Image of top eight players at MTG 2023 World Championship
Image via Wizards of the Coast

Wild games determine top 8 at MTG World Championship, Duke first to advance

Reid Duke stomps into the top eight.

American Hall of Fame Magic: The Gathering pro player Reid Duke was the first to qualify for the top eight after a wild day of matches at the 2023 MTG World Championship, with Duke followed closely by veteran compatriot Greg Orange and Frenchman Jean-Emmanuel Depraz.

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The 2022-2023 organized play Magic season showcased the return of Pro Tour tabletop play, along with new and veteran players making moves toward a World Championship title. Two formats were featured at the Magic World Championship in Vegas from Sept. 22 to 24: Draft and Standard Constructed.

Duke, who won Pro Tour Phyrexia, began well on day one, starting day two with a 6-1 record after taking one loss during the Wilds of Eldraine Draft rounds with a White and Red MTG deck. He didn’t waste any time on day two, going undefeated during the second set of three Draft rounds with a three-color Sultai (Green, Black, and Blue) deck that ran three copies of Hamlet Glutton.

Needing only one match win to make the top eight, Duke shifted over to Standard Constructed rounds and defeated Australian Anthony Lee and his Golgari Midrange deck with Domain Ramp, making Duke the first player at the Magic World Championship to advance into the top eight playoffs. 

MTG Worlds’ top eight players and Standard decks

Securing a top-eight playoff seed next was Simon Nielsen piloting Azorius Soldiers. Much like Duke, Nielsen had a standout 2022-2023 season, finishing in the top eight at both the Minneapolis and Barcelona Pro Tour tournaments. 

Round 13 had one more player advance to the MTG Worlds top eight, with Kazune Kosaka defeating Ken Takahama in an Esper Midrange mirror match, followed by the remaining players to hit 10 match wins during the final round of day two. 

Here were the top eight players at the 2023 Magic World Championship in Vegas, and their Standard Constructed decks. 

  • Reid Duke piloting Domain Ramp
  • Simon Nielson piloting Azorius Soldiers
  • Kazune Kosaka piloting Esper Midrange
  • Willy Edel piloting Domain Ramp
  • Jean-Emmanuel Depraz piloting Esper Legends
  • Greg Orange piloting Bant Control
  • Lorenzo Terlizzi piloting Esper Midrange
  • Anthony Lee piloting Golgari Midrange

Lee was a standout performer at MTG Worlds, going 6-0 with one draw on day one as the only undefeated player. Eight players brought Golgari Midrange as their Standard Constructed deck and the build was more than strong enough to carry Lee into the top eight at the Magic World Championship. But it was the Willy Edel against Kenji Sego matchup that ended up being the wildest match of day two. 

Edel barely made it into day two of MTG Worlds in a match against World Champion Yuta Takahashi. Both needed a fourth win to advance and the game had maxed out on time and turns which would have resulted in a draw, which was essentially a loss for both players. Takahashi ended up conceding the match, allowing Edel to advance. 

The final match of day two between Edel and Sego was another Golgari Midrange versus Esper Midrange matchup, with the last game ending in a draw as well. Sego ended up conceding the match, allowing Edel to advance. In total, three of the final matches on day two ended in a draw that turned into a concession. 

Fans can watch the top eight action unfold at the 2023 Magic World Championship starting at 12pm CT. 


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Lead Magic: The Gathering/Teamfight Tactics scribe and staff writer for Dot Esports. Danny is a gamer beach bum residing in Spacecoast Florida and has been a journalist for 10 years, of which five-plus have been at Dot Esports. Prior media outllets Danny wrote for were Screen Rant and TheGamer. You can typically catch Danny playing TCGs and a variety of strategic games.