Congratulations to the 32 members of the Rivals League for the 2020 Partial Season!
Kai Budde, the living legend, made his triumphant return to professional play in 2019. Budde became famous in the late '90s for never losing on a Top 8 Sunday as he put together the most dominant run the game has ever seen. Two decades later he proved he's still among the game's greatest with a Top 4 finish at Mythic Championship III. A new generation of fans will have their opportunity to meet Budde through his Rivals League play in 2020.
Part of the famed "Czech House" that broke Standard throughout 2019, Stanislav Cifka is the champion of Pro Tour Return to Ravnica who had a bounceback season this year returning to Magic. A master deckbuilder who helped his teammates stay at the forefront of 2019, his strong performances culminating in a Top 8 at Mythic Championship V makes him one of the fiercest Rivals League competitors.
A four-time Grand Prix finalist, Louis-Samuel Deltour has been in the hunt for a breakout victory and trophy for years. His trip to the Top 8 of Mythic Championship VI brought him closer to the goal, and through the Magic Rivals League he'll continue to have a chance to take home the Sunday win.
Magic's superstar streamer keeps finding ways to up his game. At this point in his career, Egashira has done nearly everything from building one of the best streams in the game to mastering Magic Online to compete in the MOCS to playing at the Mythic Invitational level to even joining the coverage team for events. Now, after an incredible run at the final two Arena Mythic Championships of 2019, Egashira joins the Magic Rivals League and gains the opportunity to add even more to his impressive career.
Esper is part of the tight Brazilian community of Magic players, and he used a strong 2018 to leap into the inaugural MPL year. While he didn't find the breakthrough or big finish he was looking for over the past year, he takes an impressive resume and deep skill with him into the Magic Rivals League in 2020.
Jessica Estephan burst onto the competitive Magic scene when she earned her Grand Prix victory in 2018. As part of the first Magic Pro League class in 2019 she has quickly become a fixture of professional Magic. With a 2019 that narrowly missed key victories, including a critical MPL split win, she'll continue to leave her mark on Magic on her climb back up in Magic Rivals League.
There was once a time when Simon Görtzen was on top of the Magic world. He had won Pro Tour San Diego 2010 and become a prolific content creator. He eventually chose to take a break from playing and move into event coverage, but his exciting run in his return to competition—including a thrilling streak to nearly make Top 4 at Mythic Championship III—proved he's ready to take on the world in the Rivals League.
As a Parchís champion hailing from the home of paella—Valencia, Spain—Grancha has been a force to be reckoned with among competitors making their way up to Mythic rank on MTG Arena. As one of the top competitors every season—beginning with her earning a top Mythic rank for the 2019 Mythic Invitational—fellow Rivals League players will have to content with her to stay on top of the standings in 2020.
Content creator. Event coverage caster. Twitch Streamer. Tournament winner. Emma Handy has put in the work to quietly become a fierce competitor well-versed with the nuance of competitive Magic. After battling at Mythic Championship III she returns as a member of the Rivals League to once again put her knowledge—and skill—on display.
After his best season in 2018, capped off with a Top 8 at Pro Tour Ixalan, Christian Hauck fell to the middle of the MPL pack as he searched for his big moment of 2019. Despite his best efforts, missing out on another Top Finish left him shy of his 2020 MPL plans. Battling it out in the Magic Rivals League is where he can rebound to a stronger season and continue to demonstrate why he's among the game's best players.
Alexander Hayne is a professional Magic mainstay stretching back to his miraculous victory at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored. Hunting for another Top Finish throughout 2019, Hayne fell shy of the mark for the MPL to start 2020. Instead, his gregarious joy for Magic will carry over to the Magic Rivals League and more opportunities to put his deep skill to work.
With two Top Finishes coming nearly ten years apart—at Pro Tour San Diego 2010 and as finalist at Mythic Championship I in 2019—Yoshihiko Ikawa's career spans the globe with five Grand Prix Top 8s and a narrow miss at becoming the Japanese National Champion. Now, as a part of the Rivals League, he can continue his success and take his career to the next level.
Eli Kassis started racking up Grand Prix Top 8s in 2016 and hasn't looked back since. Building on each success beforehand, his 2019 season closed with a second Grand Prix trophy and first lifetime Top Finish at Mythic Championship VI. By joining the Magic Rivals League, Kassis continues to compete at the highest levels and rise further in professional Magic.
Grzegorz Kowalski may have played second fiddle to the eventual winner of the 2018 Magic World Championship, but his history of Grand Prix success and incredible consistency at Mythic Championship events put him on track for a strong 2019 season in the MPL. While it didn't come together the way he planned, continuing his career in the Magic Rivals League ensures Kowalski tackles the challenge to become the best in the game into 2020.
Leveratto was a competitive Magic veteran, but he had been several years removed from the professional scene before he qualified for Mythic Championship III via MTG Arena. Once he made it to the big stage it was like he never left. Putting together the perfect underdog tale, he won the finals with the very last card he could draw to earn himself a spot at Magic World Championship XXVI and entrance to the Magic Rivals League.
