Magic: The Gathering to Crown a New World Champion This Weekend

Magic Worlds is returning to its 2004 home, seen here.

Magic Worlds is travelling back to the USA, with San Francisco serving as host city for the first time since 2004. Nearly 600 professional players will converge on Fort Mason Center this weekend, hailing from 50 different countries and earning their qualifying status in a number of ways: prior Worlds placement, national championships, regional DCI rankings, and more.

By the conclusion of Sunday's events, Magic: The Gathering players will be awarded with over a quarter of a million dollars in prize money, and one competitor will walk away with the title of World Champion. If history serves them well, they'll go on to manage a hedge fund and be the focus of a puzzling diatribe about online dating.

Public play at Magic Weekend Paris in early 2011

Pro players will have to survive through six Swiss rounds of standard format, three Swiss rounds of an Innistrad booster draft, and six Swiss rounds of modern format before moving on to Sunday's finals. If you aren't one of the lucky few to be there in person and want to watch the masters at play, the entire top 8 tournament will be streamed live starting at 10:45 AM PST.

The weekend is filled with more than just pro-level Magic play, though. Wizards of the Coast has posted a full schedule of public tournaments and events, ranging from Innistrad tournaments to the chance to meet Magic R&D staff Aaron Forsythe and designer Mark Rosewater. Of course, for those who feel they are ready to step up their game, public attendees can always try their hand at the series of Pro Tour qualifier events. If you're in the local area, it's a spectacle definitely worthy of a day trip.