Introducing the Day Two Pools

Posted in Event Coverage on December 14, 2018

By Frank Karsten

Four match wins was the minimum requirement to advance to Day Two, but with the ruins of Day One behind us, a number of high-profile teams were left in the dust. For the first time in history, Scotland failed to make Day Two at the World Magic Cup, and the stacked Dutch and Czech teams failed to advance as well. Yet, for every powerhouse that fell by the wayside, an underdog surprised us with a stellar first-day performance, and all 74 teams competed with pride.

The 32 teams that remain have been split into eight pools of four teams. Tomorrow, these teams will compete in a modified double-elimination structure within their pool for three rounds, followed by a similar three-round structure for any team who wins two out of their first three matches. The Top 8 teams at the end will advance to Sunday, and the format throughout both days will be Team Unified Standard.

Below, you can find a breakdown of all eight pools for the first stage of Day Two, along with their A, B, and C seats for the Constructed rounds. A short introduction and team photo for the highest-seeded team in each pool is included. All of these teams started 4-0 or 4-1 and received byes for the remaining rounds on Day One, so they could be considered early favorites for the title.

POOL A

Day One Record Country Player A Player B Player C

4-0

Peru

Julio Bejarano

Francisco Sifuentes

Guillermo Loli

4-2

Australia

Benaya Lie

David Mines

Matthew Garnham

4-2

Finland

Lauri Pispa

Matti Kuisma

Roope Metsä

4-3

Canada

Adam Ragsdale

Alexander Hayne

Randall Barber


Team Peru 2018 (from left: Julio Bejarano, Guillermo Loli, and Francisco Sifuentes)

Peru was one of the four teams to start 4-0 on Day One. Their team was captained by Francisco Sifuentes, who has three Grand Prix Top 8s to his name, all since 2017. Last weekend at Grand Prix Liverpool, he teamed up Luis Salvatto and Seth Manfield. This weekend, he played as the Peruvian captain, flanked by Guillermo Loli and Julio Bejarano. Both have some prior Grand Prix experience, and Loli played the World Magic Cup in 2015.

POOL B

Day One Record Country Player A Player B Player C

4-0

Israel

Yuval Zuckerman

Shahar Shenhar

Amit Etgar

4-2

Hungary

Norbert Sárkány

Akos Kenyeres

Gabor Kocsis

4-2

Estonia

Ahti Siirand

Karl Sarap

Mikk Kaasik

4-3

Wales

James Morgan-Foley

Sam Rolph

Morgan Payne


Team Israel 2018 (from left: Yuval Zuckerman, Amit Etgar, and Shahar Shenhar)

Team Israel also qualified for Day Two by starting 4-0. Yuval Zuckerman is one of the youngest players in the field at fifteen, and Amit Etgar also makes his World Magic Cup debut. The team captain is a different matter, however: twice World Champion Shahar Shenhar has twelve Grand Prix Top 8s to his name, including four titles, and over $270,000 in lifetime winnings. Yet despite captaining every Israeli team since 2013, their best finish so far has been 10th place in 2014. Could they make a deep Top 8 run this time around?

POOL C

Day One Record Country Player A Player B Player C

4-0

Hong Kong

Wu Kon Fai

Lee Shi Tian

Alexander Dadyko

4-2

Germany

Christian Hauck

Marc Tobiasch

David Joachim

4-2

Mexico

Daniel Becerra

Marcelino Freeman

Dagoberto Silva

4-3

Slovenia

Robin Dolar

Matic Penko

Mario Smerc


Team Hong Kong 2018 (from left: Alexander Dadyko, Wu Kon Fai, and Lee Shi Tian)

Team Hong Kong, in many ways, is similar to Team Israel. They also have never made the Top 8 of a World Magic Cup (their best finish being 14th in 2014) and their captain is another legend of the game; Lee Shi Tian is a recent addition to the Hall of Fame, and his Magic resume includes five Pro Tour Top 8s, ten Grand Prix Top 8s, and a title at Grand Prix Birmingham 2008. His teammate Wu Kon Fai also has a Grand Prix Top 8, whereas Alexander Dadyko is a newcomer to the World Magic Cup.

