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2020-21 Rivals League
Rivals League logo.png
Date 2020-21
Location MTG Arena
Prize pool $200,000
Winner Eli Kassis
Previous Rivals League:
2020 Rivals League
Next Rivals League:
2021–22 Rivals League

The 2020-21 Rivals League is the Rivals League played in the 2020–21 Players Tour Season. It is the second season to feature a Rivals League.

History[]

The 2020-21 Rivals League was originally planned to be the first Rivals League in a regular season.[1] At the start of the season, it was planned to consist of 46 players as follows:

  • 1st–12th ranked digital players (not previously in the MPL)
  • 1st–12th ranked tabletop players (not previously in the MPL)
  • Bottom 12 players from the MPL Gauntlet
  • The bottom 4 players from the previous MPL season
  • 6 discretionary invites

However, with the cancellation of much of the 2020 Players Tour Season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only the first Players Tour was completed. Hence, the 2020 Rivals league was to be retained, and sixteen players would be added.[2] Wizards of the Coast invited the top seven Mythic Points earning MTG Arena players who were not already a member of the MPL or Rivals League. From tabletop Magic, the top eight players in Player Point standings (not already a member of the MPL or Rivals League) were invited. While difficult circumstances allowed only one series of Players Tours events, they wanted to ensure those players who had tabletop success during the 2020 Partial Season were rewarded for their efforts.

In July 2020 it was announced that Rivals would play against each other in recurring tournaments—League Weekends—where each match would win awards one point toward their league standings.[3] Final league standings at the end of the season, after seven total League Weekends, could place players into the Rivals Gauntlet to determine the new invitees to the following season's MPL and Rivals League. All competitors who continued to succeed in their events across the entire 2020–2021 season—MPL, Rivals League, and Challengers—would receive the best opportunities for an invitation to the next World Championship.[3]

Structure[]

Splits[]

There are three splits during the 2020–2021 season:[3]

  • Zendikar Rising Split (ZNR) features two League Weekends (LW) — October 24-25 and November 7-8..
  • Kaldheim Split (KHM) will feature three League Weekends.
  • Strixhaven Split (STX) will feature three League Weekends.

In total for all League Weekends, the 48 Rivals League players were to compete in 84 matches — a maximum total of 84 points — across seven weekends. Across the first two splits, players would compete intraleague in a complete single-round-robin play against every other competitor, for 47 total matches (after the departure of Handy and Estephan a total of 45 matches). The third split will seed pools of eight or ten players each (as necessary for equal sized pools) based on league standings. Each Strixhaven Split League Weekend will reduce the players competing week over week, locking players into end of season placements and rewards.[4][5] Each weekend results in the remaining top ranked Rivals League players by standings being invited to Magic World Championship XXVII, and the bottom seven ranked Rivals League players being removed from the following League Weekend.

There's a $200,000 prize pool divided across the three splits with $50,000 each, as well as an end-of-season bonus $50,000.

Standing Prize
1-4 $2,250
5-12 $1,500
13-24 $1,250
25-36 $750
37-44 $500
45-48 $250
Total $50,000

Split Championships[]

Three Split Championships each form the culmination of a Split, featuring a $250,000 prize pool with remote play on MTG Arena. On top of League Weekends, MPL and Rivals players will earn points toward their league standings from each split's Championship:[6]

  • 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.

Results[]

For the Rivals League, standings at the end of the season determine the next steps for that player:[3]

  • The Top 4 Rivals League players are invited to the 2021–22 Magic Pro League and qualify for Magic World Championship XXVII.
  • Rivals players 5th through 20th will compete for MPL invitation (and do not face relegation to Challenger) in the MPL Gauntlet.
  • Rivals players 21st through 32nd will battle fellow Rivals and Challengers for the last MPL invites (and do not face relegation to Challenger) in the Rivals Gauntlet.
  • Rivals players 33rd through 36th will retain Rivals League invitation for the 2021–22 Rivals League.
  • Rivals players 37th through 48th will be relegated to the Challengers for the following season.

