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Last Minute Changes to Gauntlets Announced

In a year where high level Magic has often appeared to be an afterthought, the penultimate tournament continues that trend. The Magic Pro League Gauntlet and Rivals League Gauntlets – tournaments where the prize includes invitation to the World Championship and where roster spots for next year’s professional leagues are on the line – have been delayed by one day. Both tournaments will now play 9 rounds on Friday (the new Day One), with the final three rounds of the MPL Gauntlet taking place on Saturday, followed by the Top 8 playoff. Sunday will see the final three rounds of the Rivals Gauntlet followed by the same Top 8 playoff. The only stated reason for the delay to this point has been to “ensure the stability” of both tournaments. Originally these tournaments were scheduled to take place mere hours after Arena came up from downtime.

This change was not well received. Several prominent professional players, including former World Champions Seth Manfield and Javier Dominguez, Hall of Famer Kai Budde, former Player of the Year Brad Nelson, and more expressed their displeasure with the changes. Across the board the altered schedule was panned due to how it puts players outside of the United States at a further disadvantage (the tournament is scheduled around Pacific Standard Time) and how it puts players who have other obligations – such as a day job – in a tough spot as they had already put in for time away. The change also seems to ignores player well-being, as it asks competitors to play additional rounds on Day One, sometimes well into scheduled time for sleep, especially in preparation for Day Two.

This is just another in the long line of issues with the end of year Gauntlet tournaments. Originally scheduled to feature both Standard and Historic, the larger format was removed due to delays in the release of Jumpstart: Historic Horizons. Instead players will be battling with a Standard format based largely around cards from Throne of Eldraine, which was released in 2019.

This post will be updated if and when more information on the schedule change becomes available.

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