This weekend’s May Strixhaven League Weekend concluded a tumultuous week in competitive Magic: The Gathering with one more player earning a World Championship XXVI invite.
Rivals League’s Stanislav Cifka has joined Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Eli Kassis, and Ondřej Stráský as confirmed participants at Worlds. Kassis and Stráský qualified as the top finishers in the April Strixhaven League Weekend.
Damo da Rosa was already qualified for Worlds as the reigning World Champion. His top finish this weekend earns him an invite to the MPL next season and avoids the postseason tournaments.
What Damo da Rosa and the rest of the players will compete for next season is unclear with the announcement that organized play will undergo a major shift starting with the 2021-22 season. Wizards of the Coast announced the changes which include the elimination of League Weekends and that next year will be the last for the MPL and Rivals League.
Players that qualify this year will play next season as members of the leagues and compete in set championships. Without regular League Weekend competition, it’s unclear what other opportunities these players will get to compete against each other.
Cifka earned his qualification in a best-of-three tiebreaker series against Matt Sperling with a Worlds invitation on the line. In the Sultai Ultimatum mirror, it was Cifka that was better suited in the matchup and came away with the victory.
Sperling remains at the top of the Rivals League going into the final two events, the Strixhaven Championship and July Strixhaven League Weekend. Sperling will be looking to fend off the surging Luis Scott-Vargas who went undefeated in the weekend’s Historic rounds.
In the MPL, a trio of hall of famers is fighting for the next round of Worlds qualifications. Gabriel Nassif, Seth Manfield, and Reid Duke are all within three points of each other. A strong performance at the Strixhaven Championship could be a turning point for one of these players to establish a comfortable lead.
Another League Weekend means another round of relegation for the bottom-ranked players in the MPL and Rivals League.
The MPL’s Autumn Burchett, Shahar Shenhar, and Brian Braun-Duin will be relegated to the Rivals League next season. Matt Nass, Ryuzo Fujie, Lucas Esper, Matias Leveratto, and Greg Orange will be dropped from the Rivals League and compete as Challengers next season.
Magic Esports continues with the Strixhaven Championship on June 4 to 6 on the Magic Twitch channel. Up to four points are up for grabs for the League players. Challengers that earn a top finish can lock in a spot in the Challenger Gauntlet on Aug. 6 to win an invite to Worlds.