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Challenger Gauntlet Viewers Guide

July 27, 2021
Wizards of the Coast

Four seats at Magic World Championship XXVII. Eight qualifications to the Rivals Gauntlet postseason playoff. One weekend for the rising and resurgent players from beyond the MPL and Rivals League to claim it all at the Challenger Gauntlet.


Streaming live online competition through MTG Arena, the world will watch incredible Magic players from across the 2020-21 Magic season face off in both Standard and Historic formats.

Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms joined Standard and Historic just in time for these elite players to put it to test, expanding the possibilities for an amazing weekend of competitive Magic.

How Can I Follow the Event?

The Challenger Gauntlet broadcasts live August 6–8 on twitch.tv/magic beginning at 9 a.m. PT (4 p.m. UTC) each day.

For the metagame, decklists, match-by-match updates, player details, live streaming, and more start with the Challenger Gauntlet event page. You'll also find exclusive content by following @MagicEsports on Twitter. Plus, share your excitement throughout the Gauntlet weekend across social media with the hashtag #ChallengerGauntlet!

When Will Gauntlet Decklists Be Published?

All decklists will be published on the Challenger Gauntlet event page at the beginning of Round 1 on Friday, August 6.

The metagame details and breakdown analysis by Magic Hall of Famer Frank Karsten will be published on August 5.

Broadcast Schedule

Friday, August 6: 9 a.m. PDT / 4 p.m. UTC / 1 a.m. JST (June 5)

  • Broadcast ends after Round 6.

Saturday, August 7: 9 a.m. PDT / 4 p.m. UTC / 1 a.m. JST (June 6)

  • Broadcast ends after Round 12—plus any tiebreaker matches to be completed—and the Top 12 is announced.

Sunday, August 8: 9 a.m. PDT / 4 p.m. UTC / 1 a.m. JST (June 7)

  • Broadcast ends after the Challenger Gauntlet Top 12 playoff is complete.

You can watch the entire Gauntlet live on twitch.tv/magic.

Who Are the Casters?


Can I Co-Stream the Event?

Following Twitch's Content Sharing Guidelines, you can co-stream the Challenger Gauntlet broadcast from twitch.tv/magic using OBS or XSplit. This allows anyone on Twitch to cover the event in their voice and with their community. Co-streamed content is not endorsed by Wizards, and participants in co-streaming should follow Wizards' Fan Content Policy guidelines.

Who Is Playing?

24 players from across the major events of the 2020-21 season—the Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, and Strixhaven Championships—continue their journey to qualify for Magic World Championship XXVII and future competitive events.

First Last Invitation Source
Brad Barclay Zendikar Rising Championship
Michael Bernat Kaldheim Championship
Ian Birrell Kaldheim Championship
Ron Branchaud Strixhaven Championship
John Girardot Strixhaven Championship
Arne Huschenbeth Kaldheim Championship
David Inglis Strixhaven Championship
Evan Kaplan Kaldheim Championship
Matti Kuisma Strixhaven Championship
Lars Luckhaupt Strixhaven Championship
Jan Merkel Zendikar Rising Championship
João Moreira Kaldheim Championship
Noriyuki Mori Kaldheim Championship
Logan Nettles Strixhaven Championship
Yohei Nomiya Kaldheim Championship
Sam Pardee Strixhaven Championship
Tomas Pokorny Zendikar Rising Championship
Toni Ramis Pascual Zendikar Rising Championship
Sam Rolph Strixhaven Championship
Keisuke Sato Kaldheim Championship
Gavin Thompson Zendikar Rising Championship
Bernardo Torres Zendikar Rising Championship
Tim Wan Zendikar Rising Championship
Piotr Wiktorzak Zendikar Rising Championship

How Will the Tournament Play Out?

Both Standard and Historic Constructed formats will be used for the Challenger Gauntlet, covering six Swiss rounds of Standard and Historic each across two days. As players earn their ninth match win, they will automatically advance to the Top 12 playoff. Final standings at the end of Round 12 will determine any remaining Top 12 slots available after all players with nine wins have advanced—and any ties for 4th or 12th place will be determined by an additional tiebreaker round played with Standard Constructed.

The Top 12 playoff will feature exclusively Standard Constructed.

Day One: Historic and Standard Constructed

  • Six Swiss rounds, with records and match points carrying over to Day Two.
    • Rounds 1–3: Historic Constructed
    • Rounds 4–6: Standard Constructed
  • All matches are best two-out-of-three games.
  • 30-minute timer for each player, each match.

Day Two: Historic and Standard Constructed

  • Six Swiss rounds, ending to a Top 12 cut.
    • Rounds 7–9: Historic Constructed
    • Rounds 10–12: Standard Constructed
  • All matches are best two-out-of-three games.
  • 30-minute timer for each player, each match.
  • Players who earn their ninth match win are advanced to Top 12 and do not compete in additional Swiss rounds.
    • Players tied for 4th or 12th place will play an additional tiebreaker round using Standard Constructed to determine playoff seeding.

Day Three: Top 12 Playoff



The Top 12 plays out through an elimination bracket to determine the four competitors for Magic World Championship XXVII.

  • Top 12 is seeded into the playoff bracket based on the order their ninth match win is earned, and final standings after 12 rounds.
    • Players in 1st through 4th of standings are seeds 1–4 in the Upper Bracket. Players in 5th through 12th are seeds 5-12 in the Lower Bracket.
    • The Upper Bracket plays one match, the winner qualifying for the World Championship and the loser moving to another play-in match in the Lower Bracket.
    • The Lower Bracket is single elimination, including the playoff matches against the losers of the upper bracket.
  • All matches are best two-out-of-three games.
  • The player with the higher seed chooses the play/draw order for players at the beginning of each match.

Using their time banks in MTG Arena, players will compete through every game and match as intentional draws and concessions aren't permitted. Check out the Challenger Gauntlet Information for Invitees for the complete tournament rules for competitors.

What Do Players Win?

The Top 4 finishing players qualify for Magic World Championship XXVII and receive invitations to the Magic Pro League for the 2021-22 season. Players finishing 5th through 12thth qualify for the Rivals Gauntlet and receive invitations to the Rivals League for the 2021-22 season. All players, including those finishing 13th through 24th, will receive invitation to compete in the Innistrad Championship.

Do Players Get Anything Else?

Participants will receive a package of Challenger Gauntlet gear provided by Magic Esports, including an exclusive playmat featuring the art of the key set artwork for Strixhaven: School of Mages:

  • Challenger Gauntlet backpack patch
  • Gauntlet of Power Masterpiece Series by John Severin Brassell playmat
  • Pewter Challenger Gauntlet medal
  • Modern Horizons 2 Draft Boosters






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