2020–21 Players Tour Season
|2020–21 Players Tour Season|
|Hall of Fame inductions||None|
|PTs||3 Split Championships|
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.
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. 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 SplitEdit
- 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 ChampionshipEdit
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 features two League Weekends.
- January, 16-17 (Historic)
- February, 27-28 (Standard)
- March 26-28, 2021
- Strixhaven Split will feature three League Weekends.
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.
- 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)Edit
- 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)Edit
- 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.
- Elaine Chase (May 29, 2020). "2020 MagicFest And The Future of Tabletop Magic Esports". Magic.gg.