PHOTO ESSAY: THE 2014 WORLD MAGIC CUP

Posted in 2014 WORLD MAGIC CUP on December 6, 2014

By Craig Gibson and Josh Bennett

Nice, still as beautiful as ever, shown in full nighttime splendor.

We've returned to the Acropolis center as Worlds Week continues, joined by 72 National Teams from across the globe.

First, four rounds of Team Sealed. Is this a ticket to Day Two, or to frustration and ruin?

National pride, ready to display at every match.

Of course, most teams come to the table already flying their colors.

Team USA getting ready to make some hard choices. Captain Owen Turtenwald brings the voice of authority.

Team Dominican Republic are the greatest hunters in the multiverse, and you are the quarry.

Hall of Famer Ben Stark serves up the analysis. Tim Willoughby, wry humor and incomparable style.

Spectators catch all the action live on the big screen. One viewer makes sure everyone else knows where it is.

Team Japan understand the value of table presence.

Teammates are welcome to confer, and often risk the broth in favor of adding more cooks.

Team Guatemala celebrate as they lock up Day Two! This is what makes the Cup so great, it's a chance for countries with a smaller player base to show the world what they're made of.

Overnight, mysterious doings transpire in the Feature Match area.

Day Two, and even if you missed the cut to Top 32, there's free drafts for competitors! Simply brave an interaction with this man.

Competitors first face three rounds of Team Sealed in pools of four. Zoya Belova of Team Russian Federation either repairs a mis-built Abzan deck, or prepares to go REAL deep.

Big Z is haunted by Community Manager Nate Price during the match between Team Slovak Republic and Team South Korea.

And then it's on to the Top 16, four pools of four teams playing Unified Standard for a spot in the Top 8. We're intruding on a secret, so let's move on.

This child may have somehow made Magic an even BETTER game.

The pressure piles up as teams head down the final stretch, but Owen Turtenwald eats pressure for breakfast. Or cereal. One of the two.

Team Slovak Republic, favorites coming into the event needed a last-round win to Top 8. I would call Michal Guldan "

Magic

's Zangief" but I am literally terrified of him.

Dark horse Team England never let up all weekend. Elsewhere, Rich Hagon beams insufferably.

Another incredible surprise, Team South Korea have made it! Captain and World Championship competitor Nam Sung Wook and the boys from Seoul showed they belong on the world stage. Will their Cinderella story continue? Tune in tomorrow to find out!