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Esports Update – Paths to the MPL, Tabletop Fractional Invites, and More

October 29, 2019
Ben Drago and Bear Watson

We're back!

First, congratulations to Javier Dominguez for his win at Mythic Championship V. We're excited to see who locks in the next Magic World Championship slot at Mythic Championship VI in Richmond.

Javier Dominguez

We've got a bunch of updates for you all, so let's jump right in!

Magic Esports

We keep adding new features to the website, making things more engaging and easier to navigate—including our recently rolled out decklist beta. It allows you to view, share, and download decklists directly from the site.

Decklists are still in beta, but we plan on lifting that tag in the next few weeks as the final optimization dust settles in. This week's Eldraine Split Pearl Division decklists are a great place to see the decklist beta in action. As always, feel free to reach out to @MagicEsports with feedback and what you'd like to see.

Paths to the MPL

When we announced the new structure in August, a common piece of feedback was that if a player had an exceptional year or won the Magic World Championship it felt strange for them not to be in the MPL the following season.

For the Magic World Championship, we agree. We'll extend an invitation to the winner to join the MPL the following season, if they're not already qualified. Winning the Magic World Championship is the pinnacle achievement of high-level play, and that player should be ensured a spot at the top end of the system. For the 2019 Magic World Championship, we'll be inviting that player to the 2020-2021 Season's MPL and skipping the partial season.

For players who had an exceptional year, we'll be ensuring that we have both the quantity and correct point weighting on events to make sure consistent performance matters more than any singular event. We'll keep an eye on the churn and promotion in the system next year, and make any adjustments if the system is off.

MTG Arena

2020's Mythic Invitationals

We were hoping to be able to talk about next year's Mythic Invitationals, but we need a bit more time to lock down some details. You can expect an update from us in the November Esports Update.

Handling Bugs and Crashes at Events

During Mythic Championship V we had four matches that were adversely impacted by a reconnection bug on MTG Arena. There was also an internet outage during Round 1 of Day Two that impacted all non-feature match PCs, and the reconnect bug popped up there as well. The tournament procedure for handling these types of issues isn't readily available to fans, so we want to take some time to break down how we handle bugs and other issues at events.

Generally, competitors are made aware of any issues with card interactions, client issues, and the tournament procedures they need to follow (if applicable). When a player brings up an issue on site, we first verify the issue is real and not caused by environmental factors or player error. Next, we check to see if the bug had a significant impact on the outcome of the game. If it did, we rectify it to get back to a state of competitive integrity—that can include awarding a game win, offering a rematch, or letting the game continue.

For Mythic Championship V, in the event a game was significantly compromised by an issue, tournament operations ruled for a restart to the game and, when possible, worked to ensure allotted time for each player and their time for priority was carried over to a remade match. Any completed games—including instances where an issue occurred when the game was about to end that turn—were maintained, and if a new match had to be created, players conceded games they had previously lost in the compromised match when restarting their new match.

Starting next year, you'll be able to see the full details of this process in the tournament rules posted before each event for 2020's Mythic Invitationals.

Performance improvements and overall client health is the highest priority for the game right now and is the primary focus for the MTG Arena team over the next few months. The reconnection bug that impacted Mythic Championship V was fixed with the 10/24 patch and didn't impact the Mythic Championship VII Qualifier Weekend. See more about the MTG Arena team's approach to performance in their recent State of the Game.

Tabletop Magic: The Gathering

Fractional Invites

Next week we will be releasing the official Players Tour policy documents, including the first iteration of the fractional invites system for the Players Tour. We're going to preview the system today, and review the objectives that guided our design decisions.

Our objectives with this system are:

  • Give players more control over their future. Fractional invites will reward players that have consistent, good performances even if they don't win a qualifier. Players can earn an invitation by doing well across multiple tournaments, rather than having to win a single event.
  • Make good finishes mean more at Players Tours and Grand Prix. We've heard the feedback that without the Pro Players Club there is no sense of accomplishment if you don't make a Top 8.

Things this system is not:

  • The final version of fractional invites. We will make changes to fractional invites over the next year as we learn about how players interact with the system. We're intentionally starting out conservative so that we can be more generous in the future.
  • Integrated into the Players Tour Qualifier tier—yet. It is our plan to integrate PTQs and possibly Magic Premier Series tournaments (such as the SCG Tour) with the fractional invite system. We want to see how the system works and make adjustments before adding those qualifiers. Our goal is to add them for the Players Tour Series 4 qualifying round beginning in August 2020.
  • Invite players to the Players Tour Finals—yet. Our plan is to eventually extend invitations to Players Tour Finals through fractional invites. Like the integration with the qualifiers tier, this will happen after we have a better idea of how the system works.
  • The final branding. "Fractional Invites" sounds pretty boring, but we're going to use it today and use a proper name later.

So how will fractional invites work?

Fractional invites will use the same qualifying rounds as WPN Qualifiers, PTQs, and Magic Premier Series. Here are the planned qualifying rounds for 2020:

  • Players Tour Series 2: January 11, 2020 – March 29, 2020
  • Players Tour Series 3: April 4, 2020 – July 26, 2020
  • Players Tour Series 4: August 1, 2020 – November 22, 2020

Top finishers at Grand Prix and Players Tour tournaments will earn a percentage of an invite to the next Players Tour, in addition to any direct invites earned. At the end of each qualifying round, players that have earned 100% or more towards an invite by combining both the current round and the previous round will be invited to that round's Players Tour.

Here is the percentage structure we will be using for the Series 2 qualifying round.

Grand Prix

Players Tour

Rank / Match Points % Rank / Match Points %
Top 8 50 Top 8 70
39+ match points 50 36+ match points 70
36+ match points 40 33+ match points 70
33+ match points 25 30+ match points 40
30+ match points 10 27+ match points 30

For example, on July 27 all players that have earned 100% or more of a fractional invite by combining their performance across tournaments played in the Series 2 qualifying round (January 11, 2020 – March 29, 2020) and the Series 3 qualifying round (April 4, 2020 – July 26, 2020) will be invited to Players Tour Series 3 in October 2020.

Fractional invites are not "spent" when a player attends a Players Tour. So if a player earns 100% or more in a single qualifying round that means they are qualified for both the upcoming Players Tour and the following one.


We'll see you in November with another update, and feel free to reach out to @MagicEsports if you have any questions or thoughts. Thank you!

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