Magic World Championship XXVII 2021 Top 4 Finals Live Coverage

It’s time everybody: the Swiss results have been finalized, and the Top 4 have been decided. Now, these four players will face off against each other in a playoff tournament to determine who will be the World Championship! In addition to the cool $70,000 first prize, the winner will also have their likeliness on a future Magic card.

At the beginning of the day, we still had one undefeated player, Ondřej Stráský. Will he be able to take that momentum all the way and win the championship? Yuta Takahashi had a very strong run in Day 2 as well, managing to go undefeated in the Standard Constructed portion of the tournament after a lackluster 0-3 in Draft.

UPDATE: The final results are in, and Yuta Takahashi was able to keep that streak going and win the World Championship! It was a close battle between Takahashi and Jean-Emmanuel Depraz in the Finals, but Yuta’s Izzet Dragons deck was able to take the win in two matches of three.

Yuta Takahashi’s reaction to winning the World Championship

Thanks for following our coverage of the World Championship XXVII! Below, you’ll find a summary of the matches from the playoff tournament. In case you missed it, you can also find the coverage from Day 1 and Day 2 here:

Live Stream

The official Magic Twitch channel will be running live coverage with commentary for all three days starting at 9 a.m. PST. You’ll find the Twitch stream embedded below:


World Championship XXVII Qualifications

Players had to qualify for eligibility to compete in the World Championship either by finishing in the Top 4 of the Rivals League or MPL standings at the end of the regular season, or by placing highly at one of the three post-season Gauntlet. You can see how each of the Championship competitors earned their slot in the following graphics:

Standings and Brackets

Day 2 Standard Constructed

Metagame Table

Deck Archetype# Decks% Field
Grixis Epiphany425%
Izzet Epiphany425%
Mono Green Aggro318.75%
Mono White Aggro212.5%
Izzet Dragons16.25%
Gruul Aggro16.25%
Azorius Tempo16.25%
Standard Constructed Decklists

Semifinals

The first match of the day was Jan Merkel, the sole Grixis Epiphany player who just barely managed to earn his slot in the Top 4 through a tiebreaker, versus undefeated Ondřej Stráský with Izzet Epiphany. Both players expressed the feeling that Izzet is favored in the matchup, but in game one, Merkel came out firing while Stráský struggled to gain traction. Merkel managed to work down his opponent’s life total with the Devil tokens from Burn Down the House, only to claim the win by copying Prismari Command with Galvanic Iteration and then flashing it back from the graveyard with Lier, Disciple of the Drowned.

Things didn’t go much better for Stráský in game two, as Jan Merkel took all of the discard spells in from the sideboard and used them to wipe Stráský’s hand out entirely. Go Blank and Duress rendered Stráský helpless as Merkel built up to the game’s first Alrund’s Epiphany. Things got out of control quickly from there, ending with an eventual concession from Stráský, making Jan Merkel the match winner with a 2-0.

In the second match, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz faced off against Yuta Takahasi. Both players are playing decks that nobody else brought to the championship, with Depraz playing Temur Treasures and Takahashi playing Izzet Dragons. Depraz came out aggressive in game one, but Depraz was ready, casting a Jwari Disruption on Depraz’ Magda, Brazen Outlaw right on turn two. Depraz took some chunks out of Takahashi’s life total, but Takahashi managed to get a Goldspan Dragon onto the field with a transformed Smoldering Egg and flip the script. It looked like Depraz, fighting hard, might be able to hang on, but Takahashi drew a second Goldspan Dragon off the top of the library for lethal.

Game two got off to a slower start with Jean-Emmanuel removing a Smoldering Egg on turn two and playing Reckless Stormseeker into Esika’s Chariot on turn 3-4. Takahashi, on the other hand, was playing more of a controlling game after sideboarding. Depraz was able to keep pushing aggression, bringing Takahashi down to 3 life. However, Takahashi was able to regain the lead with a Mascot Exhibition and Goldspan Dragon and steal the win, closing out the match 2-0.

