RCQ Format Updates and Upcoming Promo Cards

Next week, players from around the globe will gather in Philadelphia for the triumphant return of the tabletop Pro Tour! This first class of new pros battled their way through Regional Championship Qualifiers (RCQs) and Regional Championships to reach Magic‘s biggest stage. And with that first class in our new system hitting the Pro Tour, we’ve incorporated some of their feedback—and the feedback of players who participate in RCQs around the world—into our next season.

One of the biggest issues that prevented players from participating in multiple RCQs was the difficulty in maintaining multiple decks across multiple formats and staying up to date in those formats. Originally, we left it up to the local stores to determine their RCQ formats—they know their players best, after all.

However, what ended up happening was that players who would have otherwise wanted to attend multiple events in their area largely didn’t when the formats were different. So, if a player has the time and interest to attend two events but one was Pioneer and the other was Modern, they may not have been able to maintain two decks and the format knowledge necessary to compete, often picking one and skipping the other.

We also heard from content creators that people who wanted to create content around the RCQ season had difficulty doing so because three different constructed formats were difficult to cover effectively. While we’re making these changes for RCQ participants first, it’s a strong bonus reason that it helps people make competitive-focused content.

Therefore, starting with Season 2, Round 1, of the Regional Championship Qualifiers (April–August), we’ll be requiring in-store RCQs to run either Pioneer Constructed or the current Limited format. Certain larger events will still be able to provide RCQ support as part of other events.

To give stores some flexibility and support our Limited fans, Limited will remain an option with the designated Constructed format for all RCQ rounds.

Additionally, for the 2023–2024 season, Regional Championships will also match the Constructed format of the corresponding RCQ rounds. This is not necessarily the case for the corresponding Pro Tours, and we’ll announce those formats later.

Our goal is to unify the competitive playing community during this time and lower the barrier for players to play in multiple events. We are constantly looking to tweak and improve our path to the Pro Tour. Here’s Director of Play Programs Billy Jensen talks more about the change.

And a new Regional Championship Qualifiers round means new promotions!

The qualifying round for the Regional Championships that feeds into Pro Tour 4 will start April 22, 2023, and will run until August 20, 2023. During that time, participating WPN stores and approved organizers will host Regional Championship Qualifiers that award invitations to the Regional Championship(s) within their respective regions. Those Regional Championship events will take place in the late September to late November 2023 timeframe and award invitations to Pro Tour 4 in the first part of 2024. Additionally, based on feedback from the last season, we’re slightly extending the qualifying round lengths so that stores have a little more time to plan when their event takes place.

You’ll also notice a difference with this round. In the same fashion as the announced Pro Tour and Secret Lair Showdown cards that are making their debut at MagicCon: Philadelphia, RCQ and Regional Championship promotions are making their debut in the Secret Lair Prize Card category! Supported by our friends on the Secret Lair team, these special promo cards will give the competitive Magic community an opportunity to obtain prize cards featuring a wider range of art styles.

While supplies last, this round of RCQs will, like with the other rounds, award promotions for participation as well as for top-finishing players. The promotions will once again be getting a refresh for this round and will feature brand-new, never-before-seen art and our popular borderless treatment.

The April 22–August 20, 2023, Regional Championship Qualifier promo cards are as follows*:

  • Unholy Heat: Non-foil versions are available by participating in local qualifiers. Traditional foil versions are available as well through participating in larger open qualifying events as well as side events at Regional Championships. This version of Unholy Heat features new artwork from Cabrol.

  • Eldritch Evolution: Non-foil version of this card can be earned by being a top finisher in local qualifiers. Traditional foil versions will be available to players who earn invitations to their respective Regional Championship at qualifying events. The next evolution in this card’s art comes courtesy of DZO.

(*Promotional cards received where available and while supplies last. Prize promo availability may differ by region and may change at Wizards of the Coast’s discretion. Check with your regional tournament organizer and hosting game store for more information.)

Regional Championships for Pro Tour 4 will be scheduled between September 3 and November 26, 2023. Top finishers from this round of Regional Championships will earn invitations to the first Pro Tour of 2024 (“Pro Tour 4”), with exact invites varying per region . The winners of each Regional Championship (as well as the finalists in the USA, EMEA, and Japan) will also qualify for Magic World Championship 30 in 2024.

Regional Championship promo card:

  • Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: Get in the spirit of the Regional Championships with this massive game-winner. Non-foil versions will be provided to Regional Championship participants, while top finishers from each region will receive a traditional foil version of the card as well. This printing of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon features new artwork from kelogsloops.

Qualifiers that ultimately feed into Pro Tour 4 in the first part of 2024 may be coming up in a couple of months, but if you want to qualify for a Pro Tour later this year, then good news! There’s still time. A little under two months, in fact! Qualifiers that ultimately feed into “Pro Tour 3,” which takes place at MagicCon Barcelona July 28–30, are going on right now at participation WPN stores worldwide.

But to get to the Pro Tour, you need to show that you’ve got what it takes at a Regional Championship. Those take place from May 20–July 2.

Full details on all promotions for the qualifying round that feeds “Pro Tour 3” at MagicCon Barcelona later this year can be found in this article, but for the latest info on your journey to the Pro Tour and the Magic: The Gathering World championship, check with the organizer running these events in your region: