|2017 World Magic Cup|
|Date||1–3 December 2017|
|Attendance||219 (73 teams)|
|Format||Team Sealed and Team Unified Standard|
The 2017 World Magic Cup, the sixth World Magic Cup, was held on 1–3 December 2017 in Nice, France. It was the first World Magic Cup since the return of National Championships. Like every World Magic Cup since 2015, the event featured 73 teams; however, unlike previous iterations of the event, teams consisted of three players each rather than four. Due to this, the event had the lowest number of players in a World Magic Cup out of the six that had taken place at the time. Eventual winners were Japan, previously among the least successful teams in World Magic Cup history despite having seemingly strong teams, but the team of Yuuya Watanabe, Kenta Harane, and Shōta Yasooka took the trophy after defeating Poland in the final.
2017 organized play changes saw the comeback of National Championships. This meant that World Magic Cup Qualifiers, previously the primary method of qualification for the World Magic Cup, were retired; instead, the top two finishers from each country's Nationals are invited to the World Magic Cup along with the top Pro Point earner from the previous season (in this case, the 2016–17 season). Should the top Pro Point earner make it to the final of Nationals, the top three players are invited instead. These changes meant that national teams went from consisting of four players to being three-player teams.
Format and schedule
The 2017 World Magic Cup featured two formats: Ixalan Team Sealed and Team Unified Standard. 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, Standard replaced Modern, which was used at the previous World Magic Cup event. In addition, The Team Unified Constructed means that 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 Walking Ballista, regardless of how many copies of the card that player has in their deck.
Day 1 - Friday, 1 December
- three rounds of Ixalan Team Sealed
- up to 4 rounds of Team Unified Standard
Day 1 featured at most seven rounds of Swiss play; all teams that won their fourth match would receive byes every round for the rest of the day.
The top 32 teams at the end of the day advanced to Day 2 of competition. This essentially meant that all teams that picked up their fourth win prior to round 7 advanced, plus a few teams with 4–3 records.
Day 2 - Saturday, 2 December
- Phase 1 - up to three rounds of Team Unified Standard
- Phase 2 - up to three rounds of Team Unified Standard
On Day 2, teams were divided into eight groups of four teams each (Phase 1). The four teams in each group played up to three rounds of double elimination; the top two teams in each group advanced to Phase 2. For Phase 2, the sixteen remaining teams were again divided into groups of four, and they played up to three rounds of double elimination. The top two teams in each group proceeded to Day 3 of competition.
As with the 2016 World Magic Cup, draws were not allowed on Day 2. 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, 3 December
- Quarterfinals, semifinals and final, featuring Team Unified Standard
The top eight teams then competed in a seeded (based on total number of points from Day 1 and Day 2), single-elimination bracket.
Most commentators suggested that the three teams of Brazil, Japan, and the United States had the strongest teams. Brazil was unique in the history of the World Magic Cup in that it had a team consisting only of Pro Tour winners and current Platinum pros: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Carlos Romão, and Lucas Berthoud. Japan similarly fielded a team with only Gold-level pros or better: the two Hall of Famers Yuuya Watanabe and Shōta Yasooka, and Kenta Harane, a relatively unknown player, but Gold level in the Pro Players Club, and the winner of the 2017 Japanese Nationals. The United States captain was Reid Duke; joining him was Pro Tour Amonkhet winner Gerry Thompson, and National Champion Oliver Tomajko. Other teams mentioned as potential contenders included Belgium, Canada, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands.
The first day of competition featured two formats: Ixalan Team Sealed (3 rounds) followed by Team Unified Standard (up to 4 rounds). Teams played until they had four wins or seven rounds had been played, whichever came first. Teams that reached four wins before round seven were guaranteed advancement to day 2, while the teams that reached the "four wins"-threshold in round seven had to hope that their tiebreakers would be good enough to see them through. In the end, 7 teams made it through with 4–3-records, while 5 teams didn't. These were Dominican Republic, Colombia, Luxembourg, France, and defending champions Greece.
The biggest upset on day 1 was the elimination of the all-star Brazilian team featuring only Pro Tour winners. They started 2–4, and were as such out of the tournament before the end of the day. Canada, featuring Eduardo Sajgalik, Lucas Siow, and Kale Thompson, finished at a very disappointing 72nd-place out of 73 teams, while the Netherlands placed 69th.
The best performers were Wales, Germany, Belgium, and Italy, all starting 4–0 and securing advancement at the earliest possible time.
Day 2 featured two sets of so-called pool play. Teams were divided into groups of four, and teams in each group played three rounds of Team Unified Standard double elimination. This meant that the two teams in each group that won two matches proceeded to the next stage, while the remaining two teams were eliminated.
First round of pool play
The first rounds on day 2 saw very few of the perceived top teams eliminated; top teams such as the United States, Belgium, Italy, and Japan all advanced. The biggest casualty was, perhaps, Hungary, led by Tamás Nagy and overall featuring a team with a lot of World Magic Cup experience and success. England's team of Niels Molle, Autumn Burchett, and Ross Broxup was also eliminated during this stage, suffering a defeat to Belgium in the third round.
Second round of pool play
The last three rounds on day 2 were the deciding matches for top eight, as the top two teams in each group would advance to Sunday play. In the first two groups, the deemed stronger teams all advanced: Poland went undefeated on the day to advance convincingly, while Italy and Germany both had only one loss each (8–1 records) as they moved on to the final day. Austria, led by Oliver Polak-Rottmann, also advanced after defeating Uruguay in the final round. Group C was, perhaps, the "group of death", featuring favorites Japan and Belgium, as well as Slovakia (captained by Ivan Floch and Lithuania (captained by Gaudenis Vidugiris). Slovakia won twice and advance, setting up a win-and-in match between Belgium and Japan, where Japan advanced to their second-ever World Magic Cup top eight in their second-ever day 2 appearance. Group D saw the biggest upset of the stage, with China advancing in first-place, and Wales, due to a quirk with the system, defeating the United States twice to advance to the top eight, the second of those in an on-camera match that was described as one of the best in the tournament.
|Adrian Johann Schrenk|
- Rich Hagon (2017-11-28). "2017 WORLD MAGIC CUP PREVIEW". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2018-01-09.