Magic's 30th anniversary concludes with crowning of a new champion.
With an impressive run through the lower bracket, Nathan Steuer is the 2022 Magic: The Gathering World Champion after defeating finalist Eli Kassis in a 2-1 midrange battle.
Steuer earns $100,000 and becomes the Magic World Champion. This achievement comes during the final day of Magic30, a three-day 30th-anniversary celebration for Magic: The Gathering. Its the culmination of an incredible competitive year for Steuer, who won two Magic Online Champions Showcase events in February and earlier in October.
His February victory put the community on notice with a rare 6-0 run through MOCS, foregoing the finals because of his undefeated run through both Limited and Constructed. Several weeks ago Steuer dominated Pioneer by expertly piloting Izzet Phoenix.
Throughout the year he made his argument as the best all-around Magic player in the world, winning in a variety of formats and maintaining a high standard in each.
Despite Steuers Grixis Midrange being favored in a matchup against the tournament deck Esper Midrange, which bore out during Steuers run through the lower bracket, the real hurdle was getting past Kassis the player.
Steuer had been defeated twice by Kassis prior to their finals meeting.
First, it was during the last round on day two, which nearly eliminated Steuer from the tournament before he managed to make it into the top-four bracket off tiebreakers. Then to start the top four, Steuer suffered a 2-1 loss to Kassis, forcing the eventual champion to battle through the lower bracket.
The finals matchup was a swingy battle between two midrange lists that can produce endless amounts of value. Like most midrange mirrors, it often came down to hitting land drops. Both players had their moments of mana issues and bad starting hands, forcing them to navigate through difficult situations. Steuer and Kassis played tight games, not leaving many easy openings for the other to take advantage of.
In the final game to decide the tournament, Kassis struggled with mana and found himself stuck on three lands. This gave Steuer the opening he needed to secure match point and the Magic World Championship.
Kassis entered the finals as the top-ranked player and ran through the upper bracket to cement his place in the finals. Last year Kassis competed in his first World Championship. He came into the top-four bracket with a 6-0 performance on day two and looked like the man to beat.
The next major competitive Magic event will be in February 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The invite list will include all 32 players from the 2022 World Championship and top performers from the New Capenna Championship and various Regional Championship events.
It will be the return of high-level tabletop Magic, which should present a challenge for players who have been focused on competing digitally for nearly three years.