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2021–22 Players Tour Season
World Champion TBA
Hall of Fame inductions TBA
PTs 3 Set Championships
Grand Prix None
Previous season:
2020-21
Next season:
2022-23

The 2021–22 Players Tour season is the twenty-seventh Players Tour season (a.k.a. the Pro Tour). It is yet another bridge season and started in December 2021.

Description[]

The 2021–2022 season's primary goals are to sunset the previous system of play and allow Wizards of the Coast the freedom and flexibility to create a new play system for the future.[1]

This Organized Play season is not expected to feature any tabletop events.[2]

Esports[]

In May 2021, Magic Esports announced a return to in-person play post COVID-19 for the 2022–23 Players Tour Season.[2] Although digital play was considered to be an ongoing feature, it is supposed to be only part of the equation going forward.

As a result, the 2021–22 Players Tour Season is the last season featuring the MPL and the Rivals League. Along the way, the season will also see a reduced total number of events for the Rivals and Magic Pro Leagues. League Weekends and the Gauntlets are not run in 2021–2022.[2] Players are not competing for another League season. Instead, they are competing for a place in the World Championship. This actually means that the players will be paid what they are due, but that the required playing is vastly reduced.[3]

The existing Set Championship structure remained in place, but Wizards of the Coast increased the prize pool and updated the prize structure compared to the Strixhaven Championship. The three Set Championships are the only major events of this season. The season will culminate in post-season play and the 2022 World Championship. This structure is not meant to be a template for the future.

The 2021-2022 Esports season begins with the same size leagues as the beginning of 2020–2021 with 24 players in the MPL and 48 players in the Rivals League.[4]

The World Championship will feature a prize pool of $250,000.[2]

Leagues[]

Splits[]

The 2021-2022 Magic Esports season doesn't feature splits, which used to be several months of competitive play tied to an upcoming set release.

Set Championships[]

Three Set Championships each will feature prize pools of $450,000 per event.[2] Players earn invites to the 2022 World Championship through success in these Championships: those who make Top 6 (win one game in the playoff bracket) attain automatic invites, while the rest will contend on the wins leaderboard.

The format structure is dependent on the chosen format for the Top 8. If the Top 8 is Historic, then Historic takes up seven rounds and Standard or Alchemy takes up eight, and vice versa. Friday starts with with three rounds of the Top 8 format, followed by four rounds of the other format. Any kind of positive record (4-3 or better) is enough to advance players to Day Two. On Saturday, eight more rounds await the survivors, with the Top 8 format first followed by the secondary format in the afternoon. On Day Two, 12 match wins guarantee a seat on Sunday for the Top 8. The six players who win a match in the Top 8 will be qualified for the World Championship.

World Championship Qualifying Points (WCQPs) are earned directly from performance in Championship events.[5] Each match point earned in Championship event is a WCQP, with four (4) additional points awarded to the two Top 8 players that lose out in the playoff and finish outside of the Top 6 in each Championship.

Players that earn invitation through a Top 6 finish in a Championship do not create pass-down invitations by finishing in the Top 6 in multiple events, and do not factor into at-large invitations based on WQCPs. Any player with multiple qualifications for the World Championship creates an at-large invitation—and if no player secures multiple qualifications, then there will be no at-large invitations.

The field for each of the the championship events come from one of five broad groups:

Schedule[]

Innistrad Championship[]

The Innistrad Championship was tied to both Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow. With the main gauntlets of the previous season taking place on September 2, 2021 there wasn't room for a separate championship for each of these sets apart. 252 players — the MPL and Rivals League, top-finishing players from the 2021 Gauntlets and Strixhaven Championship, plus qualifying players across MTG Arena, Magic Online and the Premier Series — competed for six Magic World Championship slots and qualifying points for their journey to the final event of the 2021-22 season.

