2020–21 Players Tour Season
|2020–21 Players Tour Season|
|Hall of Fame inductions||None|
|PTs||3 Split Championships|
- 1 Description
- 2 Esports
- 2.1 Leagues
- 2.2 Qualification
- 2.3 Splits
- 2.4 Split Championships
- 2.5 Schedule
- 2.5.1 Zendikar Rising Split
- 2.5.2 Zendikar Rising Championship
- 2.5.3 Kaldheim Split
- 2.5.4 Kaldheim Championship
- 2.5.5 Strixhaven Split
- 2.5.6 Strixhaven Championship
- 2.5.7 Strixhaven Split (final League Weekend)
- 2.5.8 2020–21 Challenger Gauntlet
- 2.5.9 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
- 2.5.10 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
- 2.6 Mythic Invitationals
- 3 Tabletop
This season was to be the first regular season of the revamped Players Tour after the 2020 partial season. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused cancellations and rescheduling. The season was supposed to start on August 7–9, 2020 with MagicFest Colombus, USA and to culminate in the 2021 World Championship. Due to the Coronovirus induced rescheduling, the start of the season was postponed to the fall of 2020 (October 24). It was also announced that Wizards of the Coast would shift its focus to shorter length seasons with a structure that provides more flexibility so that they can quickly pivot and adapt in the current global landscape.
While the global pandemic at the start of the season closed off traditional pathways for competitive tabletop Magic, Wizards of the Coast structured it to allow the flexibility to add tabletop opportunities. Only as it becomes safe to do so, they will begin to add qualification paths starting with local game stores and building over time to larger regional events.
This season is focused on Esports. As all tabletop events are suspended, play would be done through MTG Arena and the lack of tabletop qualifiers meant severely reduced invitees. Subsequently, the experimental regional Player's Tours from the previous season were dropped, and all players around the world competed in the same tournament from their homes. Coverage was developed through both players streaming their gameplay through to a broadcasting host.
In this season, MPL and Rivals League players will play against other players within their leagues in recurring tournaments — League Weekends — where each match win awards one point toward their league standings.  While all players were required to learn streaming software to share their screens, they were also encouraged to stream their play while not featured, giving viewers unprecedented access to nearly 300 matches of high level gameplay per weekend. Final league standings at the end of the season, after seven total League Weekends, will place players into postseason tournaments — the MPL Gauntlet and Rivals Gauntlet — to determine the new invitees to the following season's MPL and Rivals League. The four highest-finishing Challengers — non-league players — of each split's Championship will qualify for the postseason Rivals Gauntlet for the opportunity to join the MPL or Rivals League. All competitors — MPL, Rivals League, and Challengers — who continue to succeed in their events across the entire 2020–2021 season will receive the best opportunities for league promotion and invitation to the next World Championship.
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. 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.
In addition to monthly Ranked Play on MTG Arena, qualification opportunities are offered through previous competitive success, Magic Online Qualifiers, and sponsored events (e.g. the Premier Series, Red Bull Untapped). Qualification is also possible the Arena Open or through Players Tour Online events.
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 relevant Split Championship.
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.
In total for all League Weekends, MPL and Rivals League players will compete in 84 matches — a maximum total of 84 points — across seven weekends.
There's a $400,000 prize pool divided across the three splits with $50,000 each for the MPL and Rivals League, as well as an end-of-season bonus $50,000 for each league.
Three Split Championships each form the culmination of a Split, featuring a $250,000 prize pool with remote play on MTG Arena. Invited are the top players from Qualifier Weekends, partner events, 2020 Partial Season events, and all members of the MPL and Rivals League. The Split Championships are premier events, in stature comparable to the Players Tour Finals or the former Pro Tour tournaments.
On top of League Weekends, MPL and Rivals players will earn points toward their league standings from each split's Championship:
- 9 wins earn 1 point toward league standings (the same as winning one match during a League Weekend).
- 10 wins earn 2 points toward league standings.
- 11 wins earn 3 points toward league.
- Making Top 8 of a split's Championship earns 4 points toward league standings.
Additionally, the eight best-finishing Challengers (or those that finish with a record of 11-4 or better, whichever is greater) in each split's Championship are invited to the postseason Challenger Gauntlet for the opportunity to compete for MPL or Rivals League invitation and qualification to Magic World Championship XXVII.
Zendikar Rising Split
- Zendikar Rising Split featured two League Weekends of Swiss-style, best-of-three, competitive play.
- October 24-25 (Standard)
- November 7-8 (Standard)
Zendikar Rising Championship
184 players, from the MPL and Rivals League to top qualifying competitors through Qualifier Weekends, Magic Online Qualifiers and beyond, were competing. The Championship featured a $250,000 prize pool. Friday and Saturday each featured four rounds of Standard. Friday and Saturday each also featured a combined seven rounds of Historic, and Sunday's Top 8 double-elimination playoff was exclusively Historic. On the weekend however, Mike Sigrist withdrew from the competition to better support his family during COVID exposure.
