Magic Pro League

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2019 MPL logo.png

The Magic Pro League (or MPL) is an ongoing Magic Esports competition that is to be introduced in 2019.[1]

The Magic Pro League consists of 32 pro players from around the world who are offered contracts by Wizards of the Coast. They'll be competing in seasonal weekly competitive match-ups on MTG Arena, and in Mythic-level tournaments in both MTG Arena and paper Magic. These players are automatically qualified for each Mythic Championship, where they will compete against other top players, the challengers.[2]

2019 roster[edit | edit source]

Name Country Main accomplishments
Luis Salvatto {ARG} 2017–18 Player of the Year
Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan champion
MPL profile
Seth Manfield {USA} 2015 World Champion
Pro Tour Ixalan champion
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2018
MPL profile
Reid Duke {USA} 3 Pro Tour top 8s
6 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
Márcio Carvalho {PRT} 5 Pro Tour top 8s
3 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
Owen Turtenwald {USA} 2-time Player of the Year
5 Pro Tour top 8s
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2016
Participation cancelled.[3]
Ben Stark {USA} Pro Tour Paris 2011 champion
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2013
MPL profile
Javier Dominguez {ESP} 2018 World Champion
2 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
John Rolf {USA} Pro Tour Ixalan top 8
3 Grand Prix top 8s
MPL profile
Martin Jůza {CZE} 4 Pro Tour top 8s
32 Grand Prix top 8s
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2017
MPL profile
Grzegorz Kowalski {POL} 2018 World Championship runner-up
Grand Prix Lyon 2018 champion
MPL profile
Ken Yukuhiro {JPN} 4 Pro Tour top 8s
2 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
Andrea Mengucci {ITA} 3 Pro Tour top 8s
4 World Magic Cup top 8s
MPL profile
Mike Sigrist {USA} 2014–15 Player of the Year
3 Pro Tour top 8s
MPL profile
Brian Braun-Duin {USA} 2016 World Champion
2 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
Gerry Thompson {USA} Pro Tour Amonkhet champion
3 Pro Tour top 8s
Resigned from the MPL.[4]
Brad Nelson {USA} 2010 Player of the Year
3 Pro Tour top 8s
MPL profile
Shahar Shenhar {ISR} Back-to-back World Champion
4 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
Matt Nass {USA} Pro Tour Kaladesh top 8
5 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
Jean-Emmanuel Depraz {FRA} 2018 World Magic Cup champion
Grand Prix Warsaw 2018 champion
MPL profile
Piotr Glogowski {POL} Pro Tour Ixalan top 8
3 Grand Prix top 8s
MPL profile
Yuuya Watanabe {JPN} 2012 World Champion
2009 Player of the Year
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2016
Removed from the MPL[5]
Andrew Cuneo {USA} 2 Pro Tour top 8s
2 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
Eric Froehlich {USA} 5 Pro Tour top 8s
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2015
MPL profile
Christian Hauck {DEU} Pro Tour Ixalan top 8
4 Grand Prix top 8s
MPL profile
Carlos Romão {BRA} 2002 World Champion
3 Pro Tour top 8s
MPL profile
Shōta Yasooka {JPN} 2006 Player of the Year
2 Pro Tour wins
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2015
MPL profile
William Jensen {USA} 2017 World Champion
Pro Tour Boston 2003 champion
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2013
MPL profile
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa {BRA} 2016–17 Player of the Year
12 Pro Tour top 8s
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2012
MPL profile
Lucas Berthoud {BRA} Pro Tour Aether Revolt champion
Grand Prix Santiago 2018 champion
MPL profile
Alexander Hayne {CAN} Pro Tour Avacyn Restored champion
4 Grand Prix wins
MPL profile
Rei Sato {JPN} 2 Grand Prix wins
5 Grand Prix top 8s
MPL profile
Lee Shi Tian {HKG} 5 Pro Tour top 8s
Pro Tour Hall of Fame class of 2018
MPL profile
Autumn Burchett {GB-ENG} Mythic Championship Cleveland 2019.
2 times English National Champion
MPL profile
Jessica Estephan {AUS} 1 Grand Prix win
Top 16 finish at the Mythic Invitational
MPL profile
Janne Mikkonen {FIN} Highest-ranked Challenger at the Mythic Invitational
Mythic #1 ranking on MTG Arena.
MPL profile

Invites were extended to the top 32 players in terms of Pro Points after the 2017–18 season. However, two players declined to participate due to work conflict: Kelvin Chew (ranked 18th) and Andrew Baeckstrom (ranked 23rd). These invites were passed down to 33rd-ranked Rei Sato and 40th-ranked Lee Shi Tian, with Shi Tian taking Chew's slot to maintain representation in the region.

