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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jul 10 2015 12:06pm
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State of the Program for July 10th 2015

In the News:

Magic Origins Prerelease and Release Info Announced: The next set prerelease will begin July 24th. The main change is to the sealed deck events. In the past, sealed deck events featured five regular boosters plus a seeded booster pack. This time around, the prerelease events will still cost 20 TIX plus a prerelease object from the store, but the sealed product will include 6 ORI boosters, plus a 7 card seeded booster. Beyond that, we have all the expected drafts and sealed events. Details here.
 
Hall of Fame Balloting: It is that time of year again: the Pro Tour hall of Fame ballots are out. Players, Magic celebrities and HoF members are discussing and writing about their choices. This year, for the first time, the community also gets a vote. Here’s a link to the ballot, and here’s a link to the stats page. If you want to vote, look over the stats first – it’s important. I will also discuss my thoughts on the HoF in the opinion section, below.  
 
Holiday Cube is Live: Read about it here.  
 
MTGO Upgrades Delayed: Wizards said they would implement a series of improvements to the collection management functions of MTGO on July 8th. This upgrade is being delayed, probably by a couple weeks. The change to implement the new “tuck” rule in Commander is also being pushed back beyond its scheduled July 22nd date.
 
Vintage, Modern and Legacy Prize Payouts Revert to DTK: The eternal formats are no longer paying out in MM15 packs, but back to the traditional payouts in the most recent draft format (DTK/FRF.) The special 3-2-1-1 Modern constructed queues are also reverting to 5-3-2-2 queues.   This should be temporary – once Magic Origins reaches the store, I would expect the constructed queues to start paying out in ORI.
 

The Timeline:

This is a list of things we have been promised, or just want to see coming back.   Another good source for dates and times is the MTGO calendar and the weekly blog, while the best source for known bugs is the Known Issues List. For quick reference, here are some major upcoming events.   
 
Item: date and notes
·         Phantom Mirrodin Block Drafts: June 24th – July 8th.
·         Holiday Cube Drafts: July 8th – July 22nd
·         MOCS Season 8:  runs from June 24th through July 29th
·         MOCS Season 8 Championship: 7am Pacific, August 8th. Format is Magic Origins Sealed.
·         Leagues: Wizards said leagues will return in 2015.
·         Magic Origins: released on MTGO July 27th, prerelease should begin July 23rdor July 24th Code: ORI Previews have started.
·         From the Vault: Angels:  October 12, 2015. Details here.
 

Opinion Section: The Pro Tour Hall of Fame

For the first five years or so of HoF balloting, back when I was writing for several websites at once and was judging a lot of Pro Tours and so forth, I had a Hall of Fame ballot. In those days, I wrote about my picks and my reasoning.   Real life commitments forced me to cut back on both judging and writing, so Wizards eventually gave my ballot to someone with more direct involvement. Without a ballot, and since this column is devoted to MTGO more than the Pro Tour, I stopped writing about the picks.
 
Now, that has changed. Not only do I have a ballot again, but so do you. The Community gets a pick this year. I will include a link to the ballot at the end. Before you click it, let’s talk about what should qualify someone for the hall of fame. The vote is important – you should think carefully and weight the facts and data before you vote. Don’t just click on some names you happen to recognize.
 
For me, a hall of fame candidate has to excel in several categories: raw results, overall performance and what they bring to their community. I also mark down players who were great but who have now stopped playing (except for those working to Wizards) and those who have a history of cheating. Let’s look at these in detail.
 
Raw Results are simply the results players have put up at very high level events – Pro Tours, Worlds and large Grand Prix.  These events feature the best of the best, so winning or Top 8ing these events is a measure of ability, and ability to perform under pressure.   For me, a HoF player needs to have won a few of these events, and managed consistently high finishes. This year we don’t have a Finkel or Budde – no one on the ballot as more than one PT win. Efro has ten Top 16 finishes at PTs; the best on the list. (Wizards has a spreadsheet here. If you download the Excel version, you can sort the results by column.)  This year no one really stands out in this category, compared to past years. 
 
For years, I did not include people like Brian Kibler and Pat Chapin on my ballot, because I felt they were one win away from having good enough stats to make it.  I was not alone in thinking that. Both missed the cut for years, then both of them got their wins and made HoF on the next ballot.    
 
Overall Performance: Two stats tend to define this for me – Pro Tour points and three year median finish. Pro Tour points are earned by doing well at GPs and PTs over time. You get a few points for making day two of a GP, or just qualifying for a PT. You get more by finishing highly.  Now everyone on the ballot first got on the PPT ten years ago, so pretty much everyone has a bunch of points, but only six have earned over 300 points. (Again, you can sort the spreadsheet.  It helps.)  
 
