The MPL Gauntlet was a Magic Esports tournament that was planned to be organized at the end of each regular MPL season. These playoffs elevated the best Rivals League players to the MPL, and relegated the poorest-performing MPL players to the Rivals League.
The original plan for the MPL Gauntlet was as follows:
- The Top 16 players in the MPL automatically remain in the MPL for the next season.
- The bottom 4 players in the MPL will be relegated to the Rivals League and cannot participate in the MPL Gauntlet.
- The Top ranked players from the Rivals League in both MTG Arena and tabletop play will automatically be offered MPL contracts and won't participate in the MPL Gauntlet.
- The Top ranked players who aren't part of either the MPL or Rivals League in both MTG Arena and tabletop play will automatically be offered MPL contracts and won't participate in the MPL Gauntlet.
- The MPL Gauntlet tournament would therefore comprise 16 competitors as follows:
- The Top 3 players in the MPL Gauntlet tournament would make it to the MPL.
- Players who finished 4th-16th MPL Gauntlet would be offered Rivals League contracts.
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 MPL for the following season.
- All other players will be invited to the Rivals League for the following season.
In May 2021, Magic Esports announced a return to in-person play post COVID-19 for the 2022–23 Players Tour Season. Although digital play was considered here to stay it was supposed to be only part of the equation going forward. As a result, the 2021–22 Players Tour Season is going to be the last season featuring the MPL and the Rivals League. Players will not be competing for another League season. Instead, they'll be competing for a place in the World Championship.
- Elaine Chase (August 14, 2019). "The Future of Magic Esports". Magic Esports.
- David McCoy (February 7, 2020). "Wizards Confirms Changes to Invitation Criteria for the MPL’s 2020-21 Season". Hipsters of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (July 14). "The 2020-2021 Magic Pro League Season Overview". Magic.gg.
- Wizards of the Coast (May 13, 2021). "Esports: Transistions And Getting Back To The Gathering". Magic.gg.