Here’s a Magic World Championship guide for each day of competitive play

A guide towards understanding every round during all three days at Worlds.

MTG Mythic Championship III top four players
Screengrab via Twitch.tv/magic

History is being made at the Magic World Championship this year. But understanding how each day unfolds towards who claims the title is a bit confusing. 

For the first time in the 26-year history of Magic World Championships, this year’s tournament will feature a Booster Draft that is played via MTG Arena. The Theros: Beyond Death Draft will still take place the old fashioned way, with two eight-player pods drafting the cards. And following the Draft rounds, players will compete in Standard Constructed. 

Over the course of three days, 16 competitors will compete in Booster Draft and Standard Constructed best-of-three rounds. But how each round is played, and where players end up after a win or loss, has many in the Magic community needing a cheat sheet. So here’s yours.

Day one

The first day of the Magic World Championship will showcase Theros: Beyond Death Booster Draft and Standard Constructed. Based on win/loss records in Draft rounds, players are then divided up into two groups: Winner and Elimination. 

  • Winners group: Comprised of four players with a record of 2-0 in THB Booster Draft.
  • Elimination group: Will contain four players who went 0-2 in the THB Booster Draft.
  • Third round of Booster Draft: Comprised of eight players who had records of 1-1 after two rounds of THB Draft. 
  • Those who win the third round advance to the Winners group while the others are placed in the Elimination group. 

Once players are divided into two groups, they’ll compete in Standard Constructed best-of-three matches to determine who earns one of four seats in the top eight and who will play additional rounds on Saturday (Saturday Play-In) in order to claim the other available seats. 

Winners group

  • Players with a 2-0 record in Winners group advance to top-eight semifinals on day two. 
  • Those with an 0-2 record in Winners group will have a second chance in the Saturday Play-In rounds on day two. 
  • Players in Winners group with a 1-1 record will compete in a third round of Standard Constructed. 
  • The two winners of the third round will advance to top-eight semifinals on Saturday. 
  • The two losers will compete in the Saturday Play-In on day two. 

Elimination group

  • Players with a 2-0 record in Elimination group advance to Saturday Play-In on day two. 
  • Those with a record of 0-2 are eliminated from the Magic World Championship. 
  • Players with a record of 1-1 will compete in a third round of Standard Constructed. 
  • The two winners in the third round will advance to the Saturday Play-In on day two.
  • Losers in the third round are eliminated from the tournament. 

Day two

The second day at Magic Worlds features three rounds of Saturday Play-In to determine the final four seats in the top-eight. Once determined, players in the top-eight will compete in a double-elimination bracket in order to determine who advances to the final four on day three. 

Saturday Play-In

  • Players with a record of 2-0 advance to the lower bracket of the top eight. 
  • Those with two losses are eliminated.
  • Players with a record of 1-1 will compete in a third round of Standard Constructed. 
  • The winners of the third round advance to the top eight lower bracket and losers are eliminated. 

Top eight double-elimination bracket

The upper bracket in the top eight will feature the four players from the Winners group on Friday that had records of 2-0 and 2-1. Whoever wins these matches advances to the final four while the losers are bumped to the lower bracket. 

Lower bracket

The four winners from the Saturday Play-in rounds will compete in the first round of the top eight lower bracket. Losers are eliminated and the winners will move onto round two, competing against the two losers from the upper bracket. 

Winners of round two will advance to the finals on day three while the losers are eliminated. 

Day three

Day three of Magic Worlds will feature a double-elimination bracket for the top four players of the tournament, followed by a final match to determine a champion. 

Final four double-elimination bracket

The upper bracket of the final four will contain the two winners from the top-eight upper bracket on Saturday. Winner of this match will advance to the final match and the loser gets bumped to the final four lower bracket. 

Winners from the top-eight lower bracket will compete first in the lower bracket of the top-four, with the winner advancing to the next round, playing the loser from the upper bracket. The winner of round two of the lower bracket will advance to the final match.

Grand Final match

Winners of the upper and lower brackets of the top four double-elimination bracket will face off in the final match of the Magic World Championship.

The player seeded from the upper bracket of the top-four will need to win two matches in order to claim the title. But the lower bracket player will have to win three matches in order to be the next Magic World Champion.