With no major events since Worlds, Standard was not expected to have evolved much. With Crimson Vow giving cards to all archetypes, on balance this meant the headliners from Worlds stayed on top, with Izzet and Izzet-adjacent decks taking up 50% of the field, followed by Mono-White at 20% and Mono-Green at 10%. In contrast, Historic Horizons was finally available for tournament play, and with an influx of a thousand new cards made for a broader metagame for once; the Other category had a 7% lead on the top deck otherwise in Selesnya Humans. That said, most of the top decks were improved versions of prior Historic decks, with Izzet Phoenix, Jeskai Control, BGx Food and Rakdos Arcanist making up the top tier. Wx Auras fell in popularity, while the top decks that did not exist without Historic Horizons were Mono-Red Madness (Blazing Rootwalla, Dragon's Rage Channeler) and Azorius Affinity (Nettlecyst, Thought Courier) at five pilots each. At the end of Day 1, Rival Christian Hauck and Challenger Tim MacSaveny went 7-0, with 14 players following at 6-1, including World Champions Takahashi, Jensen, Budde and Shenhar.[8]

Both Hauck and MacSaveny kept up their record through the Historic rounds, putting them at 9-2 and fourth and second respectively after the Historic rounds, but Yuuki Ichikawa took top place at 10-1. Hauck was the first to lock the 12th win in Round 14, with the rest coming in in the final round; a pairings oddity (3rd place Ichikawa played 19th place Reid Duke) and high relative breakers meant there were seven win and ins. A Japanese team headlined by Kumagai and Takahashi made up half the Top 8. Other notable players at 11 points were Sam Rolph, Shahar Shenhar, Shota Yasooka, and Logan Nettles.[9]

The Golgari Food deck was the deck of the Top 8, held back only by being all on the same side of the bracket. Görtzen narrowly escaped into the championship match against Kumagai, but Food knocked out the other archetypes in the lower bracket, with the deck making up the rest of the Top 4. Ichikawa was the last player standing from his team, and despite Görtzen stealing the first match and the third match's first game, the Food deck stood victorious.[10][11]

Place Player Prize PWQ Points Standard Deck Historic Deck Comments
1 {JPN} Yuuki Ichikawa $20,000 36 Izzet Epiphany Golgari Food Third PT Top 8
2 {DEU} Simon Görtzen $15,000 36 Mono-Black Zombies Izzet Phoenix Rivals. Third PT Top 8
3 {JPN} Riku Kumagai $11,000 33 Izzet Epiphany Golgari Food MPL. Third PT Top 8
4 {JPN} Toru Saito $9,000 36 Izzet Epiphany Golgari Food
5 {USA} Zachary Kiihne $6,500 36 Izzet Epiphany Izzet Phoenix Rivals. Second PT Top 8
6 {JPN} Akaike Yo $6,500 33 Izzet Epiphany Jeskai Creativity
7 {DEU} Christian Hauck $5,000 43 Mono Green Aggro Selesnya Humans Rivals League. Second PT Top 8
8 {JPN} Yuta Takahashi $5,000 37 Izzet Epiphany Izzet Phoenix MPL. Fifth PT Top 8. Reigning World Champion
^† Removed from the leaderboard because of their qualification for Worlds.

Neon Dynasty Championship[]

229 players competed in the first ever Alchemy tournament.[13] The introduction of this digital-only format distanced Magic E-sports away from the traditional paper play.

The rebalancing of Alrund's Epiphany pushed it far enough down that Blue was relegated to being a support color, starting with Azorius control. White gained the most from the new Alchemy cards, making up the top 65% of decks and some number in the "others" column, with Mono-White being the top represented at 23%. Metagame favorite Naya Runes came in second at 18%, behind the "others" selection at 19.7%. Historic had deposed its Green creature decks from the last Championship, with Blue Jeskai decks taking up 57% of the top archetypes, Izzet Phoenix again at the top at 25% and previous dominator Golgari Food hanging in at 8.7% as the only green representative. The "others" category brought up second at 23.6% of the metagame. At the end of Day 1, MPL mainstay Jean-Emmanuel Depraz and long-time streamer Jim Davis were the 7-0 players, while current Rivals League leader Christian Hauck fell behind in the race with a 2-5 record.[14]

Davis ran up the scoreboard to a straight 12-0, a first in the Set Championship era. Depraz's 12th win came in round 14, with Zach Dunn, Shota Yasooka and Brent Vos being the 11-3 players, leaving six players to be confirmed for round 15. Yasooka lost the pair down to Yimin Zhi, landing Shota at 10th, while Dunn lost to Vos and the two landed at sixth and third respectively. The other players were Yudai Miyano defeating Gregory Orange, Jonny Guttman defeating Lukas Honney, and Eli Kassis defeating Aleksander Kozina. Other players at 11-4 include Ondřej Stráský, Shuhei Nakamura, and David Inglis.

