Charting A Course: So, You Wanna Be a Grinder?

So You Wanna Be a Grinder? Arinceo goes over the events and results you need to become one of the many MTGO Grinders that exist.

So You Wanna Be a Grinder?

My inspiration for this article comes from events that transpired a few weeks ago. Fresh from the banning announcement, I thought if there was a week to take the time to get a full event meta breakdown, it was now.

The timing was perfect, there was a Showcase Challenge on Sunday that would have a huge number of participants and I didn’t have to work on Monday.

One small problem, Showcase Challenges are a little different from normal weekend Challenge events, requiring 40 Qualifier Points (QPs) to enter. Four days, 40 points, how hard could it be?

Suffice to say, I was not successful, ending my quest with 39 points and my brain in mush after some desperate double-queuing of events to try and secure the final point required.

May this article serve as a cautionary tale and guide to the various MTGO playing options available to the aspiring competitive player!

1. Leagues

In terms of convenience, leagues are the best option when it comes to playing somewhat competitive matches on MTGO. Matches can be played separately at a time that suits you, though this means that you aren’t always being tested against strong players. Leagues pay out QPs in the following amounts:

  • 3 wins – 1 QP
  • 4 wins – 2 QPs
  • 5 wins – 4 QPs

2. Challenges

The regularly scheduled weekend challenges are probably the best way to get practice in doing a large scale competitive event, consistently featuring over 100 players.

However, if you are looking for QPs this is probably the most difficult way to obtain them, requiring a Top 8 finish for the minimum points payout:

  • 1st/2nd – 40 QPs
  • 3rd/4th – 20 QPs
  • 5th to 8th – 10 QPs

3. Preliminaries

Running throughout the week, Prelims are the most efficient way to earn QPs, paying out based on number of wins like leagues. 

However, these matches must be played consecutively in a tournament style setting with variable gaps in between the four rounds depending on how quickly all matches are completed. The payouts per win are:

  • 2 wins – 10 QPs
  • 3 wins – 20 QPs
  • 4 wins – 40 QPs

Showcase Challenges

Once you’ve got 40 QPs you are able to enter a Showcase Challenge. Make sure you’re prepared to play for several hours, June’s Showcase involved 380 players! 

The next Pioneer Showcase is on Sunday July 24th, 6am Pacific Time. Get grinding!

  • Arinceo

    Author/Data Coordinator

    Arinceo has been in an on/off relationship with Magic since cracking his first packs in 2004. After watching his beloved Hardened Scales deck suffer the loss of Walking Ballista he jumped back into Pioneer following the release of the 2021 challenger decks and is active in the community on the PioneerMTG subreddit and Twitter. Arinceo compiles most of the competitive data used on our meta data page and elsewhere.

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