Wizards outlines MTG Zendikar Rising split, future of League play

League performance will determine World Championship qualification.

Mythic Championship MTG Trophy
Image via WotC Magic: The Gathering

The Zendikar Rising split’s initial League Weekend on Oct. 24 and 25 marks the beginning of the 2020-2021 Magic esports season and its updated format, Wizards announced in detail today.

Three splits make up the 2020-2021 season, with a total of seven League Weekends. Zendikar Rising split has two events, one in October and another scheduled for Nov. 7 and 8.

The unknown set after Zendikar Rising, codenamed “Equestrian,” has two events. The third event of the season, “Fencing,” features three League Weekends and a different tournament structure.

In the first two splits, players will have round-robin intraleague play for the Magic Pro League and Rivals League. The MPL competes in a double-round-robin format totaling 46 matches. The Rivals League competes in a single-round-robin format totaling 47 matches. Each victory awards one point toward their league standings.

Each split has a championship, beginning with the Zendikar Rising Championship, which awards points toward the league standings. The upcoming Zendikar Rising Championship has a $250,000 prize pool and top players from Qualifier Weekends, 2020 Partial Season events, and Rivals League and MPL members.

  • Nine wins awards one point toward league standings (the same as winning one match during a League Weekend).
  • Ten wins awards two points toward league standings.
  • Eleven wins awards three points toward league standings.
  • Making top eight of a split’s Championship earns four points toward league standings.

The final split Fencing is a two-day intraleague tournament but will be played in seed pods of eight or 10 players each based on league standings, Wizards announced.

  • Each weekend will use two formats, one each day.
  • Each day is six swiss rounds.
  • Pools will be reseeded every three rounds based on updated league standings.
  • Each round will be power paired. Players can’t play the same person twice in the same day.
  • Each match win is worth one point toward league standings.

The bottom-three MPL players and the bottom-seven Rivals League players from the first weekend are removed from the following weekend. Fencing split League Weekends will lock players into final season placements and rewards. The top-ranked MPL and Rivals League players by standings will be invited to Magic World Championship XXVII. 

Image via WotC Magic: The Gathering

Wizards also announced its preliminary vision for the World Championship, which is tentatively planned for the summer of 2021 as an on-location event. The tournament will feature the best 16 players within the MPL and from the postseason, including Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, the reigning 2019 Magic: The Gathering world champion, the top four MPL players from the season standings, the top four Rivals League players from the season standings, the winner and finalist from the MPL Gauntlet, the winner of the Rivals Gauntlet, and the top four Challengers from the Challenger Gauntlet.