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Announcing the 2020-2021 Magic Esports Season

July 14, 2020
Wizards of the Coast

Today we're excited to share two announcements, the first with our plans for the 2020-2021 season of events and the second outlining the Magic Pro League and Magic Rivals League structure and your pathway to join them.

There's a lot we're sharing in this announcement. Whether you're new to Magic Esports or returning to see your next steps, many familiar systems and paths through competition remain.

  • Available on both PC and Mac, and coming to mobile devices later this year, MTG Arena is the free-to-play way to start competing in Magic: The Gathering. Until we resume competitive tabletop Magic, MTG Arena is the primary path forward for all Magic Esports events.
  • Ranked Seasons are monthly periods for Ranked Play on MTG Arena. You can choose from several competitive Ranked Play formats to advance in rank, and finishing in the top 1,200 Mythic ranked players—the highest ranked players—for a Ranked Season unlocks invitation to a future qualifying event.
  • The Magic Pro League (MPL) and Magic Rivals League (Rivals League) are the highest competitive status players can unlock. League players are among the most skilled in Magic Esports, and were invited to join the league for additional competitive opportunities while continuing to compete at the highest level events. There are 24 MPL and 48 Rivals League players for the 2020-2021 Magic Esports season.
  • Challengers are non-league players rising through the pathways of Magic Esports. Challengers earn qualification to rising levels of competition, beginning with Ranked Seasons on MTG Arena and leading all the way to invitation the MPL or Rivals League.

While the global pandemic has closed off traditional pathways for competitive tabletop Magic, it's important to emphasize that the structures we're announcing today are designed to address the current challenges we all face and will continue to evolve.

Introducing the Zendikar Rising Split

The 2020-2021 Magic Esports season is composed of three splits, which are several months of competitive play tied to an upcoming set release. Each split is a three-step qualification progression leading all the way to that split's Championship. This is how the first of these three splits—the Zendikar Rising Split—will work.



  • Monthly Ranked Play on MTG Arena earns invitation to monthly Qualifier Weekends.
  • Each monthly Qualifier Weekend is a two-day event in MTG Arena, using a best-of-three Constructed format for both days. Top-finishing players from each Qualifier Weekend are invited to the Zendikar Rising Championship.
  • The Zendikar Rising Championship is the culmination of the Zendikar Rising Split, featuring a $250,000 prize pool with remote play on MTG Arena.

In addition to monthly Ranked Play on MTG Arena, we'll continue to offer qualification opportunities through previous competitive success, Magic Online Qualifiers, and events supported by partners. We have more detail to share about Zendikar Rising Split qualification paths below.

The following splits of the 2020-2021 season will be structured similarly, recognizing the need to continue making adjustments based on what we learn throughout the Zendikar Rising Split.

Specifically, we've also structured the season to allow us the flexibility to add tabletop opportunities. Only as it becomes safe to do so, we'll begin to add qualification paths starting with local game stores and building over time to larger regional events. Given the instability driven by the pandemic we don't know when we'll be able to offer these opportunities, but we share your desire for tabletop play.

Ranked Season for Zendikar Rising Split

Monthly Ranked Seasons on MTG Arena allows competitors to unlock invitation to Qualifier Weekends and beyond by finishing in the top 1,200 of Mythic ranking each month. Every month offers a fresh opportunity for players to start their Magic Esports journey.

Location: Online through MTG Arena

Schedule: on MTG Arena from June 1, 2020 through October 31, 2020

Monthly Ranked Season play on MTG Arena, will qualify players to compete in the following month's Qualifier Weekend.

Zendikar Rising Qualifier Weekends

Qualifier Weekends are the second step in each split, with top-ranked players from MTG Arena and more facing off over two days to qualify for the Zendikar Rising Championship.

Location: Online through MTG Arena in-client event

Schedule: September, October, and November TBD

Formats: TBD

Event Structure

Qualifier Weekends are two-day events, using the same Constructed Format in best-of-three matches both days.

  • Players compete on Day One until they earn 7 match wins, or 3 match losses.
  • 7 match wins on Day One are required to play on Day Two.
  • Players compete on Day Two until they earn 7 match wins, or 2 match losses.

Prizes

  • Players that earn 7 match wins on Day Two will be invited to the Split Championship event.
  • Additional gems will be awarded to players based on the total number of match wins across both days.

Qualification

Players may compete in a Qualifier Weekend through any of the following qualifications:

  • Finish in the top 1,200 Mythic ranked players in the previous month's Ranked Season on MTG Arena. (The Top 1,200 from June, July, and August each will be invited to the September Qualifier Weekend.)
  • Finish with at least 5 match wins in Day Two the previous Arena Open event.
  • Finish with at least 6 match wins during Day One of the previous month's Qualifier Weekend. (This begins with the October Qualifier Weekend.)
  • Players that earned 4 or more Mythic Points—"the Top 200"—across 2Q Mythic Qualifier and Mythic Point Challenge events. (These players will be ineligible to compete in Qualifier Weekends if they have qualified for the Championship.)
  • Players that earned 33 or more match points in a Players Tour Online event. (These players will be ineligible to compete in Qualifier Weekends if they have qualified for the Championship.)
  • Additional invitations for Qualifier Weekends may be added at Wizards of the Coast's discretion to support additional qualification paths, including those offered through third-party partners.

Additionally, players who earn 6 match wins during Day Two of the previous month's Qualifier Weekend will be invited directly to Day Two of the following month. (This also counts as earning at least 6 match wins on Day One in that follow month's Qualifier Weekend for invitation to the Qualifier Weekend after that, as listed above.)

Zendikar Rising Championship

The Zendikar Rising Split culminates with the Zendikar Rising Championship. Top-finishing players from each Qualifier Weekend are joined by the MPL and Rivals League in a two-day showdown for $250,000 in prizes. Top-finishing Challengers earn invitation to the postseason Rivals Gauntlet and opportunity to join the MPL or Rivals League.



Location: Online through MTG Arena via Direct Challenge

Schedule: TBD

Format: TBD

Event Structure

  • 15 rounds of Swiss
  • Cut to Top 8 playoff

Prizes

  • $250,000 prize pool
  • The four top-finishing Challengers earn invitation to the 2020-2021 Rivals Gauntlet
  • Players that finish with 30 match points or more awarded invitation to the following Split Championship

Qualification

Players may compete in the Zendikar Rising Championship through any of the following qualifications:

  • All Magic Pro League and Magic Rivals League players.
  • Players that earned 7 match wins on Day Two of the Zendikar Rising Qualifier Weekend.
  • Players that win a Zendikar Rising Championship Magic Online Qualifier.
  • Top 2 players from each Zendikar Rising Championship Magic Online Super Qualifier.
  • The 8 players qualified for the Magic Online Champions Showcase (2020 Season 2).
  • Players that earn 30 or more match points in the Players Tour Finals for the 2020 Partial Season.
  • Players that earn 30 or more match points in the Mythic Invitational for the 2020 Partial Season.
  • Players that finished with 30 match points or more in the previous Championship. (This begins with the Championship following the Zendikar Rising Championship.)
  • Additional invitations for Championships may be added at Wizards of the Coast's discretion to support additional qualification paths, including those offered through third-party partners.

Planning for an Uncertain Future

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year of upheaval and change, including in the world of Magic Esports. Immediate midseason program needs were a challenge no one anticipated. This new foundation for the 2020-2021 season has flexibility to not only allow us to add more play opportunities, but to meet the demands of a constantly changing world.

Thank you for your continued feedback and excitement as we move into a new vision and a new year of Magic Esports.

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