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MPL Spark Split Week 1 Overview

May 07, 2019
Wizards of the Coast

The debut of the Magic Pro League weekly play is here! The Spark Split features the 32 MPL players in a five-week round-robin series of matches. There's a lot on the line in each split as top division finishers earn automatic placement into Day Two of Mythic Championship III in June, which features a $750,000 prize pool.

Top matches and highlights will be featured each Saturday on the Weekly MPL stream. Tune in to to follow all the action!

Broadcast and Coverage Information

MPL Weekly streams will feature full coverage from the top matches in each division plus highlights and recaps from the other matches. Broadcasts will feature many of the top Magic casters from digital and tabletop play, coming to you live from our Los Angeles studio. The Spark Split's caster lineup features a rotation of Brian Kibler, Marshall Sutcliffe, Luis Scott-Vargas, Cedric Phillips, Becca Scott, Paul Cheon, Paul Rietzl, and Maria Bartholdi, with a special guest appearance by Weekly MTG's Steve Sunu.

Each division also has a designated correspondent to follow matches and players on a weekly basis. Rich Hagon, Corbin Hosler, Meghan Wolff, and Maria (pulling double duty) will help us track the storylines to follow across five weeks and all 128 matches.

Tune in each week to catch your favorite casters and correspondents!

Week 1 stream: Saturday, May 11 at Noon PT/3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. UTC

Casters: Brian Kibler, Cedric Phillips, and Becca Scott


Schedule an Results

Format: Best-of-Three Traditional Standard

Pearl Division

  • Lee Shi Tian defeats Luis Salvatto 2-1
  • Andrew Cuneo defeats Javier Dominguez 2-0
  • Eric Froehlich defeats John Rolf 2-0
  • Brian Braun-Duin defeats Shahar Shenhar 2-1

Sapphire Division

  • Rei Sato defeats Marcio Carvalho 2-0
  • Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa defeats Autumn Burchett 2-1
  • Andrea Mengucci defeats Jean-Emmanuel Depraz 2-0
  • Piotr Głogowski defeats Mike Sigrist 2-1
  • Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa defeats Márcio Carvalho 2-1
  • Autumn Burchett defeats Rei Sato 2-0
  • Piotr Głogowski defeats Andrea Mengucci 2-1
  • Mike Sigrist defeats Jean-Emmanuel Depraz 2-0

Ruby Division

  • William Jensen defeats Reid Duke 2-1
  • Ken Yukuhiro defeats Carlos Romão 2-0
  • Reid Duke defeats Lucas Esper Berthoud 2-0
  • William Jensen defeats Ben Stark 2-1
  • Lucas Esper Berthoud defeats Ben Stark 2-0

Emerald Division

  • Seth Manfield defeats Alexander Hayne 2-1
  • Grzegorz Kowalski defeats Christian Hauck 2-0
  • Brad Nelson defeats Matthew Nass 2-0

Week 1 Metagame and Decklists

Archetype Number
Azorius Aggro 7
Esper Control 6
Mono-Red Aggro 4
Mono-White Aggro 3
Esper Midrange 3
Rakdos Aggro 1
Bant Aggro 1
Gruul Aggro 1
Sultai Midrange 1
Dimir Control 1

For Week 1, many ofthe MPL competitors have chosen to play it safe with top archetypes from pre-War of the Spark Standard. White aggressive decks were by far the most represented deck with Mono-White and Azorius Aggro accounting for more than a third of the field. Gideon Blackblade and Law-Rune Enforcer are the latest additions from War of the Spark, providing the aggressive white decks with resilience and additional ways to interact with creature decks.

Esper was the other top choice, with players submitting two different flavors in Esper Control and Esper Midrange. Both decks are playing Teferi, Time Raveler, which has been one of the standout cards from War of the Spark. His -3 effect provides a ton of utility while his static ability can completely warp the play pattern of certain matchups.

Mono-Red Aggro was the other aggressive deck of choice with players splitting between Experimental Frenzy and Chandra, Fire Artisan as their source of card advantage. A benefit of Chandra, Fire Artisan is that it is resilient to enchantment removal in cards like Mortify, which is heavily played in the current environment.

Two new builds stand out and warrant a closer eye -- Grzegorz Kowalski's Dimir Control that includes Enter the God-Eternals, God-Eternal Kefnet, and multiple planeswalkers from the new set, and Ken Yukuhiro's Bant Midrange. Yukuhiro, already carrying the reputation as one of the MPL's most creative deckbuilders, brought in a deck that focuses on counters synergies to fully unlock the proliferate potential of Huatli's Raptor.

Since the format is still very fresh, it is unsurprising that many players chose to play updated versions of the best decks from Ravnica Allegiance Standard. Expect to see the metagame shift in later weeks as players fully explore everything that War of the Spark has to offer.

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