The other measure of consistency is the three year median finish at Pro Tours.   A few players have an insane median finish – eight of them averaged a finish in the Top 32. That is phenomenal.   It is also why I end to lean towards voting for Tom Martell or Efro, who are consistently good, over people like Sam Black and Craig Wescoe. Sam is an amazing player, but just not as consistent at very high level events. Craig is also a great player, but his results seem to correlate highly with whether White Weenie is good in the format. Players like Martell, Yasooka and Efro are just good regardless of the format. 
 
Community Involvement:  For me, a major tie-breaker has always been what the players bring to their community. One the one hand, you have those players always willing to go the extra mile to help other players and the game as a whole. Reid Duke is one example. Another is Chris Pikula, who, back in the day, led the player movement that helped end the rampant cheating at early Magic events. This year, one player who I might vote for based mainly on community service is Willy Edel. I have met Willy a couple times, but I did not know about his work with the Brazilian Magic community. PVDdR, and others, have written about it this time around. PVDdrR’s article is here. If you want to know what I consider HoF caliber support to the Magic Community, read the part on Willy Edel.
 
No Longer Playing: A few players on the list are not playing, or at least not playing regularly at the highest levels. Two notable examples are Justin Gary and Scott Johns. Both were great players, back in the day, but they have not been hitting the GP circuit in years. I voted for the years ago, and Justin still has better stats than most of the rest of the field, but I want the HoF members to actually play the game. I know better than most that real life interferes with Magic tournaments, but for me whether or not they are still playing is a factor in my HoF vote.
 
Community Disservice: Finally, I have refused to vote for players with a shady history.   Mike Long was the classic example. Long had some great stats, but he cheated repeatedly. He cheated at PTs, at GPs and I personally saw him cheat at an 8 man draft with friends when they were just playing for the rares. On the other end of the spectrum, Bob Maher was involved in a store that committed tournament fraud to inflate ratings.   Bob was a kid at the time, playing on the JSS. A short time later, he contacted Wizards, confessed and was suspended. He’s been clean since he came back, and I don’t blame him for being young and stupid and getting sucked into the store’s scam. For me, the deal breaker is a pattern of cheating, and that line is never clear. Personally, I won’t vote for Saito, even though he has done great service to his community in other ways and has great stats, because of his history of DQs. Others may feel differently. 
 
Right now, I am strongly considering the following people:
 
·         Eric Froehlich: my only lock. Arguably the best player in the world at the moment, good stats, amazing median finish, community voice, etc.
·         Shouta Yasooka: probable. He has only one solo PT win and only one GP win, but he is really good, and has been so for a long time (PotY 2006 and MTGO PotY 2009). He also is a proven deckbuilder.
·         Willy Edel: his stats are good, and he plays GB decks (not really part of the deal, but I like it.) What put him on my ballot is what he does for his community.  
·         Justin Gary: He is about the only member of Team Your Move Games not already in the HoF, and his stats are awesome. If he was still playing, I’d vote for him.
·         Tom Martell: He was a thing in 2000, then fell off the tour for years. He came back in 2013 and has been really solid since, but he also needs one more win to earn my vote.
·         Chris Pikula: If he makes it back onto the ballot, he gets my vote. His efforts to stamp out cheating back in the day should put him in the Hall.
·         Sam Black: He’s a great player (of all games) and deckbuilder, and a voice for the community, but he also needs a couple more to finishes to make the ballot. He’ll get them.
 
Okay, as promised, here’s a link to the ballot, and here’s a link to the stats page.
 

Random MTGO Suggestion of the Week: 

Once again – Leagues. Constructed leagues: something more involved than 1-1 queues, but without the time commitment of dailies or larger events.  Just saying.
 
If you have a suggestion for an improvement to MTGO, send it to magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com.       
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: The Dragons of Tarkir Standard Championship was on MTGO last weekend. The winning deck was something we have seen before, but it works.
 
 
Modern: Modern has a number of standard archetypes (Splinter Twin, Scapeshift, Poison, Tron, etc.) which I have featured. It also has some oddities (Amulet, Vault Prison, etc.) which I have also featured. However, I have not featured to Nourishing Shoal deck, which is putting up some decent numbers. This deck discards fatties to Nourishing Shoal, reanimates them with Goryo’s Vengeance, then uses a combination of Griselbrand and the lifegain from the Shoal to draw its deck and kill with Borborygmos. It only sounds unlikely – it actually works pretty well. 
 