At the end of Day One, it was Autumn Burchett leading the way with Gruul Adventures that smashed their way to a perfect 7-0 record. Eleven players including Hall of Famers Martin Jůza and Gabriel Nassif, along with Pro Tour champions Jan-Moritz Merkel and Ivan Floch, lurked just behind at 6-1.
On Day 2 Burchett and Merkel both took early losses in Historic, with veteran Scottish player Bradley Barclay taking the lead at 10-1 at the end of Round 11; however, the former two were the first to lock in their places in Round 14. With no permitted intentional draws, the 11-3 players were forced to play, with Nassif and Barclay winning, and debutant Tomáš Pokorný holding with strong breakers and Ondrej Strasky pushed out. The final three spaces were taken by Brad Nelson over Tim Wan, Andrea Mengucci over Luis Salvatto and Luca Magni over Matt Sperling. Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Jean-Emmanuel Depraz made up the remaining 11-4 players with Strasky.
On Sunday, Brad Barclay won the Championship with Azorius Control, defeating Autumn Burchett on Mono-Red Goblins two matches to zero in the Grand Finals. Barclay had entered the Top 8’s Historic double elimination bracket as the third seed, while Burchett had entered as the first seed. Both players made their way through the upper bracket and met in the upper finals, where Barclay won two games to one, knocking Burchett down to the lower bracket finals. Andrea Mengucci, whom Burchett had defeated in the first round of the Top 8, worked his way through the lower bracket with Four-Color Midrange to meet Burchett in the lower finals for a rematch and a spot in the Grand Finals. But history repeated itself and Burchett triumphed once again to advance to the Grand Finals. But in the Grand Finals, they were defeated again by Barclay.
|1||Bradley Barclay||$15,000||Dimir Control/Azorius Control||First Scotsman in a PT Top 8|
|2||Autumn Burchett||$12,000||4||Gruul Adventures/Goblins||MPL. Second PT Top 8.|
|3||Andrea Mengucci||$9,000||4||Esper Doom/4C Midrange||MPL. Sixth PT Top 8.|
|4||Tomáš Pokorný||$7,000||Mono-Green Food/4C Midrange||PT debut.|
|5||Luca Magni||$5,000||4||Dimir Rogues/4C Midrange||Rivals League. First PT Top 8.|
|6||Brad Nelson||$5,000||4||Mono-Green Food/4C Midrange||MPL. Sixth PT Top 8.|
|7||Jan-Moritz Merkel||$4,000||Gruul Adventures/Sultai Midrange||Second PT Top 8 after a 14 year gap.|
|8||Gabriel Nassif||$4,000||4||Mono-Green Food/Sultai Midrange||MPL. Twelfth PT Top 8.|
- Kaldheim Split featured two League Weekends.
- January, 16-17 (Historic)
- February, 27-28 (Standard)
- March 26-28, 2021 (Standard and Historic)
211 players joined in competition for the Kaldheim championship weekend. In Standard, the addition of Faceless Haven reshaped the aggro side of the format, giving Red and White a metagame share, which loosened Rogues's grip on the metagame and consequently opened Yorion, Sky Nomad big mana decks - among them, the frontrunner Sultai Emergent Ultimatum. Alrund's Epiphany was one of the Ultimatum targets, and it also helped the classic Temur Adventures shell that persisted from rotation. Finally, Cycling made a resurgence with the full Pathway manabase and a field less dedicated to Embercleave. For Historic, the Jund Sacrifice variants retained leading position at 31%, kept at bay from domniance by Yasharn, Implacable Earth splashes. Orhzov Auras took second place, with every other deck less than 10% in share. Despite struggling in league weekends, Andrew Cuneo took the overnight 7-0 spot, joined by Arne Huschenbeth.
After the second Standard run on Day 2, Cuneo and Huschenbeth posted mediocre 2-2 records, with Shahar Shenhar running up from 6-1 to take the lead. Eight players were at 1 loss or less, with League members Chris Botelho, Javier Dominguez and Shota Yasooka among them. Shenhar kept his lead and made 12 wins on round 13, followed by Yasooka in round 14. For the final round, the three previous 11-3 players Huschenbeth, Dominguez and Riku Kumagai advanced despite two losses between them, with Cuneo clawing back up by defeating Kumagai. The final two spots were taken by Noriyuki Mori over Botelho and Grzegorz Kowalski over Keisuke Sato. Márcio Carvalho, Austin Bursavich, Evan Kaplan, Joao Moreira made up the remaining 11-4 players.
