Formerly known as the Pro Tour Team Series, the Mythic Championship Team Series remains somewhat of a mystery to many in esports and the MTG community.
Wizards of the Coast formed the Pro Tour Team Series in a soft launch in 2017. The purpose of the league was to officially sanction pro teams in MTG. With the introduction of the Magic Pro League (MPL) this past year, the Pro Tour Team Series was reintroduced as the MTG Mythic Championship Team Series.
What is the Team Series?
The MTG Mythic Championship Team Series focuses solely on tabletop tournaments, rewarding players who perform well throughout a season (year). Any approved team (by WotC) can join the Team Series and can have up to a maximum of six players. Essentially, the former teams under the Pro Tour Team Series transitioned over to the Mythic Championship Team Series.
Each team is given a score based on the performance of players at tabletop tournaments, such as Mythic Championships and MagicFest Grand Prix events. The top five scores of the six players on a team are added after an event and go toward the team’s total points.
At the end of a season, the top four teams will share earnings from a $200,000 prize pool and the top two teams get an invite to the finals. For the 2018-2019 season, the MTG Mythic Championship Team Series finals are taking place in Las Vegas from Aug. 22 to 25.
What’s the difference between the Team Series and the MPL?
When WotC restructured the pro circuit for 2018-2019, several major changes took place, including the formation of the Magic Pro League. Originally designed as a league for the top-ranked pros in MTG (based on tabletop tournament rankings), it’s turned into a mashup of streamers and pros who are represented at the tabletop and digital (MTGA) tournaments.
In the MPL, there aren’t sanctioned teams. Instead, the 32 players are divided into divisions that compete in the MPL Weekly splits. These tournaments are played solely on MTGA, prerecorded, and then streamed on Twitch. The top players in MPL Weekly earn a bye to “day one” digital Mythic Championships.
Pro players who are in the MPL can also participate on teams in the Mythic Championship Team Series. Team ChannelFireball, for example, is made up of MTG pros Luis Scott-Vargas (LSV), Ben Stark, Josh Utter-Leyton, Martin Jůza, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, and Mike Sigrist—only Utter-Leyton and LSV aren’t in the MPL.
Where’s the esports team coverage?
WotC has dropped the ball regarding esports team coverage due to attempting to keep tabletop and digital tournaments separate. In creating the MPL and removing coverage of weekly Grand Prix tournaments (tabletop) over MPL Weekly (MTGA), WotC has divided the MTG community—represented by the abysmal viewership stats for MPL Weekly in the War of the Spark split.
There are 42 sanctioned teams in the Team Series. Most people in the MTG community can only name a handful of them since WotC’s focus on Twitch is MPL Weekly. Grand Prix events are no longer covered and only Mythic Championships (MC) are livestreamed. Even MPL Weekly is prerecorded.
Whether WotC will double down on the new system, in dividing tabletop and digital teams, remains unknown (but likely) at this time. But if changes aren’t made, MTG will never be able to compete with other digital card games, like Hearthstone, on an esports level.