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Esports Update – Qualifiers, Fractional Invites, and More!

September 25, 2019
Ben Drago and Bear Watson

Last month, we put out a behemoth of an article (ten pages!) on the future of Magic Esports. Since then we've received a ton of thoughts on where we're headed, what's missing, and what we can do to improve.

These updates are the first of many and will act as our main way of keeping players up to date on what the team is working on and where our thoughts are. Small disclaimer: just because you don't see your topic or issue listed doesn't mean we haven't looked at your feedback. This is just what the team has been focused on for the past month.

That said, let's jump in!

Magic Esports

The website has gone through some significant changes in the past month, including a URL update from to What's in a name? Well, a lot of characters, that's what. Besides being a lot quicker to type, and less cumbersome to use in conversation, this update also represents our goal of making things just a little easier for anyone who uses the site.

We've also made some feature updates and improvements to—we've refreshed the top navigation bar to reduce misclicks and improve overall flow through the site and we've also added the ability to add Magic esports events to your personal calendars directly from the schedule page. We then thought it would be nice to show you all the relevant MPL divisional results and VODs in a single location, so we built the league page to do just that. We also added all the MPL Weekly Top 4 matches to the VOD page so you can now enjoy even more spoiler-free Magic video content all in one location.

We have more features and improvements on the way at (decklists beta!), and we're looking forward to building this site using your feedback as our guide. We would love to hear from you and put some of your ideas to work.

Mythic Point Split

One more thing! In last month's announcement, we talked about how at the conclusion of the 2019 Season we'll be creating the Rivals League, a league focused on supporting up-and-coming Magic pros. After inviting the Top 4 Mythic Point earning Challengers, part of the Rivals composition will consist of the next eight ranked Challengers by Mythic Points from MTG Arena and the next eight ranked Challengers by Mythic Points from Tabletop.

You can now look at where you stand in Tabletop, MTG Arena, and total earned Mythic Points on the Challengers Standings page at You can earn Mythic Points until Mythic Championship VI (Richmond) for Tabletop and Mythic Championship VII for MTG Arena.

MTG Arena

Rewarding Consistent Performance in MTG Arena

Many of you expressed that you'd like to see us reward players who show consistent performance in events on MTG Arena. We're looking to award consistent finishers (in Mythic Point Challenges and Mythic Qualifiers that are tied to one Mythic Invitational) with access to the next batch of those events that correspond with the next Invitational.

Additionally, we'll likely be guaranteeing four slots at each Mythic Invitational to players who show consistent performance in events on MTG Arena during the corresponding qualifying months.

We'll provide more details in the coming months on how these would work.

2019 MTG Arena Qualifiers

We have one more Mythic Qualifier coming up on October 26 that will feed into Mythic Championship VII.

After that, play on MTG Arena during the months of October, November, and December will feed a January Mythic Qualifier, as well as the February Mythic Point Challenge. Points earned during this event will contribute to 2020 Partial Season totals.

Additionally, we're looking at making some changes for October's Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend.

Day Two of the MCQW will be getting updated tiebreakers to the following:

  • The first tiebreaker is a player's record in Day One of the MCQW, where more wins is better, and going undefeated is better than reaching the maximum number of allowed wins with one loss.
  • Buchholz tiebreakers—calculated on ESL Play's website—will be the second tiebreaker.
  • The third tiebreaker is a person's best Mythic ranking (calculated at the end of each qualifying month).

Day Two will receive an adjustable number of Swiss rounds based on the number of players in Day Two

  • If there are 128 or fewer players, there will be six rounds of Swiss; and if there are 129 or more players, there will be seven rounds of Swiss.

Qualification to Day Two is based on the number of wins a player gets in Day One of the MCQW

  • All players who reach seven wins in Day One qualify to compete in Day Two of the MCQW.
  • Players may compete in Day One until they win ten matches or lose two matches; players who have seven wins may continue playing to strengthen their tiebreakers for Day Two, and to earn additional gems.

MPL Weekly – Eldraine Split

We're making a change to how playoffs are conducted for the Eldraine Split of MPL Weekly.

In Core Split, the Top 4 playoff was a hard cut with players in many circumstances being left out of the playoffs based on tiebreakers, despite a respectable 4-3 record against the world's best players. We're extending the playoffs in Eldraine Split to allow everyone at a 4-3 record to compete.

How this will work is based on the conclusion of a division's round-robin competition:

  • If four or fewer players are at 4-3 or better, we cut to the Top 4 and determine final spots based on tiebreakers same as Core Split.
  • If five or more players are at 4-3 or better, we determine seeding based on tiebreakers, and the 4th-place spot in the Top 4 bracket becomes a play-in spot where everyone ranked 4th place or lower will compete in play-in matches to see who competes against 3rd place in the bracket

Additionally, the "Lower Bracket player must win twice" clause is being removed for Eldraine Split's Grand Final matches. Instead, the Grand Finals for each division is best two out of three matches.

Finally, there is no deck swap in the playoffs. Players will compete in the playoffs with the deck they used during their round-robin competition.

Tabletop Magic: The Gathering

We are working on all the 2020 policy updates and will be announcing them by Mythic Championship VI in Richmond. We will also be holding our first "office hours" at Richmond where we block out some time throughout the weekend for players to come chat with us about the Players Tour and competitive play.

Fractional Invites

During the 2020 esports announcement last month we talked about our goal to give players the opportunity to earn invites to Players Tour and Players Tour Finals with a series of good finishes at Grand Prix and Players Tours events. We've been looking at ways to structure this system, and our current favorite is giving players who miss qualifying by one or two losses a "fractional invite" that can be combined in order to secure an invite to a Players Tour or Players Tour Finals.

The next step is to decide on a relative value on the different event types and estimate how many invites the system would generate. We are currently working on a balanced model where a Players Tour is assigned a relative value of 1.0, then a Grand Prix is 0.8 and a Players Tour Finals is 1.2. This model keeps Grand Prix relevant and accounts for the fact that Players Tour and Players Tour Finals already offer opportunities to qualify for future events.

Command Zone and CommandFest

We recently announced that we are partnering with Star City Games, Pastimes, and CFB Events to test a standalone Commander event we're calling CommandFest. These events are to help us understand more about what players want from these kinds of events, so that we can better plan for them in the future. The initial response from Command Zone at MagicFest Las Vegas was great, and we do plan on doing even more of them in 2020.

If you missed the initial announcement, check out the video from the Command Zone or for information on individual events, check out information from CFB Events, Star City Games, and Pastimes.


That's it for now, and thanks again for all the comments and discussion. Feel free to reach out to @MagicEsports if you have any thoughts!

Some topics we'll touch on next time:

  • MPL Weekly
  • 2020's Mythic Invitationals
  • Should we create paths directly to the MPL outside of the Rivals League?
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