Upper Finals

With the semifinals behind us, the championship advanced to the upper finals bracket, featuring a faceoff between Takahashi’s Izzet Dragons versus Jan Merkel playing Grixis Epiphany.

Takahashi mulliganed to five at the beginning before getting hit by a Duress by Merkel on turn two. Over the next few turns, Takahashi would draw a total of three copies of Goldspan Dragon, taking a big chunk off of Merkel’s life total and threatening lethal. However, Merkel managed to hold on with Alrund’s Epiphany and Galvanic Iteration resulting in three extra turns and six bird tokens. The extra turns turned out to be too much for Takahashi to recover from, and Merkel lined up the perfect lethal with a Spikefield Hazard dealing the final point of damage.

In game two, Merkel enacted the full discard plan that’s been performing so well for him thus far this weekend. Right away, two Duress casts and a Go Blank hit Takahashi hard in the early turns. He managed to get a Goldspan Dragon onto the field, but Merkel was ready with the Soul Shatter.

It was neck and neck for a while with both players essentially fighting a topdeck war over several turns. Eventually Yuta Takahashi took the win by resolving an Epiphany with Smoldering Egg on the field, bringing the match to game three.

Merkel was never able to get his footing in game three, however, and Takahashi had a Negate at just the right time to counter Merkel’s Epiphany. Takahashi sealed the deal with the Egg/Epiphany interaction once again, taking the win in the Upper Finals.

Lower Semifinals

Match 1:

Ondřej Stráský, who was finally defeated for the first time earlier in the day, took on Jean-Emmanuel Depraz in the semifinals for the lower bracket. The Lower Finals was played in best-of-three matches, meaning either player would have to win two matches to progress. Depraz surely knew that his Temur Treasures deck needs to hit hard and fast against Stráský’s Izzet Epiphany combo deck to win.

In game one of match one, he did just that, using Magda, Brazen Outlaw to ramp into Esika’s Chariot. Stráský almost managed to catch up with a copied Burn Down the House creating 6 Devil tokens, but he was never able to find an answer to Depraz’ Goldspan Dragon, and so Depraz would take the win in game one.

Jean-Emmanuel’s start wasn’t nearly as explosive in game two, especially considering a Demon Bolt that took out one of his early threats. Nevertheless, he was able to keep the pressure on with some key draws throughout the game including Reckless Stormseeker and Ranger Class. Stráský had a Smoldering Egg on the field at one point and went for an Epiphany in the midgame to catch up. However, Depraz had answers each time, shutting down the relatively early extra turn with a Disdainful Stroke and wiping the Egg off the field.

It wasn’t looking good for Stráský as Depraz went in for a lethal attack, but a insanely lucky topdeck of Spikefield Hazard off of a loot from Divide by Zero‘s learn trigger was able to keep him alive with an Ashmouth Dragon still on the field. On one of Stráský’s next turns, an Expressive Iteration revealed TWO copies of Alrund’s Epiphany – one of which he could cast that turn – and the extra turns in combination with the dragon was enough for him to take Depraz completely out of the game.

Game three of the first match would eventually go in Depraz’ favor after spamming the field with aggressive threats all game. Stráský fought him off for quite a while, but a Dragon’s Fire topdeck was able to clear Ashmouth Dragon out of the way for a lethal attack.

Match 2:

In the second match, both players were forced to mulligan to 5 cards. However, Jean-Emmanuel’s resulting hand looked quite good, setting him up for a potential turn three Moonveil Regent. Meanwhile, Ondřej’s hand was slow and clunky, with not a single castable spell until a turn four Memory Deluge. With little standing in his way, Depraz was able to leverage the advantage to take the win.

Game three was over fairly quickly as well, with Depraz keeping nonstop pressure on Stráský that would eventually overwhelm him. Depraz drew a total of three copies of Reckless Stormseeker, which ended up being a key part of his victory thanks to the card’s ability to grant haste. Moonveil Regent also did work for Depraz in the second match; there were two separate occasions where Stráský had managed to stabilize to 1 life, but a resolved Moonveil Regent effectively ended the game since it can’t be removed without dealing that last lethal point of damage.

