Wizards Play Network

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wizards Play Network
Established1993; 31 years ago (1993)
Parent organization
Wizards of the Coast
Formerly called
Duelists' Convocation International

The Wizards Play Network (WPN) is the official sanctioning body for competitive play in Magic: The Gathering (Magic) and various other games produced by Wizards of the Coast and its subsidiaries, such as Avalon Hill. Originally, it was known as the DCI (formerly Duelists' Convocation International) but was rebranded in 2008.[1][2][3] The WPN provided game rules, tournament operating procedures, and other materials to private tournament organizers and players. It also operated a judge certification program to provide consistent rules enforcement and promote fair play.[4] The DCI's name was still commonly used, however, to refer to the player registration number ("DCI number") until 2020.[5][6][7]


The former DCI logo.

The DCI was formed in late 1993, and developed Magic's first tournament sanctioning and deckbuilding rules.[8] Over the next decades, it filled several roles in Magic's organized play. It maintained policy documents as changes were needed, addressed new questions and supported new product releases.[9][10] It maintained the registration systems for both players and sanctioned tournaments.[11][2] It also developed and operated a certification program for tournament officials, known as Judges.[4]

Over time, the roles of the DCI were gradually absorbed by other organizations, such as Wizards of the Coast itself through its Wizards Play Network (WPN) program,[1] or through the independent Judge Program.[12][13] Part of the 2008 Wizards Play Network rebrand was "in response to feedback from organizers, particularly retailers".[3] This also opened up Magic pre-release tournaments to participating WPN stores.[14] Per the industry trade ICv2, the WPN was designed to include "a wider range of casual formats, including leagues, multi-player, and team play. Current sanctioned programs will remain; the new programs will be in addition to those that already exist"; previously, "the entire array of Magic organized play events was all one-on-one sanctioned tournament play".[3] In May 2009, Wizards of the Coast announced that 138,500 active Magic players were registered in the new organized play program since launching the WPN.[15]

Also in 2009, stores at the WPN Core level or higher were allowed to release Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) products before the official publication date.[16] In 2010, Wizards of the Coast restricted organized play not associated with a participating store; many sanctioned Magic and D&D events were now required to be hosted at a participating store or sponsored by a participating store.[17] Wizards of the Coast began to advertise the D&D Encounters program, a D&D equivalent of Friday Night Magic, under the WPN umbrella in 2010.[18][19] From 2014 to 2016, the D&D Adventurers League could only be run at participating WPN locations.[20][21] Scott Thorne, for ICv2 in 2014, wrote that the WPN organized play is highly structured with stores expected, or at least encouraged, to run OP events, either provided by WotC itself (Friday Night Magic, Magic Game Days, the late Kaijudo Draft program, D&D Encounters and so forth and so on), or set up by the store (Magic, casual Magic, casual Dungeons & Dragons). Stores can either schedule events weeks or months in advance, with promotional materials and support often provided (sometimes hundreds of dollars worth of support), or set something up on the fly, as a group of players come in and settles down for an evening of Magic or D&D. The company has made the DCI Reporter software integral to its OP program and updates the software on a regular basis.
 The weekly sales tips sent out from Wizards' Customer Support usually (but not always) focus on how to enhance a store’s OP program as integral to the success of Magic and, to a lesser extent, Dungeons & Dragons.[22] In March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wizards of the Coast suspended in-store events in North America, Europe, and Latin America.[23][24] In response to the in-person suspension, Wizards of the Coast launched the Friday Night Magic at Home program utilizing the online game Magic: The Gathering Arena.[23] Then in October 2020, Wizards of the Coast announced a new ongoing ticketed series for Dungeons & Dragons called D&D Virtual Play Weekends which are organized by Baldman Games. This monthly event includes the option of either Adventurers League legal games or non-AL games.[25][26][27] In May 2021, the in-store suspension was lifted in the United States, Japan and Africa but not in Latin America or Europe.[28][29]

WPN sanctioned events[edit]

In order to play in sanctioned events, players must register for membership. Previously, players would receive a DCI number. This number is up to 10 digits long, and uniquely identifies a competitor in a sanctioned tournament. In 2017, players were encouraged to create a Wizards Account which would include a player's DCI number.[5][30] Starting in 2020, there was a transition to sanctioned events requiring a player to have a Wizards Account instead of a DCI number.[31][6]

