Update: Javier Dominguez won the 2018 World Championship:
Congratulations to the 2018 World Champion, Javier Dominguez! After coming so close last year, losing in the finals to William Huey Jensen, Dominguez took his year, and the tournament, one match at a time. It all led him here, to the win of a lifetime. #MTGChamp pic.twitter.com/hVDCmo3X5z— Magic Pro Tour (@magicprotour) September 24, 2018
Original article continues below:
A professional Magic: The Gathering players dropped out of the renowned World Championship tournament to protest the state of professional Magic.
In an unusual turn of events, a player is speaking out against Wizards of the Coast for their perceived negligence in promoting professional Magic: The Gathering.
Pro-player Gerry Thompson decided to sit out this year’s World Championship, which took place last weekend in Las Vegas, in order to protest what he believes to be a game developer that doesn’t care enough about their professional gaming scene.
And Thompson would definitely know all about professional Magic. He’s the winner of two Magic Grand Prix tournaments, the 2016-17 Pro Tour, came in second place during the 2017-2018 Pro Tour. He’s also a co-host of the GAM Podcast, a popular Magic: The Gathering podcast, and also frequently writes articles for StarCityGames, an even more popular Magic website.
Sitting out of the World Championship is no joke. The top prize is $100,000, but even coming in last place will give him a $2,500 cheque and most of his expenses paid.
However, those expenses are part of the reason that Thompson is protesting. In a long essay posted on Reddit, Thompson states that Wizards of the Coast (Magic’s developer) no longer provides most pro players a living wage thanks to changes to the Pro Points system.
When a player wins a Grand Prix or is invited to a Pro Tour, they earn Pro Points that can be used to reimburse for things light flight, meals, or hotel expenses. A winner can continue to ear both prize money from tournaments as well as Pro Points in order to head to the next tournament to continue competing. But Thompson says that “continually changing” requirements and a “lack of reward at the top” are making it more and more difficult for players to quit their day jobs and “turn pro.”
Thompson also says that Wizards is doing an abysmal job of communicating with players, promoting tournaments, and just generally seems to turn a blind eye to the problems pro Magic players are experiencing.
Wizards of the Coast responded with an official statement saying that "many of [Thompson’s] criticisms are aimed at areas we are actively trying to improve."
Professional Magic players are hailing Thompson’s move as a long time coming, but it remains to be seen if other pro players will follow suit or if Wizards will take Thompson’s criticisms to heart.