In an effort to bring esports and tabletop Magic: The Gathering together, 32 Magic Pro League (MPL) players will battle it out in MPL Weekly for a chance to earn a day-one bye at the next MTG Mythic Championship.
MPL Weekly seasons are broken into three splits, with the first one running from May 11 to June 8, airing on MTG’s Twitch channel every Saturday at 2pm CT. The first split will highlight the War of the Spark expansion in Standard constructed play on MTG Arena.
MPL Weekly is hosted by MTG gurus Brian Kibler, Cedric Phillips, and Becca Scott—featuring all 32 MPL players broken up into four divisions. Each division has a video feature match, along with coverage of the other matches taking place.
The week one WotS split feature video matches are Shahar Shenhar vs. Brian Braun-Duin in the Pearl division. Rei Sato vs. Autumn Burchett will battle it out in the Sapphire division, while Ben Stark takes on William Jensen in the Ruby division. The last feature video match is between Grzegorz Kowalski vs. Christian Hauck in the Emerald Division.
Due to the ban of Yuuya Watanabe from the MPL and other conflicts, two matches in week one of MPL Weekly have been postponed. The rescheduled matches are between Martin Jůza and Shota Yasooka, along with Gerry Thompson and Carlos Romão. According to the MPL, a replacement for Watanabe will be announced within the coming week.
MPL Weekly WotS week one metagame and decklists
Based on one MTG Mythic Championship Qualifier (MCQ) and statistics from MTG Arena, it seems like the pros are playing it safe in week one. The War of the Spark expansion brings a ton of power to white, which is why the top two archetypes being played are Azorius Aggro and Esper Control (six each).
While most pros are side-boarding Gideon Blackblade, Reid Duke has him front and center in his Azorius Aggro deck. Other War of the Spark additions to this archetype includes Tefer, Time Raveler, and Law-Rune Enforcer.
Shenhar has the most interesting Esper Control deck, running eight planeswalkers in the main and one in the sideboard. The eight in the main deck include Liliana, Dreadhorde General (1), Narset, Parter of Veils (1), Teferi, Hero of Dominaria (4), and Teferi, Time Raveler (2).
Although it’s surprisingly not the No. 1 archetype, Mono-Red Aggro tied for third with Mono-White Aggro (four each). Many fans will be looking to see how Mono-Red does against the new Mono-White and Azorius Aggro.
After winning the first MTG Mythic Championship, Burchett is bringing a Mono-Red Aggro deck to MPL Weekly. They’re running Chandra, Fire Artisan (2) as the main deck planeswalker and Tibalt, Rakish Instigator (2) in the sideboard.
On the opposite end of Mono-Aggro, Andrea Mengucci (first Mythic Invitational winner) is running Mono-White Aggro. Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants (1) is the only main deck planeswalker, with three Gideon Blackblades in the sideboard.
Close behind the Mono-Aggro decks is the classic Esper Midrange (three each). Rounding out the other archetypes at one a piece is Rakdos Aggro, Bant Midrange, Gruul Aggro, Sultai Midrange, and Dimir control.
Alexander Hayne, who placed in the top eight at Mythic Championship II in London, is bringing a wild Esper Midrange deck featuring nine planeswalkers and three Sorin Vengeful Bloodlord in the main deck alongside four Hero of Precinct One. He’s also only running one Enter the God-Eternals with two more in the sideboard.
Dimir control, built by Kowalski, is an underrated archetype by the pros, but it’s been extremely popular so far in each weekend at MCQ tournaments.
Kowalski’s Dimir control is running two God-Eternal Kefnets as win conditions along with six planeswalkers. One of them is Liliana, Dreadhorde General (2), who kicks out zombie tokens, along with three Enter the God-Eternals, which removes creatures and amasses four zombie token armies.
The Bant Midrange, built by Ken Yukuhiro, is also interesting since it’ll use Growth-Chamber Guardian as the main attack force in combination with War of the Spark planeswalkers Vivien, Champion of the Wilds (4) and Teferi, Time Raveler (3). Yukuhiro also has two Nissa, Who Shakes the World in his sideboard.
MPL Weekly is set to air on May 11 at 2pm CT on the Magic: The Gathering Twitch channel. All of the decks being brought to the week one War of the Spark split are powerful and well built, so it should be entertaining and exciting to see who ends up on top by the end of the day.