Hipsters of the Coast Presents—The Top 100 Magic Players in the World

UPDATE: We now have a dedicated page with updated results. Check it out!

In case you’ve missed it, StarCity Games ran an interesting look at the state of Magic Pro Tour Coverage this week, courtesy John Butler, a player and semi-retired lawyer with experience in the field. One of his major suggestions is that Wizards needs a way to rank the top players in the world and there is currently no system to do so. His suggestion, without much research, is to take the Pro Points from the past 24 months of Pro Tour events (including Worlds and Nationals), the past 24 months of Grand Prix winners, and the past 12 months of Grand Prix 2nd-64th place finishes.

We here at Hipsters of the Coast compiled this list. Without further ado, here are the top 100 Magic the Gathering Players in the world today:

Rank Last Name First Name Nationality Points
1 Watanabe Yuuya JPN 119
2 Utter-Leyton Josh USA 114
3 martell Tom USA 105
4 Kibler Brian M USA 88
5 Shenhar Shahar USA 87
6 Nakamura Shuuhei JPN 85
7 Finkel Jon USA 81
8 Ochoa David USA 81
9 Stark Ben USA 80
10 Yasooka Shouta JPN 79
11 Cifka Stanislav CZE 78
12 Duke Reid USA 78
13 Edel Willy BRA 76
14 Hayne Alexander CAN 73
15 Yukuhiro Ken JPN 73
16 Estratti Samuele ITA 72
17 Mihara Makihito JPN 72
18 Scott-Vargas Luis USA 72
19 Woods Conley USA 71
20 Froehlich Eric USA 71
21 Juza Martin CZE 70
22 Costa Matthew USA 69
23 Wescoe Craig USA 68
24 Damo da Rosa Paulo Vitor BRA 68
25 Black Samuel H USA 67
26 Rachid Denniz SWE 63
27 Turtenwald Owen USA 63
28 Thompson Gerry USA 60
29 Kuo Tzu-Ching TWN 59
30 Vidugiris Gaudenis USA 58
31 Levy Raphael FRA 56
32 Jaklovsky Lukas CZE 56
33 Prost Andrejs LVA 53
34 Holzinger Thomas AUT 53
35 Jordan Dan USA 53
36 Jurkovic Robert SVK 51
37 Larsson Joel SWE 49
38 Lax Ari M USA 49
39 Aintrazi Ali USA 48
40 Hampton Jesse USA 47
41 Nassif Gabriel FRA 47
42 Rietzl Paul USA 47
43 Cox Patrick USA 46
44 Floch Ivan SVK 45
45 Bland Richard ENG 44
46 Lee Shi Tian HKG 44
47 Sharfman David S USA 44
48 Calcano Christian USA 44
49 Majlaton Alex S USA 44
50 Nass Matthew USA 43
51 DeTora Melissa J USA 42
52 Portaro Alessandro ITA 41
53 Oberg Kenny SWE 41
54 Royde Daniel ENG 41
55 Pedrakowski Tomek POL 40
56 Nagai Mamoru JPN 39
57 Watsfeldt Elias SWE 39
58 Sjoblom Max FIN 38
59 Nordahl Andreas NOR 38
60 Nelson Brad J USA 38
61 Demars Brian m USA 37
62 Sajgalik Eduardo ENG 37
63 Stern Jon CAN 37
64 Huang Hao-Shan TWN 37
65 Neeman Jeremy AUS 36
66 Chew Kelvin SGP 36
67 Brendemühl Bernd DEU 36
68 Wilson Jacob A USA 35
69 Friedman Ben USA 35
70 Simonot Timothée FRA 34
71 Bjørnerud Sveinung NOR 34
72 Nakajima Chikara JPN 33
73 Mann Stephen USA 33
74 Anderson Marc CAN 33
75 Fabiano Gerard USA 33
76 Corvese Harry USA 33
77 Ochoa Dustin USA 32
78 Cuneo Andrew USA 32
79 Blohon Lucas CZE 32
80 Lemoine Vincent BEL 32
81 Wiegersma Jelger NLD 32
82 Hunt Matthias USA 32
83 Iyanaga Jun’ya JPN 31
84 Carvalho Pedro BRA 31
85 Ishida Ryuuichirou JPN 31
86 Chapin Patrick USA 31
87 Ganz Andreas CHE 28
88 Cho Joshua J USA 27
89 Dezani Jeremy FRA 27
90 Nagy Tamas HUN 27
91 Caplan David M CAN 26
92 Sutor Emanuel DEU 26
93 Nelson Brandon USA 26
94 Denno Sebastian CAN 26
95 Calvetto Marcello ITA 26
96 Tapia Becerra Felipe M CHL 25
97 Sperling Matt USA 25
98 Parker Brock USA 24
99 Pardee Samuel USA 24
100 Silva José Francisco BRA 24

This list may not be 100% accurate because it is built directly from Wizards results pages. There are a variety of name conflicts in the results (you should see how many different ways Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa shows up). However, we have done our very best to clean up all of these inconsistencies. In the case of ties, we have used cash earnings from these events as the tie-breaker. The top 100 was a clean cut using this method.