Roster[]

For this season, the Rivals League roster at first featured 48 players.[7] Besides all 32 players from the aborted previous season, these were the top eight Mythic Point earning players From MTG Arena who were not already a member of the MPL or Rivals League, and the top eight players in Player Points from tabletop Magic who were not already a member of the MPL or Rivals League. While originally there were fourteen new Rivals League slots available, there were ties between 7th and 8th place in both Tabletop (at 20 points)[2] and Arena (at 17 points),[8] so the invites were increased to sixteen. In October 2020, it became apparent that Eric Froehlich was no longer eligible to participate, because his wife had become a fulltime employee of Wizards of the Coast. He was replaced by Austin Bursavich.[9]

After the first Split Championship, both Jessica Estephan (12 wins) and Emma Handy (14 wins) resigned from the league. Estephan was about to emigrate to the US and had found a job that would take up all her time, while Handy had accepted an invitation to become part of the Play Design team at Wizards of the Coast.[10] Per league rules, Rivals members who leave the league mid-season are not replaced. Because both Handy and Estephan had played against some members of the league and not others, all their League Weekend match results (wins and losses) were voided.[10]

Nat. Name MTG Arena handle Qualification ZNR
LW
ZNR
Champ
KHM
LW
KHM
Champ
STX
LW
Finished playing after STX
Champ
Total Rank Result
{BRA} Lucas Esper Berthoud BERTU Bottom 12 MPL 2019 13 10 8 2nd STX League Weekend 31 37 Relegated to Challenger status
{DEU} Kai Budde KAI Top 8 Arena Challenger 2019 11 1 8 22 42 23 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{CZE} Stanislav Cifka STANCIFKA Top 8 Arena Challenger 2019 14 17 14 2nd STX League Weekend 45 2 2021–22 Magic Pro League
and 2021 World Championship
{FRA} Louis Deltour BENICIO Top 8 Tabletop Challenger 2019 11 1 9 19 40 29 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{USA} Kenji Egashira NUMMY Top 8 Arena Challenger 2019 13 12 14 39 32 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{AUS} Jessica Estephan JESSICA Bottom 12 MPL 2019 Withdrawn.[10]
{DEU} Simon Görtzen SIMONGOERTZEN Top 8 Arena Challenger 2019 11 1 12 13 37 33 2021–22 Rivals League
{DEU} Christian Hauck CHAUCKSTER Bottom 12 MPL 2019 15 14 13 42 25 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{CAN} Alexander Hayne HAYNE Bottom 12 MPL 2019 9 15 19 43 19 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{LBN} Eli Kassis GENERALMYTHIC Top 8 Tabletop Challenger 2019 14 17 10 1st STX League Weekend 41 1 2021–22 Magic Pro League
and 2021 World Championship
{POL} Grzegorz Kowalski URLICH Bottom 12 MPL 2019 10 10 4 25 49 7 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{ARG} Matias Leveratto LEVUNGA Top 8 Arena Challenger 2019 10 9 12 2nd STX League Weekend 2 31 38 Relegated to Challenger status
{KOR} Ma No Ah MODIFIED USERNAME Top 8 Tabletop Challenger 2019 11 8 21 3 43 20 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{FRA} Théo Moutier SWIFTH Top 8 Arena Challenger 2019 12 1 10 17 40 30 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{USA} Matt Nass MATTHEWLNASS Bottom 12 MPL 2019 10 9 8 2nd STX League Weekend 2 27 40 Relegated to Challenger status
{USA} Gregory Orange CITR Top 8 Arena Challenger 2019 11 10 8 2nd STX League Weekend 29 39 Relegated to Challenger status
{ARG} Sebastian Pozzo SEBASTIANPOZZO Top 8 Tabletop Challenger 2019 8 1 10 20 39 31 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{USA} John Rolf JROLFMTG Bottom 12 MPL 2019 8 10 5 1st STX League Weekend 23 42 Relegated to Challenger status
