Welcome to the first recap of the season! With Magic: The Gathering Arena so new to the CSL, this is a very exciting time as teams make a name for themselves and acclimate to competitive MTG. This writer is sure that many players have been playing MTG at varying levels of competitiveness already, but there’s nothing quite like playing in a league that spans two semesters. Without further ado, let’s dive in and take a look at how the groups are faring.
Leading the West group is Simon Fraser University, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz with varying records of 4-1. This writer is impressed by the names some teams have come up with. “Better Lucky Than Good” is a fantastic name and I wish them luck in the future. The rest of the group looks pretty decent, with only two teams lagging behind the pack. Any team in the 3-2 or 2-3 range could still secure a top-four spot by winning a series or two, which should be easier now that Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer are banned.
In the Northeast 3 group, five teams are competing for the top spot. Thomas College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Northeastern University, and University of Maryland College Park all have 4-1 series records, which is very impressive. The coming weeks should be quite volatile as they clash for supremacy. Teams with two losses or more in this group will likely be fighting for a spot in the top half of the group at best.
Before talking about Northeast 2, I just want to take a moment to praise York University on their team name, “Wait This Is Not An FPS”. It’s one of the best team names I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been writing for CSL. Well done, York.
Similar to Northeast 3, the number one spot in this group is hotly contested by four teams, namely State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, State University of New York Albany, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Johns Hopkins University. With 5-6 series still remaining, there’s a lot that can happen with this group. I expect the New York universities to remain dominant, much like their Dota 2 brethren.
Northeast 1 is currently in an interesting state. Some teams have concluded more of their games than others (possibly because of rescheduled matches), so because of this, I will only consider The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor as being leaders of the group with 5 wins apiece. It will always be interesting to compare the performance of a school in different games, like how OSU and Michigan are doing very well in both MTGA and Dota 2. There are still a lot of games to be played for both series, but it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that both schools have excellent players in each game.
The East group is almost identical to Northeast 3, with 5 teams competing for the top spot. The University of Kentucky currently holds the top position with a convincing 5-0, while Clemson University, North Carolina State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the University of Central Florida are close behind with 4-1 records. Just like the Northeast 3 group, I expect this group to be a battle between the top teams for seeding, while the rest of the group scrambles for the few remaining playoff spots.
Finally, let’s look at the Central group. Arizona State University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology are both undefeated so far. The two teams will face each other late in January, by which time Dakota State University, DePaul University, or Northern Illinois University may have caught up or dethroned them. With half the season remaining, there’s still more than enough time for any team in any group to put in the extra effort, turn their fortunes around, and rocket to the top.
One thing not mentioned is the fact that a lot of the series were closer than their scores would imply. I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourselves which teams are truly stronger than others. Best of luck to all the teams, especially the teams not mentioned! May the RNG be in your favour and the land drops be plentiful without flooding.