The Magic: The Gathering World Championship (commonly referred to as Worlds) is a yearly tournament to crown the best Magic player in the world. It has been held annually since 1994, and is considered the most prestigeous Magic tournament, with a cash prize of $100,000 being awarded to the winner, the highest amount in a Magic tournament.
|Magic: The Gathering World Champions|
|1994||Zak Dolan||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA|
|1995||Alexander Blumke||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|1996||Tom Chanpheng||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|1997||Jakub Slemr||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|1998||Brian Selden||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|1999||Kai Budde||Yokohama, Japan|
|2000||Jon Finkel||Brussels, Belgium|
|2001||Tom van de Logt||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|2002||Carlos Romão||Sydney, Australia|
|2003||Daniel Zink||Berlin, Germany|
|2004||Julien Nuijten||San Francisco, California, USA|
|2005||Katsuhiro Mori||Yokohama, Japan|
|2006||Makihito Mihara||Paris, France|
|2007||Uri Peleg||New York City, New York, USA|
|2008||Antti Malin||Memphis, Tennessee, USA|
|2009||André Coimbra||Rome, Italy|
|2010||Guillaume Matignon||Chiba, Japan|
|2011||Jun'ya Iyanaga||San Francisco, California, USA|
|2012||Yuuya Watanabe*||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|2013||Shahar Shenhar||Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|2014||Shahar Shenhar||Nice, France|
|2015||Seth Manfield||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|2016||Brian Braun-Duin||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|2017||William Jensen||Boston, Massachusetts, USA|
|2018||Javier Dominguez||Las Vegas, Nevada, USA|
|2019||Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa||Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA|
|2021||Yuta Takahashi||Online (MTG Arena)|
|* Players Championship|
Since 1995, Worlds has been an invitation-only tournament. From 1996 to 2011, it was the event that concluded the current Pro Tour season, with invitations being awarded to high-level Pro players, players with a sufficiently high DCI rating, as well as the top finishers in each country's National Championship. The event featured an individual competition, with the winner being crowned the Magic: The Gathering World Champion, as well as a national team competition, where the winning team became the Team World Champion.
After the 2011 season, the World Championships was split in two. The individual competition was replaced by the Players Championship, a highly exclusive event featuring just 16 top pro players. In 2013, this event was renamed to the 'World Championship' once again, and since 2014, 24 players have been invited to compete. The team competition was replaced by the World Magic Cup, a national team competition that ran from 2014-2018, and featured teams from 72 to 74 countries.
The World Championship is currently a three-day event taking place at different times and locations every year. The 2015 World Championship was held in August, at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. In 2013 and 2014, the World Championship was held concurrently with the World Magic Cup, and it was initially announced that the 2015's World Championship and World Magic Cup would also share the same venue, but be held on separate weeks. However, it was later announced that these would be held at different locations and at different times.
Since 2014, the World Championship has been a 24-player event featuring 14 rounds of Swiss play (seven each on the first two days) before a cut to the top four players, where they on the last day of competition play best-of-five semifinals and final matches. The World Championship currently features Standard and Booster draft, though prior to the 2017 World Championship, it featured Modern as well. In the 2019 World Championship, all play was done through MTG Arena - draft pools were uploaded onto profiles and played. In 2016, the schedule was as follows:
Thursday, 1 September
Friday, 2 September
Saturday, 3 September
- 4 rounds of Modern
Sunday, 4 September
- Semifinals and final, featuring Standard
With the introduction of Magic: The Gathering Arena as a professional level medium in 2019, the system was revamped to a much more streamlined system; there would only be 16 players, much like the 2012 and 2013 Championships, and has the eight title winners over the previous season and eight at-large players, four from the Magic Pro League and four from outside it. The 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic resulted in another restructuring, now incorporating the Rivals League and using the Gauntlets as the qualifying tournaments:
- The 2019 Magic: The Gathering World Champion
- The Top 4 MPL players from season standings.
- The Top 4 Rivals League players from season standings.
- The Top 2 from the MPL Gauntlet.
- The winner of the Rivals Gauntlet.
- The Top 4 Challengers from the Challenger Gauntlet.
- The previous season's Player of the Year
- The winner of the last Magic Online Championship
- The winners of each of the previous season's four Pro Tours
- The highest ranked player from North America in terms of Pro Points earned in the previous season
- The highest ranked player from Europe in terms of Pro Points earned in the previous season
- The highest ranked player from Asia Pacific in terms of Pro Points earned in the previous season
- The highest ranked player from Latin America in terms of Pro Points earned in the previous season
- The highest ranked player in terms of Match Points earned in the Constructed portion of the previous season's Pro Tours
- The highest ranked player in terms of Match Points earned in the Booster draft portion of the previous season's Pro Tours
The remaining spots were awarded to the highest ranked players in terms of Pro Points earned in the previous season among those who are otherwise unqualified.
