|2016 World Magic Cup|
|Date||18–20 November 2016|
|Format||Team Sealed and Team Unified Modern|
The 2016 World Magic Cup, the fifth World Magic Cup, was held on 18–20 November 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Featuring teams from 73 nations, the event was won by the Greek national team, captained by Bill Chronopoulos, who had previously lost in the final to Denmark at the 2014 World Magic Cup. Belgium, captained by Peter Vieren, finished runner-up.
Format and schedule
The 2016 World Magic Cup featured two formats: Kaladesh Team Sealed and Team Unified Modern. Team Sealed is a variation of Sealed deck where the team shares a pool of twelve Booster packs, which is used to build three 40-card decks. For the Team Unified Constructed portion, Modern replaced Standard, which was used in previous World Magic Cup events. In addition, The Team Unified Constructed rules underwent a major change upon the announcement of the format: With the exception of basic lands, there may not be any copies of the same card in two different decks. For example, only one player may use Scalding Tarn, regardless of how many copies of the card that player has in their deck.
Day 1 - Friday, 18 November
- 3 rounds of Kaladesh Team Sealed
- 4 rounds of Team Unified Modern
Day 1 featured seven rounds of Swiss play, and instead of 32 teams in previous events, the top 48 teams at the end of the day advanced to Day 2 of competition.
Day 2 - Saturday, 19 November
- Phase 1 - up to four rounds of Team Unified Modern
- Phase 2 - up to three rounds of Team Unified Modern
On Day 2, teams were divided into eight groups of six teams each (Phase 1). The two top-ranked teams in each group received byes in the first round, while the other four played one round of single elimination; the sixteen losing teams in this round were eliminated from the tournament. The remaining four teams in each group played up to three rounds of double elimination; the top two teams in each group advanced. Phase 2 consisted of four groups, each with four teams. The four teams in each group played up to three rounds of double elimination, where the top two teams in each group proceeded to Day 3 of competition.
A new addition to Day 2 at the 2016 World Magic Cup was that there were no draws. Each round lasted 60 minutes, and if time was called and there was no conclusion to the match after extra turns, the match was decided with the following tiebreakers:
- The deciding match was determined by game count at the end of extra turns.
- If the deciding match's game count was tied, the player with the highest life total won the match.
- If the team match count, game count, and life totals were tied at the end of extra turns, the first change in life total resulted in the player whose life total is higher after said change winning the match.
- If the game count became tied in extra turns, and a third game needed to be played, the match was decided by the first change in life total, with the player whose life total is higher after said change winning the match.
Day 3 - Sunday, 20 November
- Quarterfinals, semifinals and final, featuring Team Unified Modern
The top eight teams then competed in a seeded (based on total number of points from Day 1 and Day 2), single-elimination bracket.
Several teams were noted by commentators as being particularly strong. Reigning champions Italy fielded a strong team including Platinum pro Andrea Mengucci, as well as Alessandro Portaro and Mattia Rizzi, were favorites to do well; Slovakia's team had Pro Tour veterans Ivan Floch and Matej Zatlkaj, in addition to a member of the winning team from 2010, Patrik Surab; Japan could show off a team that included Hall of Famers Shōta Yasooka and Kenji Tsumura; Brazil had two Platinum pros on the team, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Thiago Saporito; and Belgium's team included brothers Peter and Pascal Vieren, as well as Branco Neirynck.
Two formats were featured on day 1: Team Sealed (3 rounds) and Team Modern (4 rounds). With 48 of the 73 teams attending proceeding to day two of competition, a record of 3–3–1 (10 points) was sufficient for advancement, and one team (Scotland) even advanced with a negative record of 3–4 (9 points). The most surprising elimination was arguably Japan; they were essentially out already after round 4, having started 0–4 in the event. Brazil's team was also a strong one on paper, containing two Platinum pros, but they were in 52nd-place after seven rounds and eliminated. Standing atop the field with a 6–0–1 record (19 points) was Belgium, with Taiwan and Germany closely behind on 6–1 (18 points).
First round of pool play
The top 16 teams received a bye during the first round of pool play; the remaining 32 played a single-elimination match of Team Modern where the winner would advance and the loser would get knocked out. This round eliminated among other teams defending champions Denmark, the experienced Slovak team, and Czech Republic, led by Pro Tour Eldritch Moon champion Lukas Blohon. After that, the remaining teams in each pod played up to three rounds of Team Modern double elimination; this meant that the two teams with two wins (6 points) each advanced to the next stage. Two former World Magic Cup champions, France and Taiwan, were eliminated after this stage, while pre-tournament favorites such as Belgium, Italy, and USA remained in good shape.
Second round of pool play
The 16 remaining teams were divided into groups of four with a seeding based on the performance in the tournament up to that point. These teams then played up to three rounds of Team Modern double elimination; this meant that the two teams with two wins (6 points) each advanced to the top eight. United States, paced by Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald and highly ranked throughout the tournament, here picked up two losses to Macedonia and Australia, and were eliminated. Belgium continued their dominating performance, having picked up only a single loss across the two first days of competition, and defeated Spain and Ukraine both 2–0 to safely advance to the final eight. Reigning champions Italy also advanced; they bounced back from an upset against Panama to defeat Germany in a win-and-in match. Panama, incidentally, ended up being the only team not ranked in the top 32 after day 1 to avance to Sunday play; they came into the day ranked 38th.
In a relatively unheralded top eight, Belgium and Italy appeared to be the strongest on paper, and they each won their quarterfinals to face off in the semifinals. Belgium won 2–0 as they had in the quarterfinals against Panama. The other story of the top eight was Greece, captained by Bill Chronopoulos. Greece had previously lost the final of the 2014 World Magic Cup very narrowly to Denmark, and Chronopoulos, also the captain in 2014, was anxious to get another chance to win the trophy. Ultimately, Greece accomplished the task by defeating Ukraine, Belarus, and finally Belgium, redeeming themselves after the famous "Daneblast" moment two years earlier.
- 2016 World Magic Cup coverage
- 2016 World Magic Cup final standings
- The top 8 Team Modern decklists
- 2016 World Magic Cup invitation list
- Video coverage playlist
- Helene Bergeot (2016-02-07). "WMC AND WMCQ CHANGES ANNOUNCED AT PT OATH OF THE GATEWATCH". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-06-28.