Shahar Shenhar: MTG's Only Two-Time Championship Player

Back-to-back MTG champion Shahar Shenhar. (WOTC)

To date, only one person ever has won the Magic World Championship more than once.

To date, only one person ever has won the Magic World Championship more than once. They did it in back-to-back years as a teenager. And they did it while playing against Magic: The Gathering Hall of Famers.

We're talking, of course, about is Shahar Shenhar.

Shenhar is an Israeli-American out of Sacramento, California, America's favorite state capitol (we might be biased). He started playing at age 14 in 2007. Only four years later he was already playing in Pro Tours.

In 2013, at the age of 19, he was in the World Championship in Amsterdam. That year, the favorite to win was Reid Duke. He had a rough go after years of pretty good tournament results. In 2013, he came back with a fury by winning some Magic Grand Prix main events and became the new favorite to win the Pro Tour.

By this time, Shenhar had a few Grand Prix wins to his credit as well, but he was by far the youngest person in the event. 

Still, the two eventually made it to the final. The final event was Modern and Duke was running a Boggles Voltron-style deck and it was nigh-invincible -- especially when up against the blue-white-red control/burn deck of Shenhar's. As such, Duke immediately got up to a 2-0 lead in match wins. However, against all odds, Shenhar won the next three, and at age 19, became the youngest Champion in Magic history.

In the next year, in 2014, Shenhar was, yet again, not expected to win it all. Instead, then future Magic Hall of Famer Patrick Chapin was the favorite, coming off some Grand Prix wins and wanting another shot at the title after coming in second place in 2007. The 2014 Championship, taking place in Nice, France, had Chapin easily move up with Shenhar struggling to advance, having to play several former Championship winners. But all that struggling seemed to pay off. When the final came, Shenhar easily won in a 3-0 sweep.

Not many Magic players have this kind of quick trajectory. Like marathon runners, it can take years, sometimes more than a decade of constant, competitive playing to get to that level. Shenhar, against all odds, moved up incredibly fast. He kept winning over and over again despite the odds being against him, and ultimately won two consecutive pro tour championships.

Ever since then, no player has managed to duplicate the feat. Never mind the back to back championships, but two championships period. A few have come close, but to no avail. Shenhar even came came close to a three peat in 2018 at the Worlds in Las Vegas, but ultimately came in fourth place.

Magic: The Gathering has had a lot of great players, but it took a teenager from Sacramento to win it all twice.

Light the beam.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.