This weekend at GP Miami, #2 in the world Joshua Utter-Leyton will have a chance to take sole possession of the #1 overall spot in the world… if he shows up. Surely Watanabe can’t hold onto it for much longer, right?


Archived Comments

41 Archived Responses to “Hipsters of the Coast Presents—The Top 100 Magic Players in the World”
  1. Have you read the series on SCG free about the problem with magic coverage? It outlines pretty well why looking at pro-points doesn’t show us the “best” magic player in the world.

    • Matt Johnson says:

      First paragraph of the article: “In case you’ve missed it, StarCity Games ran an interesting look at the state of Magic Pro Tour Coverage this week, courtesy John Butler,”

    • Rich Stein says:

      As Matt Johnson above says, I think you’re mis-reading what SCG is talking about. John Butler is saying that the current system, in which the points reset arbitrarily every 10-12 months, is not an accurate or consistent way to rank players. Instead, he suggests the method I’ve used above.

  2. Marc DeLay says:

    Wow, putting this down in black and white has a larger and more immediate impact than I thought. When I was reading butler’s article I was already thinking this was a decent idea. Once you guys did the awesome footwork here I can clearly see what an impact this could make in the community.

  3. Charles H says:

    Is the reason for a ranking system for promotional purposes, mainly? In a game that doesn’t use seeding it seems fairly arbitrary.

    Apologies if that’s covered in the SCG articles, I don’t feel the need to reclimb that wall of text.

    • Rich Stein says:

      The ranking system would serve two purposes. Firstly, fans of the Pro Tour want to know who the best players in the game are. You could easily find out who the top-ranked golfer, poker player, tennis player, etc. in the world are, but until now it’s been very difficult to confidently say who the top-ranked Magic player in the world is.

      The other purpose is definitely for promoting narratives. The SCG articles explain it at length, but suffice to say, there’s something more exciting about #19 Conley Woods vs #38 Gerry Thompson.

      Another purpose suggested in the article would be to use this (or a similar) ranking to determine who gets Platinum club for the following year. Wizards has mentioned publicly that they have a number in mind of how many people they want in that club, and it’s roughly 30. They then came up with a convoluted points system and threshold which they believe will get them roughly 30 players at Platinum level. Instead, why not use this kind of ranking system and just take the top 30.

      The author actually recommends having a tournament with the top 40~50 players ranked and award Platinum to the top 30 finishers of that tournament, which is a cool idea too.

      • Luke says:

        The reason the issue of “Who is the best Magic player?” exists is because Magic is not a single game. Being good at Limited is a very different skill set than being good at Constructed, and even in both of those there are varying required skills. Other activities have similar instances, but the data for their specific events is also put into some statistical formula, like saying “this tennis player is undefeated on clay courts.” Really, I just think this system would work if there were some way to filter it by type of even where they gained the points.

        • Rich Stein says:

          This is a great idea, and I’ve already started working on sorting out events based on Limited vs Constructed vs Mixed event. Also, I should mention, if it isn’t obvious, that Team Events were not included in this ranking.

        • Anthony Reed says:

          Doesn’t it stand to reason that the best magic player in the world should be good at limited and constructed? Isn’t that why the pro tour events are both?

          • Rich Stein says:

            Yes, I would say so, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting to know who the best at each format is, in addition to an overall ranking.

            The difficulty there however would be splitting PT results into Constructed/Limited.

        • Luc says:

          Ben Stark, deemed the world’s best limited player, is ninth. It seems that the system includes them as well.
          Last year at AVR they said the pro tour must have both formats as each player must be strong across both to be deemed the best and the rankings do show this.

          Interesting to see that the top list does include everyone that you would expect and people slamming the concept because the game is about having more luck than skill is clearly not true.

      • Matt Johnson says:

        I think he wanted the top 30 on the rankings _after_ that tournament, rather than the top 30 finishers _at_ the tournament, but yes

  4. gary hummel says:

    Go back to the old rating system and make wins and losses mean something and you’ll find out who the best players in the world are the old system worked it just wasn’t Friday night magic friendly so don’t make Friday night magic apart of the system… use the old system but include anything sanctioned above Friday night magic… or put a number of people limit anything under 100 people wouldn’t count towards ur rating

    • singingzombies says:

      The rating system is convenient for ranking purposes, but had other flaws like making individual games against your specific opponent more important. I like that within the tournament, you only really need to care about your record and performance at the tournament and no worry about potentially screwing up your rating by losing to someone with a much lower rating than you. It’s better to leave that part out. It’s exciting to see #4 Brian Kibler vs #27 Owen Turtenwald on the screen in coverage to get an immediate sense who the underdog in the match up is, but I think its overall detrimental if Mr. Kibler would have to worry about dropping ranks if he lost in that scenario. I think adding ranks is great but purely as fluff, don’t have it impact the original system too much.

