The future of competitive Magic: The Gathering continues to evolve as Wizards of the Coast has just announced the changes coming for the 2020-2021 season to give players a clearer path to reach the highest levels of competition. Whether you prefer to play tabletop Magic or digitally (Magic Arena), there's now a clear path on how you can qualify for the next season's major tournaments like the Players Tour Finals and the Mythic Invitationals.
Here are the ways you can qualify for the 2020-2021 season:
The new competitive structure for tabletop Magic is the Players Tour, which is basically the old Pro Tour system for non-pro players, and there are direct qualifiers for it. There will be three regional Players Tours:
> Players Tour Americas
> Players Tour Europe
> Players Tour Asia-Pacific
There will be three Players Tour events per region, making a total of nine Players Tours per season. The nine Players Tour events will offer approximately 3,600 invites --- double the approximately 1,800 the old Pro Tour/Mythic Championship offered. Players can play in the region they want but they are limited to playing to just one regional Players Tour event per Players Tour Finals.
There are multiple ways players can qualify for the Players Tours. One of the ways you can qualify is through Players Tour Qualifiers, single-day tournaments where the winner will qualify for the Players Tour, similar to the Mythic Championship Qualifiers. You can also get a promo card just by registering for this event, and here's next year's PTQ's promo:
WPN stores will also have their own qualifying events, and each WPN qualifying event will have 32 promo cards to distribute as prizes.
Players can also qualify through premier series events such as as the SCG Tour by Star City Games and the newly created Latam Magic Series from Bazar de Bagda.
The Top 8 of Grand Prix events will also receive invites to the Players Tour, and the winner will receive an invite to the Players Tour Finals.
Here are other ways players can qualify for the Players Tour:
> All players from the previous Finals (details on how top finishers from tabletop Mythic Championships in 2019 will qualify for the Players Tour will be announced prior to Mythic Championship VII)
> Top finishers by record from the previous Players Tour
> All MPL players
> All Rivals players
> Players who finish in the Top 8 or with at least 39 match points at individual Grand Prix
> Top 4 teams and all other teams with at least 36 match points at team Grand Prix
> Last Chance Qualifier winners held the day before Players Tour events
> WPN Qualifiers
> Players Tour Qualifiers
> Premier Series events
> MTGO Qualifiers
> Hall of Fame status
> Discretionary invitations
If you do well enough at a Players Tour, you will qualify for the global Players Tour Finals, and there are three Players Tour Finals each year. Each set of three Players Tour regional events will feed one Players Tour Final. Approximately 120 players will get an invite and each Players Tour Final will have a $250,000 prize pool.
Wizards of the Coast also announced the Rivals League, a talent-development league that will feed the MPL and they consist of the 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
There will also be a tournament at the end of each season that elevates the best Rivals League players to the MPL --and regulates the poorest-performing players to the Rivals League. Here's how it will work according to Wizards of the Coast:
> 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 2 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 MPL Gauntlet tournament will therefore comprise 16 competitors as follows:
> The MPL players ranked 17th–20th
> The Rivals players ranked 3rd–8th on MTG Arena play
> The Rivals players ranked 3rd–8th on tabletop play
The Top 4 players of the MPL Gauntlet will make it to the Magic Pro League. Those who finish 5th to 16th in the MPL Gauntlet will be offered Rivals League contracts, and all points will be reset after this tournament for the beginning of the new season.
For Magic Arena players, there are three Mythic Invitationals in a regular season, each with a $750,000 prize pool, and each will be fed by two Mythic Qualifier tournaments with the top 1,200 ranked players in monthly MTG Arena play in Constructed or Limited at the end of each qualifying month eligible to compete. The Top 16 in each tournament will get an invite for the corresponding Mythic Invitational, and players who make Day 2 will get Mythic Points.
In addition to these details, Wizards of the Coast also announced that the World Championship for the 2019 season will be pushed back from December 2019 to February 2020.
The World Championship for the 2020-2021 season will have a $1 million prize pool and will feature the winners of each Players Tour Finals and the winner of each Mythic Invitational.
Now that there are clear paths to the highest levels of competitive Magic tournaments for both tabletop Magic and Magic Arena, the changes for the next MTG season looks a lot better than the current season.