Lower Final

The next final, also in the form of best-of-three matches, followed Jean-Emmanuel Depraz into competition with Jan Merkel playing Grixis Epiphany.

Match 1:

Jean-Emmanuel Depraz would continue his hot streak into the first game against Merkel, with the usual suite of threats keeping Merkel under unrelenting pressure. Jan wasn’t able to find enough interaction to slow Depraz down, and game one came to an end quickly.

Game two was a bit closer, but Depraz continued to keep Merkel on the backfoot. Even after a resolved Lier, the pressure from Depraz was too much for Merkel to handle, and Depraz turned the first match into a quick 2-0.

Match 2:

Depraz started the second match out right with a Prosperous Innkeeper into turn three Esika’s Chariot and an early Moonveil Regent. Jan Merkel was able to hold him off though, and the game went long. Merkel was able to stabilize with just three life, and turned the tables with the help of Alrund’s Epiphany and Burn Down the House, swinging in for lethal with a Hall of Storm Giants.

The beatdown was back on in the second game though; Merkel keept a slow hand while Depraz had turn three Reckless Stormseeker into turn four Moonveil Regent. Merkel’s interaction just wasn’t enough, so Depraz was able to take the win.

In game three, Merkel held off Depraz’ turn three Stormseeker with a Jwari Disruption, but the aggression didn’t stop there. Turn four Chariot into turn five Goldspan made for a perfect curve out for Depraz, and Merkel was taken down to three life once again. Merkel was able to pull off an insane comeback where he really showcased the power of the combination of Lier, Disciple of the Drowned with Smoldering Egg flipped to Ashmouth Dragon. Depraz had a massive board, but the removal spells flashed back from the graveyard paired with the two damage from the Ashmouth Dragon was able to clean it up in a hurry. Merkel was able to take the victory in the both the game and the match.

Match 3:

Both players had a good start in the first game of match three, with Jean-Emmanuel ramping into Goldspan Dragon and Jan Merkel using The Celestus to ramp up to Memory Deluge or Lier. Merkel stumbled on blue sources though, while Depraz had a second Goldspan Dragon and was able to roll right over Merkel and take the game one win.

Merkel was forced to take a mull to five in the second game, while Depraz couldn’t have asked for much of a better hand. Merkel started with only two lands, and while he did draw land three in time, it was a tapped Spikefield cave – glacially slow compared to Depraz’ early Esika’s Chariot. There was nothing Merkel could do to stop Depraz from taking game two and winning the whole pairing.

Final Championship Match

With all of the semifinal matches finally concluded, it was time for Yuta Takahashi to duel with Jean-Emmanuel Depraz for the title. Takahashi got started the tournament with a rough start going 0-3 in the draft rounds, but once the Standard rounds started, Takahashi managed to go on an undefeated 7-0 run.

Meanwhile, Depraz had to fight in the tiebreaker yesterday and battle his way through the lower bracket after taking a loss in his first match this morning. His Temur Treasure deck, perhaps more accurately described as “wet Gruul,” has been relentless and his play excellent, and it has taken him all the way to the final match. The two finals competitors both put out brief comments on Twitter:

Match 1:

Game 1:

Game one started out with Jean-Emmanuel Depraz on the play casting a Ranger Class on turn two, and Takahashi clearing the wolf off the field right away with Dragon’s Fire. Depraz put another Ranger Class on the field the following turn, and leveled one of them up to strengthen his Wolf token.

Takahashi spent those first few turns getting set up to cast a Goldspan Dragon right on time on turn five. Depraz was ready with a Dragon’s Fire, but Takahashi countered the removal spell with a Jwari Disruption and swung in. A second Dragon’s Fire was sent at the Goldspan, but Yuta returned the Dragon to hand with a Divide by Zero and the race was on.

The two players continued to chip away at each other’s life totals and the game came down to a close call – Takahashi used a Mascot Exhibition from the Divide to gum up the board. Depraz had a Shatterskull Smashing to clear some of the tokens off the board, but Takahashi responded with another Jwari Disruption and it was enough to overpower Depraz and win game one.

