News Brief: Japanese Alternate Art Planeswalkers, James Ohlen Joins WotC, MPL Update, and MC & GP London

War of the Spark, alternate art, and a Mythic Championship. Let’s not waste any time—here is your news from the last week of Magic.

Japanese Alternate Art Planeswalkers

Wizards of the Coast is running a special promotion with War of the Spark. Japanese booster packs will have a 50% chance of containing special alternate art planeswalkers. These cards were illustrated by well known Japanese artists. In order to facilitate distribution, Japanese booster product will be available globally. Additionally, these cards will appear in Wizards Play Network promotional packs during the Core 2020 season, appearing in around one-quarter of all packs. The alternate art cards will also coming to treasure chests prize packs on Magic Online.

James Ohlen Hired by Wizards of the Coast

James Ohlen, who was the lead designer and creative director for games like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has been hired by Wizards of the Coast. Ohlen will be heading a studio in Austin, Texas. Notably, Ohlen will be working on games featuring a new intellectual property. In other words, do not expect this new studio to produce anything related to Magic at this time.

Magic Pro League Update

On April 25, Wizards of the Coast announced that Mythic Championship I Champion Autumn Burchett would be joining the ranks of the Magic Pro League. In a corresponding move, Owen Turtenwald has been removed from the Magic Pro League. Turtenwald was disinvited from the Mythic Invitational at PAX East and did not participate in Mythic Championship II.

Mythic Championship Formats

The formats for Mythic Championship IV (Barcelona) and Mythic Championship VI (Richmond) were announced last week. Barcelona will feature Modern Constructed and Modern Horizons Draft. Mythic Championship IV will take place July 26-28. Richmond will feature Standard Constructed and will use the set code-named Archery for Draft.

The Magic Pro League Takes Shape

For some time, the world of Magic has wondered what the Magic Pro League will look like. We finally have our answer. The Magic Pro League will play weekly matchups in seasons—known as splits—that feed different Arena Mythic Championships. The first such split—titled Spark—will allow players who win their division to qualify directly to the second day of Mythic Championship III, which will take place on Arena. Spark split runs from May 11th to June 8th. The second split—Core—runs from August 3rd to September 7th, and feeds into Arena Mythic Championship V in September. Split Archery starts October 5th and ends November 2nd, and feeds the November Arena Mythic Championship VII.

Division play will be best-of-three Standard. Players will play during the week with highlights streamed on twitch.tv/magic on Saturday. The divisions are:

  • Pearl: Luis Salvatto, Javier Dominguez, John Rolf, Shahar Shenhar, Lee Shi Tian, Andrew Cuneo, Eric Froehlich, Brian Braun-Duin
  • Emerald: Seth Manfield, Martin Juza, Grzegorz Kowalski, Brad Nelson, Alexander Hayne, Shota Yasooka, Christian Hauck, Matthew Nass
  • Ruby: Reid Duke, Ben Stark, Ken Yukuhiro, Gerry Thompson, Lucas Esper Berthoud, William Jensen, Carlos Romao, Yuuya Watanabe
  • Sapphire: Marcio Carvalho, Autumn Burchett, Andrea Mengucci, Mike Sigrist, Rei Sato, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, Piotr Glogowski

Grand Prix London

MagicFest London featured a rare occurrence: a prerelease Grand Prix. Players had to perform well enough in a flight to qualify for Day 2. At the end of flights and Day 2 a Top 8 emerged, including Jason “Amaz” Chan racking up another strong finish. Alexandre Habert of France, in his third Grand Prix Top 8, took home the trophy in the first War of the Spark Limited event.

Mythic Championship London

The Mythic Championship in London had plenty of storylines to follow: the debut of the London Mulligan, a prerelease Limited format with War of the Spark, and Modern as a format. It was an action packed weekend that helped to show off the latest set in Limited and the powerful gameplay of Modern.

After making a run for yet another Top 8, Hall-of-Famer and Magic Pro League member Yuuya Watanabe was disqualified due to marked cards in his Tron deck. A subsequent investigation will be done by the Magic Pro League regarding Watanabe’s status in the league.

The Top 8 included some well known names alongside newcomers.

  • Pro Tour Avacyn Restored champion Alexander Hayne on Tron
  • Two-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Thien Nguyen on Titanshift
  • Adrian Zhu on Tron
  • Current World Champion Javier Dominguez on Izzet Phoenix
  • 2016 World Champion Brian Braun-Duin in his first Mythic Championship Top 8 on Humans
  • Eli Loveman on Humans
  • Matt Sperling, in his third Top 8 at this level, on Affinity
  • Chris Kvartek on Humans

The finals pitted relative newcomer Eli Loveman against the veteran Matt Sperling. Sperling got to the finals by going through Nguyen and Zhu. Loveman, on the other hand, took down Braun-Duin and Hayne to earn his spot in the finals. Loveman jumped out to an early lead and while Sperling was able to take one game off of the Humans, robots were not triumphant on Sunday. In four games, Loveman claimed the title and is your champion of Mythic Championship II!


Eli Loveman, 1st place at Mythic Championship London

4 Ancient Ziggurat
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Horizon Canopy
4 Unclaimed Territory
1 Seachrome Coast
1 Island
1 Plains
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Thalia's Lieutenant
4 Meddling Mage
4 Phantasmal Image
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3 Kitesail Freebooter
4 Reflector Mage
1 Militia Bugler
2 Deputy of Detention
4 Mantis Rider
4 AEther Vial

1 Militia Bugler
1 Deputy of Detention
4 Auriok Champion
3 Damping Sphere
2 Dismember
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Sin Collector
1 Whirler Rogue
1 Izzet Staticaster

Looking Forward

War of the Spark hits the shelves for sale this week. Then in two weeks, the MagicFests return with an event in Madison. The Grand Prix? War of the Spark Limited.


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