JXClaytor's picture
By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Nov 04 2011 8:35am
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I recently moved.  My girlfriend and I found a nice spacious two bedroom apartment near campus in Elizabethtown, KY.  Sadly we had to rush the moving process because the people we were subletting from let us know on short notice that it was moving time, so nothing was ready for us when we moved in.  No cable (not a huge deal, we have Netflix and I am looking into Hulu, plus we have ESPN 3 whenever I need to watch UK play basketball.  Also PBS has WordWorld and Dinosaur Train, both of which are shows Cassius loves to watch!)  No land line phone (We do have cell phones, seems wrong to pay for a land line).  The big deal though was the lack of internet.  I have a smart phone (Kinda, it's older than Cassius but has 3G) so in a pinch I was able to manage the site.  Being close to campus meant I could drive and use the internet there, so things were not truly terrible.  It was just a hassle to get up and go the computer lab. 

Comcast finally came yesterday to install internet, and after dealing with connectivity issues and their hot dumpster fire of customer service we were able to log on today and I was able to write for the first time in a while.  Not having easy access to the internet means I missed out of a few Grand Prixs, a few Starcitygames.com Opens, am two weeks behind on magic reading and I guess some small organized play announcement. 

I guess we should start off with the changes to organized play.  I missed out on the announcement and by extension the twitterstorm that happened afterwards.   For that I am thankful, because I have had a few days extra to let everything sink in and am hopefully not making any snap judgments.  We've had two previous announcements that dealt with OP since April and one (The extended Grand Prix schedule) should be a great thing.  The Planeswalker Points thing I'm still not sold on, yeah it's a neat idea.  It rewards people for playing more, which is great because Magic is after all a game, but I feel like the points are missing something.  I feel it is absurd to tie in event invites to these points.  I think there is a nice hybrid between a rating and a point system that has yet to be found.   

This Organized Play announcement went over like a lead balloon.  With the previous two announcements we had point and counterpoint in the community.  This one however has been panned throughout.  I've not seen one positive remark about making Worlds an Invitational redux.  I'm not even close to being a competitor to Worlds but this change feels like it is a bad thing overall.  Every trading card game has a true world championship (Invites, larger events, accessible by the common player) and kind of has a feel, in my mind as a spectator to the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament.  Yes true powers are going to make the top eight (UK, UCONN) but some years a great story will come out of the event (VCU's run and Butlers repeat trip to the championship game) With the new structure it feels like we as spectators are going to miss out on a lot. Does anyone remember watching Chapin cast Ignite Memories and missing on the spell?  The current Worlds has tons of stories.  The large field allows for innovation in the formats that are played (Dragonstorm to tie in the previous example).  It allows for the "Cinderella Story" (Uri Peleg), and it allows for a large amount of spectator interaction.  I've had more fun watching Worlds with my friends than I have had any other tournament.  Losing a large amount of competitors takes away friends that we hope for it cheapens the experience of countries National championships (because face it, no matter how hard Helene Bergeot, Director of Organized Play Programs and Operations (Oh yeah, stop bashing her and leaving threats, that does nothing) tries to make you believe that pride is all that matters; no one will ever believe it.  After all why did WotC add Pro Points to the prize structure of Nats?  Surely not for pride right?) 

I'm not going to address everyone quoted in the articles that WotC provided us with but I honestly feel like a lot of the quotes are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of magic players. 

Anyways, I think the sixteen player worlds tournament is a terrible idea, and I believe that this will eventually pass.  I mean for a game to be supporting Hasbro's puzzle and games division is a good thing, I'm just not sure why Hasbro felt it was needed to force these changes.  (And yeah I'm one hundred percent sure some guy with an MBA is trying to moneyball Magic the Gathering now.)   

I guess I hit everything in the announcement earlier (Nats being meaningless now) and I'm not going to talk about the lack of Pro Points anymore because everyone saw that coming and I'm just going to keep the five that I have and hope that one day I am granted interest in my holdings of Pro Points and can cash that in to be on the Hall of Fame ballot.  (Lol) 

Tweet Beat

In this section I take a look at some of the tweets that have stuck out at me.

