WORLDS VIDEO COVERAGE
In addition to our text coverage, magicthegathering.com is taking you inside the World Championships with regular video updates. Watch along all week as Randy Buehler and reporter Justin Gary talk to the game's top names in San Francisco.
- Day 2 Wrap-Up (5.0 MB)
- Ukraine Takes Lead after Day 2 (4.1 MB)
- Kamigawa Flavor with Mark Rosewater (5.3 MB)
- David Williams, Magic Celebrity (4.3 MB)
- Gary Wise Hates America (3.7 MB)
- Bill Stead Guarantees Victory (2.7 MB)
- Shigehara: From Online to Worlds (3.9 MB)
- POY Contender Rickard Osterberg's Green Gambit (3.0 MB)
- Olivier Ruel's Pessimistic Draft (2.9 MB)
- 15-year-old Worlds Veteran Cole Cole Swannack (1.8 MB)
- Day 1 Wrap-Up (4.8 MB)
- Worlds 2004 Preview (8.3 MB)
Not in San Francisco for the Magic World Championships?
Fear not! Our illustrious team of snoops, sleuths, peepers and finks are on hand at the most important Magic event of the year sniffing out all the juicy tidbits of goings-on that would normally end up on the metaphoric cutting room floor. And this time we're involving you in the action. Are you rooting for a particular pro player and itching for an interview? Are you nursing an awesome story idea just waiting to get covered? Discuss the 2004 World Championships on our message boards and post your suggestions, comments, and ideas and we'll do our best to get you the insider scoop!
- 6:53 pm - The Hunt for Player of the Year
- 3:12 pm - Stead Breaks Through
- 3:12 pm - National Team Standings Update
- 2:44 pm - Top of the Heap
- 2:05 pm - Stead's Unsteady Tournament
- 1:23 pm - Study Time
- 12:56 pm - Calling All Schoolboys
- 12:43 pm - A Wise Move from a Wise Man
- 11:52 am - Dream the Imprinted Dream
- 11:16 am - Online Champ Shigehara Gets Real
- 10:42 am - Tough Table to Draft
- 9:45 am - The Mighty Pen
- Blog and Video Archive - Friday
- Blog and Video Archive - Wednesday
Thursday, September 2: 6:53 pm - The Hunt for Player of the Year
All three of the top contenders in the Player of the Year race had feature matches in Round 11. I wandered around the area taking notes on how the games unfolded.
In game 1 against Adam Horvath, Rickard Österberg was getting beat down by a 3/3 Slith Predator when he managed to find Echoing Truth to give himself some breathing room. Unfortunately, Adam got both Leonin Bola and Relic Barrier working and Rickard couldn't keep enough untapped defenders. Eventually he fell to Adam's green horde. After they shuffled up he was able to place Sword of Fire and Ice on his Pteron Ghost and take a quick game 2.
Game 3 was an impressive affair. Adam's Leonin Bola was holding off the Sword of Fire and Ice while a Fangren Hunter and Tangle Asp took five-point chunks out of Rickard's life. Echoing Truth again saved the day after Adam deployed a second Hunter, and when Rickard also had Oxidize for the Bola he was suddenly able to mount a slight offensive.
The green monsters were relentless, however, and on the final turn Adam was attacking with two lone Fangren Hunters with Rickard at 3. The Norwegian blocked one with a Sworded Mastermind plus Copper Myr and the other with Spire Golem (while holding Awe Strike), but Adam's Unforge took him by surprise and he made a crucial mistake by not sacrificing his Pteron Ghost to save his sword. The Mastermind, now bereft of Protection from Red, fell as well and the match went to Adam.
Adam Horvath 2 - Rickard Österberg 0
Gabriel Nassif took game 1 from Kamiel Cornelissen by drawing Sawtooth Thresher with both players land flooded. Game 2 proceeded quite differently when Kamiel had the Condescend for the Thresher and then proceeded to outfit his Clockwork Condor with a shiny new Cranial Plating. Nassif's green deck couldn't handle the air assault and it was on to the final game.
Nassif was only able to produce green and red and was forced to sheepishly summon a 2/2 Etched Oracle, but he soon showed why when he pumped it up with Wurmskin Forger. Kamiel, on the other hand, had two Skyhunter Cubs and a Glaivemaster, plus Carry Away in hand, but couldn't find an equipment to save his life. They traded some blows when Kamiel found Vedalken Mastermind plus Baton of Courage, but it became lopsided when he drew his Cranial Plating again and started taking to the air. When he remembered to use his Pteron Ghost on the Unforge, it was all but over.
Kamiel Cornelissen 2 - Gabriel Nassif 1
Nicolai Herzog had a couple of tough games. He had a key Rain of Rust in game 1 against Hisaya Tanaka, but fell to a strong air force backed by Sun Droplet. In the second game he was visibly frustrated when he missed his third land drop, but he found a third Mountain and was able to stay in the game. That is, until Tanaka played Cosmic Larva against his board of Ensouled Scimitar and Leonin Bola. He was almost able to stay in the game once he had the Bola active, but Tanaka made his first eight land drops, and between the Cosmic Larva and an Atog, there was just too much pressure. Herzog succumbed and lost the match.
