Introducing the Magic Online Championship Field

Posted in Magic Digital on March 31, 2016

By David Whitfield

David works on the Magic community team as a content specialist. He spends his days writing about Magic Online and trying to play too many colors at once in Limited.

The question of who is the best Magic player in your regular playgroup or local game store can be easily laid to rest via a series of no-holds-barred grudge matches. The question is: What do you do when your game store is impossibly huge, thousands of players show up to play every day—among them some of the greatest players in the world—and it's located inside the internet? The Magic Online Championship Series seeks to answers these hard-hitting questions.

The 2015 Magic Online Championship will take place from Friday, May 13, to Sunday, May 15, 2016!

When you sit down to a game in Magic Online, you'll often find yourself pitted against skilled players from far and wide. In any given game, you could be playing against someone who has been honing their Magic skills in mountain solitude for several years*, the greatest thief in the Multiverse, or even someone who's MADE OF METAL—you just never know. From this pool of champions, a collection of the best players in the world come together once a year to decide who is truly the greatest player on Magic Online.

*Playing in mountain solitude requires a computer and an internet connection.

None of this year's participants are made of metal (I don't think), but I assure you, they're all amazing Magic players. Let's meet this year's competitors!

2015 Magic Online Championship Players

Jonathan Anghelescu (JPA93)

Qualified via the Season 12 Legacy MOCS Finals

Jonathan Anghelescu started playing casually around 2004, between Mirrodin and Kamigawa. After taking a break from the game, Jonathan rediscovered Magic at the end of high school in 2011 through the StarCityGames.com Open Series coverage, which ignited his love for Legacy. Since building up his Legacy collection, Jonathan has qualified for two Pro Tours via Legacy events.


Sam Black (Vicalis)

Qualified via the Season 4 Dragons of Tarkir-Fate Reforged Sealed MOCS Finals

Sam Black has been playing Magic professionally since 2006 and was a founding member of both the Pantheon and Team Ultra Pro, his current team. He's a Platinum-level pro with two Pro Tour Top 8s and eleven Grand Prix Top 8s, as well as a Worlds win as part of the 2008 US team and a Top 4 finish at last year's World Championship.


Daniel Gräfensteiner (smother2)

Qualified via the Season 11 Battle for Zendikar Sealed MOCS Finals

Daniel Gräfensteiner's first Magic event was a Prerelease tournament for Judgment at his local game store. By playing in events at that same store, Daniel learned quickly and began participating in Grand Prix across Germany. Since then, Daniel has won Grand Prix Barcelona in 2014 with his brother Christian, qualified for sixteen Pro Tours, and reached the Top 8 in three of them.


Alexander Ivanov (BeReborn)

Qualified via the Season 1 Standard MOCS Finals

Alexander Ivanov discovered Magic: The Gathering in 1998 and began playing Magic Online in 2014. When there were Magic National Championships, Alexander qualified for the Russian National Championship seven times.


Defending Champion Magnus Lantto (Lantto)

Swedish Magic Online grinder-turned-pro Magnus Lantto is the defending MOCS Champion, took fifth place in the 2015 Magic World Championship, and has three GP Top 8s. Magnus has been playing Magic for 20 years.


Mitchell Manders (MitchMachine)

2015 Magic Online Player of the Year

Mitchell Manders began playing Magic in day care when he was eleven years old. Mitchell's day care teacher was so cool that he taught everyone Magic, going so far as to loan kids cards for their decks and even taking the group on a field trip to their local Friday Night Magic. Mitchell says that he wouldn't be the player he is today without his day care teacher, Ferry Schaafsma. Since then, Mitchell has won the Junior Super Series and Grand Prix Bilbao in 2013, and now has his sights set on the 2016 Magic Online Championship.


Niels Noorlander (NielsieBoi)

Qualified via the Season 6 Modern Masters (2015 Edition) Sealed MOCS Finals

Niels Noorlander began playing Magic at age twelve, and qualified for his first Pro Tour at sixteen via a 1st-place finish at a Pro Tour Qualifier. Since 2009, Niels has played in six Pro Tours, made Top 4 in a World Championship with the Dutch team, and placed in a Grand Prix Top 8.