On Sunday, two decks stood out from the other six, with Riku Kumagai's Mono-Red and Arne Huschenbeth's Rogues being the most proactive against the six Green based midrange decks. Cuneo and Yasooka's Sultai Ultimatum decks fell quickly, while Huschenbeth's worst matchup in Kumagai was removed after facing the Lovestruck Beast decks of Dominguez and Mori. Huschenbeth's Rogues subsequently took the first final spot over Dominguez. The match between Shenhar and Kowalski hit technical problems when Shenhar's system crashed on an extremely crucial turn, forcing two restarts before Kowalski ultimately won. In the grand final, Sultai Ultimatum's significant disadvantage against Rogues made for a crisp ending with Huschenbeth taking a straight 4-0 victory against Kowalski.
|1||Arne Huschenbeth||$15,000||Dimir Rogues/Orzhov Auras||Second PT Top 8|
|2||Grzegorz Kowalski||$12,000||4||Sultai Ultimatum/Jund Food||Rivals League. Third PT Top 8|
|3||Javier Dominguez||$9,000||4||Temur Adventures/Boros Cycling||MPL. Fifth PT Top 8|
|4||Noriyuki Mori||$7,000||Gruul Food/Jund Food||PT Debut|
|5||Shahar Shenhar||$5,000||4||Temur Adventures/Abzan Midrange||MPL. Second PT Top 8|
|6||Riku Kumagai||$5,000||4||Mono-Red Aggro/Orzhov Auras||Rivals League. Second PT Top 8|
|7||Shota Yasooka||$4,000||4||Sultai Ultimatum/Jund Food||MPL. Sixth PT Top 8|
|8||Andrew Cuneo||$5,000||4||Sultai Ultimatum/Dimir Control||MPL. Fourth PT Top 8.|
- Strixhaven Split will feature three League Weekends. One of these take place after the Strixhaven Championship. While the previous two were designed for full round-robin play, the Strixhaven splits are seeded into Swiss pairing pods, and every three rounds the pods are repaired. Each weekend the best and worst players lock in their spots for the next season.
- April 10–11, 2021 (Standard/Historic)
This weekend, Ondřej Stráský overtook Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa for the first Worlds place with a near-perfect 11-1 record. Chris Kvartek, Piotr Głogowski and Raphaël Lévy were the first relegated to Rivals. On the Rivals side, Eli Kassis took out the narrow race over Matt Sperling, with Joel Larsson, Allison Warfield, Beatriz Grancha, John Rolf and Ben Stark were relegated to Challengers.
- May 15–16, 2021 (Standard/Historic)
- June 4-6, 2021 (Standard and Historic)
The Strixhaven Championship will take place prior to the third Strixhaven Split League Weekend, ensuring league play determines final league standings and placement in postseason playoff events.
Strixhaven Split (final League Weekend)
- Final League Weekend of the 020–21 Players Tour Season
- July 3–4, 2021 (format TBA)
2020–21 Challenger Gauntlet
The competitors of the 2021 Challenger Gauntlet are invited from each 2020-2021 season Split Championship based on final standings:
- The eight (8) highest finishing Challengers in the event; or
- The Challengers who finished the event with a record of 11-4 or better (whichever of the two is the greater number of Challengers).
- Top 4 receive invitation to Magic World Championship XXVII and the MPL for the following season.
- Players that finish 5th through 12th receive invitation to the Rivals Gauntlet.
- All other Challengers will receive invitation to a future event in the 2021–22 Players Tour Season.
|Bradley Barclay||Zendikar Rising Championship|
|Tomas Pokorny||Zendikar Rising Championship|
|Jan-Moritz Merkel||Zendikar Rising Championship|
|Piotr Wiktorzak||Zendikar Rising Championship|
|Tim Wan||Zendikar Rising Championship|
|Gavin Thompson||Zendikar Rising Championship|
|Bernardo Torres||Zendikar Rising Championship|
|Toni Ramis Pascual||Zendikar Rising Championship|
|Arne Huschenbeth||Kaldheim Championship|
|Noriyuki Mori||Kaldheim Championship|
|Evan Kaplan||Kaldheim Championship|
|Joao Moreira||Kaldheim Championship|
|Ian Birrell||Kaldheim Championship|
|Keisuke Sato||Kaldheim Championship|
|Michael Bernat||Kaldheim Championship|
|Yohei Nomiya||Kaldheim Championship|
2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
The 24 participants for the 2020-21 Rivals League Gauntlet were defined as follows:
- 13th through 16th in MPL standings from the end of the season.
- 21st through 32nd in Rivals League standings from the end of the season.
- 5th through 12th places from the Challenger Gauntlet.
- The winner qualifies for Magic World Championship XXVII.
- Top 4 receive invitation to the 2021–22 Magic Pro League.
