Congratulations to Japan's Jun'ya Iyanaga on his improbable arrival as this year's Magic: The Gathering world champion! Although Iyanaga is a several-year veteran of professional Magic play, he was not on the tournament's radar until a last chance qualifier victory in the Magic Online Championship Series secured his seat at the big show. After 18 rounds of Swiss-style tournament play, Iyanaga faced off against Richard Bland of England in a best-of-5 series and made it look easy.

Iyanaga swept the series 3-0, but established his commanding lead by taking the second match with the aid of four devastating Galvanic Blast cards and their metalcraft ability. In the final match, he broke out his own take on the Wolf Ramp Run deck archetype and rode it to victory. For a closer look at exactly how Iyanaga won the championship, check out the full card listing of his deck.

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Magic Worlds is returning to its 2004 home, seen here.

Magic Worlds is travelling back to the USA, with San Francisco serving as host city for the first time since 2004. Nearly 600 professional players will converge on Fort Mason Center this weekend, hailing from 50 different countries and earning their qualifying status in a number of ways: prior Worlds placement, national championships, regional DCI rankings, and more.

By the conclusion of Sunday's events, Magic: The Gathering players will be awarded with over a quarter of a million dollars in prize money, and one competitor will walk away with the title of World Champion. If history serves them well, they'll go on to manage a hedge fund and be the focus of a puzzling diatribe about online dating.

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Pictured below, France’s Guillaume Matignon rode a streak of undefeated matches to World Championship success. In the final round, he defeated fellow Frenchman Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, when the two showed up with nearly identical blue-black control decks. Team Slovak Republic also won awards as they defeated Australia for the World Team Championship.

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If you missed our preview, know that the Magic: The Gathering world championships are going on at this very moment in Chiba, Japan. Through two days of competition, Mateusz Kopec leads the individual competition pack with 33 points. As for the national team play, the United States, Slovak Republic, and Poland are all tied up with 81 points each, while Austria sits close behind them with 78. Play will continue on through Friday night (Japan is 14 hours ahead of EST), and conclude with a live webcast of the final rounds starting at 8:45 on Saturday, December 11th. For more coverage including detailed game reports and podcasts, check out the official Wizards of the Coast website.

Here’s a look at the action in progress, as well as some of the events present for fans of the game:
National teams take the stage in an opening ceremony, early Thursday morning:

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From all corners of the globe, fans of "Magic: the Gathering" will converge upon Chiba, Japan this weekend for the world championship competition. Known simply as "Worlds" by its participants, the event spans five days, and is filled with both pro-level competition and events for the casual fan.

The Worlds tournament is a truly massive event, evidenced by the over 600 player invitations that have been issued, which include players with past Worlds success, national teams, and the top-ranked DCI players for each geographic region. Winning a Worlds title is no simple task, though. In order to compete with the final 8 contenders on the tournament’s last day, players must survive: Read More...

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