    • Anthony Reed says:

      It didn’t work. It incentivized certain pros to not compete in high level tournaments because an accidental loss to any old scrub could tank their chances at higher level play. WotC doesn’t want a system that incentivizes you not to play.

    • Rich Stein says:

      The problem with ELO was variance, not the FNM stuff. I once took 63 points from Darwin Kastle in a single match at a Grand Prix. That shouldn’t happen. He essentially dropped almost 100 ranks in the overall standings for losing one match at a GP.

    • EOL systems do not make sense in games where the best player doesn’t always win.

  5. Jonatan says:

    Denniz rachird should have 71 points, he finished this season with 31 pro points and the season before with 40.

    • AaronD says:

      GP finishes from 2-64 place only count for 12 months.

      • Rich Stein says:

        This is correct. Rachird has points from 5 Pro Tour events over the past 24 months but only GP Philadelphia and Portland from the past 12 months, for a total of 63 points.

  6. Matt Sperling says:

    Can you incorporate team results please in next version? Looking forward to v2 with some tweaks people are suggesting.
    -Ranked player with Team GP 1st place in 2012

    • Rich Stein says:

      Do you think it is more beneficial to have the team data incorporated into the overall standings, or split out as its own set of rankings? I think arguments can be made for and against both methods.

      • Tim Akpinar says:

        I think it makes sense, as WotC awards pro points and Pro Tour Invites in team GPs.

      • Tim Akpinar says:

        To clarify, by “makes sense,” I meant with regard to incorporating them into overall standings.

  7. Daniel D says:

    I think it’d be interesting to backfill rankings to see what they *would* have looked like after each big tournament in the last two years, to see how much one strong performance or win affects the rankings. This would prove/disprove the author’s intent that the Top 10-20 would be sufficiently volatile but the Top 100 be relatively stable.

  8. ReAnimator says:

    It’s funny/sad that there are multiple people on this list that are not qualified for the next PT. Just goes to show how broken the current system is.

  9. Brian Kibler says:

    Great work! I’m kind of curious to see how this list would look going back further – say, the past 4 years. but that’s obviously a lot of work 😛

    • Matt Jones says:

      Brian Kibler commented on our blog! HOORAY! We can quit now!

    • Rich Stein says:

      A lot of people have suggested this, and it is already in the works. I think that the data from several years ago, when the number of PTs and the general format of the tour was consistent would be very revealing. Today, as Chapin pointed out, we have things like the Player’s Championship skewing data, plus a rapid increase in the number of GP events.

  10. Mads says:

    Perhaps I missed it somewhere, but how are the points awarded? For example, how many points do you receive for winning a GP? Or for reaching the top-8 of a Pro Tour?

  11. Rich Coates says:

    A long long time ago (pre-pro players club iteration one, so about 8 years ago now), this was the system used by WoTC (though not the differences between GPs and PTs). So-called ‘pro standings’ were used for invites and byes, but the system was felt to be too complicated, since people on the borderline were never sure what benefits they would have (it was all relative, so a player getting 1 more point than you could knock you down, rather than both benefitting as they do under the ‘club’ system). I always felt they should have kept it around, though, even if they didn’t use it, so it’s nice to see it make a comeback.

    • Rich Stein says:

      There were massive differences between this ranking system and the ELO ranking system.

  12. james demink says:

    so out of the top 100 players 44 of them are from america. so if you were drafting players and all of the players in the pod were unranked does that mean you snap pick the american one?

    also snap pick woods> spirling

  13. Eli Kaplan says:

    The fact that John Butler is a lawyer does not give him any particular standing, but it does impart a few bad writing habits on him. Noah Weil is a lawyer with a ton of amazing Magic writing, and he’s done coverage. So if I were to go and say “I want an opinion of a lawyer who plays Magic who thinks he can make coverage better”, Butler is not my first choice. Just saying.

    • Tim Akpinar says:

      His opinion is in no-way a be-all, end-all. This was done more as a thought excercise to show what would happen if this particular suggestion of his was implemented. That said, it’s not just that he’s a lawyer that used to play Magic that makes his opinion interesting; it’s that his law firm specialized in consulting services for high-profile media-related properties.

  14. Miguel Gatica says:

    This list is wrong. I got 25 pp last season and I’m not in the list

    • Rich Stein says:

      Can you let me know which events you gained points in? What has been happening is some players names are reported differently for different events and the database isn’t combining all of your results correctly.

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