- All other players will be invited to the 2021–22 Rivals League.
|MPL 2020–21, 13th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 14th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 15th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 16th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 21st place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 22nd place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 23rd place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 24th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 25th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 26th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 27th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 28th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 29th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 30th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 31st place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 32nd place|
|Challenger Gauntlet 2020–21, 5th place|
|Challenger Gauntlet 2020–21, 6th place|
|Challenger Gauntlet 2020–21, 7th place|
|Challenger Gauntlet 2020–21, 8th place|
|Challenger Gauntlet 2020–21, 9th place|
|Challenger Gauntlet 2020–21, 10th place|
|Challenger Gauntlet 2020–21, 11th place|
|Challenger Gauntlet 2020–21, 12th place|
2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
The 24 participants for the 2020-21 Magic Pro League Gauntlet were defined as follows:
- 5th through 12th in MPL standings from the end of the season.
- 5th through 20th in Rivals League standings from the end of the season.
- The winner and runner-up of the MPL Gauntlet will qualify for the 2021 World Championship.
- Top 8 receive invitation to the 2021–22 Magic Pro League.
- All other players will be invited to the 2021–22 Rivals League.
|MPL 2020–21, 5th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 6th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 7th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 8th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 9th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 10th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 11th place|
|MPL 2020–21, 12th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 5th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 6th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 7th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 8th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 9th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 10th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 11th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 12th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 13th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 14th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 15th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 16th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 17th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 18th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 19th place|
|Rivals League 2020–21, 20th place|
- October 22–25, 2020: Mythic Invitational – Zendikar Rising (canceled)
For the foreseeable future, there are no large tabletop events planned.
As a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic all Grand Prix of the 2020 Players Tour Season were cancelled and MagicFest Online was created. It is unclear if and how tabletop Grand Prix will return.
Feeding in the Players Tour Finals (Series 4)
- July 31 -August 2, 2020: MagicFest Strasbourg, France (Pioneer) (canceled)
- August 7–9, 2020: MagicFest Columbus, USA (Modern) (canceled)
- August 14–16, 2020: MagicFest Kobe, Japan (canceled)
- August 21–23, 2020: MagicFest Bologna, Italy (canceled)
- August 27–30, 2020: MagicFest Las Vegas, USA (canceled)
- September 11–13, 2020: MagicFest Montreal, Canada (canceled)
- October 8-11, 2020: MagicFest Washington DC, USA (canceled)
- October 15–18, 2020: MagicFest Barcelona, Spain (canceled)
- October 16–18, 2020: MagicFest Sydney, Australia (canceled)
- October 23–25, 2020: MagicFest Milwaukee, USA (canceled)
- October 30-Nov. 1, 2020: MagicFest Budapest, Hungary (canceled)
- November 6–8, 2020: MagicFest Anaheim, USA (canceled)
- November 13–15, 2020: MagicFest Utrecht, Netherlands (canceled)
- November 20–22, 2020: MagicFest Memphis, USA (canceled)
Feeding in the Players Tour Finals (Series 5)
- November 27–29, 2020: MagicFest Nagoya, Japan (canceled)
- December 4–6, 2020: MagicFest Hartford, USA (canceled)
- December 11–13, 2020: MagicFest London, UK (canceled)
- December 18–20, 2020: MagicFest Portland, USA (canceled)
- October 9-11, 2020: Players Tour Americas - Washington DC, USA (canceled)
- October 16–18, 2020: Players Tour Europe - Barcelona, Spain (canceled)
- October 17–18, 2020: Players Tour Asia-Pacific: Sydney, Australia (canceled)
- Players Tour Finals (Series 3) (canceled)
- Wizards of the Coast (May 20, 2020). "What's Next For the Magic Esports 2020 Partial Season". Magic.gg.
- Elaine Chase (August 14, 2019). "The Future of Magic Esports". Magic Esports.
- Elaine Chase (May 29, 2020). "2020 MagicFest And The Future of Tabletop Magic Esports". Magic.gg.
- Wizards of the Coast (July 14, 2020). "Announcing The 2020-2021 Magic Esports Season". Magic.gg.
- Wizards of the Coast (July 14). "The 2020-2021 Magic Pro League Season Overview". Magic.gg.
- Ben Drago and Bear Watson (August 27, 2020). "Esports Update: Changes to 2020-2021 Magic Pro League Play". Magic.gg.
- Wizards of the Coast (May 29, 2020). "Upcoming MTG Arena Ranked Season Qualification and Players Tour Qualifiers". Magic.gg.
- Corbin Hosler (December 4, 2020). "Zendikar Rising Championship Day 1 Highlights". Magic.gg.
- Wizards of the Coast (April 7, 2021). "What are Strixhaven League Weekends?". Magic.gg.
- Rich Hagon (April 13, 2021). "April Strixhave League Wekkend Highlights". Magic.gg.
- Elaine Chase (May 29, 2020). "2020 MagicFest And The Future of Tabletop Magic Esports". Magic.gg.