the time of the win was Scotland's Gary Campbell, who was 52 years old when he won Grand Prix Birmingham 2018.
- The only female players to have won a Grand Prix have been Australian Jessica Estephan, who won Grand Prix Sydney 2018 alongside teammates Ryan Lewis-Jonns and Lachlan Saunders, and Esther Trujillo, who won Grand Prix Ghent 2019 alongside teammates Ruben Pérez and Joel Calafell.
- Nine players have won two consecutive Grand Prix events:
- Kai Budde won GP Barcelona on 6–7 February 1999, and then GP Vienna on 13–14 March 1999.
- Daniel Clegg won GP Turin on 26–27 May 2001, and then GP Taipei on 21–22 July 2001 (both of these were Team Limited Grand Prix).
- Kenji Tsumura won GP Kuala Lumpur on 3–4 June 2006, and then GP Toulouse on 24–25 June 2006.
- Shuhei Nakamura won GP St. Louis on 22–23 July 2006, and then GP Hiroshima on 19–20 August 2006.
- Raphaël Lévy won GP Dallas on 24–25 February 2007, and then GP Singapore on 3–4 March 2007.
- Tomoharu Saito won GP Singapore on 21–22 March 2009, and then GP Kobe on 18–19 April 2009.
- Yuuya Watanabe won GP Shanghai on 20–21 August 2011, and then GP Pittsburgh on 27–28 August 2011.
- Owen Turtenwald won GP Washington, D.C. on 16–17 November 2013, and then GP Albuquerque on 23–24 November 2013.
- William Jensen won GP Cleveland (as a member of team Peach Garden Oath) on 24–25 June 2017, and then GP Kyoto on 22–23 July 2017.
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