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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
Year Winner Held in
1994 {USA} Zak Dolan Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
1995 {CHE} Alexander Blumke Seattle, Washington, USA
1996 {AUS} Tom Chanpheng Seattle, Washington, USA
1997 {CZE} Jakub Slemr Seattle, Washington, USA
1998 {USA} Brian Selden Seattle, Washington, USA
1999 {DEU} Kai Budde Yokohama, Japan
2000 {USA} Jon Finkel Brussels, Belgium
2001 {NLD} Tom van de Logt Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2002 {BRA} Carlos Romão Sydney, Australia
2003 {DEU} Daniel Zink Berlin, Germany
2004 {NLD} Julien Nuijten San Francisco, California, USA
2005 {JPN} Katsuhiro Mori Yokohama, Japan
2006 {JPN} Makihito Mihara Paris, France
2007 {ISR} Uri Peleg New York City, New York, USA
2008 {FIN} Antti Malin Memphis, Tennessee, USA
2009 {PRT} André Coimbra Rome, Italy
2010 {FRA} Guillaume Matignon Chiba, Japan
2011 {JPN} Jun'ya Iyanaga San Francisco, California, USA
2012 {JPN} Yuuya Watanabe* Seattle, Washington, USA
2013 {ISR} Shahar Shenhar Amsterdam, Netherlands
2014 {ISR} Shahar Shenhar Nice, France
2015 {USA} Seth Manfield Seattle, Washington, USA
2016 {USA} Brian Braun-Duin Seattle, Washington, USA
2017 {USA} William Jensen Boston, Massachusetts, USA
2018 {ESP} Javier Dominguez Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
2019 {BRA} Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA
2020 - Not played
2021 {JPN}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.[1] In 2013, this event was renamed to the 'World Championship' once again,[2] 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.[3]

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:[4]

Thursday, 1 September

Friday, 2 September

Saturday, 3 September

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[5]; 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.

In 2016, the invitations were awarded to the following players:[3][6]

  • 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:[4]

Rank Payout
1 $100,000
2 $50,000
3–4 $25,000
5–8 $10,000
9–16 $5,000
17–24 $2,500
Total $300,000

Additionally, competitors were awarded one Pro Point per match win in the Swiss portion of the event after the third, plus an additional two for each win in the knockout stage.

Team World Champions[]

The team world championship was held from 1995 until 2011, when it was replaced by the World Magic Cup.

Year Country Players
1995 {USA} United States Mark Justice
Henry Stern
Peter Leiher
Mike Long
1996 {USA} United States Dennis Bentley
George Baxter
Mike Long
Matt Place
1997 {CAN} Canada Gary Krakower
Michael Donais
Ed Ito
Gabriel Tsang
1998 {USA} United States Matt Linde
Mike Long
Bryce Currence
Jon Finkel
1999 {USA} United States Kyle Rose
John Hunka
Zvi Mowshowitz
Charles Kornblith
2000 {USA} United States Jon Finkel
Chris Benafel
Frank Hernandez
Aaron Forsythe
2001 {USA} United States Trevor Blackwell
Brian Hegstad
Eugene Harvey
2002 {DEU} Germany Mark Ziegner
Kai Budde
Felix Schneiders
2003 {USA} United States Justin Gary
Gabe Walls
Joshua Wagner
2004 {DEU} Germany Sebastian Zink
Torben Twiefel
Roland Bode
2005 {JPN} Japan Ichiro Shimura
Takuma Morofuji
Masashi Oiso
2006 {NLD} Netherlands Julien Nuijten
Kamiel Cornelissen
Robert van Medevoort
2007 {CHE} Switzerland Nico Bohny
Manuel Bucher
Raphael Genari
Christoph Huber
2008 {USA} United States Michael Jacob
Paul Cheon
Sam Black
2009 {CHN} China Wu Tong
Bo Li
Zhiyang Zhang
2010 {SVK} Slovakia Ivan Floch
Robert Jurkovic
Patrik Surab
2011 {JPN} Japan Ryuuichirou Ishida
Tomoya Fujimoto
Makihito Mihara



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.[7] 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[8] – 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.

