Wizards of the Coast (WotC) announced today that all sixteen players competing in Magic World Championship XXVII will receive a $50,000 appearance fee.
The $800,000 injection back into Magic World Championship XXVII comes not even a month after WotC announced the prize pool was only $250,000 after it had been already stated the prize pool would be $1 Million. While the money isn’t technically part of the prize pool, as each player is getting $50,000 on participation alone, it combines with the $250,000 prize pool to reach just higher than the previously stated $1 Million.
Backlash from players in the MPL and Rivals League along with players of all levels came quickly and continuously, including a letter addressed to Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner from Stanislav Cifka and the rest of the two pro league members on June 28.
The appearance fees even out the prize pool for all players, as it is 10 times the size of the prize for players that will finish in 13-16 place. In fact, second place only awards $40,000, which leaves first place as the only payout larger than the appearance fee. First place and the appearance fee totals $120,000, which isn’t half of what Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa earned by winning Magic World Championship XXVI. All of this comes after an announcement on May 13 regarding the future of organized play where it was stressed that WotC wanted to do away with appearance fees as it wasn’t trying to subsidize the lifestyle of top players.
While many players pointed out the unflattering optics of WotC having to walk back its attempt to remove $750,000 from pro play, the feedback was mostly positive.
Other players pointed out the poor timing of the announcement coming two days after players competed in the final League Weekend, which determined the postseason path for most players in the pro leagues. Some players expressed how they didn’t prepare as well as they could have for the League Weekend due to the complete disregard for pro play, but would have done differently with knowledge of the extra cash available at Magic World Championship XXVII.
The stakes for the upcoming MPL Gauntlet and Rivals Gauntlet are now much higher with incredible EV swings. Jacob Wilson, who will be playing the MPL Gauntlet to determine which league he will play in next season, showed an estimation of the prizes for the 24-person tournament.
With the top three finishers earning invites to Magic World Championship XXVII, the prize for spiking the MPL Gauntlet dwarfs that of other finishes. For a Rivals player like Wilson, finishing in 9-24 keeps him in Rivals for effectively no prize boost, while finishing in 1-8 would qualify for him for the MPL with the addition of the top three also getting the Magic World Championship XXVII appearance fee.
Read the original article from WotC.