That phrase is also paired with "#MTG's higher sales have helped saved our slower divisions" So, it's another story too. #MTGOP
#Hasbro released their Quarterly Report yesterday: bit.ly/uxZ2Ri The phrase "Higher sales from #MTG" appears 3 times. #MTGOP

Proposal: From now on, instead of referring to "spicy brews", new decks will be called "hearty stews" #mtg

Played @GavinVerhey for the 1st time ever in a Friends design playtest. I was victorious. I hope the other developers don't tease him. :) 

Go sign this Petition if you are against the OP changes and want your voice heard! chn.ge/rEM0kx 

@kaibudde this is my last chance to be the world champ, of course i'm going
we are currently trying to figure out ways to support the Magic community at the last Worlds ever, all input welcome 

Deck of the Week

This week’s deck comes to you from Grand Prix Hiroshima, and it looks to be the perfect counter to the popular Wolf Run Ramp decks that have started to take over the standard metagame.  This evolution of the Token Town deck that was featured in a Starcity Open is for sure going to be a popular deck in the next few weeks. 

Token Town
as played by Juza.
4 Birds of Paradise
2 Blade Splicer
4 Hero of Bladehold
4 Mirran Crusader
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
2 Geist-Honored Monk
2 Mikaeus, the Lunarch
14 cards

Other Spells
2 Mortarpod
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Overrun
3 Elspeth Tirel
3 Garruk Relentless
11 cards
8 Forest
4 Plains
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Gavony Township
20 cards

Blade Splicer

What to Watch for.

This weekend we have a Starcitygames.com open.  It's happening in Las Vegas, which is a pretty sweet city.  I recommend going at least once in your life.  This weekend would be the perfect time to do so!  The weekend will be filled with magic action and I think it will be interesting to see if Todd Anderson is on to something with his new build of Illusions, or if the Wolf Run White deck is a good counter point to the amount of Mirran Crusaders that will be seeing play. 

With that said, I am done for the week!  Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone has a safe weekend! 




apaulogy's picture

Good points, but I have a real hard time caring abour the OP changes. I, along with 99% of MTG players, are never going to be on the PT.

I am not saying it doesn't matter, but it does seem the new system is going to be more cost effective for Hasbro. That is actually important because if Hasbro can continue to make MTG profitable, they will keep it going. That means I get to play and occasionally mise prize packs.

I am okay with this, but I can understand why "the elite" would be pissed.

My children love Dinosaur Train, Caillou (this one annoys me), and Shaun the Sheep. Shaun the Sheep is my favorite because I love stop motion animation and Aardman Studios (Wallace and Grommit).

Thanks for this. Eff Comcast.

it is nothing to do with by seydaneen at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 12:22
seydaneen's picture

it is nothing to do with being on the PT. I am a casual player, i never play in pro tours dont earn single buck from magic. but lots of people with the hopes of playing in PT one day. if you take the dream the rest will follow. if you take lsv and pv out, i will be gone as well. so be careful, when you say 99%

apaulogy's picture

Unless it is on their own volition.

That is also your prerogative if you want to quit, but if this is the straw that broke the camel's back, then quitting was inevitable anyway....

Also, I am sure that a small portion of non-PT players share your sentiment. It is still probably not more than 1%. Of course, that is just my guess, but I thought there was something ridiculous like 1 million players world wide...

Every single person that goes by ricklongo at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 13:29
ricklongo's picture

Every single person that goes out of their way to qualify and make the trip for their respective Nationals are affected. Everyone who plays in a Regionals tournament for the dream of making it to Nationals is affected. I hate all of the latest changes, but I honestly feel the end of Nationals relevance is by far the worst one, and will affect many thousands of players worldwide.

The allure of a Pro dream is a powerful thing. The vast majority of those players will never get to even play in a Pro Tour, but don't underestimate the force of even the faintest aspirations.

Strict, 100% casual kitchen table players aren't affected, obviously. But everyone who regularly plays in tournaments (ANY tournaments) and/or like to follow high level Magic coverage have just gotten a rude awakening.

