Wizards of the Coast (WotC) announced today that the 2021-2022 season will be the end of the MPL, Rivals League, and professional play as we know it.
After two seasons of convoluted qualifying methods and pro play devolving into League Weekends featuring lame duck formats and a handful of large tournaments, WotC will be sunsetting the pro leagues with the final season seeing a reduced total number of events for the MPL and Rivals players. The article that announced the upcoming changes cites COVID as the main reason for the derailing of the push for esports.
The focus is now being shifted to a post-COVID system though details for the 2022-2023 are not ready to be published. While digital play will remain, the article makes it clear WotC is going to lean back into in-person play. Larger gatherings and celebrations of Magic still have to wait until it is safe to do so. Their new vision for play will have to wait until the current system is phased out.
The final season of the MPL and Rivals League will still have the Set Championships and the three events will have expanded prize pools of $450,000. The League Weekends and Gauntlet tournaments will not return for the final season, so players in the leagues will not be competing for another year of pro play, instead they will have the chance to qualify for the World Championship with a prize pool of $250,000.
Despite the announcement definitively stating this is the end of the MPL and Rivals it doesn’t mention anything about a replacement system or a revival of the old pro system with levels and other ways to reach the pro circuit. Though the announcement is silent on future pro play, players took to Twitter to clear up the fact that professional play will no longer exist past 2022 as per discussions they had with members of WotC.
The Magic Esports Twitter account did respond with a statement clarifying that there still will be events similar to Grand Prix, PTQ, and Pro Tours, but a career path for competitive Magic will not be supported.
Read the original article from WotC.