Bernardo Santos (bernardoccsa)

Qualified via the Season 2 Khans of Tarkir-Fate Reforged Sealed MOCS Finals

Bernardo Santos began participating in Magic tournaments during Magic 2013 and has been playing regularly ever since. In addition to qualifying for this year's Magic Online Championship, Bernardo also recently placed in the Top 4 for a Shadows over Innistrad Regional Pro Tour Qualifier.


Mike Sigrist (msigrist)

Qualified via the Season 8 Magic Origins Sealed MOCS Finals

Mike Sigrist began playing Magic around the release of Fourth Edition. Mike has played Magic Online regularly since its release and enjoys playing in Flashback Drafts.


Joe Spanier (ExisFlame)

MOCS Last Chance Qualifier Winner

Joe Spanier began playing Magic in middle school during Onslaught, then stopped playing near Dissension. Joe came back to Magic at the release of Scars of Mirrodin and has been playing ever since.


Akira Tamaki (Fallleaf)

Qualified via the Season 10 Standard MOCS Finals

Akira Tamaki began playing Magic casually during the original Innistrad block, took a short break, and returned for Khans of Tarkir. Akira is particularly fond of playing Orzhov and Abzan decks.


Gerry Thompson (Thage)

Qualified via the Season 5 Standard MOCS Finals

Gerry Thompson is an accomplished Magic player, trying to get back on the Pro Tour after a stint interning for Wizards of the Coast. His career highlights include ten Grand Prix Top 8s with two wins and a Top 8 at Pro Tour Gatecrash. He's also well-known for consistently finishing well on the StarCityGames.com Tour and is currently making a run for the Player's Championship.


Dmitriy Timohkin (Alienware_)

MOCS Last Chance Qualifier Winner

Dmitriy Timohkin began playing Magic at his local game store during Shards of Alara. Since discovering Magic Online, Dmitriy has been experimenting with every format that he can, but he prefers Limited and Standard.


Oliver Tiu (tiutangclan)

Qualified via the Season 9 Legacy Cube Sealed MOCS Finals

Oliver Tiu began playing Magic when he was eight years old. Since then, Oliver has won a MOCS Final, made the Top 8 at Grand Prix Providence in 2015, and placed highly in two Pro Tours, including reaching the Top 16 in Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch earlier this year.


Peter Yeh (DeepFinesse)

Qualified via the Season 7 Modern MOCS Finals

Peter Yeh started playing Magic during Scars of Mirrodin. Since moving to the US for graduate studies, Peter has been getting more serious about participating in the competitive Magic scene. He identifies as a Spike, and one of his favorite parts of Magic is the camaraderie that comes from traveling to events with players who all share the same goal of honing their skills.


Konstantin Puzanov (blaze66)

Qualified via the Season 3 Modern MOCS Finals

We were unable to reach Konstantin in time to include a picture and biography.

2016 Magic Online Championship Event Schedule

Friday, May 13:

  • Three rounds of Legacy
  • Lunch break
  • Four rounds of Standard

Saturday, May 14:

  • Three rounds of Shadows over Innistrad Draft
  • Lunch break
  • Four rounds of Modern
  • Top 4 competitors will advance to the single-elimination playoffs on Sunday

Sunday, May 15:

  • Semifinal #1
  • Semifinal #2
  • Finals
    • Award Ceremony

Both semifinals and the finals will be best-of-three matches. There will be one match of each constructed format used in the Swiss rounds of Standard, Modern, and Legacy.

2016 Magic Online Coverage Team

The expert coverage team below will be working throughout the weekend of May 13 through 15 to bring you up-to-the-minute details on the events of the 2016 Magic Online Championship!

Commentators: Marshall Sutcliffe, Luis Scott-Vargas, Brian David-Marshall, and Kenji Egashira

Production team: Rich Hagon, Rashad Miller, and Garth Avery

Writer: Mike Rosenberg

Where to Watch

Tune in to twitch.tv/magic Friday, May 13, through Sunday, May 15, to watch the event unfold! Keep your eye on MTGO.com and our Twitter account for the latest news and updates. We'll see you in May!

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