 
Legacy: Wizards hosted a Legacy GP last weekend, in Lille, France. In the past, the European metagame in eternal formats has generally been a bit different than the US metagame. In this event, however, we saw a standard archetype rise to the top, again. In fact, for the second straight time, the finals was a Miracles mirror match. Is it time to ban Counterbalance? Coverage of the event is here.
 
 
Vintage: Vintage Super League is back. This time around, the league is playing an 8 player double elimination event, tailored to finish when Magic Origins hits MTGO. Several players were playing Frobots, a workshop deck designed by Eric Froehlich (and others). This time out, Efro brought a Mentor deck designed to crush Shops, and he did. 
 
 

Card Prices

Note: all my prices come from the fine folks at MTGOTraders.com. These are retail prices, and generally the price of the lowest priced, actively traded version. (Prices for some rare promo versions are not updated when not in stock, so I skip those.)   You can get these cards at MTGOTraders.com web store, or from their bots: MTGOTradersBot(#) (they have bots 1-10), CardCaddy and CardWareHouse, or sell cards to MTGOTradersBuyBot(#) (they have buybots 1-4). I have bought cards from MTGOTraders for over a decade now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
 
Standard staples: Standard prices were all relatively stable this week, with a few fluctuations as people begin brewing with Magic Origins cards, at least in their heads. We are in the quiet period before the new set arrives.
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$5.41
$6.13
($0.72)
-12%
$5.39
$6.06
($0.67)
-11%
$24.61
$24.07
$0.54
2%
$7.60
$8.29
($0.69)
-8%
$15.59
$17.06
($1.47)
-9%
$21.40
$18.59
$2.81
15%
$8.33
$8.23
$0.10
1%
$11.40
$12.15
($0.75)
-6%
$24.21
$21.21
$3.00
14%
$7.36
$8.34
($0.98)
-12%
$10.55
$8.39
$2.16
26%
$10.59
$11.80
($1.21)
-10%
$8.81
$9.73
($0.92)
-9%
$5.62
$6.00
($0.38)
-6%
$9.48
$9.24
$0.24
3%
$6.21
$7.63
($1.42)
-19%
$8.56
$9.49
($0.93)
-10%
$8.79
$8.53
$0.26
3%
$5.85
$6.28
($0.43)
-7%

Modern staples:  Modern prices have been volatile in the last couple weeks, and that continues.  Prices fluctuate as people jump into and out of popular archetypes. Prices are also still in flux due to Modern Masters 2015 – both the cards it dumped into the card pool and the fact that MM15 drafts have now ended.
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$21.14
$24.58
($3.44)
-14%
$26.43
$26.54
($0.11)
0%
$38.10
$39.94
($1.84)
-5%
$40.96
$43.57
($2.61)
-6%
$22.63
$26.24
($3.61)
-14%
$16.00
$16.72
($0.72)
-4%
$13.30
$10.36
$2.94
28%
$58.46
$57.79
$0.67
1%
$32.21
$35.16
($2.95)
-8%
$22.26
$28.87
($6.61)
-23%
$14.05
$11.55
$2.50
22%
$101.77
$99.64
$2.13
2%
$23.16
$22.93
$0.23
1%
$24.62
$29.33
($4.71)
-16%
$24.48
$23.99
$0.49
2%
$42.72
$37.74
$4.98
13%
$17.13
$18.38
($1.25)
-7%
$11.48
$10.03
$1.45
14%
$53.87
$49.68
$4.19
8%
$30.73
$30.43
$0.30
1%
$17.64
$15.51
$2.13
14%
$26.41
$23.39
$3.02
13%

Legacy / Vintage staples: This week, Legacy and Vintage staples climbed a bit, but not much. Vintage is pretty quiet, despite the return of the VSL. No big changes.     
  

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$38.45
$38.32
$0.13
0%
$109.21
$108.05
$1.16
1%
$26.37
$25.10
$1.27
5%
$16.64
$17.93
($1.29)
-7%
$19.91
$20.55
($0.64)
-3%
$26.03
$25.04
$0.99
4%
$37.55
$37.55
$0.00
0%
$29.81
$28.25
$1.56
6%
$24.30
$23.85
$0.45
2%
$29.44
$29.46
($0.02)
0%
$15.77
$15.71
$0.06
0%
$115.57
$112.34
$3.23
3%
$27.48
$26.88
$0.60
2%
$60.31
$59.33
$0.98
2%
$158.49
$156.10
$2.39
2%
$57.27
$56.61
$0.66
1%
$21.44
$21.42
$0.02
0%
$30.45
$29.21
$1.24
4%
$22.38
$22.18
$0.20
1%
$30.49
$30.44
$0.05
0%
$22.77
$21.92
$0.85
4%
$30.48
$31.39
($0.91)
-3%
$14.18
$14.21
($0.03)
0%
$18.97
$18.80
$0.17
1%
$20.62
$20.29
$0.33
2%
$82.31
$79.62
$2.69
3%