I know I was even kinda excited to start playing again at FNMs to try and keep qualifying for Nationals, which was one of the intended effects of Planeswalker Points. Now that Nationals is no longer relevant at all, all that goes into the drain. I'm not sure if they realize how counterproductive these new measures are to the very goal of PWPs (to make more people go to their local stores).

You do realize... by apaulogy at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 13:47
apaulogy's picture

that by making this change they are moving in the direction of privatizing the MTG tournament circuit, right? Just like everything else in a capitalist system (for more reference see Social Security, Medicaid, Corporate Prisons, Corporate Schools, etc ad infinitum)

The SCG Opens are evidence that tournament magic can thrive without WotC support. Well, WotC support for these costs money. They are trying to cut costs to make things more profitable, as evidenced by the end of the Player Reward program. I think they have just come to a point where they realize that they can continue to control supply without having to pay "winners" out of their own pockets.

If you owned a business that was presented with data to support this claim, you would feel the same way and make the same decision (at least in the greed-driven world I live in).

I understand that you are from Brazil, and that competitive MTG was just starting to flourish there. This change certainly sucks from the perspective of Nationals "ending", but who is to say that some private tournament organizer from Sao Paulo won't pick up the pieces and get something going there??

I truly feel bad for foreign country pros in this change. I just hope that someone realizes that there are profits to be made and does continue some kind of tournament circuit in Brazil, the Czech Republic, Russia, etc....There are good competitive MTG players from those countries. But if anyone expected that WotC and their parent company Hasbro to continue to let people ride "the gravy train", then you were setting yourself up for disappointment.

Yes this was the crux for me by Paul Leicht at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 13:47
Paul Leicht's picture

Yes this was the crux for me to. I am not interested in playing in Nationals (ever) but over the years I have truly enjoyed reading about the various things that happened at the national events across the globe. Now that seems to be irrelevant. But what if someone comes along and makes them relevant again? It is not impossible.

I am intrigued by apaulogy at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 13:52
apaulogy's picture

by the Worlds tourney...smaller, easier on Operating costs, "Clash of the Titans" feel....

But I just hope the larger MTG suppliers worldwide are brainstorming on how to make their own business profit from this change. Because if I owned a store in Brazil or wherever, I would worry about the future of my business and maybe try to create a profitable tourney circuit. It certainly seems reasonable...

Basically, my point is, we don't need Wizards to have tourneys with good payouts.

Look at the numbers by Felorin at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 22:30
Felorin's picture

Magic's growth has just finally reached the point where we could see one tournament series of the size of Star City Games' open series run for a profit, with considerably lower total prizes than Wizards hands out (since it's from their marketing budget). In the one country that has far more Magic players than any other. I doubt there's enough market to support two for-profit tournament series of that size, but our market can clearly currently support one.

Don't let that fool you into thinking there's enough market in countries like Brazil to support any significant size for-profit tournament series. FNMs, sure. Something like SCG? No way. Dig up the numbers and do the math, if you don't believe me. It's a much smaller market than the USA, as are most countries. Maybe Japan could support a tournament series if it were smaller than SCG. Maybe Europe as a whole if enough people were willing to travel around for it, certainly on one European nation alone.

If sales of Magic ever start to decline too much, even the SCG Opens might not remain viable. I hope that never happens - but negative changes to organized play makes things more difficult for Star City. Part of the reason they could even get started is because the existence of the Pro Tour adds some appeal to their series. "If I do well enough at SCG, I could try to get on the Pro Tour as well". Losing that dream can't be good for SCG's attendance either.

This is a good point by apaulogy at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 11:03
apaulogy's picture

And I am not ignorant enough to actually believe that smaller countries have the same resources as we do here in the US. All that I am implying is that there are many large secondary market retailers (there have to be) in those countries that will try to protect their business. Or they will just fold.

As I said, I agree this has a larger impact outside the US. An impact that I can't accurately measure due to not having ever left the US to play MTG.

I also think this is why they push MTGO so much to the global market. It is easier to get digital product to people who are competitive world wide.