Hisaya Tanaka 2 - Nicolai Herzog 0
Rickard had a small opportunity to gain some ground, but in the end all three contenders lost their matches. This can only be good for Herzog, who held the lead going into Worlds, and in a way wouldn't mind if they all got as few points as possible.
Thursday, September 2: 4:54 pm - Stead Breaks Through
He's done it!
Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Stead has won a match.
When the judge asked Bill and Russell Tanchel who won the match, Bill couldn't hide his grin.
"I don't want to sound cocky, but…", the embattled U.S. National team player chuckled.
The judge signed the slip, and it was official: Bill had contributed his first three-point chunk to the American team score. When he returned to the side events area, there was a spontaneous ovation as word spread that he had taken the match.
Better yet, the rest of the team won as well, meaning the Americans are back on the board with 47 points. They'd like it to stay that way. Considering American teams have failed to win the team competition just twice, there is certainly a lot of pressure on this young team to keep the title here.
Thursday, September 2: 3:12 pm - National Team Standings Update
Despite picking up only four wins (out of a possible nine) during the first draft, France is still atop the leaderboard. Gabriel Nassif contributed three of those, but the rest of his team let him down with only one match win between the two of them. Still, 51 points is enough to be tied for first along with Poland, South Korea, and The Netherlands.
The Czech Republic had an even worse time of it. Sasha Zorc, who went undefeated during day 1, came up empty and his teammates also only won a single match. They've fallen from being tied for first with 39 points into 17th place with 42.
South Korea fared similarly to France, picking up four wins and staying tied for the lead. Finland only managed three and fell into a tie for third behind the Spaniards, who managed six wins and moved all the way into second with 50. Other successful teams included The Netherlands (7 wins), England (7 wins), Poland (6 wins), Germany (6 wins), and Argentina (6 wins).
If any of those teams puts up another strong draft, we could certainly see them on top of the standings at the end of Round 12.
Thursday, September 2: 2:44 pm - Top of the Heap
Every Magic player in the world wishes he were Manuel Bevand right now. The French player is currently 9-0 going into the second draft at the World Championships. He's been playing for many years now, with his major accomplishments being Top 8 appearances at Grand Prix-Cannes in 1999, Grand Prix-Stockholm in 1997, and Grand Prix-Lyon in 1997. He's certainly found his groove here at this tournament as no one has been able to stop him yet. Antoine Ruel, Aeo Paquette, Gabriel Nassif, and Kamiel Cornelissen will have a chance; they will be sitting at the top draft pod beside him this afternoon.
An update on the other 6-0s from yesterday:
Antoine Ruel 8-1
Andrei Häyrynen 7-2
Bruno Carvalho 7-2
Sasha Zorc 6-3
Thursday, September 2: 2:05 pm - Stead's Unsteady Tournament
Bill Stead, one of the members of the beleaguered U.S. National team, has been having a rough tournament. He finished winless on day 1 at 0-4-2, and then lost the first two rounds of his draft today. After eight rounds of the tournament, he was only contributing two points to his team's total, which has remained too low to place them onto the leaderboard despite team captain Craig Kremples' best efforts.
As he was part of a seven-man draft pod, it looked like he would receive a bye and earn his first win of the tournament by default. Fate (well, Canada) intervened, however, when Gary Wise dropping meant the pod now only had six players. This made three valid pairings possible, and suddenly Bill found himself playing for the right to not be 0-7-2. The match went to three games, but in the end Bill was overwhelmed yet again, and still finds himself without a notch in the win column. With Craig at 7-2 and Ben Zoz at 5-4 America has only 38 points and is still scrambling to claim a spot on the top 20 leaderboard.
Yet despite this humbling start to Worlds, Stead still guaranteed a U.S. team victory to Justin Gary in this video update (2.7 MB).
Thursday, September 2: 1:23 pm - Study Time
Earlier this afternoon I stumbled across a rare sighting for a Magic event. Normally, between rounds, you see players commiserating about their losses, testing out their decks, or grabbing a bite to eat. Ben Stark, though, has chosen a different path. He pulled out his biology notebook and started studying for class.
In fact, he almost didn't attend the event because he didn't want to miss a session of that same biology class, but at the last minute he found a new flight and was on his way. He's disappointed with his record (4-4) but found a bright side to the situation. There's a hurricane hitting Florida at the moment. He may not be winning money this weekend, but at least his house won't collapse and kill him.
Any parents out there reading this, take note: Not all Magic players value the game more than their education.
Thursday, September 2: 12:56 pm - Calling All Schoolboys
It's not uncommon to see large number of schoolboys in the Magicthegathering.com reporter area. In fact, a number of us will admit quite readily that there are few things in the world we'd rather have than a good schoolboy.
