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What are Strixhaven Split League Weekends?

April 07, 2021
Wizards of the Coast

Throughout the 2020-21 Magic Esports season, previous League Weekends have built to the season's end and the postseason Gauntlets, separating the top-performing players from those facing relegation out of their league.

That time—the best of the best locking in the first tickets to Magic World Championship XXVII and the bottom facing the harsh reality of relegation—is finally here. Whereas the first four League Weekends focused on round-robin play to have everyone challenge each other, the final three—the Strixhaven League Weekends—are our journey to the 2020-21 season playoffs.

Dates Event Format
April 10–11, 2021 April Strixhaven League Weekend Standard & Historic
May 15–16, 2021 May Strixhaven League Weekend Standard & Historic
July 3–4, 2021 July Strixhaven League Weekend Standard & Historic

The Road to the Postseason

For fans who have enjoyed watching their favorite MPL or Rivals League player battle round after round on feature matches or on the player's own stream, most of what you've come to expect from previous League Weekends continues:

Results for the Strixhaven Split award $50,000 for each the MPL and Rivals League, plus an end-of-season bonus of $50,000 for each league. Three splits, along with an end-of-season award, totals $400,000.

MPL Standing Prize
1-4 $3,500
5-12 $2,500
13-20 $1,500
21-24 $1,000
Total $50,000

Rivals Standing Prize
1-4 $2,250
5-12 $1,500
13-24 $1,250
25-36 $750
37-44 $500
45-46 $250
Total $49,500

League standings mean everything for players as they enter the 2020-21 postseason:

  • The Top 4 players in each league move into the MPL for 2021-22 and the Magic World Championship XXVII
  • Upper-ranked players enter postseason Gauntlet events where the remaining MPL and Rivals League slots are up for grabs
  • The lowest-ranked players are relegated down—from MPL to the Rivals League, or from the Rivals League out of the leagues altogether

Here's what's changed:

  • Round-robin play is over: players are grouped into Swiss pools—three rounds of Swiss pairing within the pool—based on season standings to determine who plays whom
  • Players are re-pooled every three rounds—four total sets of Swiss pools over each League Weekend—based on updated standings
  • Every day begins with Standard, then switches to Historic when Swiss pools are made again
  • The end of each Strixhaven League Weekend locks the top player (or top two players in the July League Weekend) of each League into the World Championship, and several from the bottom of standings into relegation

Let's dive into how these work.

Playoff Slots and Relegations

Swiss pools are exactly what they sound like: players are grouped into pools of eight (for April and July) or ten (for May) that play in a smaller three-round tournament. Winners play winners, losers play losers, and standings are calculated again after three rounds to generate new Swiss pools.

The result? Players that want to stay in contention must defeat the other players in their Swiss pool just the same as players looking to move up into World Championship contention—or avoid relegation—must defeat the others pooled with them.

Every third round of the League Weekend, season standings (including tiebreakers) are recalculated and new Swiss pools are created. Every match win continues to matter as the window for players to move in standings narrows each round.

At the end of Sunday, the final standings determine what happens next for players:

  • The top player (April and May) or top two players (July) in overall standings locks into the World Championship and won't play in upcoming League Weekends or Gauntlet events.
  • The bottom three players of the MPL, and the bottom seven of the Rivals League, are eliminated from future League Weekend play and lock in their standings at the end of their elimination weekend.
    • Note: Due to two players leaving the league midseason, only the bottom five active Rivals League players will be relegated during the April Strixhaven Split.
  • If players are tied for the same slot based on standings—such as the top of standings to earn the World Championship invitation, or the higher standings rank to avoid relegation, the usual head-to-head tiebreakers will not be used. Instead players will play a Best-of-Three match to break the tie.
    • Tiebreakers are applied as normal until there are only two players left to tiebreak for the same prize or standings position.
    • The format for tiebreaker matches will be Historic for April and July, and Standard for May
  • Players that earn a World Championship invitation or are relegated from their league remain qualified to compete in the Strixhaven Championship, taking place in June.

At the end of the April Strixhaven League Weekend, we'll know:

  • Two Magic World Championship XXVII players
  • Two members of the 2021-22 MPL
  • Three members of the 2021-22 Rivals League

Then, at the end of the May Strixhaven League Weekend, we'll know:

  • Two more (four total) Magic World Championship XXVII players
  • Two more (four total) members of the 2021-22 MPL
  • Three more (six total) members of the 2021-22 Rivals League

Finally, by the end of the final League Weekend in July, we'll know:

  • Four more (eight total) Magic World Championship XXVII players
  • Four more (eight total) members of the 2021-22 MPL
  • Six more (twelve total) members of the 2021-22 Rivals League
  • The fields of the MPL Gauntlet and Rivals Gauntlet

The end of the 2020-21 season is in sight—don't miss a minute of action from the Strixhaven Split to watch Magic history unfold!

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