Set Redemption: You can redeem complete sets on MTGO. You need to purchase a redemption voucher from the store for $25. During the next downtime, Wizards removes a complete set from your account, and sends you the same set in paper.   For those of you who redeem, here are the retail price of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not currently draftable or not redeemable.   
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$33.08
$33.28
($0.20)
-1%
Dragons of Tarkir
$110.23
$112.06
($1.83)
-2%
Fate Reforged
$50.38
$48.71
$1.67
3%
Journey into Nyx
$88.75
$82.94
$5.81
7%
Khans of Tarkir
$88.51
$84.46
$4.05
5%
M15
$98.22
$100.17
($1.95)
-2%
Theros
$64.13
$64.72
($0.59)
-1%

The Good Stuff:

The following is a list of all the non-promo, non-foil cards on MTGO that retail for more than $25 per card.  These are the big ticket items in the world of MTGO. A number of Modern   cards are climbing the list, and Liliana is close to passing Black Lotus.   Wasteland is also well on its way to the $100 mark.   Quick question – should I leave all three Goyfs and Blood Moons, and both Dazes, or should I cut all but the highest priced version? I already cut promo versions of these cards off the list.
 

Name
Set
Rarity
Price
Rishadan Port
MM
Rare
$ 158.49
Misdirection
MM
Rare
$ 115.57
Black Lotus
VMA
Bonus
$ 109.21
Liliana of the Veil
ISD
Mythic Rare
$ 101.77
Wasteland
TPR
Rare
$   82.61
Wasteland
TE
Uncommon
$   82.31
Mox Sapphire
VMA
Bonus
$   60.31
Griselbrand
AVR
Mythic Rare
$   58.46
Show and Tell
UZ
Rare
$   57.27
Tarmogoyf
FUT
Rare
$   56.24
Tarmogoyf
MMA
Mythic Rare
$   54.27
Tarmogoyf
MM2
Mythic Rare
$   53.87
Tangle Wire
NE
Rare
$   53.84
Blood Moon
8ED
Rare
$   43.19
Blood Moon
MMA
Rare
$   42.74
Scalding Tarn
ZEN
Rare
$   42.72
Blood Moon
9ED
Rare
$   40.96
Force of Will
MED
Rare
$   40.18
Ancestral Recall
VMA
Bonus
$   38.45
Batterskull
NPH
Mythic Rare
$   38.10
Doomsday
WL
Rare
$   37.55
Horizon Canopy
FUT
Rare
$   34.43
Creeping Tar Pit
WWK
Rare
$   33.29
Grove of the Burnwillows
FUT
Rare
$   32.21
Mox Ruby
VMA
Bonus
$   31.90
Twilight Mire
EVE
Rare
$   30.73
Time Walk
VMA
Bonus
$   30.49
True-Name Nemesis
C13
Rare
$   30.48
Stifle
SCG
Rare
$   30.45
Force of Will
VMA
Rare
$   29.81
Infernal Tutor
DIS
Rare
$   29.44
Mox Jet
VMA
Bonus
$   27.48
Daze
DD2
Common
$   27.02
Oblivion Stone
CMD
Rare
$  26.94
Magus of the Moon
FUT
Rare
$   26.93
Auriok Champion
5DN
Rare
$   26.43
Voice of Resurgence
DGM
Mythic Rare
$   26.41
Containment Priest
C14
Rare
$   26.37
Daze
NE
Common
$   26.03

The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every card available on MTGO. Assuming you bought the least expensive version available, the cost of owning a playset of every card on MTGO you can own is $ 26,300.  That’s up just $50 from last week. It’s the calm before the new-set storm. 
 

Weekly Highlights:

I played some last minute Modern Masters 2105 this week, but that’s done now. I also enjoyed the VSL coverage. This weekend, though, will be the paper Prereleases, and I am looking forward to those. 
 
PRJ
 
“One Million Words” and “3MWords” on MTGO
 
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 
HammyBot Still Running: HammyBot was set up to sell off Erik Friborg’s collection, with all proceeds going to his wife and son. So far, HammyBot has raised over $8,000, but there are a lot of cards left in the collection. Those cards are being sold at 10% below retail price. Erik died five years ago, so HammyBot does not include any standard legal cards, but it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, and some nice Modern bargains. 
 

