This week in the news, we said goodbye to an old friend and hello to the 32 faces of the Magic Professional League.
Children of the Nameless by Brandon Sanderson
On Tuesday, December 11, James Whitbrook of io9 revealed that Wizards of the Coast would be releasing a novella by Brandon Sanderson featuring a new planeswalker. Sanderson is a prolific sci-fi/fantasy author known for his Mistborn and Stormlight Archive series, as well as helping to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after the original author’s passing.
Sanderson, a long-time Magic player, had a chance to add Davriel to the planeswalker pantheon. Children of the Nameless is set on Innistrad and focuses on a girl named Tacenda as she tries to uncover mysteries surrounding her life in the gothic horror plane. The novella, as well as links to other pieces of Magic lore, are available on the revamped Magic story page.
Magic Theme Park?
In an article on ToyHubz.com, Hasbro revealed that the company is planning on opening an indoor themed waterpark and resort, based on its various properties, in 2022. The location has not been made public at this time. The resort will include the theme park, themed hotel rooms, and food and drink offerings.
Magic Online State of the Program
This week Chris Kiritz posted Magic Online’s annual State of the Program column. The column traditionally gives a brief overview of where the program has been in the past year and where it is going. This year, there was a section dedicated to ensuring the player base that there are plans to keep Magic Online active and vibrant. Kiritz stated that there is space for both programs to exist and that Magic Online can provide a home for experiences that “MTG Arena cannot provide.” Kiritz also confirmed that in 2019, the program will still provide a path to the tabletop Mythic Championships. MTG Arena is also pushing the Magic Online team to investigate user interface updates as well as potentially introducing an auto-tap feature.
Magic Pro League Announced
Last week we learned what professional Magic will look like in 2019, including the introduction of a 32-player Magic Pro League. Members of MPL will have playing and streaming contracts worth $75,000, making them truly professional Magic players. But we did not learn the identity of the 32-players until this past Friday. An article posted to ESPN.com’s Esports section revealed the initial members of the Magic Pro League. They are:
- Alexander Hayne
- Andrea Mengucci
- Andrew Cuneo
- Ben Stark
- Brad Nelson
- Brian Braun-Duin
- Carlos Romao
- Christian Hauck
- Eric Froehlich
- Gerry Thompson
- Grzegorz Kowalski
- Javier Dominguez
- Jean-Emmanuel Depraz
- John Rolf
- Ken Yukuhiro
- Lee Shi Tian
- Lucas Esper Berthoud
- Luis Salvatto
- Marcio Carvalho
- Martin Juza
- Matthew Nass
- Mike Sigrist
- Owen Turtenwald
- Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
- Piotr Glogowski
- Rei Sato
- Reid Duke
- Seth Manfield
- Shahar Shenhar
- Shota Yasooka
- William Jensen
- Yuuya Watanabe
These players have given up their Pro Player Club benefits for the upcoming season. Our first chance to see MPL kick off will be at the Mythic Invitational at PAX East in March.
The World Magic Cup
The final World Magic Cup took place this past weekend in Barcelona, Spain. The tournament is being sunset after this season, so the 74 national teams that arrived to test their mettle in Guilds of Ravnica Team Sealed and Team Unified Standard were vying to be the final World Magic Cup champions.
The World Magic Cup has a somewhat unique structure. Reaching four wins on Day 1 (before the final round) locks your team into pool play on Day 2. Some teams finished their day after the first round of Constructed while others, like The United States and Canada, needed to wait until the very end to move on. Pool play on Day 2 began with a modified double elimination—two losses in your pool and you were out of the tournament—before moving to three more rounds of pool play. At the end of all this, eight teams remained:
- Hong Kong, captained by Lee Shi Tian of the Magic Pro League
- Italy, captained by Andrea Mengucci of the Magic Pro League in their fourth consecutive WMC Top 8
- Japan, last year’s World Magic Cup Champion, captained by Ken Yukuhiro of the Magic Pro League
- Israel, captained by two-time World Champion Shahar Shenhar of the Magic Pro League
- China, captained by Liu Yuchen
- France, captained by Jean-Emmanuel Depraz of the Magic Pro League
- Australia, captained by David Mines
- Slovakia, captained by Ivan Floch, who has led the team to four different WMC Top 8s
The finals pitted former World Magic Cup champions France against newcomers Israel. Israel made it to the last table by defeating China in the quarterfinals and Hong Kong in the semifinals. France defeated defending champions Japan in the quarterfinals and then took down Italy in the semifinals. In the first seat, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz on Golgari Midrange dispatched Yuval Zuckerman on Boros Aggro. In the middle seat, Shahar Shenhar on Izzet Drakes held off Arnaud Hocquemiller on a unique take of Jeskai Control. In the third seat, Timothee Jammot on Selesnya Tokens took down Amit Etgar on Golgari Midrange. It was over in a flourish on Flower // Flourish after March of the Multitudes, and France secured their second World Magic Cup trophy.
Your 2018 World Magic Cup Champions! Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, Arnaud Hocquemiller, and and Timothee Jammot led France to victory, defeating Israel's team with Flourish. Congratulations team France! #MTGWMC pic.twitter.com/u1z6gdrtp2
— Magic Esports (@MagicEsports) December 16, 2018
Next week the pro circuit takes the week off, but December 28th sees the last Grand Prix of the year in Vancouver, which will feature Ultimate Masters Limited. Once the calendar rolls over to 2019, we say goodbye to Grand Prix and hello to MagicFests, with MagicFest Oakland kicking things off the weekend of January 4th with Modern.