Pro Tour Qualifiers (PTQs) were one-day Magic tournaments held by Wizards of the Coast. Performing well at a Pro Tour Qualifier could earn a player an invitation to an upcoming Pro Tour, one of the highest tiers of professional play in Magic. The system was replaced by Mythic Championship Qualifiers in 2019, and consequently by Players Tour Qualifiers in 2020.
The original PTQ system, is a one-day tournament open to any player not already qualified for the upcoming Pro Tour. The winner of each PTQ received an invitation and, typically, airfare to the Pro Tour it was tied to.
The system was once retired in February 2015 (qualifiers tied to Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir) but was brought back in February 2017, replacing the Super Sunday Series as the main Side Event in Grand Prix.
Preliminary/Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers
A newer system introduced in 2015, the Pro Tour Qualifiers organized by shops were split into two stages: Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier (PPTQ) and Regional Pro Tour Qualifier (RPTQ).
Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers
Under most circumstances, players had to win a Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier (PPTQ) in order to compete at a Regional Pro Tour Qualifier (RPTQ). PPTQs were held at Advanced-level stores; those stores may held one PPTQ per RPTQ season. The format of PPTQs was either Standard(Modern if the PPTQ was tied to first Pro Tour of calendar year) or Sealed deck with Booster draft in the top eight, which was determined by stores.
Players who were already qualified for the RPTQ or the Pro Tour the PPTQ was tied to, could not participate.
Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers
The Regional Pro Tour Qualifier (RPTQ) was an invitation-only tournament where the top finishers received an invitation to the next Pro Tour, plus airfare. For Magic Online RPTQs, the top eight players qualified. There were four ways to qualify for an RPTQ:
- Win one of the current season's Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier.
- Win the Last Chance Qualifier of the respective Regional Pro Tour Qualifier.
- Be Bronze or Silver-level in the Pro Players Club
- Finish well enough of one of the previous season's RPTQs. (determined by the attendance for non Magic-Online RPTQ)
Unlike PPTQs, RPTQs' formats were designated by WotC before the event; and RPTQs in the same season featured the same format: Either Standard, Modern, or Limited (Sealed in the Swiss rounds, Booster draft in single elimination, if necessary). Tournament would be called at the point at which all players qualified for the Pro Tour would be decided (for Magic Online RPTQs or events that would qualify 8 players to Pro Tour, events would be called after Swiss Round finished and no single elimination match would be played).
RPTQs were held about one to two months before the Pro Tour it qualified for. At the end, there were 34 RPTQs per season: 16 in North America, 3 in South America (including Mexico), 9 in Europe, 4 in Asia Pacific, and 2 on Magic Online.
A player could only participate in one of the RPTQs of any given season.
Players who were already qualified for the Pro Tour the RPTQ was tied to could not participate in the RPTQ tied to that event (like in the previous PTQ system, Silver-level pros that had not used their Pro Tour invitations in that season could still participate in the RPTQ). Should a player have qualified for an RPTQ before they also had qualified for the Pro Tour tied to it, the RPTQ promo card would be given out to the player upon their participation in that Pro Tour instead.
Starting with RPTQs tied to Pro Tour Ixalan, the number of players qualified for the Pro Tour and the next season's RPTQs was determined by the attendance. The only exceptions were Magic Online RPTQs, which will always qualified 8 players for the Pro Tour and the next season's RPTQs.
Note: An exception to the rule were RPTQs for Pro Tour 25th Anniversary. The PPTQ format was Standard or Limited, while the RPTQ format was Team Unified Standard. A qualified player, or a Hall of Famer (required to give up their HoF individual qualification for this event) could team up with any two players yet qualified to this Pro Tour to play in RPTQ (regardless of whether these are already qualified for it or not), and the RPTQs always qualified the top two teams regardless of the number of participants. Notably, qualifications for this Pro Tour could not be earned through Magic Online.
Magic Online Pro Tour Qualifiers
It was possible to qualify for the Pro Tour via Magic Online. Apart from the Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers hosted in Magic Online, there was also an independent qualifier system which could qualify players for the Pro Tour.
In the 2017–18 season, a number of Magic Online's PTQs were held in each Pro Tour qualifier season (excluding Pro Tour 25th Anniversary), which were held in either Standard, Modern or Limited. For Constructed PTQ, all players unqualified for the associated Pro Tour were allowed to participate. Limited PTQ, however, was an invitational event which only players having an entry token may enter.
PTQ Preliminaries were held on regular basis every week, for all players who were unqualified for the associated Pro Tour. It was a five-round Sealed deck event where all players having 4-1 or better record were rewarded with an entry token, which allowed them to enter a Sealed deck PTQ within two Qualifier Seasons. Before 2017–18 season, PTQ Preliminaries also applied to Constructed PTQ, and a separated entry token was used (i.e.: Constructed and Limited PTQ were independent from each other and players must have the entry token corresponding to the Preliminary event). But it was dropped in 2017–18 season and Constructed PTQ became a single-day event instead.
Like paper format's Pro Tour Qualifier, players could still participate in any number of PTQs as long as they were unqualified for the associated Pro Tour. And the winner of the event also received airfare for that Pro Tour.
Promos given to all participants in a RPTQ:
- Pro Tour 2015 — Liliana of the Veil
- Pro Tour 2016 — Snapcaster Mage
- Pro Tour 2017 — Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn
- Pro Tour 2018 — Noble Hierarch
- Wizards of the Coast (February 20, 2019). "How to Become The Next Magic Champion: Qualifying for Mythic Championships and Worlds". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Elaine Chase (August 14, 2019). "The Future of Magic Esports". Magic Esports.
- Helene Bergeot (2016-04-24). "2016 AND 2017 PREMIER PLAY UPDATES ANNOUNCED AT PTSOI". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-04-27.
- REGIONAL PTQS FOR THE FIRST PRO TOUR OF 2016. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mike Rosenberg (October 27, 2016). "2017 GP and RPTQ Promos". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jeremy Noell on Twitter