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Affinity for Numbers: The Cup Runneth Over


Magic is a game of numbers: sixty cards, 20 life, draw two cards, take 7 damage, and add three counters. There are even more numbers surrounding the game—facts and figures, prices and trivia, they are everywhere. In Affinity for Numbers, I uncover and highlight some of the more interesting numbers in Magic.

This week, the numbers are all about a single event: the 2015 World Magic Cup, which took place last Friday through Sunday in Barcelona, Spain.

0 Fetch Lands

Team Unified Standard required each team to construct three Standard decks using just four of any given card. One of the biggest decisions in this odd format was what to do with fetch lands. Team Denmark, for example, made the Top 8 using this W/B Tokens deck that eschews fetches altogether.

1 Pro-Tour Match Win

If I had asked you to put money on the number-one seed of the Top 32 going into the World Cup tournament, whom would you have picked? Japan? France? The United States? Probably not Team Belarus, whose players entered the tournament with a combined total of 8 Pro Tour Top 32 match appearances and only one match win. Team Belarus finished 5–0–2 on Friday and earned 17 points and the top seed going into Day 2, where they played well. They ended up losing to defending champs Team Denmark, however, and failed to advance to the Top 8.

2 Former Champs Defeated

Team Thailand defeated two former World Cup champions, Denmark and France, on the way to their second-place finish in the tournament—an outstanding showing by any measure.

4 Bounding Krasis

They say constraint breeds creativity, and constraint is a big part of Team Unified Standard. Look no further for proof than Team Italy's Temur Midrange deck and its four copies of Bounding Krasis.

This deck paid off big time for Team Italy and helped win them that fancy trophy. Well done, Italy!

12 Magic World Team Champions

The World Cup is only in its fourth year, but Magic has been crowning team world champions since 1995. To date, however, only twelve nations have ever won one: U.S.A., Canada, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, China, Slovakia, Chinese Taipei, France, Denmark, and now Italy.

24 Pro-Tour Invites

Making the Top 8 of the World Cup provides more than just dollars and pro points; it also means an invite and airfare to Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch. Two thirds of the Top 8 players were not yet queued for that Pro Tour and received an invite due to their success.

30 Pro Tours

A team without any lack of big-time Magic experience is the winner of the World Magic Cup: Team Italy. The four players have combined for a total of thirty Pro Tours and one hundred seven Grand Prix. A big chunk of these are attributable to Marco Cammilluzzi (eighteen PTs and sixty-six GPs) and Andrea Mengucci (eleven PTs and thirty GPs).

33 Elves

Tribal Elves hit the World Magic Cup in the hands of Team Serbia. The deck was the only one of its kind in the Top 32, and perhaps more fun than effective, given the team's 2–4–1 record.

42nd Place

The teams from U.S.A. (forty-second place) and Canada (thirty-ninth place) missed Day 2 of the World Magic Cup. Both teams finished with 9 points. This marks the first time in the four years of the event that the United States team did not make it to Day 2.

53% of World Cup Teams

Seventy-three teams were invited to the World Magic Cup this year from nations all over the world. Just over half of them hail from Europe. Africa and the Middle East, on the other hand, each has only one representative.

Region Teams %
Europe 39 53%
Asia 11 15%
South America 10 14%
North America 5 7%
Central America 4 5%
Oceania 2 3%
Africa 1 1%
Middle East 1 1%
Grand Total 73

Europe did well in the tournament. Five of the Top 8 were European teams, including eventual winner, Italy. The Top 8 was rounded out by two teams from Asia and one from Central America.

75% Atarka Red Decks

As already mentioned, Team Unified Standard forced some tough choices from teams. They could not just build any three decks due to the four-card limit. So what to bring to the battlefield? Atarka Red was the first choice of the Top 32 at the tournament. Three quarters of the teams opted to use their Wooded Foothills to build that aggro deck. Other top choices were Esper Dragons (41% of the Top 32), Four-Color Rally (34%), Abzan Aggro (25%), and W/B Tokens (19%).

$250,000 Prize Pool

Team Italy members each received $12,000 for their victory. Overall, a quarter-million-dollar prize pool was awarded, the same as a Magic Pro Tour event. The prize pool compares favorably to rival card game Hearthstone, the 2015 World Championships of which also paid out $250K. The 2015 Pokémon World Championships, however, dwarfed both games with a $357K prize pool split among three different age groups.

Those are all the numbers I have for you today. If you also have an affinity for numbers and have one you think I should share, let me know on Twitter @MrVigabool.

Order Oath of the Gatewatch at CoolStuffInc.com today!

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