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Who Are the 7 Players Tour Champions?

July 21, 2020
Adam Styborski

Hundreds of players competed in Players Tour events across the 2020 Partial Season. Qualifying for the Players Tour Finals—streaming live over the next two weekends, July 25-26 and August 1—was the step further every player looked to take.

From a field of 145 players for the Players Tour Finals, just seven made it there by earning the title of Players Tour Champion—and any one of them could become the first Players Tour Finals winner.

Let's take a quick look at a few interesting facts about each of the winners coming into this Saturday's showdown.

Akira Asahara

Akira Asahara



Winner: Players Tour Online 4

Location: Japan

Lifetime Winnings: $119,645

A Worldly Competitor: Two World Championship Top 8 appearances—2005 and 2008

A True Competitor: Also made Top 8 at Players Tour Nagoya plus success throughout the years at Grand Prix

Big into Magic: One of the "BIG MAGIC ELDERS" of veteran Japanese players (sponsored by Big Magic, of course) including Masahiro Kuroda and Hall of Famer Tsuyoshi Fujita

Teammate to the Stars: Friends with many of Japan's top players—including MPL players Ken Yukuhiro and Shota Yasooka

Corey Burkhart

Corey Burkhart



Winner: Players Tour Phoenix

Location: United States

Lifetime Winnings: $120,375

A Breakthrough Player: Players Tour Phoenix was his first Top Finish after a string of close calls through the years, and led to his invitation to the Magic Rivals League for the 2020-2021 season

Grand Prix Machine: Burkhart racked up ten Top 8 finishes at Grand Prix events

A Clutch Teammate: His sole Grand Prix win came alongside teammates Martin Jůza and Andrew Baeckstrom at Grand Prix Providence in 2017

The Power of Nicol Bolas: Best known for his passion—and success—playing Grixis Control in Modern events

William Craddock

William Craddock



Winner: Players Tour Online 3

Location: United States

A Breakthrough Player: Craddock's win at Players Tour Online 3 was his first Top Finish

Grand Prix Grinder: His three Grand Prix Top 8s have all been in the western half of the US—Dallas-Fort Worth (2018), Omaha (2017), Albuquerque (2016)

One Last Chance: Earned Players Tour qualification at his last local tabletop Magic PTQ this year

Community Cornerstone: His love for the game led him to work for his local game store—Wizard's Asylum in Norman, OK—and support his community of competitive players

Kenta Harane

Kenta Harane



Winner: Players Tour Nagoya

Location: Japan

Friendly Fire: Harane needed to defeat each of his teammates—starting with MPL player Shota Yasooka, then Shintaro Ishimura and, finally, MPL player Ken Yukuhiro in the finals—to win Players Tour Nagoya

A National Champion: Won Japan's National Championship in 2017 to represent and help his country win at the World Magic Cup in 2017

An International Hero: Alongside MPL player Shota Yasooka, Harane won the World Magic Cup in 2017

Quick Learner: Picked up playing Magic in 2014 with Khans of Tarkir, then earned his first Grand Prix Top 8 the following year playing Legacy at Grand Prix Kyoto

Your New Rival: His finish in the 2020 Partial Season earned Harane an invitation to the Magic Rivals League for the 2020-2021 season

Joel Larsson

Joel Larsson



Winner: Players Tour Brussels

Location: Sweden

Lifetime Winnings: $215,250

Third Time's the Charm (Again): In addition to this win at Players Tour Brussels, Larsson was the finalist at Pro Tour Gatecrash in 2013 and the winner of Pro Tour Magic Origins in 2015

Not at All Limited: From his eight Grand Prix Top 8 finished, five have been through his skill playing Limited formats—including his win at Grand Prix Orlando 2017

Hard Study: Despite taking a step back from competitive Magic to ensure more time to focus on the next steps of his education, he has come back to compete (with great success) at the highest levels again

A Return to Form: His finish in the 2020 Partial Season earned Larsson an invitation to the Magic Rivals League for the 2020-2021 season

Ryuji Murae

Ryuji Murae



Winner: Players Tour Online 2

Location: Japan

A Breakthrough Player: Murae's win with Players Tour Online 2 was his first Top Finish

Second Wind: His second major season as a player was in 2018—he ranked up to Gold in the Pro Players Club—years after his first, and only, Grand Prix Top 8 at Nagoya in 2012

Behind the Scenes: Sponsored by—and an employee of—Big Magic, a major Magic store and event organizer in Japan, and supports running their live streams of games

Team Player: He is a member of Team 曲者 (Kusemono), alongside MPL player Rei Sato, Rivals League member Yoshihiko Ikawa, and 2020-2021 Rivals League invitees Yuta Takahashi and Riku Kumagai

Elias Watsfeldt

Elias Watsfeldt



Winner: Players Tour Online 1

Location: Sweden

A Breakthrough Player: Watsfeldt's win with Players Tour Online 2 was his first Top Finish

Worldly Competitor: While he missed out on earning a Top Finish that season, the 2017-2018 season led him to becoming Draft Master—the best Limited record across all Pro Tour events—and earning invitation to 2018 Magic World Championship

A Grand Time: He's earned five Grand Prix Top 8s, including two finalist finishes at Lisbon in 2012 and Utrecht in 2013 (alongside teammates Mikael Magnusson and Joel Larsson)

A Good Combo: In addition to Team Grand Prix success Watsfeldt has tested with Players Tour Brussels winner Joel Larsson repeatedly, including Watsfeldt's successful run at Players Tour Online 1



You can watch how these seven Players Tour winners—and follow a field packed with players from around the world—battle live in the Players Tour Finals on twitch.tv/magic beginning July 25 at 9 AM PDT. With two weekends of broadcasts, there's three full days of Magic competition—and the best players in the world—waiting for you.

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