In the weeks building up to the 2014 World Championship, the discussion among coverage staff, players, and all-around Magic fans has culminated around the expected results of the event. Which formats will players crush? Who will fall flat? Who will shine? And most importantly, who will win?
Among the twenty-four players competing in the big event, there is no player that has entered the discussion of who will win the title of world champion more than Owen Turtenwald, who qualified for the event as North America's top Pro Points earner.
The number of Pro Points that Turtenwald earned? 74.
The number of Grand Prix that he won during the season? Two. Back-to-back. (Not to mention he shared in a Grand Prix victory literally one week after the season ended with teammates Reid Duke and William "Huey" Jensen.)
At the time of writing this, Turtenwald remains the number one ranked player in the world right now, and is likely to hold that title heading into the 2014 World Championship.
On top of all this, Turtenwald's 74 Pro Points from the 2013-14 season makes him Team USA's captain in the 2014 World Magic Cup, meaning the young American player will be competing in at least four days of Magic, stretched across six different formats. It is a challenge that ten other World Championship competitors will face during the week as well.
Turtenwald will also be keeping good company at the event. Joined by his teammates and the other two members of the fabled "Peach Garden Oath" trio, Reid Duke and William Jensen, Turtenwald has some great testing partners for the event.
Last weekend, coverage reporter Jacob Van Lunen had a chance to catch up with Turtenwald, and he could not speak highly enough of those teammates. "They are both excellent at Magic," he said. "Some of the greatest. No. The greatest players I've ever met. Before I met them, my preparation process for tournaments didn't even resemble what it is now. They're dedicated to improvement and they've refined how I get ready for tournaments."
The two have been great testing partners, but also good friends to him over the past few years. But next week, they'll also be competitors playing for the same prize.
We'll see the No. 1 Ranked Player in action over at least four days during 2014 Worlds Week. Will one of the best players in the world add a World Championship title to his growing resume? We'll find out very soon.