{ARG} Luis Salvatto LUISSALVATTO Bottom 12 MPL 2019 9 2 13 2 18 3 47 10 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{DEU} Thoralf Severin TOFFEL Top 8 Tabletop Challenger 2019 13 12 21 46 11 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{USA} Mike Sigrist SIGGY Bottom 12 MPL 2019 14 11 1 19 45 15 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{PRT} Miguel da Cruz Simões EDMVYRUS Top 8 Arena Challenger 2019 13 11 17 41 27 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{USA} Matt Sperling SPERLING Top 8 Tabletop Challenger 2019 16 2 12 2 19 4 55 3 2021–22 Magic Pro League
and 2021 World Championship
{USA} Ben Stark BENS_MTG Bottom 12 MPL 2019 12 7 4 1st STX League Weekend 23 43 Relegated to Challenger status
{USA} Luis Scott-Vargas LSV Top 8 Tabletop Challenger 2019 17 1 7 2 23 50 5 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{JPN} Yoshihiko Ikawa WANDERINGONES Discretionary Invitation 2019
(13th in challengers race)
11 11 2 18 2 44 16 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{PRT} Bernardo Santos BERNARDOCSSA Discretionary Invitation 2019
(14th in challengers race)
15 10 2 17 44 18 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{ESP} Beatriz Grancha ALIADESCHAIN Discretionary Invitation 2019
(20th at Mythic Championship VII)
7 10 5 1st STX League Weekend 22 45 Relegated to Challenger status
{USA} Ally Warfield MEEBO Discretionary Invitation 2019
(14th at Mythic Championship VII)
9 8 6 1st STX League Weekend 23 44 Relegated to Challenger status
{USA} Eli Loveman NEWPLAYER1 Discretionary Invitation 2019
(Mythic Championship II Winner)
8 13 12 2nd STX League Weekend 33 35 2021–22 Rivals League
{USA} Emma Handy EM_TEEGEE Discretionary Invitation 2019
(SCG Commentator)
Withdrawn.[10]
{USA} Corey Burkhart MAGICIAN15 Top 8 Tabletop Player Points 2020 10 2 15 19 2 48 8 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{JPN} Kenta Harane JSP Top 8 Tabletop Player Points 2020 12 9 18 2 41 28 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{JPN} Shintaro Ishimura RIZER Top 8 Tabletop Player Points 2020 15 9 18 1 43 21 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{USA} Zachary Kiihne ZKIIHNE Top 8 Tabletop Player Points 2020 14 14 1 16 45 14 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{SWE} Joel Larsson HEFFAKLUMPEN Top 8 Tabletop Player Points 2020 7 9 5 1st STX League Weekend 21 46 Relegated to Challenger status
{JPN} Yuta Takahashi DAZAI Top 8 Tabletop Player Points 2020 13 14 21 3 51 4 2021–22 Magic Pro League
and 2021 World Championship
{NLD} Brent Vos UNDUTCHABLE Top 8 Tabletop Player Points 2020 8 11 12 2nd STX League Weekend 3 31 36 2021–22 Rivals League
{USA} Jacob Wilson CZECHIAHONEY Top 8 Tabletop Player Points 2020 15 2 7 1 21 46 12 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{FRA} Matthieu Avignon EMRAKUL Top 8 MTG Arena Mythic Points 2020 12 7 23 42 26 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{JPN} Riku Kumagai KUMAZEMI Top 8 MTG Arena Mythic Points 2020 10 15 4 19 2 50 6 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{USA} Chris Botelho CHRISB Top 8 MTG Arena Mythic Points 2020 13 12 2 17 44 17 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{SVK} Ivan Floch LAW Top 8 MTG Arena Mythic Points 2020 13 13 15 1 42 24 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{CZE} Jakub Toth FLASHJACK Top 8 MTG Arena Mythic Points 2020 8 2 12 20 1 43 22 2020–21 Rivals Gauntlet
{PRT} Frederico Bastos BAXTOX Top 8 MTG Arena Mythic Points 2020 14 8 14 36 34 2021–22 Rivals League
{JPN} Ryuzo Fujie RYUZO Top 8 MTG Arena Mythic Points 2020 8 11 7 2nd STX League Weekend 1 26 41 Relegated to Challenger status
{ITA} Luca Magni LORDOFIRONFORGE Top 8 MTG Arena Mythic Points 2020 11 4 13 2 16 46 13 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet
{USA} Austin Bursavich PERCALERT Discretionary Invitation 2020
(2020 Grand Finals Champion)
11 1 12 3 20 47 9 2020–21 MPL Gauntlet

Notes[]

^† League Points not awarded because the player had their position locked earlier.

See also[]

References[]

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