Alchemy's ultimate impact was fortunately from one of the less outlandish designs in Citystalker Connoisseur, a powerful but fair value card - five of the eight decks used playsets in their midrange lists. The rebalanced cards also had a significant impact, with Triumphant Adventurer also appearing in four of those five decks. On the poor-performance end of the spectrum, Naya Runestorm was notably ineffectual thanks to a large contingent of white hate cards. The finals came down to a Orzhov semi-mirror, with Kassis's Legend-and-Venture-heavier build defeating Dunn's red splash for Fable of the Mirror Breaker .

Place Player Prize PWQ Points Alchemy Deck Historic Deck Comments
1 {LBN} Eli Kassis $20,000 37 Orzhov Venture Izzet Phoenix MPL. Second PT Top 8.
2 {USA} Zach Dunn $15,000 37 Mardu Midrange Rakdos Arcanist
3 {JPN} Yudai Miyano $11,000 37 Esper Clerics Rakdos Sacrifice Pro Tour Debut.
4 {CAN} Jonny Guttman $9,000 37 Mono-White Taxes Golgari Food
5 {FRA} Jean-Emmanuel Depraz $6,500 43 Jeskai Hinata Azorius Affinity MPL. Fifth PT Top 8
6 {CHN} Yimin Zhi $6,500 37 Mardu Midrange Rakdos Arcanist
7 {USA} Jim Davis $5,000 49 Grixis Midrange Azorius Auras
8 {NLD} Brent Vos $5,000 40 Orzhov Venture Izzet Phoenix Rivals. Second PT Top 8.
^† Removed from the leaderboard because of their qualification for Worlds.


Christian Hauck's 2-5 record put him at 49, but strong finishes by other League members left him at equal 24th with Brent Vos. Shota Yasooka was Top 16 in both the Innistrad and Kamigawa Championships, putting him at the lead with 66 points, Logan Nettles following just behind at 63; at 60 are Reid Duke, Shintaro Ishimura, and Strasky.

On the challenger's side, Yuma Koizumi and Orange requalified for New Capenna with two 10-5 records and 60 qualifying points, while Simon Nielsen and Tristan Wylde-LaRue both requalified through Premier Series at 57 points, giving them for good odds for Worlds. Lukesch Camillo achieved 57 without a requalification. Though Jim Davis ultimately ended in 7th place and didn't qualify for Worlds here, the top overall seed granted him 49 points and 5th of requalified challengers.

New Capenna Championship[]

  • May 20-22, 2022 (Standard Top 8, Historic secondary).

223 players competed in the New Capenna Championship.

Historic continued to depict a nearly solved format; Phoenix remained the top player at 31% as new sets continued giving it minor upgrades, with Golgari Food, Azorius Auras and Azorius Affinity (the only new competitor) starting at 18% and dropping. Standard, however, had continual shakeups, considering Alchemy was the previous championship. Faceless Haven's banning meant mono-color lost most of its lustre, and at the same time, Streets of New Capenna's trilands gave three-color midrange consistency. The Esper control deck added more creatures, while the Orzhov decks swapped their Alchemy-powered Venture cards for Blue planeswalkers and countermagic, resulting in Esper at the top with 35% with returning Kamigawa deck Runes second at 13.5%, shared with a newcomer in Jeskai Storm, a successor to Goldspan Dragon-based Jeskai Mutate decks from the previous rotation. At the end of Day 1, Stefan Schutz and David Inglis posted undefeated records, putting Inglis at equal second out of the League players, but amongst 21 others that could overtake him. Orange, Koizumi, Nielsen and Wylde-Larue all made Day 2, locking their Challengers Worlds spots.

