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Player of the Year

Player of the Year is an award given at the end of a Pro Tour season to the Magic player with the highest number of Player of the Year Points (previously Pro Points) in that season. As of 2024, the award is called the Kai Budde Player of the Year.

History[ | ]

The award was first given out in 1996, based on the highest number of Pro Points in that season. It used to be reasonably attainable to win this award without winning any Pro Tour or Grand Prix events if the player finishes high enough in sufficient events, but it would be incredibly unlikely without any Pro Tour Top 8s.

With the change to Mythic Points in 2019 and shift to Player Points in 2020, the award had been quietly retired - due to the restructuring of events, Challengers were functionally unable to attend enough events that rewarded points, rendering the award inappropriate to celebrate.

With the introduction of Premier Play, the award was reinstated for 2023.[1] However, unlike previous, it has its own point system independent of the qualification system. The point spreads are similar to the Pro Points system of the 2010s.[2] Additionally, whereas Player of the Year was previously crowned after the final Pro Tour of the season, the new system includes the World Championship and hence would determine both the Champion and the Player simultaneously.[3] Player of the Year points are only awarded at Pro Tours and the Magic World Championships.[2]

During the broadcast of Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3, it was announced that the award would henceforth memorialize Kai Budde, a four-time winner, as he had received a terminal diagnosis in recent months.[4][5]

Player of the Year Winners[ | ]

Past Player of the Year Winners
Year Winner
1996 {SWE} Olle Råde
1996-97 {CAN} Paul McCabe
1997-98 {USA} Jon Finkel
1998-99 {DEU} Kai Budde
199-00 {USA} Bob Maher, Jr.
2000-01 {DEU} Kai Budde
2001-02 {DEU} Kai Budde
2002-03 {DEU} Kai Budde
2003-04 {FRA} Gabriel Nassif
2005 {JPN} Kenji Tsumura
2006 {JPN} Shota Yasooka
2007 {JPN} Tomoharu Saito
2008 {JPN} Shuhei Nakamura
2009 {JPN} Yuuya Watanabe
2010 {USA} Brad Nelson
2011 {USA} Owen Turtenwald
2012 {JPN} Yuuya Watanabe
2012-13 {USA} Josh Utter-Leyton
2013-14 {FRA} Jérémy Dezani
2014-15 {USA} Mike Sigrist
2015-16 {USA} Owen Turtenwald
2016-17 {BRA} Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
2017-18 {ARG} Luis Salvatto
2018–22 Not awarded
2022-23 {DNK} Simon Nielsen

Note:^† Watanabe won the Magic Players Championship

Trivia[ | ]

  • Kai Budde is the player who has won the most Player of the Year titles, with four.
  • Kai Budde and Yuuya Watanabe are also the only players to have won World Championships/Players Championship and Player of the Year in the same year.
    • Watanabe's record is a bit different from that of Budde's. The 2012 season was the only year during which the Player of the Year was not decided by Pro Points; instead, the winner of the 2012 Players Championship was considered the Player of the Year. However, Yuuya was also the one with the most Pro Points for the 2011–12 season,[6] so he would have been the 2012 Player of the Year even with the old system.
  • No player has won Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year in the same year.
    • Randy Buehler was the closest to achieving this feat when he finished second in the 1997–98 Player of the Year race.[7]
  • Both the 2010 season and 2017–18 season ended with two players finishing joint first in the Player of the Year race, forcing a playoff in the following season to determine the title.

References[ | ]

  1. PlayMTG (August 12, 2023). "The Player of the Year returns!". Twitter.
  2. a b Wizards of the Coast (August 29, 2023). "2022–2023 Season Player of the Year Details".
  3. Rich Hagon (September 12, 2023). "Magic World Championship XXIX Preview". Archived from the original on September 12, 2023.
  4. William Jensen (June 29, 2024). "Kai Budde Player of the Year Trophy Announcement"
  5. Wizards of the Coast (June 29, 2024). "Annnouncing the Kai Budde Player of the Year Trophy".
  6. 2011-2012 PLAYER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-09-24.
  7. 1997-1998 PLAYER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-09-24.
  8. Josh Bennett (2011-02-12). "Player of the Year Match: The Full Nelson". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-09-24.