Before you call the police, let me point out that I'm referring to a certain brand of French biscuits called "Le Petit Ecolier," or The Little Schoolboy. Each biscuit is topped with a brick of ridiculously tasty chocolate with the image of a Renaissance schoolboy imprinted into it. They come in two flavors: Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Milk Chocolate.
Schoolboys have a very short lifespan in this environment.
Thursday, September 2: 12:43 pm - A Wise Move from a Wise Man
Gary Wise, a venerable figure in the Magic community, just became the first player to drop from the World Championships, despite being eligible to play another 11 rounds of competition. After winning his first match today, he realized that his Limited rating should probably be over 2100, and his 1-5-1 record here at Worlds meant that he had little hope of earning prize money.
While he's not planning on continuing his Magic career at this time, he figured it was worth it to preserve the option to return to the game at some point in the future. With a rating that high, he's likely guaranteed invites to all the limited Pro Tours for the next two or three years. He expressed interest in the upcoming Nagoya tournament because, "there's a Sumo Wrestling event going on during the same weekend, and I've always wanted to see that sport."
Justin Gary gets to more of the Gary Wise story in this video update (3.7 MB).
Thursday, September 2: 11:52 am - Dream the Imprinted Dream
We all have dreams. Some involve marrying the latest supermodel, some involve making it onto a professional sports team, and others involve imprinting ridiculous things on Panoptic Mirror (well, maybe just for me). Anton Jonsson just lived that dream when he imprinted, of all things, Solar Tide against his first-round opponent, Lovre Crnobori, in the feature match area. I quickly went in search of a camera, but unsurprisingly Lovre had already packed it in before I got back.
Thursday, September 2: 11:16 am - Online Champ Shigehara Gets Real
Toshinori Shigehara is only the second player ever to qualify for the World Championships on Magic Online. He finished the Standard portion at a disappointing 2-4, but drafted a solid white-green number and then found himself in his first real-life feature match. On Magic Online players are able to watch replays of Top 8 games, so he's no stranger to having his play scrutinized, but that happens after the fact. It can be a different story when it's happening in the moment under the bright lights of the Feature Match area.
His opponent was Dirk Baberowski, three-time Pro Tour winner and member of the very successful Phoenix Foundation. Shigehara lost the first game when he couldn't handle a barrage of fat creatures backed by Leonin Bola, but took the next two, systematically locking Dirk down with Icy Manipulator and Loxodon Mystic. Meanwhile, Shigehara's father (the prize included an all-expenses paid trip for two to San Francisco) watched proudly from above.
Shigehara moved to 3-4 and could be back in the running if he continues to do well today. Don't forget to check out magicthegathering.com reporter Justin Gary's video interview with Shigehara by clicking here (3.9 MB).
Thursday, September 2: 10:42 am - Tough Table to Draft
Masahiko Morita sat down Thursday at an imposing draft table, with former World Champion Carlos Romão on his right, draft professionals Sam Gomersall and Richard Hoaen a couple seats to his left, and Player-of-the-Year contender Rickard Osterberg across the table. Masahiko won the recent Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur and has recent Top 8 appearances in Grand Prix in Sendai, Yokohama, Bangkok, and Sapporo as well. In total, he has made the elimination rounds of 10 separate events.
He started off with a Fangren Hunter and then immediately moved into black taking Terror over Viridian Longbow. In the next pack, he again scorned the equipment by taking Creeping Mold over a second Longbow, but then reversed his position by taking Leonin Scimitar over Sun Droplet. Going into Darksteel he seemed to be green-black, with Romao on his right entrenched in white-green.
He then pulled a Skullclamp from his Darksteel pack, followed with Screams from Within, and then Neurok Prodigy from a terrible pack. Two Echoing Truths and two Vedalken Engineers later he was a blue mage. He also found a late Darksteel Gargoyle -- over Darksteel Ingot and Mirrodin's Core. The player to his immediate left, Paulo Rosa, was blue-black as well, but he had been snapping up land-affinity golems left and right so the Engineers slipped through.
From Fifth Dawn he obtained a Skyreach Manta, Suntouched Myr (over Baton of Courage), Trinket Mage (how lucky!), Lose Hope and Advanced Hoverguard. He also had a second chance at a Baton and took it that time. It's unclear if he'll play the Fangren Hunter and Creeping Mold from pack one or not, but he has enough Sunburst that it might be worth it go for all three colors.
All in all, it was an average draft, but the Skullclamp and play skill might propel him to a 2-1 record. Then again, with the strength of the other players at the table, 1-2 might be more likely. Time will tell.
Thursday, September 2: 9:45 am - The Mighty Pen
Inevitably people forget that the DCI Floor Rules state that players should provide their own pen. In the old days you could pick up a free pen from the judges, but in modern times it'll cost you a dollar. When Neil Reeves went to buy a pen and discovered they didn't have change for his $10 bill, he just went ahead and bought 10 pens instead. He was later seen jokingly advertising them at $2 apiece -- a higher price in exchange for saving players a 10-second walk to the judges' station.