POOL D

Day One Record Country Player A Player B Player C

4-0

Italy

Tian fa Mun

Andrea Mengucci

Mattia Basilico

4-1-1

Portugal

Tiago Fonseca

Diogo Galvão

Márcio Carvalho

4-2

Denmark

Simon Nielsen

Oscar Christensen

Rasmus Roth

4-3

Austria

Immanuel Gerschenson

Elias Klocker

Marc Mühlböck


Team Italy 2018 (from left: Tian fa Mun, Mattia Basilico, and Andrea Mengucci)

Team Italy was the final team to advance to Day Two with a 4-0 start, just like last year. Captain Andrea Mengucci is the biggest name on the team. He has three Pro Tour Top 8s to his name, and he was part of the Italian squad that took the World Magic Cup trophy in 2015. What's more, he also captained the Italian team to a 3rd-place finish at the 2016 World Magic Cup and a 4th-place finish at the 2017 World Magic Cup. In fact, Italy has never failed to make a Top 4 after advancing to Day Two at the World Magic Cup. This year he is joined by two newcomers, Tian fa Mun and Mattia Basilico. Like Mengucci, they both are yet to make their first Grand Prix Top 8.

POOL E

Day One Record Country Player A Player B Player C

4-1

Belarus

Evgeniy Zakharenkov

Nikolay Potovin

Anton Volotovich

4-1

China

Liu Yuchen

Song Long

Xu Ming

4-2

Thailand

Teerawish Kotesiri

Thirawat Chaovarindr

Aekarash Sorakup

4-3

Romania

Bogdan Raducan

Raul Porojan

Mircea Posoiu


Team Belarus 2018 (from left: Evgeniy Zakharenkov, Nikolay Potovin, and Anton Volotovich)

Belarus as a country has a decent record at the World Magic Cup, having made Day Two on four out of six starts prior to this event. Their best finish was a Top 8 in 2016. This year, all three team members have previous experience, with Evgeniy Zakharenkov in his fifth World Magic Cup and Anton Volotovich returning from last year's team. Nikolay Potovin, who proved himself as an outstanding player in the mid-2000s, is the most experienced player on the team, with a Pro Tour win rate above 60% from eleven starts and two Grand Prix Top 8s, including a win, to his name.

POOL F

Day One Record Country Player A Player B Player C

4-1

South Africa

Theuns Prinsloo

Kaloyan Petkov

David Reinecke

4-1

Uruguay

Ricardo Menendez

Mauricio López

Juan Pablo Waszuk

4-2

Malta

Anton Morgenstern

Daniel Camilleri

Adam Brincat

4-3

United States

Justin Andrus

Seth Manfield

Dylan Brown


Team South Africa 2018 (from left: Theuns Prinsloo, David Reinecke, and Kaloyan Petkov)

For South Africa, captain Kaloyan Petkov returns from last year, and by the end of the weekend, he will have played in a graceful mix of two WMCs, two Pro Tours, and two Grand Prix. Theuns Prinsloo has prior Pro Tour experience, and David Reinecke has a handful of Grand Prix under his belt. But do you know what really made them stand out from the rest of their pack? Their outfits that celebrated their beautiful national flag. Those outfits earned the South Africans a Spirit Award and carried them to an early Day Two berth in style.

POOL G

Day One Record Country Player A Player B Player C

4-1

Philippines

Carl Caspe

Reynald Abella

Jan Ang

4-1

France

Jean-Emmanuel Depraz

Arnaud Hocquemiller

Timothée Jammot

4-1-2

Sweden

Joel Larsson

Vidar Hesselman

David Bagstevold

4-3

South Korea

Kim Seok Hyun

Nam Sung Wook

Han Hojae


Team Philippines 2018 (from left: Reynald Abella, Carl Caspe, and Jan Ang)

Team Philippines' best performance at the World Magic Cup was their brilliant run to the Top 8 in 2012, and they are hoping for a repeat this year. Captain Jan Ang is in his fifth World Magic Cup start, and all three players have reasonable Grand Prix experience, with almost 30 starts between them.

POOL H

Day One Record Country Player A Player B Player C

4-1

Japan

Ken Yukuhiro

Naoya Nanba

Moriyama Masahide

4-1

Ukraine

Oleksii Riabokon

Andrey Pochekuev

Mike Krasnitski

4-2-1

Puerto Rico

Jose R Neris

Luis Prieto

Jonathan Vale

4-2-1

Slovakia

Richard Hornansky

Ivan Floch

Milan Niznansky


Team Japan 2018 (from left: Naoya Nanba, Ken Yukuhiro, and Moriyama Masahide)

Japan took the trophy at last year's World Magic Cup, so they are the defending Champions. Surprisingly for such a large Magic nation, Japan had only made Day Two at the World Magic Cup twice before, but at least they converted both Day Two appearances into Top 8s. Captain Ken Yukuhiro, in his first World Magic Cup, has four Pro Tour Top 8s and ten Grand Prix Top 8s to his name. What's more, he always plays with a broad smile on his face and has a reputation of bringing wacky brews of his own creation to events. His teammates, Moriyama Masahide and Naoya Nanba, are relatively inexperienced in comparison, although the 21-year-old Nanba does already have a Grand Prix Top 8 on his resume.

Congratulations to all teams who advanced to the Day Two competition!

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