When he isn't working with a non-profit, Eli Loveman seeks one thing: Excellent Magic competition. Taking home the trophy from Mythic Championship II, Loveman's continued adventure takes him into the Rivals League and Magic World Championship XXVI to face down the greatest players in the game.
No Ah Ma
No Ah Ma is the rising star of South Korea, rocketing up the Mythic Points leaderboard with solid performances at all four tabletop Magic Mythic Championships in 2019. Now joining the Magic Rivals League, No Ah can continue his march toward a Top Finish and a breakthrough event against the game's best.
Théo Moutier is riding a wave of success from the second half of the 2019 season. Qualifying for Mythic Championship V through MTG Arena, he notched a Top 16 finish there to earn invitation back for Mythic Championship VII—and his success there was the springboard of Mythic Points into the Magic Rivals League and more opportunities to prove himself.
The combo master himself, Matthew Nass spent the last year battling against the game's best as part of the inaugural class of the Magic Pro League. While his Grand Prix success and Pro Tour Kaladesh Top 8 put him in an elite class of players, his narrow misses in 2019 left him short of his goal to return to the MPL in 2020. Within the Magic Rivals League however, Nass will put his skill to work on his way back to the top.
Greg Orange has long been one of the best control players in the world, and it served him well as he won the team Mythic Championship that celebrated Magic's 25th anniversary. He continued to post solid results throughout his career thus far, finding success in both tabletop Magic and MTG Arena events. That consistent success across events unlocked the Magic Rivals League and his shot at the MPL.
Sebastián Pozzo had a season to remember in 2019. He qualified for Mythic Championship V via MTG Arena, and after competing there followed it up just weeks later with a Top 8 at Mythic Championship VI. It's just the latest chapter of success for the professional player, and he'll look to continue his ascension to the top in the Magic Rivals League.
John Rolf played on and off the professional Magic scene, preparing to instead focus on practicing as a lawyer before he made the Top 8 of Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. Combined with a strong season it earned him invitation to the Magic Pro League last year, where he ended shy of the Mythic Points for a return. Now he'll turn his focus on continuing his high level of play in the Magic Rivals League as one of the game's greats.
While 2018 Player of the Year is among the most formidable competitors in Magic, Luis Salvatto's journey in the inaugural MPL season didn't replicate his success leading in. Without a premier play Top Finish in 2019, for him 2020 starts in the Magic Rivals League where he continues to battle as one of the most talented and hardworking players in the world.
With two battles in the MOCS and three Grand Prix Top 8, Bernardo Santos pushed his skill to the limit and narrowly missed earning a Top Finish in 2019. As part of the inaugural class of the Magic Rivals League, Santos will continue his quest to break through to the pros.
It seems like everyone knows Luis Scott-Vargas, better known as simply "LSV." After his tenth Top Finish at Mythic Championship I, the Magic Hall of Fame member was in the running for Magic World Championship XXVI right up through Mythic Championship VII. With a resume that puts him in the conversation for the best to ever play the game, he is easily the among most-feared players in the Magic Rivals League.
As one of the hosts of the popular Arena Boys series, Thoralf Severin demonstrated that he wasn't so bad at tabletop play, either, as he won Mythic Championship IV in Barcelona with his beloved Modern Tron deck. Working hard to continue leveling up Magic on all sides, "Toffel" competes in both Magic World Championship XXVI and a season that kicks off with the Magic Rivals League.
Mike Sigrist is one of the game's greatest technical players, picking up the "best" deck in a format and playing it flawlessly. In the hunt to add a fourth Top Finish to his resume all season, Sigrist found friction and fell short of his Mythic Points goal. Starting 2020 off in the Magic Rivals League in 2020, he'll continue to be a force in the game on his path back to the top.
Miguel da Cruz Simões
Miguel da Cruz Simões is one of just two players who qualified for both Mythic Championship V and Mythic Championship VII via MTG Arena tournaments. He then put together the run of a lifetime at Mythic Championship VII, making his way all the way to the Top 8 for the best finish of his young career. Now he will hope it's the first of many as he continues his quest in the Magic Rivals League.
Matt Sperling put together a string of Top Finishes over the years, most recently a finalist finish las year at Mythic Championship II. With strong tabletop Magic finishes through the remainder of the season, Sperling earned his seat in the Magic Rivals League and even more opportunities to battle among the best in professional Magic.
Long known as one of the best Limited players in the world, Ben Stark's career is built on Constructed success as well. The Magic Hall of Fame member picked up an MPL division win during Core Split but fell short of strong finishes throughout the 2019 season. As a member of the Magic Rivals League, Stark is poised to show why he's a master of competitive Magic as he looks to earn back qualification to the MPL.
Those who play against Ally Warfield are soon known as "Casualties of Warfield" as her tabletop Magic and MTG Arena adventures took her deep into Day Twos and the Sunday stage. With experience from multiple games and Grand Prix Top 8 to boot, Warfield will leave more defeated opponents in her wake as she continues her march to the top in the Magic Rivals League.