13, May, 21

Wizards of the Coast Plan to Remove MPL and Rivals League After 2020-21 Season

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Wizards of the Coast provide an announcement on competitive MTG play.
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Earlier today, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) provided an update on the future of competitive Magic: The Gathering (MTG) play.

Competitive MTG has taken a backfoot during the COVID-19 pandemic, with plenty of focus falling on MTG Arena to maintain interest. However, WoTC are looking to make changes over the next year or so which could provide a clearer picture of the competitive landscape.

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Wizards of the Coast Provide Update on Competitive MTG Play

Announced on Magic.gg, WoTC are looking to revise the current competitive system with no timescale on when that update will be. However, WoTC reiterated the key points below which could provide insight into the future of competitive play.

In-person play is a unique strength for Magic, and we need to lean into that. That means local tournaments, large regional tournaments, and high-level in-person events.

Digital play is here to stay but is only part of the equation. We’ve seen great players rise from the digital ranks, and we’ve seen what’s possible with digital events. Expect the future to hold a mix of digital and in-person events.

Accessibility is important, and that means broader access to play. We’re looking at everything, from local events and the success of CommandFests to creating even more levels of play that are open to a broader swath of players. A larger audience means more types of events.

We need to be patient. While we’re optimistic for a future when we can gather, we also have to be realistic that high-level Magic tournaments combine travel, close contact indoors, and sharing air space for long periods of time—all traits that create difficulties during a pandemic. We will focus on local, regional, and digital events until we can safely gather.

Flexibility is important as we re-establish tabletop play. Our system may need regular updating as play and travel become safer.

– Supplied by Wizards of the Coast on magic.gg

While the update feels vague, there could be potential for some competitive play in the future. It’s clear that WotC acknowledges tabletop play being a huge part of the game. Hopefully, we’ll see events outside of the usual CommandFest events that became popular before the COVID-19 pandemic.


WotC did confirm they are looking to update the system with a less top-heavy system to encourage more players to participate competitively. With that, WotC are also looking to revise the qualification system through MTG Arena so it’ll be interesting to see what happens there.

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MTG Community Reacts to the Update

One thing WotC didn’t mention was the end of the Magic Pro League (MPL) and Rivals League. After the 2020-2021 season, there will be no Magic Pro structure nor will there be any intention to revert back to the old model. This was confirmed by Austin Bursavich (@mtghofbot), champion of the Season 2020 Grand Finals.

The MPL and Rivals League was introduced in 2019 which consisted of players from around the world who were offered contracts by WotC. Players competed in seasonal weekly competitive match-ups on MTG Arena, and in Mythic-level tournaments which extended to tabletop play.

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It brought a re-brand of the system with Mythic Championships replacing the well-loved Pro Tour title. Even then, we saw the first-ever Mythic Invitational back in 2019 which saw players play for a slice of the $1,000,000 prize pool. With this, it put MTG into Esports territory given the rising popularity of MTG Arena and the prize payouts to support it.

It’s in bad taste to omit this news from the announcement while Rivals and MPL players were told in private. It’s unfortunate to see WotC annul high-level competitive play for the time being. Let’s hope high-level competitive play can return in a tabletop setting in 2022.

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