The official Magic: The Gathering Arena esports league, the Magic Pro League, has announced two major additions to the 2019 roster by adding Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen and Jessica Estephan. Savjz is a current player on Team Liquid who has done well at MTG Arena by achieving the elusive Mythic #1 ranking in the game. Estephan is the first woman to join the MPL after winning a Grand Prix last year with the highest number of Pro Points of any woman in the 2017-18 season.
Along with the announcement of Savjz and Estephan's addition to the league, the MPL has issued a statement about their efforts to remove barriers that prevent women from joining major esports leagues. To further the MPL's goal of having a more inclusive league, they're adding sixteen additional spots to the MTG Arena Mythic Championships for the 2019 season. The discretionary slots will be used to invite a broader representation of the Magic competitive community.
From the MTG eSports announcement:
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 MagicPro 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.
Both Savjz and Estephan will join the MPL Splits currently in progress and will play make-up matches in the upcoming weeks.