The WPN previously maintained a global player ratings database[2] (formerly based on a variation of the Elo rating system; then based on "Planeswalker Points", earned for participating in events as well as for each win[32]) and members had access to their entire tournament history online. However, in 2020, both the database and "Planeswalker Points" were retired.[31][6][33][7] Newsweek reported that "your DCI number and the website that lets you track your tournament process back decades will be taken offline [...]. Players have been responding on reddit and Twitter to the removal of the archival with either disdain or acceptance".[33] Epicstream commented that the "move to remove the old Planeswalker Points system is understandable. The Wizards Account and Companion app will simplify everything, and due to privacy laws, local game stores can no longer store local databases so each player will need to type the event into the app or give the organizer their Wizards Account email address".[34]

If a member commits frequent or flagrant rules infractions, their membership can be suspended for variable amounts of time depending on the severity, from one month to lifetime.[35][36][37]

Participating stores[edit]

The WPN outlines various rules participating stores must follow along with various metrics they must meet in order to stay in the WPN network.[38][39][40] Since January 2018, Wizards of the Coast has required participating stores to pay for background checks (where legal) on employees or others involved in the administering of WPN events. Additionally, Wizards of the Coast made an explicit "requirement that WPN stores not employ staff or engage others whose names appear on a sex offender registry 'and/or have been convicted... for a violent sexual offense or a crime against children'." Milton Griepp, for the industry trade ICv2, commented that this change occurred after recent social media coverage on a Magic judge who "was discovered to be listed on a sex offenders registry. To make things worse, the situation had been reported to an email address maintained by Magic Judges, 'an independent community-run organization that operates and manages the judge community and the Judge Conduct Committee,' way back in July 2017".[41]

Stores were previously divided into levels (Core, Advanced and Advanced Plus) and received different benefits based on their store level.[42][43][39] Since 2019, stores are divided into WPN Stores and WPN Premium Stores ("about 5% of all WPN stores").[44][45] Metrics are measured by what WPN calls Tickets and Engaged Players. Tickets are "the total number of entries across all of a store’s Magic: The Gathering events" and Engaged Players are "players who join six events, in either Standard, Draft, or Sealed, per year".[40] To stay in the WPN Network, stores must reach a minimum of 5 Engaged players and 250 Tickets per year.[40] Stores will also receive player incentives, such as promo packs, based on their exact metrics.[40] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these metrics were suspended. However, Wizards of the Coast began encouraging WPN stores to run events again by resuming metric counts in July 2021. Jeffrey Dohm-Sanchez, for ICv2, highlighted that this metric rollout was limited to the US region with other regions to follow in the future. He wrote that "retailers will have an entire year to build up their metrics for allocations as a grace period, and during this time, allocations will either be based on the Q1 2020 or live metrics. After the grace period ends, the live metrics will determine allocations. It is also to be noted that all formats will now count towards the Engaged Players portion of the metrics. Prior to the pandemic, only Standard, Booster Draft and Sealed events counted towards this metric. Now, any form of Magic played in a retailer's community can contribute to the number of Engaged Players".[46] Also in 2021, Wizards of the Coast required participating stores to transition from the Wizards Event Reporter (WER) to the Wizards EventLink system in order to stay in the WPN network as the WER was being decommissioned.[47][48]



Until September 2011, the WPN maintained rules and assigned players ratings for three basic categories in Magic: Constructed, Eternal, and Limited. These categories recorded a player's ranking based on their records of wins and losses. A fourth rating category, Composite, was the average of a player's Constructed and Limited ratings. Starting in 2010, the WPN introduced a new rating category, called Total rating. This rating replaced most of the existing individual ratings. While the other ratings were still published, Total replaced the other categories for rating-based invitations and byes.[49]

The rating system was discontinued in 2011 in favor of a points-based system, known as Planeswalker Points, administered by Wizards of the Coast. This system awarded points for participating in a tournament, as well as additional points for each win during the event. This system replaced the rating system for invitations and byes.[50][51] In 2020, Planeswalker Points were retired.[31][33][7]

Judge Program[edit]

The WPN was also the home of the Judge Program. Early in Magic's competitive history, the event's organizers needed a system for training and certifying qualified tournament officials. To have a measure of capability of the judges the WPN introduced judge levels.[52] Over time the Judge Program grew and transformed, and is now an independent organization.