You have it backwards for by walkerdog at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 17:46
walkerdog's picture

You have it backwards for SCGs... SCGs aren't viable b/c people think if they do well enough at them they could go pro. They're viable because they're in huge cities, they sell product too all day(s), and because the prize payout is big enough to draw people from all surrounding states. Basically if you're semi-competitive at MTG and there is an SCG within 8 housr, you go! EU could do this I think, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to secure weekly or monthly convention centers. Is pricing comparable there?

Hasbro by Fred1160 at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 12:48
Fred1160's picture

I, too, believe that Hasbro is trying to moneyball the game. They will attempt to milk every dollar
they can from it even if they alienate the core audience of the game. I also think that the bean counters
will eventually come to the conclusion that there is too much prize support for the game and they can cut costs and increase profit by reducing the prize support. That will be a bad sign for the game.
Some friends were joking (?) the other day and asked, "How long will it be before you see a box of
Lucky Charms with this offer: send in three boxtops and get a set of the Power Nine!"

Evan Erwin by JXClaytor at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 13:33
JXClaytor's picture

Tweeted out a thing. If we actually want to see change to OP we should buy stock. Hasbro stock is going down and continues to trend down, maybe it might work? Shrug.

this seems reasonable by apaulogy at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 13:45
apaulogy's picture

But I think well formulated arguments with data to back it up are the way to go....Unfortunately, I think that would be an uphill battle anyway.

Buying Hasbro stock isn't by char49d at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 02:46
char49d's picture

Buying Hasbro stock isn't going to have any effect on how M:TG is run. Even if you were to buy millions of shares of stock in a misguided effort to make it go up, that's not how stock works. The value of stock is based on the future earnings potential of the company (mostly and for our purposes). Stock changing hands between small shareholders is irrelevant to how Hasbro, and subsequently Magic, operate.

As long as magic is profitable, it will exist, with or without Hasbro. Please don't advise people buy Hasbro stock unless you reasonably believe the company will be more profitable than they are now in the future, because otherwise you are handing out dangerously bad financial advice. People who play magic buy enough useless paper as it is.

Buying stock to profit is not by enderfall at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 10:30
enderfall's picture

Buying stock to profit is not what anyone is suggesting. As a stock holder, you have a say in how the company should act (to a certain extent). If you have enough stock, your voice can be heard with regards to changes in the game.

Please, educate yourself on by char49d at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 20:47
char49d's picture

Please, educate yourself on how stock works before you come in to correct me.

I'm well aware he doesn't want people to buy stock to make money, which is his first mistake, because that is the ONLY reason to buy stock.

Minority shareholders have absolutely no impact on how Hasbro is run, much less its subsidiaries. Do the common stock shareholders of Hasbro even have voting rights? If they don't buying stock to bring about change is completely futile, all you have done is made an investment in Hasbro. I also doubt there are even enough shares available for sale to do what you are suggesting.

If you don't know the difference between common and preferred stock, how shareholder meetings and voting rights work, don't advise people to buy a stock to change how a company operates, because, as I said before, it is just bad financial advice.

I'm quite sure he meant well by his suggestion, and I doubt anyone seriously followed it, but it was a dangerously bad suggestion, especially if you believe Hasbro or WOTC is being poorly run.

Evan Erwin suggested it, I by JXClaytor at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 22:32
JXClaytor's picture

Evan Erwin suggested it, I was just saying what I saw on Twitter. Carry on.

Haha, well then, Evin Erwin by char49d at Sun, 11/06/2011 - 01:15
char49d's picture

Haha, well then, Evin Erwin hypes enough useless paper as it is, he doesn't need to branch out.

It wasn't an attack on you by the way, I just wouldn't want to see anyone buy stock in the misguided hopes that they would influence Hasbro.

I don't know the best way of effecting positive change for the player base, but I don't want to see anyone potentially lose money, unless it's drafting packs with me.

yeah by apaulogy at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 11:05
apaulogy's picture

pretty much what enderfall said here. Stockholders have a large say in what the Board of Directors at Hasbro mandate to their employees.

Again, I am not with this solution for the simple fact that I am broke and there is no guarantee.