In this manual, we will explain what a PPTQ is, what you can expect from it, and what is expected of you.
What is a PPTQ?
A PPTQ (or Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier) is the first step for players on their road to the Pro Tour.
The player who wins your PPTQ is allowed to participate in an RPTQ (or Regional Pro Tour Qualifier).
The top 4 players in an RPTQ get to play in the Pro Tour itself. Their plane ticket to go there is paid by Wizards of the Coast. They have to pay for their accommodation themselves.
Globally, there are over 3 000 stores that organize a PPTQ every season.
A PPTQ is a prestigious tournament and therefore you can expect a reasonable number of players who normally do not come to your store. To ensure a smooth tournament, you are required to have a level 2 (or higher) judge to run the tournament. After all, this is a competitive tournament. The rules are strictly enforced. They will clearly communicate to the players what this entails. Discuss clearly with your judge how many players you are expecting, because if this is a big number, it is possible that they ask you to find a second judge (or offer to find one for you).
A list of judges in your area can be found via https://apps.magicjudges.org/judges/. To see it, you are required to make an account.
Players have to make a deck list for this tournament. They have to write down which cards are in their deck and their sideboard so that this can be verified during the tournament.
Just like with regular tournaments, the number of rounds is dependent on the number of players.
What is different, is the presence of the Top 8. These are three extra rounds of single elimination, meaning only the winners advance to the next round. This way, after three rounds, only one player (the winner) remains. They get to participate in this season’s RPTQ of their choice.
Every Swiss round (all rounds outside of Top 8) takes 50 minutes + 5 extra turns. The rounds in the Top 8 are untimed, but players are still expected to play at a reasonable pace.
If the event is constructed (players bring their own deck), the Top 8 is also played with the decks the players brought. However, if the event is limited (players building a deck with boosters they received on the day itself), it is recommended (but not obligatory) for the Top 8 to be a booster draft. Make sure to take this into account while making calculations about entry fee and prize support.
All information about the number of rounds can be found here, on the last page.
Scheduling the PPTQ
The first thing you have to do is to schedule your PPTQ through the Wizards Event Reporter (from here on named WER). The possibility to do so will appear on the left side of the following screen.
Now that you have scheduled the event, it is a good idea to advertise it. The event is automatically placed on the Wizards website, but this is not sufficient. Make posts on Facebook in the playgroups of your area and put up some posters in your own store.
Be clear on the following points so players know what to expect:
- Participation fee
- Maximum number of players
- Prize structure (What can be won?)
- How can they register?
- Location (Where will the PPTQ be?)
- When is the store opening and when is the tournament starting? Remember you need about half an hour to an hour for player registration.
As mentioned above, you will need at least a level 2 (or higher) judge for this event. Make clear agreements with them. Let them know how many players are expected so they can arrange a
second judge if necessary, what time you wish to start and what other expectations you have. Also, be clear about the compensation for the judges. Most of the time this is calculated per round or per player.
If you have doubts about the number of players coming, it is always possible to place the second judge on standby (but be clear about it so they know). This means that this judge will play (for free) if a certain number of players is not reached. If this number is reached, this judge will judge following the predefined conditions.
The following materials are necessary for the event:
- Table numbers: this helps players find the table where they are expected to play their match
- A printer with sufficient paper: this serves to efficiently let players know at which table they are expected. This can be replaced by a central screen where you project the pairings. Besides that, result slips need to be printed so players can pass on their result. You are required to keep the result slips for a year.
- Food and drinks: a PPTQ mostly takes between 3 and 9 hours (depending on the number of players). It is a good thing if you offer a small range of food and drinks. Alcohol is advised
If the event is limited, you will also need the following materials:
- Boosters (each player needs 6)
- Empty deck lists (ask your judge beforehand so you can print enough)
- Basic lands for players to add to their deck (you really want a lot of these)
- 24 extra boosters for the optional top 8 draft
The following materials are not obligatory but recommended, as players are very likely to ask about them:
Day of the tournament
The judges will normally arrive around opening time (depending on what you agreed on with them).
They will ask you for the table numbers and place them on the tables. You can start up WER in advance, so player registration can start as soon as possible.
To help you with planning you can print this document you can use as a reference.