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2004 World Championships

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Ladies and Gentleman… Your 2004 Magic: The Gathering World Championship Quarterfinalists.

Kamiel Cornelissen, who was playing in his umpteenth Pro Tour, pulled away from the pack to finish as the top seed. No one could even catch him going into the final round. Kamiel finally broke his second-place curse in Pro Tour-Seattle with Von Dutch He also pulled himself into an oh-so-slight shot at the Pro Tour Player of the Year title and the only way it can even have a shot at happening is with a win on Sunday and even then Nassif could still make off with the top spot.

Right behind Kamiel in the standings was his countryman (or should I say countrykid? He's only fifteen!) Julien Nuijten. Nuijten is also a member of his National team, and a combination of two strong finishes could propel him to the top of the Rookie of the Year race in one big tournament. Terry Soh hails from Malaysia, and although he has flown below the radar, he is a feared presence on the Grand Prix circuit on the other side of the International Date Line.

This was Aeo Paquette's second Pro Tour, and it just happens to be his second Top 8. This young Canadian will be duking it out on Sunday for not only the big prizes but for the Rookie of the Year title -- provided neither Peset nor Nuijten doesn't lock it up during the team event Saturday. Gabriel Nassif practically has a standing reservation at the Top 8 table, and the only surprise here would have been if he failed to pull up a chair.

Japan also has a standing reservation for the Top 8, although you never know who is going to show up. Ryo Ogura was playing in his first Pro Tour outside of Japan, but the apprentice of Jin Okamoto has made multiple Grand Prix Top 8 appearances. Murray "The Mauler" Evans gave Canada two players in the Top 8 and he helped boost his National team into 14th place with a shot at Saturday's title.

Manuel Bevand rounded out the bunch, earning his seat with a pair of unlikely constructed decks -- Krark-Clan Ironworks in Standard and Cogs in Block. While he has been on the Pro Tour for years, this is the first time Bevand has placed higher than 32nd.

Saturday is the team event and it should not be a surprise that France, Japan, and The Netherlands are the top three teams going in. Team Rochester is the format, with a lot hanging in the balance. It could determine the Rookie-of-the-Year and Player-of-the-Year races and the winning team will have a fat payday for their efforts. After all, there's $1,000,000 to be given away this weekend.

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