The time has finally come. This week the 2013-14 pro season will conclude with the World Magic Cup and the World Championship. First, the top planeswalkers from each nation will battle in the opening two days of the World Cup. Then, the top 24 players in the world will compete for the illustrious title of World Champion. The competition begins on Tuesday and concludes on Sunday and you won’t want to miss any of it. Today we’ll break down the schedule, the coverage, and the competition.

Welcome to Worlds

World Championship Day One – December 2nd

Things are going to kick off on Tuesday with a huge bang as the 24 competitors compete in a live-action Vintage Masters draft. What the heck does that even mean? Well, it means that someone is going to go onto Magic Online and randomly generate 72 packs of Vintage Masters. Then, Wizards is going to make physical packs with those cards in them, and the top players in the world are going to draft in three pods. These drafts kicks off around 9AM local time in Nice, France. That means if you’re on the East Coast and want to catch the action, you’ll need to be up at 3AM, and if you’re on the West Coast you’re staying up until midnight. All the action will be seen at

After three rounds of VMA drafting, players will break out their Modern decks for four rounds of constructed Magic. Don’t forget that every match win counts for a pro point in the 2014-2015 season, which is an insane amount of points. Once the Modern portion is over, players will take a break and everyone will get some rest before the second day of competition.

World Championship Day Two – December 3rd

The top 24 players in the world return to the Nice Acropolis on Wednesday for another seven rounds of Magic: the Gathering. They’ll begin the day with a three-round draft of triple-Khans of Tarkir. As the dust settles from one of the most complex limited formats in recent history, the players will prepare for the final format of the World Championship: Standard constructed. Four more rounds will separate the Top 4 from the Top 24. It’s not all sad news for the 20 players who will be eliminated at this point. The players in 5th through 8th, just barely missing out on a return trip on Sunday, will pocket $5,000 each. The players finishing in 9th through 16th place will win $3,000, and the bottom eight players are guaranteed $2,000 apiece. But the real prize will be awarded much later in the week.

Players will take a break and see the sights of Nice on Thursday when they are afforded a day off. On Friday, things are going to really heat up.

World Cup

World Cup Day One – December 5th

National teams from over 70 countries will descend on the Mediterranean coast of France, near the Italian border, for the Magic World Cup. This three-day team tournament will award a total of $250,000 to the top 32 teams, along with pro points, Pro Tour invites, and an invitation  to the 2015 Magic World Championship. But, before they can get to all that, they’ll begin competition on Thursday.

Each team consists of four players, but at the start of Thursday’s event three players from each team will play while the fourth will serve as a coach of sorts. The event kicks off with three rounds of Khans of Tarkir Team Sealed. Each team gets 12 booster packs from which to construct three decks. They’ll take on three other teams with those decks before moving on to Unified Standard Constructed. This is like a normal Standard tournament, but you’re only allowed four copies of any single card per team. There will be a lot of diversity in the format and things will be very exciting for sure as only the top 32 teams at the end of the first seven rounds will advance to the next day.

World Cup Day Two – December 6th

On Saturday each of the 32 teams returning to the Acropolis will again pick three of their four team members to represent their country. The teams will be split into eight pools consisting of four teams each. They’ll build another three Khans of Tarkir sealed decks from 12 packs-per-team. After playing each other team in their group, the top two teams from each group will get to keep playing.

The 16 remaining teams will be split into four pools of four where they’ll compete with each other team in Unified Standard. The teams must use the exact same three decks from day one, but they can choose different players to pilot each deck. After three rounds of this, the top two teams from each pool will advance, leaving us with a top 8 team competition for the ages.

Each team that qualifies for day two won’t go home empty handed. The 16 teams that are eliminated after the first three rounds of pool play will each go home with $1,000 per player. The 8 teams that are eliminated at the end of the day will get $1,500 per player. That leaves plenty to compete for on what will surely be one of the most exciting Sundays in Magic history.

World Cup Top 8 – December 7th

The top 8 teams will return on Sunday to the Acropolis for the final playoff competition. The format will remain unified standard and as on the previous two days each team can pick which of the four team members will pilot each deck during the tournament. Matches begin at 9:00AM in Nice (once again that’s 3AM in New York and 12AM in Los Angeles). After three rounds of intense competition, one team will be going home with $12,000 per player and the title of World Cup victor.

World Championship Top 8 – December 7th

If you haven’t had enough high-level Standard competition yet you’ll be in for a treat, because it’s the featured format of the top 4 of the World Championship as well. You may have forgotten these guys since they may not have played since Tuesday or Thursday, but they’ll be back on Sunday for a shot at a $50,000 top prize and the title of Magic World Champion.

With only three matches to play, they’ll be a best-of-five format. The first two players eliminated will earn $10,000 for their trouble, but perhaps they’d give it up for a chance at the final match table. The  last two players standing will face off in a best-of-five Standard match where the loser leaves with a $20,000 consolation prize and the winner goes home with $50,000.

If you have plans for Sunday I suggest you consider canceling them.

The Quick Hits

  • Apparently I’m the only one who doesn’t get “Satire” because everything in this piece by Neale Talbot is believable and in no way outrageous. The only way I knew it wasn’t a serious look at Magic through the lens of historical context was the note at the end about the intent of this piece as satire [Gathering Magic]
  • Back to our regularly scheduled non-satirical commentary, Anthony Lowry is excited about the new SCG Open format for 2015 and rightfully so. He points out a lot of the benefits for a grinder like himself [Star City Games]
  • Jason Alt comes out, once again, in defense of Ari Lax. Lax gave an interview where he was himself, and some people don’t like his arrogant attitude. The fact that Lax is such a polarizing character is great for the game and for the narratives. I hope this never stops [Quiet Speculation]
  • Luis Scott-Vargas addresses a ton of issues this week including the rules around morph and whether or not certain delve cards will be banned in certain formats [Luck, Skill, Victory]
  • Jimi Brady shares a new Magic variant which is basically a mini-sized version of Commander. Check it out [Gathering Magic]
  • Danny Brown asks us to ask ourselves, when we have an opponent without social skills, who is actually making the match awkward [Quiet Speculation]
  • John Avon emerged from the United Kingdom to make a rare appearance at Grand Prix New Jersey. While there he gave this brief interview [Inside the Deck]
  • Pete Jahn takes a look at the past and future of MTGO Leagues, remaining hopeful they will return one day [Pure MTGO]
  • Love it or hate it, I hope Matt Sperling never stops writing [Sperling’s Sick of it]
  • Hall of Fame player Raphael Levy talks about the importance of maintaining focus in a Magic game [TCGPlayer]
  • Conley Woods digs into the practice of note taking and how to do it right [Breaking Through]
  • After capping GP Madrid at 1900 players, tournament organizer Gordion Knot has had their Grand Prix license revoked. A new organizer will have to fill the void in the European GP circuit [Quiet Speculation]

Wallpaper of the Week

That’s three Ascendancy cards down, only two to go! Just the Mardu and Temur have yet to grace our desktops in all their ascendant glory. In the meantime, the Sultai do a pretty decent job of hanging out in the background of my computer looking all menacing and evil. However, it is very difficult to see my desktop icons with everything going on and the light colors on the left-hand side.

Grade: B-

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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