Game 2: (Takahashi Leads 1-0)

Jean-Emmanuel had a fast start with Ranger Class into Reckless Stormseeker, but Takahashi started strong as well with a Smoldering Egg backed up by removal. Depraz played out an Esika’s Chariot while Takahashi struggled to find land and had no castable spells in hand to flip his Smoldering Egg. Takahashi never did find the answers he needed to fend off Depraz’ aggression, and the match was tied.

Game 3: (1-1)

On the play this time, Takahashi continued to make good use of Jwari Disruption in the early turns, and an Expressive Iteration set him up nicely with more interaction. Depraz tried to answer it with Magda, Brazen Outlaw, but it was removed immediately with an opposing Spikefield Hazard. The back and forth continued like that for several turns, as Takahashi contined to answer every threat Depraz tried to play.

There was finally a major swing in momentum in Takahashi’s favor when he found a Goldspan Dragon with Memory Deluge and started to put the pressure on. Depraz was lucky to draw a Negate to back up the dragons in his hand, but was still struggling to deal with the Goldspan Takahashi already had on the field.

Depraz finally found a Tangletrap to deal with the first Goldspan, but Takahashi drew a second copy and it was enough to add up to lethal damage. After a close game three, Takahashi took the win in the first match.

Match 2: (Takahashi Leads 1-0)

Game 1:

Both Depraz and Takahashi took mulligans in game one of the second match, with Depraz going down to five and Takahashi on six. A turn two Smoldering Egg absorbed a significant amount of damage from Depraz’ early Wolf token threat, but he was able to find a window to resolve an Esika’s Chariot.

The Chariot quickly got to work taking over the game as it’s known to do if unanswered. Yuta resolved a Goldspan Dragon, but he was already falling behind quickly on board. Depraz drew a Goldspan of his own and was able to keep the heat up high against Takahashi, forcing him to go on defense with a life total of just four.

Takahashi dug deep into his deck looking for answers, but there just wasn’t enough there to stabilize. Depraz’ wide board earned him the game one win even after two mulligans.

Game 2: (Depraz Leads 1-0)

Yuta Takahashi started the second game of the match with a hand looking great with two Jwari Disruptions, some card draw, and multiple removal spells. Depraz was ready for the Jwari Disruption this time though, and played around it nicely by leaving the extra one mana up in the early turns. After Takahashi played one of the Disruptions as a land, however, Depraz played right into the second one – losing an Esika’s Chariot in the process.

Depraz stumbled on land for the turn five Goldspan Dragon, still stuck without any threats that Takahashi couldn’t answer. One Mascot Exhibition and a flashed-back Memory Deluge later and things were not looking good for Depraz, with Takahashi sitting on even more removal spells to clear future dragons.

Depraz did eventually find that fifth land, but he was already too far behind as Takahashi secured the win with a Goldspan Dragon and a Scorching Dragonfire clearing the way.

Game 3: (1-1)

In game three, Yuta had to hold off Jean-Emmanuel’s explosive deck on the play with the knowledge that winning the game would mean winning the whole championship. Two copies of Prismari Command allowed him to fend off Depraz’ first wave of threats in the form of Magda and an Esika’s Chariot. Depraz had a second Chariot to resolve, but was left with just one card left in hand.

Takahashi cleared the Cat tokens with a Shatterskull Smashing and was able to gas right back up with Expressive Iteration finding another Expressive Iteration. After drawing all those cards, Takahashi found two Goldspan Dragons; the first was answered right away by a Tangletrap from Depraz’ sideboard, and the second was removed by another Tangletrap Depraw drew a couple turns later.

The card advantage in Yuta’s deck started to really pay off at this point in the game, keeping the cards flowing with Expressive Iteration and Memory Deluge. Fully restocked with removal, Takahashi was left far ahead of Depraz who was still depending on the top of his deck. With no way of getting back into the game, Depraz was beaten down by Takahashi’s dragons, and Takahashi was crowned as the winner of the World Championship XXVII!

Paul

Dude from Vermont who likes to play Magic and Escape from Tarkov. Musician, writer, and gamer. Submit feedback or corrections to @Paul on the Discord.