2004 World Championships Feature

Posted in Event Coverage on September 5, 2004

By Scott Johns and Craig Gibson

The Pro Tour has come to California many times in the game's history, but his year's World Championships is the first time a Pro Tour has ever been held in San Francisco. (Though there were two Grand Prix events held in the area, back in '97 and '99.)


Pro Tour events are amazing visual spectacles, but Worlds always goes that extra notch. Stepping into events like these you get to enter a whole other world and leave reality at the door.


One of the many visual features getting lots of attention this week, this 16-foot tower stuffed with (definitely fake!) money is an impressive representation of all the prize money Wizards of the Coast has given out through the Pro Tour and Junior Super Series over the years. That number at the top, by the way? $21,778,308!


This case houses the World Championships perpetual trophy. The names inscribed on it represent the best of the best across Magic's history, including names like Kai Budde and Jon Finkel.


People that have never made it out to a Pro Tour event (yet!) may not realize that some of the biggest celebrities from Wizards of the Coast can often be found at the gunslinging tables, duking it out for fun with whoever wants a piece. Mark Rosewater, pictured here, also ran the popular "Question Mark" game Friday night, a free Magic trivia contest for anyone that shows up looking to play. As a special extra event, Mark is running a second Question Mark game tonight and artist Seishiro Ookubo has generously donated four of his amazing 3D Magic cards for prizes!


Speaking of gunslinging Magic celebrities, perhaps you've heard of Dr. Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: the Gathering? If you were here, you could play him yourself!


Worlds is an enormous venue with almost non-stop events and features. To help you navigate your way around the giant hall, there are massive Magic cards hanging from the ceiling. So if you someone tells you to "meet them under the Drooling Ogre," it's probably not as bad as it sounds.


Speaking of side events, this shot gives you an idea of just how many fans turn out for events like Worlds, hungry for the chance to game against other Magic fanatics. And it's not just the locals either. Many people travel from far and wide to experience events like these, and plenty of Pros can also be found gaming endlessly in the side events once their original tournaments have ended. In fact, some of the competitors in Saturday's Pro Tour Qualifier got to play against last year's World Champion, Daniel Zink!


For those who managed to qualify for the main event, this year's World Championships had nearly $1 million dollars up for grabs between all the event prizes and the Player-of-the-Year payout!


The feature match pit earlier in the week, where the game's most well-known and successful players try to earn those coveted Top 8 placings. As the event gets closer to the final rounds before elimination those railings tend to get absolutely packed with spectators craning to see who gets to compete for the title in Sunday's single elimination rounds.


If you've ever heard references to "the red zone" but never knew what it meant, this is your answer. All Pro Tour feature matches are played on these special mats. When creatures enter combat, players push them into the red zone.


Tucked way out by the press area there's a map with a pin on it for every Grand Prix, Pro Tour, World Championship or Invitational. With pins on every continent but Antarctica, it's an impressive sight.


Speaking of countries, an amazing fifty-one different ones had players that made the journey to Worlds this year to play on national teams in the main event.


In addition to all the other cool things to do at Worlds, there's an entire area dedicated to art, artists, art displays, art demonstrations and pretty much anything else art-related you can think of. Pictured here is artist Henry G. Higgenbotham, who builds the models that then become things like D&D book covers. In this one he's holding the physical model for the cover of the D&D Player's Handbook. Higgenbotham is also responsible for the art from four Magic cards, all from Urza's Saga: Voltaic Key, Worn Powerstone, Claws of Gix, and Cathodion.


And speaking of art, this year's event features a stunning display of the original art to many of Magic's most famous cards, all owned by Wizards of the Coast's founder, Peter Adkison and donated for display for this event. In addition to several Moxes, Time Walk, and many others, there is the original art from Black Lotus, in all its glory.

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