The Guru program was created by Wizards of the Coast to promote Magic: The Gathering. "Gurus" would teach Magic to new players, and receive points towards special promotional items. The program began on July 12, 1999 in conjunction with the release of Starter, stopped taking new Guru members in October 2000, and officially closed on February 21, 2001 to be replaced by the Magic: The Gathering Academy.
Those that signed up as Gurus for the program received the following:
- One (1) fold out rules/explanation of demo game.
- One (1) fold out playmat with shorthand reminder of the major rules on the back.
- One (1) sheet of Guru identification labels
- One (1) rebate book
- Each page contained a business reply postcard that you fill out on the new player. Upon verification by receiving the card at WotC, the Guru was entered into a drawing.
- Two (2) twelve-card demo decks: These cards are from Starter and the decks include (in order):
- Island, Merfolk of the Pearl Trident, Plains, Knight Errant, Island, Wind Drake, Island, Royal Falcon, Sea Eagle, Giant Octopus, Eager Cadet, Plains
- Mountain, Mon's Goblin Raiders, Forest, Moon Sprite, Mountain, Goblin Hero, Forest, Bull Hippo, Grizzly Bears, Forest, Ogre Warrior, Willow Elf
- One (1) "Tip Card" that includes reminders about how some of the rules work
- A business reply postcard for ordering a new Guru Pack when you have used all the parts of your original.
At the end of the training, three rebate coupons were given to the new player for buying a "MTG-Classic game for two players," "MTG-Starter theme deck," and "MTG-Starter game for two players" (each gave a $2 rebate or free Starter booster pack).
The Guru attached one of their identification # labels to each of these cards when you give them to the new player (or send them in), and when they are received at WotC, you earn Guru Points. You get 1 point for each Business Reply Card and 10 points if the player you guru uses a Rebate Coupon. If all three Rebate Coupons are received, you earn 20 points (instead of the 10 points for one or two coupons). If all the Rebate Coupons in your book are used, you earn 600 points (instead of the 20 points for each player using all the coupons).
Gurus could also recruit new Gurus by giving them one of the Magic Guru referral cards, personalized with a Guru label. The new Guru could add them to his Guru kit order. If he did, both the referred and the referring Guru received 5 Guru points.
Note that the maximum points you could earn for each Guru Pack is 620 points (x20 rebate sets), 1 point for each business reply card + 600 points if all rebates are used.
For every 10 Guru points, the Guru received one randomly chosen Guru land () and one booster of the latest expert level Magic set. Wizards of the Coast kept a record which lands had been rewarded to ensure that after 50 Guru points each Guru had a complete set of Guru lands.
Drawings were conducted quarterly per the following schedule based on when postcards were verified. Winners might receive a display box of the most recent expert-level expansion set and the player you taught was entered for a $100 book, music, electronic game shopping spree.
- 8-1-99 thru 9-30-99 (by 10-15-99)
- 10-1-99 thru 12-31-99 (by 1-17-00)
- 1-1-00 thru 3-31-00 (by 4-17-00)
Random drawings were also held on:
E-mail sent to members on 2/21/01:
It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that the Guru program is being discontinued, effective immediately. This is largely due to the fact that beginning this summer, Wizards of the Coast, Inc. is launching the Magic: The Gathering® Academy. The new program will run in Magic® retail locations throughout North America. From beginning game play to deckbuilding, the Magic Academy promises to fulfill the goals of the Guru program and profoundly expand upon them.
The Guru program was very effective in exposing thousands of people to the Magic game. We truly appreciate that part of the enjoyment of being a Guru was derived from teaching friends how to play the Magic game, and we hope you will continue to do that. And as always, Wizards of the Coast will still run all the immensely popular Magic leagues, tournaments, and other organized-play programs.
We thank you for your continued support.
Wizards of the Coast