In Day 2, Inglis made for the first 36-pointer, locking his Worlds spots in the process. Yasooka's great performance in the prior two Championships also locked his Worlds spot when he reached 30 points even though his record faltered later on. Reid Duke and Nathan Steuer also locked their World spots partway through the day. For Round 15, Mike Sigrist defeated Nielsen with both making it; Hisamichi Yoshigoe defeats Sam Rolph, Kiihne defeated Guttman, Yasooka defeated Tobia Nappi, Karl Sarap defeated Schutz and Jan-Moritz Merkel defeated Kassis. Rolph, Guttman and Matti Kuisma also scored 33 points - Kuisma would also make Worlds through this record.

For Worlds invites, Logan Nettles would be the last player from League, with Julian Wellman, Lukas Honnay and Drew Baker making up the Challengers. Jim Davis managed to keep his lead despite missing Day 2. Due to Kiihne, Yasooka and Inglis having overlapping invites, Jacub Tóth will also make it in through being the next in line.

While the field was paced by blue-black decks in Esper and Grixis, the archetype winners were the white-red decks in Hinata, Goldspan Storm and Naya. Esika's Chariot made a resurgence with much more front-loaded power than the slower Wedding Announcement. In the end, Merkel's dark horse Hinata deck overcame the Nielsen's popular Esper deck.

Place Player Prize PWQ Points Standard Deck Historic Deck Comments
1 {DEU} Jan-Moritz Merkel $20,000 37 Jeskai Hinata Rakdos Arcanist MPL. Third PT Top 8, second win
2 {DNK} Simon Nielsen $15,000 43 Esper Midrange Selesnya Humans
3 {JPN} Hisamichi Yoshigoe $11,000 40 Naya Midrange Rakdos Arcanist Pro Tour Debut.
4 {USA} Mike Sigrist $9,000 40 Grixis Vampires Izzet Phoenix Rivals. Fourth PT Top 8.
5 {USA} David Inglis $6,500 36 Jeskai Goldspan Storm Golgari Food Rivals. Second PT Top 8.
6 {EST} Karl Sarap $6,500 33 Jund Midrange Selesnya Humans
7 {USA} Zachary Kiihne $5,000 40 Esper Midrange Golgari Food Rivals. Third PT Top 8
8 {JPN} Shota Yasooka $5,000 37 Jund Midrange Izzet Phoenix Rivals. Sixth PT Top 8
^† Removed from the leaderboard because of their qualification for Worlds.

2022 World Championship[]

As the 2021-22 season progressed, the 32 names to participate in the World Championship were revealed.

References[]

  1. MagicEsports (November 16, 2021). "World Championship XXVIII and your 2021-22 Magic Pro League and Rivals League members!". Reddit.
  2. a b c d e Wizards of the Coast (May 13, 2021). "Esports: Transistions And Getting Back To The Gathering". Magic.gg.
  3. The new ORGANIZED PLAY announcement and how it affects competitive players (Video). Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa. YouTube (May 14, 2021).
  4. Ben Drago and Bear Watson (August 27, 2020). "Esports Update: Changes to 2020-2021 Magic Pro League Play". Magic.gg.
  5. Wizards of the Coast (November 15, 2021). "World Championship XXVIII And The 2021-22 Sesson Leagues". Magic.gg.
  6. Wizards of the Coast (July 22, 2020). "World Championship XXVII Formats and the Innistrad Championship". Magic.gg.
  7. Wizards of the Coast (November 22, 2021). "THe World Championship Journey Begins At the Innistrad Championship". Magic.gg.
  8. Corbin Hosler (December 4, 2021). "Innistrad Championship Day One Highlights". Magic.gg.
  9. Corbin Hosler (December 5, 2021). "Innistrad Championship Day Two Highlights". Magic.gg.
  10. Corbin Hosler (December 6, 2021). "Innistrad Championship Top 8 Highlights". Magic.gg.
  11. Corbin Hosler (December 6, 2021). "Title Match of the Innistrad Championship". Magic.gg.
  12. Wizards of the Coast (January 17, 2022). "Neon Dynasty Championship". Magic.gg.
  13. Mani Davoudi (March 8, 2022). "The Neon Dynasty Championship Alchemy Primer". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Corbin Hosler (March 12, 2022). "Neon Dynasty Championship Day 1 Highlights". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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