Controversy[edit | edit source]

  • Rei Sato was disqualified from Grand Prix Prague 2019.[6] In a statement the following week, Wizards explained that due to MPL members being held to a higher standard, Sato's invitation to the Mythic Invitational event at PAX East was revoked.[7]
  • The introduction of the MPL was accompanied with cuts elsewhere. Criticism arose when Wizards during Grand Prix New Jersey (26-27 January 2019) stated that they would no longer provide round-by-round updates on Grand Prix events;[8] in a later response to Hipsters of the Coast, Wizards clarified that this only applied to round-by-round text coverage, and that plans for video coverage was yet to be announced.[9] Additional controversy sparked when it became known that Craig Gibson, Pro Tour photographer for 21 years, had been told that he was no longer needed at events.[10]
  • On March 27, 2019 Magic Esports Twitter suddenly announced that Owen Turtenwald wouldn't be participating in the Mythic Invitational. No reason was given. Three days later unconfirmed rumors surfaced that Turtlewald had been behaving in an inappropriate manner towards female players.[11] On April 25, 2019, it became clear that Turtenwald was removed from the Magic Pro League altogether. Without explanation, he was replaced by Autumn Burchett.[3]
  • On May 9, 2019 it was announced that Yuuya Watanabe would be removed from the league as well as the Hall of Fame,[5] due to his previous disqualification from Mythic Championchip II in London for marked cards.[12][13]
  • On May 13, 2019 Gerry Thompson announced his resignation from the MPL because of the lack of transparency in the organisation and the unwillingness of Wizards of the Coast to listen to feedback.[4]
  • Also on May 13, WotC announced that the replacements for Thompson and Watanabe were to be Jessica Estephan and Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen, both T16 competitors from the Mythic Invitational.[14] The response was met poorly amongst several established pros, not helped by Janne's personal admission that he would likely not compete in any paper Mythic Championships. The largest criticism was that there was no longer any guarantee upon the future of any professional player, as neither new addition had significant pedigree on the Pro Tour circuit, so the rewards and incentives for achieving anything but the top 30 in the world were unclear.[15]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Elaine Chase (December 6, 2018). "The Next Chapter for Magic: Esports". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (February 20, 2019). "How to Become The Next Magic Champion: Qualifying for Mythic Championships and Worlds". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b Hipsters of the Coast (April 25, 2019). "Breaking News". Twitter.
  4. a b Gerry Thompson (May 13, 2019). "Why I Quit the Magic Pro League". Thegampodcast.com.
  5. a b Statement Regarding Yuuya Watanabe. mtgesports.com (May 09, 2019).
  6. STATEMENT REGARDING REI SATO DISQUALIFICATION. Wizards of the Coast (2019-01-11). Retrieved on 2019-01-30.
  7. STATEMENT REGARDING REI SATO'S DISQUALIFICATION AND THE MPL. Wizards of the Coast (2019-01-18). Retrieved on 2019-01-30.
  8. Magic Pro Tour on Twitter (2019-01-27). Retrieved on 2019-01-30.
  9. Controversy Erupts Over Lack of Coverage for GP New Jersey. Hipsters of the Coast (2019-01-28). Retrieved on 2019-01-30.
  10. WotC Tells Their Longtime Photographer that Photography is No Longer Needed at Events. Reddit (2019-01-29). Retrieved on 2019-01-30.
  11. Cecilia D'Anastasio (March 30, 2019) "Pro Removed From $1.4 Million Magic Tournament Accused Of Harassing Women", Kotaku.com
  12. Round 16 Disqualification. Wizards of the Coast (April 27, 2019).
  13. David McCoy (April 28, 2019). "Yuuya Watanabe Disqualified from Mythic Championship II London for Marked Cards". Hipsters of the Coast.
  14. Elaine Chase (May 13, 2019). "MPL Adds Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen And Jessica Esthephan". Magic Esports.
  15. MPL adds Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen and Jessica Estephan. Reddit (May 14, 2019).