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With the 2020-21 pro Magic regular season winding down, Wizards of the Coast has released more details about the upcoming postseason and the path to World Championship XXVII. The feeding system for the World Championship is a little complicated in its current iteration, so we’ll break it down quickly here.
There are three main events that earn invitations to the World Championship- the Challenger Gauntlet, the Rivals Gauntlet, and the MPL Gauntlet. In addition to these three events, the players who have earned top 4 overall standings in the Rivals and Magic Pro Leagues also qualify for the World Championship. Normally, the previous world champion automatically qualifies as well, but this year reigning champ Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa clinched his invitation by earning a top 4 slot in the MPL. As a result, the extra invitation was passed down to the 3rd place finisher at the MPL Gauntlet instead. Now let’s take a closer look at each event.
The Challenger Gauntlet (Aug. 6-8)
The Challenger Gauntlet gives players who are not already a part of the Rivals League or MPL a chance to compete for a slot in the World Championship as well as an invitation to the pro leagues for the following year. In order to qualify for the Challenger Gauntlet, players had to perform exceptionally well at one of the set championships during the regular season.
The top 4 finishers at the Challenger Gauntlet will earn their seats at Worlds, as well as an invitation to the MPL for the following season. Players finishing in standings 5-12 will still have a shot to earn their World Championship seat via an invitation to the Rivals Gauntlet, but they will still have to fight for it.
The Rivals and MPL Gauntlets (Sept. 2-5)
The naming convention for the Rivals and MPL Gauntlets is a little confusing, as they don’t directly correspond to this season’s leagues. Rather, the primary purpose of the Gauntlets is to determine who will be invited to next year’s leagues, with the top finishers from both events earning qualifications for World Championship XXVII as well.
To break it down a bit, the players with top 4 rankings in each league from the regular season automatically earn their invitation to the World Championship and secure their place in the leagues for the following season. Therefore, the top 4 from each league will not be competing in the Gauntlet events as they have already earned their places.
The players who rank below the top 4 from each league will need to compete in the Gauntlets if they wish to receive invitations to the following season’s leagues- see the flow charts above for the specifics. Additionally, the winner of the Rivals Gauntlet and the top 3 finishers in the MPL Gauntlet will all earn seats at the World Championship XXVII.
World Championship XXVII (Oct. 8-10)
The entire pro season leads up to the World Championship, where all of the competitors have earned their invitations through fierce competition. The Championship has a total prize pool of $250,000 and the winner receives one of the highest honors that Magic has to offer- artwork featuring that player on a future Magic card (see Elite Spellbinder).
We will be offering coverage and analysis of each of these events as always here on MTGA Zone. The next major event is the final League Weekend which takes place July 3-4 and will determine the final standings for both pro leagues. In the meantime, you can view the full details on the postseason from Wizards on Magic.gg.