Friday Night Magic[edit]

"Thousands of games shops" participate in Friday Night Magic (FNM),[53] an event sponsored by the WPN; it is advertised as "the event where new players can approach the game, and start building their community".[54] FNM offers both sanctioned tournament formats and all casual formats.[55][56] In 2018, The New Yorker reported that "even as it has grown in popularity and size, Magic flies low to the ground. It thrives on the people who gather at lunch tables, in apartments, or in one of the six thousand stores worldwide that Wizards has licensed to put on weekly tournaments dubbed Friday Night Magic".[57] FNM tournaments can act as a stepping-stone to more competitive play.[58]

Major tournaments[edit]

Other tournaments[edit]

Pre-release tournaments are held in hundreds of locations around the world several days before each new expansion, or set, is available for sale in stores. The pre-release provides a casual play atmosphere and a preview of new cards and sets. Before 2008, pre-release tournaments were limited to those with Premier Tournament Organizer status; it was then opened up to WPN stores.[59][14][15]

Friday Night Magic (FNM) tournaments and Arena Leagues (currently defunct) are offered in many stores and clubs, allowing players to compete for special foil promo cards and other prizes (rarely involving a cash top prize). These tournaments are mostly for amateurs and first-time players seeking a start in professional play. The WPN will also run other regional tournaments such as the 2021 Store Challenger Series for participating WPN stores in the APAC region.[60]

Many other stores, school clubs, and community groups hold WPN-sanctioned events on a regular basis. Events are also held at almost all gaming conventions, such as Origins and Gen Con. In addition, some companies hold tournament series for Magic: The Gathering at locations across the US outside of WPN regulation.


Hecatomb was supported by the DCI over its short lifetime.[61][62] In August 2006, it was announced that the game would no longer be produced by Wizards of the Coast, and the DCI ceased to support it.[63]


