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Kai Budde
Kai Budde
Nickname The German Juggernaut
Born October 28th, 1979
Residence Hamburg, Germany
Nationality {DEU} German
Professional Career
Pro Tour debut Pro Tour Mainz 1997
Winnings $384,220 (as of 2018-08-06)
Top Finishes 12 (7 wins)
GP top 8s 15 (7 wins)
Median Pro Tour Finish 51
PTs Played 59
Lifetime Pro Points 569 (as of 2018-08-14)
Hall of Fame
Player of the Year
World Champion
PT Champion

Kai Budde is a professional Magic player and World Champion. He holds the record for number of Pro Tour wins (7), Player of the Year titles (4), and is tied for first in Grand Prix wins (7) with Yuuya Watanabe and Shuhei Nakamura. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, Budde is widely considered to be one of the two best players of all time, along with Jon Finkel. During the broadcast of Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 in 2024, it was announced that the Player of the Year award would henceforth memorialize Kai Budde, as he had received a terminal diagnosis in recent months.[1][2]

Professional play[ | ]

Budde qualified for his first Pro Tour in 1997 (PT New York), but opted to participate in the juniors division. His top 16 finish there was enough to qualify him for the next Pro Tour in Mainz, where he debuted in the senior division.[3] His 52nd-place result was good enough for a money finish, but he did not return to the Pro Tour until a year later, during the 1998–99 season. This was when he first generated attention himself by winning three GPs in quick succession - GP Barcelona, GP Vienna, and GP Amsterdam - over four months. This earned him the contemporary nickname "King of Grand Prixes",[4] but he ascended past Grand Prix dominance when he made the top eight of the 1999 World Championships, where he ultimately did not just win the event to become the World Champion, but in the process also earned the title of 1998–99 Player of the Year, despite being an unknown quantity coming into the season.[5]

During the next season, Budde failed to make it to the top eight of any Pro Tour events, though he finished 10th at the team PT in Washington, D.C., and 11th at PT London. Instead, it was during the next season, the 2000–01 season, that the Kai Budde era would truly begin. Pro Tour Chicago 2000 started an unprecedented run of dominance where Budde won six out of 14 Pro Tours, two of them being Team Limited Pro Tours that he won alongside Dirk Baberowski and Marco Blume on the team called the Phoenix Foundation. Budde won PT Chicago 2000, PT Barcelona 2000, and PT New York 2001, and players and commentators started questioning whether he or Jon Finkel, previously undisputedly considered the best, was the best player of all time. At PT New York, Randy Buehler suggested that if Budde won the next Pro Tour as well, PT New Orleans, he was the best player of all time. Eric Taylor responded that no way was going to happen, and if Budde won New Orleans, he'd eat his hat. Budde did win Pro Tour New Orleans as well.[6] This was Budde's fifth win in five top eight appearances, leading to the common saying that "Kai doesn't lose on Sundays".[7] Two more Pro Tour titles followed, at PT Boston 2002 and PT Chicago 2003, and Budde won the Player of the Year title three years running. In 2001–02, he had 117 Pro Points, 42 more than the runner-up finish, Jens Thoren. Budde also won the German National Championships in 2002 and followed it up with a Team World Championships title with the German national team the same year. Additionally, he won the 2001 Magic Invitational, resulting in the creation of a card in his likeness, Voidmage Prodigy.

Following the 2003–04 season, Budde largely withdrew from professional play. He still showed up for the occasional event, including PT Philadelphia 2005, where he was for a long time undefeated, and ended up in 27th place. At the 2006 World Championships, he commented that barring a significant change in the system, he did not think that anyone would ever overtake him when it came to several Pro Tour wins.[8] In 2007, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, having garnered 90.4% of the votes. Over the next few years, Budde would show up to about one event a year. Among these was Pro Tour Amsterdam 2010, where he generated considerable excitement in the Magic community by posting his 10th Pro Tour top eight,[9] though the event ended with a quarterfinals defeat against Brad Nelson.

