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Esports Update – 2020 Tiebreakers, Goodbye Grand Prix Byes, and More

December 04, 2019
Ben Drago and Bear Watson

Hey everyone!

Congratulations to Ondřej Stráský for his well-deserved win at Mythic Championship VI! We’ll see who joins him in the 2019 Magic World Championship in at Mythic Championship VII this weekend.

Ondřej Stráský

Magic Esports: Tiebreakers

With Mythic Championship VII closing out the 2019 season, and both the 2020 partial season and 2020-2021 seasons following close behind, ensuring that players understand how the system will break ties so they know the impact of their play decisions—and wins—is important.

While historically we've always announced tiebreakers at the start of competitive seasons, as it's best for players to understand throughout the competitive season, we missed the mark in sharing clear tiebreakers as we implemented new structures and competitive paths in the 2019 season.

For the conclusion of the 2019 season (that will qualify players for the 2020 partial season, the following tiebreakers will be used in determining invitation qualification for the Rivals League, Magic Pro League, and 2019 World Championship.

2020 Rivals League

1. Most 2019 Mythic Championship final days
2. Most Saturday appearances in 2019 Mythic Championships
3. Most points earned during tabletop 2019 Mythic Championship Swiss rounds (for tabletop slots), or the most match wins at a single MTG Arena Mythic Championship (for MTG Arena slots)

For the last tiebreaker, any matches not played due to having already advanced count as a win.

2020 Magic Pro League

1. # of Mythic Championship final days
2. Highest finish at a Mythic Championship
3. Then 2nd highest, then 3rd highest, et cetera until the tie is broken

2019 Magic World Championship

1. Player with the greatest number of Mythic Championship final days
2. Highest final day finish at a Mythic Championship
3. Greatest number of Day Two finishes at Mythic Championships
4. Highest match win % across all pre-Sunday matches played at all Mythic Championships in 2019

We'll share tiebreakers for both 2020-21 Magic Pro League and Rivals League invitations later this month, after Mythic Championship VII.

All tiebreaker systems create friction between competitors close to the bubble. After all, the system will feel more or less fair depending on which tiebreakers favor a particular players' relative performance. As we did when we implemented the play-draw rules for playoffs to prefer the competitor with the higher seed based on tournament standings, we wanted a clear set of tiebreakers that rewarded performance (competitive success) and aligned with our goal of encouraging players to play to win each game of Magic.

We are confident in these tiebreakers, and look forward to competitors earning their 2020 invitations this weekend in Long Beach—and throughout the competitive seasons next year.

MTG Arena

MPL Weekly

We launched MPL Weekly earlier this year to bring you high-level Magic from the best players in the world. The coverage team, competitors, and behind-the-scenes crew have all done a fantastic job at delivering thrilling matches to fans.

That said, we know we have additional tournament design and MTG Arena feature work to do in order to land on the best possible show.

That means we're going to take a break and sunset MPL Weekly for the 2020 Partial Season (January to July 2020). With the addition of the Magic Rivals League in 2020 we'll have a whole new group of players to support, so we're going to take some time to tinker behind the scenes. You'll hear more next year.

Mythic Qualifiers and Mythic Points Challenge

Details on Mythic Points, Mythic Point Challenges, and Mythic Qualifiers will be available in the next esports update. We did want to make sure you had the date for the first Mythic Qualifier so you can reserve the weekend.

  • Mythic Qualifier #1: January 11-12, 2020

Tabletop Magic: The Gathering

Invitations to the first Players Tour and Players Tour Finals in 2020

At Mythic Championship VI in Richmond, we announced how players that finished well in tabletop Mythic Championships in 2019 would receive invitations to the Players Tour. We've decided to extend an invitation the first Players Tour Finals in 2020 to the Top 8 players from Mythic Championship IV in Barcelona. Here is an updated text of the announcement at Richmond:

  • New!—The Top 8 Players from Mythic Championship IV in Barcelona and Mythic Championship VI in Richmond will receive an invitation to the first Players Tour Finals in 2020
  • Players with 33 or more Match Points from Mythic Championship IV in Barcelona or Mythic Championship VI in Richmond will receive an invitation to the first Players Tour in 2020
  • Pro Club Platinum, Gold, and Silver Players from the Core Set 2020 and Throne of Eldraine cycles will receive an invitation to the first Players Tour in 2020
  • Members of the Magic Hall of Fame will receive an invitation to each Players Tour

After receiving feedback regarding our announcement at Mythic Championship VI in Richmond, we have decided to add invites to Players Tour Series 2 for players who meet the following criteria:

  • Those who won a Qualifier event that awarded an invite to Players Tour Series 1 and subsequently received an invite to the Players Tour Series 1 via Core Set 2020 or Throne of Eldraine Pro Club status or a 33+ Match Point Finish at Mythic Championship IV in Barcelona will now receive an invite to Players Tour Series 2.

These players are no longer allowed to play in WPNQs or Magic Online Players Tour Qualifiers that offer invitations to 2020 Players Series 2. While this is an unusual exception, we recognize that our timelines around announcing these changes weren’t ideal for players while making decisions about playing in qualifying events during this period. All affected players who fulfill this criteria have been contacted directly, but if you have questions, please email us at

Grand Prix Byes

As we mentioned back in August, we have been looking at the current implementation of Grand Prix byes and have decided to phase them out on May 25, 2020.

Grand Prix byes were created for the Pro Tour when there were far fewer players playing competitive Magic. We don’t feel they are necessary with the new structure of the Players Tour, especially with systems like fractional invites filling a similar role. They also cause tournaments to require more rounds to be played and prevent us from exploring other structures for large events.

We will discuss this decision more in the future but wanted to provide as much notice as possible to players who may be working to earn byes through the current system.

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