  1. ^ a b "The Wizards Play Network". Wizards.com. Wizards of the Coast. April 21, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Tinsman, Brian (2008). The game inventor's guidebook : how to invent and sell board games, card games, role-playing games, and everything in between. Garden City, NY: Morgan James Pub. pp. 97–98. ISBN 978-1-60037-790-7. OCLC 849513086.
  3. ^ a b c "Wizards Play Network: New Organized Play from WotC". ICv2. April 21, 2008. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Judge Certification". wizards.com. The DCI. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "If you have a DCI Number: Pay Attention". wizards.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. ^ a b c "Magic: The Gathering is Making a Big Change and Fans Aren't Happy". Game Rant. April 29, 2020. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Pring, Joe (April 27, 2020). "Magic: The Gathering Is Retiring Planeswalker Points And DCI Numbers". We Got This Covered. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  8. ^ "How the pro tour saved magic". Channelfireball.com. 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "DCI and Banned/Restricted Announcement". TCGPlayer.com. September 1, 2003.
  10. ^ "Archived DCI Penalty Guidelines". Wizards.com. The DCI. Archived from the original on April 20, 2001.
  11. ^ "DCI Sanctioned-Event Information". wizards.com. The DCI. Archived from the original on April 10, 2001.
  12. ^ "What is a Judge?". wizards.com. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on December 30, 2014.
  13. ^ "Judge Levels - Official Resources". magicjudges.org. Magic: the Gathering Judge Program.
  14. ^ a b "WotC Opens Up Pre-Release Events". icv2.com. June 17, 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  15. ^ a b "WotC Boasts 138k Active 'Magic' Players". icv2.com. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  16. ^ "Early Release on 'D&D'". icv2.com. December 21, 2009. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  17. ^ "WotC Ends Magic Player Rewards Program". icv2.com. November 19, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  18. ^ "Rolling for Initiative--WotC's Big Mistake". icv2.com. November 29, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  19. ^ "Rolling for Initiative--Encountering New Encounters (and What SOME Retailers Think)". icv2.com. June 23, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  20. ^ "Dungeons & Dragons Details New Organized Play Program". The Escapist. May 21, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  21. ^ Bunge, Nicole (January 14, 2016). "Adventurers League No Longer Confined to Stores and Cons". Icv2. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  22. ^ "Rolling for Initiative--The Importance of OP: A Tale of Two Companies". icv2.com. November 10, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Carpenter, Nicole (March 20, 2020). "Weekly Friday Night Magic events go online amid coronavirus pandemic". Polygon. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  24. ^ "Magic: The Gathering Officially Suspends All In-Store Play". ComicBook.com. March 24, 2020. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  25. ^ Hall, Charlie (October 27, 2020). "Dungeons & Dragons organized play moves online with five months of scheduled events". Polygon. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  26. ^ "Dungeons & Dragons Announces New Campaign Set in Ravenloft". ComicBook.com. April 13, 2021. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  27. ^ "Dungeons and Dragons Confirm Virtual Play Weekends". Tabletop Gaming. October 22, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  28. ^ Hall, Charlie (May 7, 2021). "Magic: The Gathering will allow in-store play again starting this month". Polygon. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  29. ^ "Wizards of the Coast Lifts 'Magic: The Gathering' In-Store Play Suspension for Japan". ICv2. April 15, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  30. ^ Ullman, Alex (March 21, 2017). "Memorize your DCI Number - Updated". www.coolstuffinc.com. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  31. ^ a b c "Sunsetting Planeswalker Points". MAGIC: THE GATHERING | ESPORT. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  32. ^ "What is Planeswalker Points". wizards.com. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on September 23, 2011.
  33. ^ a b c "DCI and Planeswalker Points are retiring, here's how you can save your history". Newsweek. April 27, 2020. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  34. ^ Vyper, Jake (April 27, 2020). "Magic: The Gathering DCI Numbers, Planeswalker Points & Grand Prix Byes Will Be Removed Soon". epicstream.com. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  35. ^ "Suspended DCI Memberships". wizards.com. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on April 9, 2003.
  36. ^ "On The Grind With The Women of Magic: The Gathering". Vice. January 16, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  37. ^ "Wizards Of The Coast Bans Bullies". Kotaku Australia. December 8, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  38. ^ "WotC's 'Retailer Rewards' Program". icv2.com. March 17, 2009. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  39. ^ a b "WotC Tightens WPN Requirements". icv2.com. December 9, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  40. ^ a b c d "WotC Revamps Wizards Play Network". ICv2. March 18, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  41. ^ "Wizards of the Coast Requiring WPN Stores to Do Background Checks". ICv2. January 18, 2018. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  42. ^ "WotC Adds Gateway to Core Program". icv2.com. August 12, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  43. ^ "WotC's New 'Advanced Plus' OP Level". icv2.com. April 1, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  44. ^ "Rolling for Initiative--What a Week! CMON and the WPN". ICv2. March 18, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  45. ^ "Rolling for Initiative--The Shape of Stores to Come?". ICv2. March 25, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  46. ^ "Wizards of the Coast Will Relaunch the Use of WPN Play Metrics". ICv2. June 17, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  47. ^ "Wizards of the Coast Threatens to Remove Stores From the WPN for Not Switching to Wizards EventLink". ICv2. February 10, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  48. ^ "Rolling for Initiative--The Number One Way WOTC Could Improve Pre-releases (and Friday Night Magic)". icv2.com. July 17, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  49. ^ Labaree, Scott (November 4, 2008). "Ask Wizards - November 4". Archived from the original on November 6, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  50. ^ "Planeswalker Points". Wizards of the Coast. 2011. Archived from the original on September 23, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  51. ^ Scott-Vargas, Luis (October 17, 2011). "An Open Letter Regarding Planeswalker Points". channelfireball.com. Channel Fireball.
  52. ^ "Judge Levels - Redefinition". MagicJudges.org. 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  53. ^ Duffy, Owen (July 10, 2015). "How Magic: the Gathering became a pop-culture hit – and where it goes next". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  54. ^ Troilo, Gabriele (2015). Marketing In Creative Industries : Value, Experience and Creativity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 110–112. ISBN 978-0-230-38023-3. OCLC 966560595.
  55. ^ Rosenberg, Mike. "Friday Night Magic changes". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  56. ^ Smith, Kendra (May 1, 2019). "It's Time to Sanction Pauper". www.coolstuffinc.com. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  57. ^ Jahromi, Neima (August 28, 2018). "The Twenty-five-year Journey Of Magic: The Gathering". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  58. ^ "Friday Night Magic". Wizards of the Coast. June 2009. Archived from the original on September 23, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  59. ^ "Steven Olsen of A Little Shop of Comics on CCG Pre-release Events". icv2.com. August 7, 2007. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  60. ^ Smart, Karl (May 18, 2021). "Wizards of the Coast announces Aus/NZ Store Challenger Series". The Outerhaven. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  61. ^ "HECATOMB DCI FLOOR RULES" (PDF). Wizards of the Coast. January 2, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 4, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  62. ^ "WotC Announces New TCG". icv2.com. March 17, 2005. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  63. ^ "The End of Hecatomb". Archived from the original on February 13, 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2007.