August 27, 2020 Update: An update to Magic Esports for the 2020-21 season was released today. We will be noting several changes to the system as edits to the update below. However there are some major changes, including the introduction of a Challenger Gauntlet and information on a new Hall of Fame.
Magic Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame is taking a year off. No new players will be inducted this year. Next year, the Hall of Fame will return and it will endeavor to include individuals who have contributed to the game outside of tournament finishes.
The Challenger Gauntlet represents a way for players not in the Rivals League or the Magic Pro League to reach those goals. Every Challenger who finishes 11-4 or better at Split Championships (or the Top 8 Challengers, whichever number is greater) will qualify for the postseason Challenger Gauntlet. The Top 4 finishers in this Gauntlet will receive an invite to the Magic Pro League, the 5th-12th place players will earn an invitation to the Rivals League, and the remaining Challengers will receive an invitation to a tournament in the 2021-22 season.
The original news post from July 14th appears below, with updates for the current announcement.
Today Magic Esports unveiled their plans for the 2020-21 competitive season, as well an overview of the professional play season for both the Magic Pro League and Rivals League. These announcements comes on the heels moving the Mythic Invitational date to September 10-13, 2020. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.
Magic Esports 2020-21 Season
As with many other elements of life, the upcoming Magic Esports season has been heavily influenced by the ongoing pandemic. While the current plan is slated to take place mainly on MTG Arena, with some opportunities to qualify for events through Magic Online, the schedule is flexible enough to allow for tabletop play if doing so would not put players at risk.
The 2020-21 season will be broken down into three Splits, each focused on a set release. The first Split will be centered on Zendikar Rising, the second on the set code-named “Equestrian”, and the third centered on the set code-named “Fencing”. Each Split will feature Qualifier Weekends which in turn feed a Split Championship. Players can earn slots in Qualifier Weekends by performing well in each of the monthly ranked play seasons.
Qualifier Weekends are two-day Constructed best-of-three tournaments. Participants will play until they reach 7 wins (or 3 losses) on Day One. Those who reach 7 wins are invited back to Day Two where they will play until they reach 7 wins (or 2 losses). Players who achieve 7 wins on Day Two will be invited to the Split Championship.
While it is subject to change for later Splits, the Zendikar Rising Championship will feature all members of the Magic Pro League, the Rivals League, all players who qualified via Qualifier Weekends, players who earned 30 match points or more in the Players Tour Finals or Mythic Invitational, and players who qualify via Magic Online qualifiers.
The Zendikar Rising Championship will be 15 rounds of Swiss play with a cut to Top 8, with a prize pool of $250,000. The Top 4 Challengers (players not in the Magic Pro League or Rivals League) will earn an invitation to the 2020-21 Rivals Gauntlet, and players with 30 or more match points will be invited to the “Equestrian” Championship.
Magic Pro League Season
The plans for the 2020-21 Magic Pro League Season are here. This season the Magic Pro League will feature 24 competitors while the Rivals League will feature 48 competitors. In-league play for these two groups will be League Weekends, corresponding to the Qualifier Weekends. These Weekends will use the same Constructed format.
August 27, 2020 Update: League Weekends will consist of two days of round robin play. MPL members will play 46 matches in double round robin, Rivals League members will play 47 matches in single round robin. Each match win on a League Weekend will award a point in league standings. There will be seven League Weekends in the 2020-21 Season, leaving the maximum point total at 84. These league points will help determine placement for postseason play. Starting with Fencing League Weekend,play will shift to two 6 round Swiss events of podded play. After each weekend, the bottom 3 MPL players and bottom 7 Rivals League members will be removed from pod play prior to the next Fencing League Weekend
For the Magic Pro League, the Top 4 points earners will qualify for the 2021-22 Magic Pro League, as well as the Magic World Championship XXVII. The 5th-12th place points earners will play in the Magic Pro League Gauntlet for a chance to stay in the Magic Pro League or be relegated to the Rivals League. August 27, 2020 Update: Players ranked 17th-24th in the Magic Pro League will be relegated to the Rivals League.
For the Rivals League, the Top 4 points earners will qualify for the 2021-22 Magic Pro League, as well as the Magic World Championship XXVII. The 5th-20th place points earners will play in the Magic Pro League Gauntlet for a chance at the Magic Pro League (these players will avoid being relegated to Challenger status). Rivals League members who end league play in 21st-32nd place will play against Rivals and Challengers in the Rivals Gauntlet for a chance at the Magic Pro League (these Rivals also avoid relegation to Challenger status). Rivals League members in 33rd, 34th, 35th, and 36th place will retain their Rivals League Status for the 2021-22 professional season. The remaining 12 Rivals League members will be relegated to Challengers for the 2021-22 professional season.
Magic Pro League Gauntlet
The eight Magic Pro League and 16 Rivals League members will play in the Magic Pro League Gauntlet. The winner of the tournament will qualify for the World Championship. August 27, 2020 Update: The Top 8 finishers from the Rivals League Gauntlet will qualify for the 2021-22 Magic Pro League.. The remaining 16 players will join the Rivals League. The date and format of this tournament is still to be determined
Rivals League Gauntlet
August 27, 2020 Update: The Rivals League members ranked 21st-32nd at the end of league play, as well as the 5th-12th place finishers in the Challenger Gauntlet and the 13th-16th placed members of the Magic Pro League will battle in the Rivals League Gauntlet. The Top 4 finishers will qualify for the 2020-21 Magic Pro League. The remaining 20 players will join the Rivals League. The date and format of this tournament is still to be determined.
Magic World Championship XXVII
While few details have been released, the goal is to hold the next World Championships on-location in the summer of 2021 (if the global situation allows for a safe event). The invitation list will be as follows:
- The 2019 Magic: The Gathering World Champion
- The Top 4 MPL players from season standings
- The Top 4 Rivals League players from season standings
- August 27, 2020 Update: The top two finishers from the MPL Gauntlet
- August 27, 2020 Update: The winner of the Rivals Gauntlet
- August 27, 2020 Update: The Top 4 of the Challenger Gauntlet