From 105 players at Magic World Championship XXIX, there could be only one champion. After two days and 14 rounds of play we found the final eight competitors. Congratulations to the Top 8 players at the World Championship!
With five Top Finishes in his career, it's almost like clockwork how consistent Jean-Emannuel Depraz is. Along the way he's racked up multiple finalist finishes, including at Magic World Championship XXVII. This run came with its own flair; Depraz lost two straight matches to close out Day One but rallied back to weather the pressure of an intense Top 8 chase. Now, after a season of quiet consistency he's back for his sixth Top Finish and another chance to claim the World Championship trophy.
Hall of Famer Reid Duke is at the end of a season packed with career moments. First, he rose to the challenge at Pro Tour Phyrexia to claim the trophy–a well-deserved win that added a career solo Pro Tour victory to his resume. Then, his consistent performance at following Pro Tours put him into Player of the Year contention. Now, he was the first to lock in a World Championship XXIX Top 8 seat and is poised to run for the second elusive title of his competitive journey: World Champion. After getting within a match of the title in 2013, Duke is ready to make 2023 the biggest year of his career by far.
Stalwart of the Brazilian Magic community, WIlly Edel already has a Hall of Fame nod and four top finishes. But as the return of the Pro Tour shows, long-time players are eager–and capable–of chasing competitive heights. Edel has turned in consistent performances throughout the season, and with this breakthrough returns to the Sunday stage a veteran ready to win it all in his first World Championship Top 8 appearance.
Kazune Kosaka's journey to the World Championship Top 8 started two years ago, winning a Magic Online qualifier for the New Capena Championship. Kosaka's story isn't flashy inasmuch as it's the sort of quiet consistency that makes a Top 8 possible: first, he did well enough at the Championship which qualified him for Pro Tour Phyrexia. There, he broke into the Top 16 (14th place) which propelled him to Pro Tour March of the Machine. With a solid finish there he had the AMPs to qualify for Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings where he again made Top 16. With two narrow misses to Pro Tour Top 8s it isn't a surprise we find Kosaka here–it's a surprise he didn't clinch a Top Finish sooner.
Starting as the final undefeated player on Day One, Anthony Lee is living the dream that Regional Championships offer: as an ANZ Super Series Finals winner (with a second Top 8 there this season) he not only earned competing at the Pro Tour but an invitation directly to the World Championship. A full year of battles against top players brought Lee to Las Vegas ready to defeat the best–and he did en route to his first career Top Finish. The World Championship trophy is the next stop.
With back-to-back Pro Tour Top 8s this season, there's been little quiet about Simon Nielsen's performance. In the thick of the Player of the Year race with fellow World Championship Top 8 competitor Reid Duke (an edge for which Nielsen held going into the Sunday showdown), 2023 proved Nielsen doesn't just hang with the best: he bests them. To make it to his third straight Top 8 he needed to recover from his 0-2 start, and did it by rattling off 10 straight wins. Now he can win just a few more to take home the World Championship trophy.
A true master of the control archetype, Orange has done it again. The Pro Tour 25th Anniversary winner (along with teammates Ben Hull and Allen Wu) is back in a Top 8, this time the World Championship, rocking a control deck that no one else in the tournament brought to bear. It served him well, and now Orange will look to add another accomplishment to an extensive list.
The World Championship Top 8 is a lifelong dream fulfilled for Terlizzi. He came up in Magic dreaming of playing at this level, and was blown away by the idea of someone playing a Magic card modeled after him. But it's all on the table for the Italian competitor who first picked the game up back in 2016. Now he looks to continue the underdog run all the way through what he plans to be a very deep Top 8 run.
Watch the exciting conclusion to Magic World Championship XXIX, Sunday, September 24 starting at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT // 7 p.m. CEST // 2 a.m. JST) on twitch.tv/magic!