Magic: The Gathering World Championship XXVIII Results
Magic the Gathering’s World Championship XXVIII has inevitably come to a thrilling conclusion. It was held in Las Vegas during the Magic 30 event, though was played digitally, both in-person and remotely, via MtG Arena.
This world class, global tournament took place from October 28th to 30th, and was packed with exciting action throughout. In total, 32 of the world’s best players competed in this event, double the amount from last year.
The prize pool was a whopping $250,000, but that is not the only thing players fought for. The top 4 finishers also will receive invites to all 3 Pro Tours for the upcoming season. The event was contested within three formats: Standard Constructed, Explorer Constructed, and Dominaria United draft.
- Yuta Takahashi (Defending World Champion)
- Yuuki Ichikawa
- Eli Kassis
- Simon Görtzen
- Zach Dunn
- Riku Kumagai
- Zachery Kiihne
- Toru Saito
- Jean-Emmanuel Depraz
- Yo Akaike
- Jonny Guttman
- Yudai Miyano
- Simon Nielsen
- Jan Merkel
- Hisamichi Yoshigoe
- Mike Sigrist
- Karl Sarap
- David Inglis
- Shota Yasooka
- Reid Duke
- Logan Nettles
- Matti Kuisma
- Gregory Orange
- Yuma Koizumi
- Jakub Tóth
- Tristan Wylde-LaRue
- Nathan Steuer
- Jim Davis
- Julian Wellman
- Drew Baker
- Lukas Honnay
- Zhi Yimin
Changes, Innovations, and Throwbacks
This World Championship burst onto the scene with quite a few “firsts”, making it interesting right off the bat. It was the first World Championship that was held in-person since 2019. Coincidentally, it is also the first to feature both online and in-person players.
Further, it is the first World Championship with 32 players, as in previous years the field was only 16 players. Lastly, with the introduction of the Explorer Constructed format, it is also the first World Championship to have three formats since the nearly ancient 2016.
The World Championship kicked off with the Dominaria United draft. Competitors were put in draft pods of 8, and battled other competitors who were in the same draft pods. There were three rounds in total, and there were 4 clear winners. Only Nathan Steuer, Jonny Guttman, Julian Wellman, and Tristan Wylde-Larue managed to get through unscathed, finishing with 3 wins and 0 losses.
After the DMU draft, 5 Swiss rounds of Standard ensued. Steuer and Wellman stood out by staying undefeated, until they met in round 5. Wellman managed to best Steuer in their head-to-head match, but they both ultimately ended up with a total record of 7:1 after 8 rounds. Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, Jakub Tóth, and Karl Sarap managed to finish with a respectable 6:2 record.
Simon Görtzen and Hisamichi Yoshigoe were the only unfortunate players to finish with only one win, thus not being able to advance to the playoffs.
The Explorer Constructed format was played on Day Two, with players battling through six Swiss rounds. This day of the competition had its fair share of twists and turns, providing a great watching experience for all of us.
Eli Kassis was the first player to take their rightful spot in the top 4. He finished with an impeccable 6:0 record in the Explorer format, and was the only one to do so.
Next in line to do it was Sarap, who had the huge undertaking of beating Yuta Takahashi. Takahashi was no less than the defending World Champion. The third player to enter the sacred Top 4 was Tóth. He had to go through Jim Davis, his squadmate, to reach it.
The last and final spot, surprisingly ended up being Steuer’s. He had already lost to Kassis, which happened in round 14, and everything seemed potentially lost. But there were still tiebreakers remaining. Steuer fought hard, and incredibly secured the last spot by outlasting Takashi, Inglis, and Davis.
Four of the best players remain, and they have to go through double elimination playoff brackets in Standard Constructed format. Mostly as expected, three out of the four decks were Esper Midrange. The only one who didn’t use the Esper Midrange was Steuer, who opted for Grixis Midrange.
Steuer and Kassis battled again, and Kassis, yet again, brought home the victory. Tóth faced off against Sarap, got the win, and had to now face the seemingly unstoppable Kassis in the upper bracket.
Kassis, however, did prove unbeatable once again, as he won 2:0 against Tóth to advance to the Title Match. Tóth would now have to wait for whoever ends up winning the Lower Semifinals.
Steuer and Sarap were ready to go at it, but it ended up being quite one sided in favour of Steuer. The final score was an underwhelming but deserved 2:0. That meant Steuer was about to face off against Tóth for a chance of getting into the Title Match.
Steuer, in an incredible turn of events since the beginning of the World Championship, actually managed to beat Tóth and advance for one final match. Not only that, but he got one more chance to get revenge on Kassis, who seemed to be steamrolling people left and right.
The Title Match was constructed so it would be best of 3 matches, instead of games. This meant that we could have seen up to 9 games, which Steuer actually predicted would happen. And oh boy, was he right.
After 6 games, the score was an even 1:1 in matches between the top two players. It literally could not have gotten more thrilling than this. Add their previous match-ups in this Championship and you have a nail biting, sitting at the edge of your seat experience.
In the last of the final matches, Kassis desperately needed his fourth land,which never arrived. He battled valiantly, but once Steuer deployed Corpse Appraiser and used it to find Invoke Despair, we all suddenly knew who the new World Champion was.
Steuer’s journey throughout this World Championship, with all its wins and losses, ups and downs, is awe-inspiring. After everything that has gone down, succeeding in ending up in the Title Match, and beating the player who defeated him twice prior, is unprecedented. Especially considering how young Steuer is, at only 20 years old.
Nathan Steuer, Magic World Championship XXVIII Champion, we offer you our sincerest congratulations!