In 2012, Budde joined the team currently known as The Pantheon, where he was a playtest partner with among others former rival Jon Finkel. Starting with PT Dragon's Maze, Budde returned to attending Pro Tours regularly and posted several strong finishes, including 17th at PT Theros and 14th at PT Born of the Gods, but he did not return to the top eight.

Budde has also featured on the Vintage Super League from seasons 2 through 5.

In 2019 Budde returned to the professional stage with a third place at the digital Mythic Championship III. The following year he gained a place in the Magic Rivals League. Ending up in the Rivals Gauntlet, he finished second in that play-off competition. This gained him a place in the 2021–22 Magic Pro League, the final season of the Leagues.

As Budde does not travel for tournaments as much, his Hall of Fame invite for the European Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings was put to good use to give him his 12th Top finish, in the same city as his first Pro Tour win 24 years prior. While this qualified him for the 2023 World Championship, he was unfortunately unable to attend.

During the broadcast of Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 in 2024, it was announced that the Player of the Year award would henceforth memorialize Budde as he had a downturn in his health and cancer diagnosis in recent months.[10]

League play[ | ]

Season Rank
2020 Rivals League 17
2020-21 Rivals League 23
2021–22 Magic Pro League 3

Accomplishments[ | ]

Season Event type Location Format Date Rank
1998–99 Grand Prix Birmingham Block Constructed 17–18 October 1998 2
1998–99 Grand Prix Barcelona Limited 6–7 February 1999 1
1998–99 Grand Prix Vienna Extended 13–14 March 1999 1
1998–99 Grand Prix Amsterdam Limited 15–16 May 1999 1
1998–99 Worlds Tokyo Standard 4–8 August 1999 1
2000–01 Grand Prix Florence Extended 25–26 November 2000 3
2000–01 Pro Tour Chicago Standard 1–3 December 2000 1
2000–01 Pro Tour Barcelona Limited 4–6 May 2001 1
2001–02 Grand Prix London Block Constructed 1–2 September 2001 1
2001–02 Pro Tour New York Team Limited 7–9 September 2001 1
2001–02 Pro Tour New Orleans Extended 9–11 November 2001 1
2001–02 Grand Prix Biarritz Limited 24–25 November 2001 2
2001–02 Grand Prix Lisbon Extended 19–20 January 2002 1
2001–02 Grand Prix Antwerp Limited 2–3 March 2002 1
2001–02 Masters Osaka Team Limited 14–17 March 2002 1
2001–02 Grand Prix Naples Limited 6–7 April 2002 3
2001–02 Masters Nice Extended 3–5 May 2002 3
2001–02 Pro Tour Nice Limited 3–5 May 2002 5
2001–02 Nationals Germany Special 10–12 May 2002 1
2001–02 Worlds Sydney National team 10–14 August 2002 1
2002–03 Pro Tour Boston Team Limited 27–29 September 2002 1
2002–03 Grand Prix Copenhagen Limited 12–13 October 2002 3
2002–03 Masters Chicago Standard 16–19 January 2003 8
2002–03 Pro Tour Chicago Limited 17–19 January 2003 1
2003–04 Pro Tour Boston Team Limited 12–14 September 2003 4
2003–04 Grand Prix Gothenburg Limited 22–23 November 2003 4
2003–04 Grand Prix Madrid Limited 21–22 February 2004 1
2003–04 Grand Prix Brussels Block Constructed 29–30 May 2004 2
2010 Pro Tour Amsterdam Extended and Booster Draft 3–5 September 2010 8
2011 Grand Prix Paris Limited 12–13 February 2011 5
2018–19 Mythic Championship Las Vegas (MTG Arena) Traditional Standard 21–23 June 2019 3
2022-23 Pro Tour Barcelona Modern and Booster Draft 28-30 July, 2023 7


Pro Tour results[ | ]

