Catching up with the World Champ

Posted in Event Coverage on September 10, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

Less than a week ago, Brian Braun-Duin stood on top of the Magic world — literally. He defeated Marcio Carvalho in four games to become the 2016 Magic World Champion, capping off an incredible season that saw him come from behind to win the Grand Prix Master title to earn his Worlds spot and etching his name in the record books in the process.

For a man who never expected to find himself at the World Championship, winning was a revelation for Braun-Duin, a life-changing experience that the PTQ grinder of five years ago could never have envisioned.

Brian Braun-Duin didn't expect to find himself in the World Championship, but he made the most of the opportunity.

But whether it's fully sunk in or not — “I don't even know what that would feel like,” Braun-Duin confessed — the man known as “BBD” is the world champion. And as he sat down for the first round of Grand Prix Louisville with teammates Craig Wescoe and Shaheen Soorani, there could be no forgetting it. His nervous opponents shook his hand and congratulated him before the match — dubbing him “the people's champion” —Braun-Duin got his first taste of what exactly it means to be the world champion.

“It's been wild,” he admitted. “I know things are different because I'm in a different place now, but I got back to my apartment for the first time in six weeks and things really felt a lot the same.”

A return to normalcy is a welcome change for Braun-Duin, who celebrated his victory with a quiet cookout with friends but otherwise tried to settle back into a normal routine. Trips to the gym and a little time spent relaxing at home are a very different experience than hotel rooms and round-the-clock testing, and it was something Braun-Duin embraced.

For a few days, at least.

He was back at it on Saturday in Kentucky, teaming up with Soorani and Wescoe and getting back to what he knows best: grinding out matches of Magic.

“Sitting down for the first round of this Grand Prix, it felt like I returned to the real world,” Braun-Duin explained.

Soorani has been with Braun-Duin through it all. He was part of the team that took the long journey to Grand Prix Sao Paulo in search of precious pro points in the race for Grand Prix Master — and paid it off with a Top 4 appearance — and was as excited as anyone when Braun-Duin took on the world.

“I was playing in the Top 8 of an Open, and I was checking the coverage on my phone in between games,” he said. “I was more excited about what he was doing than I was the event I was in the Top 8 of.”

Shaheen Soorani and Craig Wescoe teamed up with Braun-Duin for Grand Prix Louisville.

Soorani was far from the only one. The outpouring of support Braun-Duin's victory generated once again surpassed his expectations.

“It was a level of support I just never would have expected,” he said. “People seem genuinely happy that I won, which is rare. It's really just awesome to have that kind of reaction.”

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