Premier Play Changes, and how they affect YOU!!

Discover how the latest changes to Magic: The Gathering's Premier Play affect you. Get insights on adjustments, opportunities, and strategies.

Welcome Magic lovers!

For many players on Magic Arena, the challenge of seeing how high one can grind on the ranked ladder, learning the intricacies of a new Limited environment, or perhaps simply enjoying casual Brawl matches with friends is enough to provide countless hours of entertainment. However, for a small number of competitive players, this simply isn’t enough. Which is why Wizards of the Coast, through their Premier Play program, periodically provides opportunities to play Magic on Arena for higher stakes: the Qualifier Weekends which feed into the Arena Championship, as well as the Arena Opens.

Today, we’ll cover some of the changes that were announced to the Premier Play program, which hopefully encourages more players to take a shot at playing more competitive Magic: the Gathering.

Before we dive in, remember that these changes will come into effect in May, 2024, as the Arena Championship 5 is happening this weekend and the Arena Championship 6, which has been slated for July, has already begun its Qualifier Play-in weekends. Those two Arena Championships will not be affected by these changes.

The Arena Championship

First, lets recap exactly what the Arena Championship is and how one gets there. The Arena Championship is the most competitive, highest payout tournament one can participate in on Magic Arena. While up until now it was a relatively small, 32-player tournament comprised exclusively of players who earned their place via a Qualifier Weekend (more on that in a moment), as part of the new changes beginning in May, the player cap for the Arena Championship 7 happening this fall will be removed and prize pool will now be a staggering $250,000! The top 16 players also qualify for the following Pro Tour, as well as receiving two Magic World Championship invites, making it a very hotly contested affair. So, how does one get a seat at the table?

Qualifier Weekend

If one wishes to try and claim a portion of this very juicy prize pool, one must do well in a Qualifier Weekend. These are two-day events that occur one weekend each month, always in best-of-three, and with a different format each time. Four Qualifier Weekends combine to feed the ensuing Arena Championship. The new changes will affect the following upcoming Qualifier Weekends and their formats:

  • May 11th – 12th: Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited
  • June 15th – 16th: Explorer
  • July 13th – 14th: Historic
  • August 10th – 11th: Bloomburrow Limited

In Day One of the Qualifier Weekend, one must achieve seven match wins before suffering three match losses in order to proceed to Day Two of the tournament. In Day Two, one must achieve six match wins to qualify for the next Arena Championship, while four or five wins earns one an invite to the following month’s Qualifier Weekend Day Two, and scraping together only one, two or three wins will still earn players an invite to the following month’s Qualifier Day One. In addition, players can win up to 20,000 gems on Day One, plus another 5,000 gems on Day Two for doing well. Ok, so these Qualifier Weekends happen once each month, and four of them make up a ‘season’ which culminates in the Arena Championship. So, how does one get to play in the Qualifier Weekends?

Qualifier Play-ins

Players can earn a Qualifier Token, which provides one entry into the Qualifier Weekend, through a few different methods. One way is to simply finish in the top 250 on either of the previous month’s Constructed or Limited Ranked Ladders. Another, more direct way to get in, is by doing well in one of the Qualifier Play-in tournaments, which occur twice before the Qualifier Weekend which they feed into. The first Qualifier Play-in happens seven days before the Qualifier Weekend and is best-of one only, in the same format as the Qualifier Weekend itself. The second Qualifier Play-in happens the day before the Qualifier Weekend begins, also in the same format as the Qualifier Weekend itself, except it’s always best-of-three. In addition to a Qualifier Token, players can earn up to 6,000 gems by accruing wins during the event. The Qualifier Play-in can be entered by paying 20,000 gold, 4,000 gems, or using 20 Play-in points. As an aside, Play-in points can be earned in various ways, most commonly by getting seven wins in a Constructed best-of-one event (one point), five wins in a Constructed best-of-one event (five points), or three wins in a Traditional Premier Draft (two points). In addition, players who finish between rank 251-1,200 on either the Constructed or Limited Ranked Ladder will be granted twenty Play-In points. Remember, players are awarded the twenty Play-in points for only for the single-highest finish between the two Ladders.

Here are the upcoming Qualifier Play-in events which feed into the updated Qualifier Weekend structure:

  • May 4th (best-of-one) and May 10th (best-of-three): Outlaws of Thunder Junction Limited
  • June 8th (best-of-one) and June 14th (best-of-three): Explorer
  • July 6th (best-of-one) and July 12th (best-of-three): Historic
  • July 7th Bonus (best-of-one): Modern Horizons 3 Limited
  • August 3rd (best-of-one) and August 9th (best-of-three): Bloomburrow Limited


While that may all seem like a lot to take in at first, its actually relatively straightforward:

  • Step1: play in Constructed Events or finish between 251-1200 rank on the Constructed or Limited Ladder in order to earn Play-in points.
  • Step 2: using those Play-in points, enter and do well in the Qualifier Play-in events, or place in the top 250 on the Constructed or Limited Ranked Ladder to earn a Qualifier Token.
  • Step 3: using those Qualifier Tokens, enter and do well in the Qualifier Weekend that occurs once a month, which gets you a seat in the next Arena Championship and a chance to win tens-of-thousands of dollars!


Easy, right? Great! I’ll see you at the next Arena Championship!

Hi, I'm Damien! I'm a Canadian television and voice actor turned streamer! I've been playing Magic: the Gathering since the early 1990's when the game first released, and was heavily involved in competitive Magic for many years.

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