List of the Pro Tour results and winnings of Kai Budde
Season Pro Tour Format Finish Winnings
1997–98 Mainz Rochester Draft 52 $490
1998–99 Chicago Booster Draft 19 $2,400
1998–99 Rome Extended 126
1998–99 Los Angeles Rochester Draft 51 $510
1998–99 New York Block Constructed 27 $1,430
1998–99 Worlds (Tokyo) Special 1 $34,000
1999–00 Washington, D.C. Team Limited 10 $750
1999–00 London Booster Draft 11 $3,520
1999–00 Chicago Extended 51 $510
1999–00 Los Angeles Booster Draft 98
1999–00 New York Block Constructed 42 $720
1999–00 Worlds (Brussels) Special 120
2000–01 New York Team Limited 22
2000–01 Chicago Standard 1 $30,000
2000–01 Los Angeles Rochester Draft 25 $1,800
2000–01 Tokyo Block Constructed 85
2000–01 Barcelona Booster Draft 1 $30,000
2000–01 Worlds (Toronto) Special 44 $775
2001–02 New York Team Limited 1 $20,000
2001–02 New Orleans Extended 1 $30,000
2001–02 San Diego Rochester Draft 77
2001–02 Osaka Block Constructed 24 $1,900
2001–02 Nice Booster Draft 5 $9,500
2001–02 Worlds (Sydney) Special 45 $750
2002–03 Boston Team Limited 1 $20,000
2002–03 Houston Extended 118
2002–03 Chicago Rochester Draft 1 $30,000
2002–03 Venice Block Constructed 51 $645
2002–03 Yokohama Booster Draft 105
2002–03 Worlds (Berlin) Special 17 $3,000
2003–04 Boston Team Limited 4 $5,400
2003–04 New Orleans Extended 42 $825
2003–04 Amsterdam Rochester Draft 15 $3,500
2003–04 Kobe Block Constructed 31 $1,300
2003–04 San Diego Booster Draft 238
2003–04 Seattle Team Limited 53
2003–04 Worlds (San Francisco) Special 109
2005 Colombus Extended 234
2005 Atlanta Team Limited 45
2005 Philadelphia Block Constructed 27 $775
2005 London Booster Draft 173
2006 Worlds (Paris) Special 175
2007 Worlds (New York) Special 361
2009 Worlds (Rome) Special 193
2010 Amsterdam Extended and Booster Draft 8 $9,500
2011 Paris Standard and Booster Draft 351
2012 Avacyn Restored in Barcelona Block Constructed and Booster Draft 58 $1,000
2012–13 Dragon's Maze in San Diego Block Constructed and Booster Draft 69 $1,000
2013–14 Theros in Dublin Standard and Booster Draft 17 $2,500
2013–14 Born of the Gods in Valencia Modern and Booster Draft 14 $5,000
2013–14 Journey into Nyx in Atlanta Block Constructed and Booster Draft 35 $1,500
2014–15 Fate Reforged in Washington, D.C. Modern and Booster Draft 381
2014–15 Magic Origins in Vancouver Standard and Booster Draft 331
2015–16 Battle for Zendikar in Milwaukee Standard and Booster Draft 281
2015–16 Oath of the Gatewatch in Atlanta Modern and Booster Draft 196
2016–17 Kaladesh in Honolulu Standard and Booster Draft 162
2017–18 Dominaria in Richmond Standard and Booster Draft 208
2017–18 25th Anniversary in Minneapolis Team Constructed 54 $1,000
2018–19 Guilds of Ravnica in Atlanta Standard and Booster Draft 137
2018–19 Mythic Championship III Traditional Standard 3 $40,000


External links[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. William Jensen (June 29, 2024). "Kai Budde Player of the Year Trophy Announcement"
  2. Wizards of the Coast (June 29, 2024). "Annnouncing the Kai Budde Player of the Year Trophy".
  3. KAI BUDDE - HALL OF FAME. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Kim Eikefet (1999-08-09). "Top Eight Player Profile Kai Budde". The Dojo.
  5. Kim Eikefet (1999-08-09). "Recap and Interview with Kai Budde". The Dojo.
  6. Ben Bleiweiss. "Eric Taylor eats his hat!". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. 2001 Pro Tour New Orleans Coverage. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. PODCASTING FROM THE 2006 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Wizards of the Coast (2006-11-29).
  9. VIDEO FEATURE: DAY TWO WRAP-UP. Wizards of the Coast (2010-09-04).
  10. William Jensen (June 29, 2024). "Kai Budde Player of the Year Trophy Announcement"