Howard County, Maryland, Hosts Major League Quidditch Championship
The 2021 Major League Quidditch (MLQ) season is almost over, but the season’s main event is close. MLQ Championship will be hosted in Howard County, Maryland, on August 21–23. The event is divided into three parts.
The main tournament is the Benepe Cup, named after one of the founders of Muggle quidditch. On August 21–22, the 12 best quidditch teams from the United States will compete there. They qualified during the MLQ summer season. Only the New Orleans Curse and the Rochester Whiteout didn’t qualify. The Canadian teams, the Ottawa Black Bears and the Toronto Raiders, were separated in the 2021 MLQ season due to the pandemic situation. The remaining teams that will compete for the Benepe Cup are below:
- Austin Outlaws
- Boston Forge
- Charlotte Aviators
- Cleveland Riff
- Detroit Innovators
- Indianapolis Intensity
- Kansas City Stampede
- League City Legends
- Minneapolis Monarchs
- New York Titans
- San Antonio Soldados
- Washington Admirals
The first day of the Benepe Cup will start with the Play-In Bracket. The League City Legends will compete with the Cleveland Riff for the chance to play against the Washington Admirals. The winner of the match between the Detroit Innovators and the Charlotte Aviators will play against the Kansas City Stampede. Then the winners of these two matches will play against each other, and the winner will continue in the Championship Bracket. Also, the losers of the first matches have another chance to play against each other, and eventually one of them will also continue into the Championship Bracket.
In the Championship Bracket, the Indianapolis Intensity will play against the San Antonio Soldados, and the Minneapolis Monarchs will play against the Boston Forge. The New York Titans and the Austin Outlaws don’t know their opponents yet because they will be two teams from the Play-In Bracket. The explanation of how teams were seeded can be found in the 2021 MLQ Championship: Format Release video.
The teams that have the highest chance of becoming the next Benepe Cup Champion are the Boston Forge and the Austin Outlaws. The Boston Forge is the current defending champion, having won the Benepe Cup three times already. The Austin Outlaws have won the Benepe Cup two times. There’s also the Washington Admirals, who were able to defeat the Boston Forge in the regular season for the first time on July 24–25. Washington is seeded into the Play-In Bracket.
The semifinal and final games are scheduled for the second day, Sunday, August 22. Meanwhile, there will be the Next Gen Showcase, where practice squad athletes will compete against each other. The rosters of the two teams have already been announced. All of them are athletes who weren’t chosen during tryouts, but they are considered the future of MLQ.
On the third day, Monday, August 23, there will be Take Back the Pitch. This is a new part of the MLQ Championship with goals to celebrate gender diversity and address sexism and transphobia on the pitch. There will be players who are only cisgender female, non-binary, or transgender athletes. The tournament is meant to give them the opportunity to show their skills and not be overlooked by their teams. The players were seeded in four teams: Kyoshi Warriors, Ocean’s 17, Team Ruth Bader Winsburg, and the Red Guardians.
MLQ is also aware of the health risk of COVID-19. The organizers created the 35-page book of guidelines for health and safety at the start of the season. They are also aware of the Delta variant cases, and they require teams in high transmission areas to have negative tests before games. No team can compete if it doesn’t have all players fully vaccinated.