Final standings

  1. {USA} Zak Dolan
  2. {FRA} Bertrand Lestrée
  3. {BEL} Dominic Symens
  4. {FRA} Cyrille deFoucaud

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.[9] This was also the first tournament where players weren't allowed to change their Constructed deck between the Swiss rounds and the elimination rounds.[10] In the final, the relatively unheralded Swiss player, Alexander Blumke, defeated France's Marc Hernandez 3–2.

Final standings

  1. {CHE} Alexander Blumke
  2. {FRA} Marc Hernandez
  3. {USA} Mark Justice
  4. {USA} Henry Stern
  5. {ITA} Ivan Curina
  6. {ITA} Andrea Redi
  7. {FIN} Henri Schildt
  8. {AUT} Mu Luen Wang

Team World Championship

  1. {USA} United States – Mark Justice, Henry Stern, Peter Leiher, Mike Long
  2. {FIN} Finland – Rosendahl, Henry Schildt, Kimmo Hovi, Punakallio
  3. {AUS} Australia – Glen Shanley, Chris Hudson, Russell, Liew
  4. {FRA} France – Marc Hernandez, Moulin, Woirgard, Lebas

1996 World Championship[]

Promo card created for the 1996 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.[11] Chanpheng's win was commemorated with a unique card, 1996 World Champion.

Final standings

  1. {AUS} Tom Chanpheng
  2. {USA} Mark Justice
  3. {USA} Henry Stern
  4. {SWE} Olle Råde
  5. {USA} Matt Place
  6. {USA} Scott Johns
  7. {CAN} Eric Tam
  8. {FIN} Tommi Hovi

Team World Championship

  1. {USA} United States – Dennis Bentley, George Baxter, Mike Long, Matt Place
  2. {CZE} 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.[12]

2020 World Championship[]

The partial 2020 pro season did not hold a World Championship.[12] 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[]

The 2021 World Championship took place at the culmination of the 2020–2021 pro season in October, 2021.[12] It was played on MTG Arena.

Worlds promos[]

The Worlds cards are prizes for Standard tournament World Championship Viewing Parties at WPN Premium stores. The first was released in 2020. They are foil and alternate art.

Player spotlight[]

Main article: Player spotlight

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.


  1. Revamped Premier Play Coming in 2012. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 09-10-2015.
  2. Helene Bergeot. "Completing the Premier Play Picture for 2013". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 09-10-2015.
  3. a b Helene Bergeot. "2015 WORLD MAGIC CUP AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP UPDATES". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 09-10-2015.
  4. a b 2016 Magic World Championship Event Information. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-08-02.
  5. Wizards of the Coast (February 20, 2019). "How to Become The Next Magic Champion: Qualifying for Mythic Championships and Worlds". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Helene Bergeot (2016-08-02). "PRO TOUR ELDRITCH MOON ORGANIZED PLAY ANNOUNCEMENT". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-08-03.
  7. Mark Rosewater (2004-08-23). "AN M:TGER AT GEN CON". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-09-24.
  8. Zak Dolan (2004-08-26). "ZAK DOLAN'S WORLDS DIARY". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-09-24.
  9. Alexander Blumke Becomes 1995 Magic World Champion. Wizards of the Coast (2009-02-16). Retrieved on 2015-09-24.
  10. Monty Ashley (2009-02-16). "1995 World Championships". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-09-24.
  11. Mark Rosewater (July 26, 2004). "On Tour, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. a b c Elaine Chase (August 14, 2019). "The Future of Magic Esports". Magic Esports.
  13. Wizards of the Coast (January 28, 2020). "A Crucible of Worlds Awaits the World Championship XXVI".

External links[]