The Magic Pro League is excited to welcome Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen and Jessica Estephan!
Our guiding principal for the MPL has been to iterate our way to a competitive system that ultimately offers more ways to play and watch for more players than ever before. When we launched the first year of the Magic Pro League, we did so knowing we would be learning and adapting to help shape the future of competitive Magic.
Along the way, the growth of MTG Arena is teaching us a lot about the depth and breadth of the Magic community, where Magic skill can be found, and who our community enjoys rooting for. The rise of MTG Arena has seen our community grow by leaps and bounds and provides us an opportunity to open our doors to top-tier talented players who demonstrate excellence and broaden the Magic community as a whole.
Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen represents a new facet of talented, high-level Magic play. He was the highest-ranked Challenger at the Mythic Invitational, and has reached the elusive Mythic #1 ranking on MTG Arena. A member of Team Liquid, Savjz has been a Magic player for a decade, and has an impeccable pedigree in competitive CCGs. He's demonstrated his ability to play esports at the highest levels, and we believe he's more than up for the challenge of the MPL.
We're thrilled to have Jessica Estephan as the first woman to join the MPL. Estephan was the first woman to win a Grand Prix, had the highest number of Pro Points of any woman during the 2017--18 season, and made a strong Top 16 finish at the Mythic Invitational. She is also the first MPL player from Australia, a region that historically has fewer opportunities for high-level competitive play. She is an accomplished, talented player, and we're proud to have her representing the MPL.
Inclusion and Additional Invitations
The lack of inclusion and diversity in esports and competitive gaming, especially when it comes to women, is an embedded, long-standing issue. With the MPL and MTG Arena opening up the playing field in a big way, we want to state in no uncertain terms that we know the pool of talent is broad, and that we think it should be represented in a concrete way to the viewers and fans of competitive Magic.
The barriers women face when attempting to play competitively are significant. The MPL is making a purposeful effort to remove barriers and invite a slate of accomplished players who more fully represent the complete Magic community.
To further this goal, the MPL is adding sixteen discretionary slots to each of the MTG Arena Mythic Championships for the 2019 season. These discretionary slots will be used to invite a broader representation of the Magic competitive community to high-level play. These sixteen slots are in addition to the existing MPL, prior performance, and direct qualification slots.
Both Savjz and Estephan will join the MPL Splits currently in progress and will play make-up matches in the upcoming weeks.