For much of Magic's history, the idea of the "best Magic player in the world" was a very subjective notion. There has always been a World Championship, of course, but the winner of Worlds isn't necessarily the very best Magic player out there. Recently, the Player of the Year honor was introduced; does that take precedence over a current world title? What about players who have won a lot of Grand Prix in a row but not Worlds? To clear up the fog, there is, as of today, an official top 25 ranking of pro Magic players, as Greg Collins writes in his magicthegathering.com feature article.
The rankings will be constantly updated after every change in a ranking player's Pro Points.
The formula for ranking points runs as follows: Ranking Points = [Player's Current Season Pro Points] + [Player's Previous Season Pro Points × (1 – % of this year's available Pro Points awarded)]. This prioritizes current Pro Points while also taking into account past performances that slowly deplete as the season runs on and players show their true skills.
The population of the list is unsurprising: The current Player of the Year, Josh Utter-Leyton, also happens to be the number one player in the ranks, while Israeli World Champion Shahar Shenhar is number three, with Reid Duke, whom he beat in the Worlds finals, right behind him. The most recent Pro Tour winner, Stanislav Cifka, who dominated Pro Tour Prague, came in tenth.
Reactions have so far been favorable; Magic players like the idea of having a "legitimate" champion or grandmaster. As MTGSalvation.com user FirstType put it, "the idea seems like a combination of college (American) football's Top 25 rankings, professional tennis's (ATP/WTA) rolling weekly rankings, and/or chess's FIDE monthly Elo rating rankings so that Magic: The Gathering can have a player be a "World No. 1". Continuing the analogy, the current MTG #1, Josh Utter-Leyton, would therefore be comparable to the Alabama Crimson Tide as the current #1-ranked college football team, Serbia's Novak Djokovic as the current world no. 1 tennis player, and Norway's Magnus Carlsen as the current world no. 1 chess player)."
What do you think of the new Magic pro ranking system? Let me know in the comments.