ProGuides is a service that’s all about pairing folks with pro gamers, with the goal of helping people become better at their favorite games. More than 100,000 people took part in it just for its Magic: The Gathering course alone. But the company found that its customers wanted something a little different than coaching videos — someone to play with.
So it’s making a little change, adding a program called “Play with Pros,” along with announcing a new course. Now, ProGuides is offering pro players as players and teammates to its customers, after finding this was a service they wanted. It’s also launching a new Magic: The Gathering guide on Drafting, a popular format in the card game. The course’s instructor is Noxious, a noted draft player and livestreamer with over 30 million views on YouTube and Twitch. He’s also active on social media, talking about draft tactics, metagame states, and decks in Magic’s various formats.
“The concept is you can get on demand coaching any time you want from the actual gaming pro or celebrity, and lot of our users really love using it,” ProGuide founder Sam Wang said in a phone call.
ProGuides has signed a raft of pro gamers for service. As Wang explains, any time someone wants a coach, the company has “at least 20 pros online.” Whenever you want a coach, you just click a button to request one. It usually takes about 30 seconds, Wang said. It’s on-demand coaching from a pro player or a gaming celebrity (such as a noted streamer, who may be a good players but not into esports).
“We noted that a lot of our users on the platform wanted to more than just watch videos,” Wang said when they launched the beta in June. “We also found that our users tend to be the biggest superfans. They were the biggest fans of all the pros that had made courses with. As a result, we wanted to find a way to connect our fans to these pros and influencers. Our solution was: Why not just let them play together, literally.'”
Think of it as an “Uber for game coaching.” So now instead of just offering videos, ProGuides is offering coaches you can play with — and learn from as you play, taking them on in matches. For the beta test for “Play with Pros,” this will work for League of Legends and Fortnite, two of the games ProGuides supports.
“We found is that a lot of the users didn’t just enjoy coaching with the pros, they actually just wanted to play with them,” Wang said. With Challenge a Pro, you can challenge a pro player to a 1-vs.-1 battle. Wang said it’s now ProGuides’ best-selling product. You play with the pro player, and then after the match, the coach can go over your performance, showing you what you did well, where you can improve, and so on.
“It’s a fully immersive experience, and then there’s a training and learning experience to it afterward,” Wang said.
Wang said ProGuides has 350 coaches to date.
Feeling a draft
Magic: The Gathering’s Draft has players making a deck of 40 cards from three packs. Players open the packs, choose a card, and pass it to the next player. This goes on until all no cards remain, and then players build decks. On Arena (Magic’s latest online game), you draft with bots, which publisher and developer Wizards of the Coast programs (they may prioritize rare cards, for example).
“Drafting is the heart of Magic,” said Kacem “Noxious” Khilaji in a statement. “Our course helps fans pair their fundamental deck-building skills with the format’s element of luck to understand the impact of key selections and reimagine their strategy. I hope they develop new appreciation for the game and enjoy drafting as much as I do.”
The meta changes with new sets (and on Arena, which changes to the draft bots), but the principles of drafting apply regardless. And Noxious will teach that foundation in both intro and advanced courses. And like with the first Magic course, these draft videos come with an Arena card pack once you finish them.
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