Retired methods of qualification
- The previous season's Rookie of the Year - introduced for the 2014 World Championship, but discontinued after that event
- The captain of the previous season's World Magic Cup winning team - introduced for the 2014 World Championship, and discontinued after the 2015 World Championship
- The Grand Prix Master - introduced for the 2015 World Championship, and discontinued after the 2016 World Championship
- The Mid-Season Master - introduced for the 2016 World Championship, but discontinued after that event
- The Outstanding Hall of Famer - introduced for the 2016 World Championship, but discontinued after that event
- Reigning World Champion - introduced for the 1997 World Championships, and discontinued after the 2016 World Championship
As of 2017, prize money was awarded as follows:
Team World Champions
The team world championship was held from 1995 until 2011, when it was replaced by the World Magic Cup.
|1995||United States||Mark Justice|
|1996||United States||Dennis Bentley|
|1998||United States||Matt Linde|
|1999||United States||Kyle Rose|
|2000||United States||Jon Finkel|
|2001||United States||Trevor Blackwell|
|2003||United States||Justin Gary|
|Robert van Medevoort|
|2008||United States||Michael Jacob|
1994 World Championship
The first Magic World Championship was held at the Gen Con in Milwaukee, USA on 19–21 August 1994. Unlike later World Championship events, anyone could register for the event, which was a 512-player single elimination tournament held across three days. Among the competitors was later head designer for Magic, Mark Rosewater. After two days of single elimination, the final four consisted of three Europeans – the top European players were considered to be ahead of the top American players at this time – and one American, Zak Dolan. Dolan defeated Belgium's Dominic Symens 2–0 in one semifinal; the other was between two French players, Bertrand Lestrée and Cyrille DeFoucand, with Lestrée winning 2–0. Lestrée had been the pre-tournament favorite, but was defeated 2–1 in the final, making Zak Dolan the first Magic World Champion.
1995 World Championship
The second Magic Worlds Championship was held on 4–6 August at the Red Lion Inn in Seattle, USA. This was the first World Championship that was invite-only, and the first that included a team portion. It was a three-day tournament featuring 71 players from 19 countries. The players played ten rounds – five rounds of Sealed deck and five rounds of Standard – where points were awarded for each game win rather than match win. This was also the first tournament where players weren't allowed to change their Constructed deck between the Swiss rounds and the elimination rounds. In the final, the relatively unheralded Swiss player, Alexander Blumke, defeated France's Marc Hernandez 3–2.
- Alexander Blumke
- Marc Hernandez
- Mark Justice
- Henry Stern
- Ivan Curina
- Andrea Redi
- Henri Schildt
- Mu Luen Wang
Team World Championship
- United States – Mark Justice, Henry Stern, Peter Leiher, Mike Long
- Finland – Rosendahl, Henry Schildt, Kimmo Hovi, Punakallio
- Australia – Glen Shanley, Chris Hudson, Russell, Liew
- France – Marc Hernandez, Moulin, Woirgard, Lebas
1996 World Championship
The third Magic World Championship was held on 14–18 August at the Wizards of the Coast headquarters in Seattle, USA. It was the first World Championship after the birth of the Pro Tour, and it was the event that concluded the Pro Tour season. 125 players competed, and the tournament featured three formats: Booster Draft, Standard, and Legacy. In the final, once again a relatively unknown player prevailed, with Australia's Tom Chanpheng taking down the player many believed to be the best in the world, Mark Justice. Chanpheng's win was commemorated with a unique card, 1996 World Champion.
Team World Championship
- United States – Dennis Bentley, George Baxter, Mike Long, Matt Place
- Czech Republic – David Korejtko, Jakub Slemr, Ondrej Baudys, Lucas Kocourek
2014 World Championship
2015 World Championship
2016 World Championship
2017 World Championship
2018 World Championship
2019 World Championship
The 2019 Season will conclude with the World Championship held February 2020.
2020 World Championship
The partial 2020 pro season did not hold a World Championship. That said, a small-field, split-format tournament was held under the name of the 2020 Season Grand Finals in the closing months of the 2020 season.
2021 World Championship
As of the 2018 World Championship the World Champion is eligible to be featured on a player spotlight card. While they won't design it, they will consult with R&D on its selection and will appear pictured in the art.
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- Wizards of the Coast (January 28, 2020). "A Crucible of Worlds Awaits the World Championship XXVI". Magic.gg.