 

18 Comments

Phantom Mirrodin Block Drafts by Sensei at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 12:50
Sensei's picture

I assume you forgot to update the calendar rather than you included them there for historical reference.

Also, did you do a column on Phantom Flashbacks rather than Keeper Flashbacks?

Hall of Fame by Hearts at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 13:00
Hearts's picture

Hall of Fame should not be a club for life long auto Qing for the PT.
The club just gets bigger and bigger and eats up spots for players that try to Q for the PT.

The value of it commercial wise is 0.

The mtg HoF could be something wotc uses at GPs to have earlier top players sit around chatting with newer players of the game, entertain them and teach some mtg. WotC should have some special suits made for them, booth etc. Travel fees and hotel covered ofc, and then some (pocketmoney) - ambassadors. They could be used as commentators as well, better than just hearing Hagon and co all the time.

HoF slots don't take up slots by Sensei at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 13:06
Sensei's picture

HoF slots don't take up slots for other players, just as many players qualify for the PT. In fact they give a BETTER opportunity for other players to qualify for the PT. Could you imagine you're a 4-slot tournament and your end boss is Kai Budde? That's not an issue since he's auto qualified.

HoF merely dilutes the slot.

dont understand by Hearts at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 13:50
Hearts's picture

I dont understand what you are saying.

"...just as many players q for the PT" ???
"...BETTER opportunities" ???
"...dillutes" ?

If Kai wants to play PTQs then let him.

:"...just as many players q by longtimegone at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 14:37
longtimegone's picture

:"...just as many players q for the PT" ???

Hall of fame slots are extra slots, they do not take away other invites.

: "...BETTER opportunities" ???

If the hall of fame level players don't have to play in PTQs to get in, the invites they would have won now go to other players.

:"...dillutes" ?

It makes the pool of invites bigger, it does not take existing invites from that pool.

:The value of it commercial by longtimegone at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 14:34
longtimegone's picture

:The value of it commercial wise is 0.

You seem to be completely forgetting about the marketing value.

These players are given a standing invite because WotC wants them to show up and play. They are recognized names in the community, and it's quite common for someone to pick up a new deck after watching a pro they like play it at a PT.

Their continued presence also does a *lot* to maintain the pro tour's image as elite best of the best players, as it tends to lead to somewhat regular top appearances by the named stars of the game.

reply by Hearts at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 19:16
Hearts's picture

It is easy to understand how HoF invites DO take away other invites.
WotC could run X more regional PTQs with the HoFinvites erased.

I voted on Saito and Márcio by TugaChampion at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 14:38
TugaChampion's picture

I voted on Saito and Márcio among others. I'll talk about those two because they are the most controversial.

Let's start with Saito. I remember at the time reading something about his ban, which I can't find now. I'm not sure if it was himself, PV or both who wrote about it. What I do remember is that he was playing a game and there wasn't much time left. Saito started playing faster than his normal pace because he could still win, risking making some mistakes because of that faster pace. At a certain point, his opponent drew Pernicious Deed and Saito couldn't win that game anymore. He went back to playing at his normal pace because it would be stupid to risk making mistakes when you can't win the game anymore. For anyone watching, they see a change of pace, especially those who started watching after he was playing faster than normal.

Stalling is one of the most difficult things to deal with in real life magic, not only by judges but by players as well. It's hard to know if someone is stalling or if he just plays slower than most people. Most of the time judges can't/don't do anything relevant in these cases. Sometimes, players only realize the problem when it is too late. In this aspect, MTGO is so much better.

Stalling is cheating but I don't think it's as serious as premeditated cheating (like bringing marked sleeves on purpose or putting a certain card on top of your library as you shuffle the deck) and you can also accidently stall. Sometimes, you are so caught up in the game and it is so intense that without even thinking that it is against the rules, you start playing slower. Imagine a situation that you know you can't win the game, but you are still far away from losing. You are making plays that make the game last longer and without even thinking you start playing slower because you are in a "let's not lose mode".

From what I heard this is not the only reason he was banned, there were several small things that added up, but I think he has paid for what he did. At the time, he was about to join the HoF and he has been good for the community in the meantime. If he was good enough for the HoF at that time, he still is today, there is only the cheating part that hurts him but others with a past of cheating are in HoF so I think he deserves it.

Márcio is a different story. He was banned for allegedly looking at the side during the drafting portion. He always claimed to be innocent. This is also something difficult to deal with in real life magic because sometimes we do involuntary movements, especially under pressure and that could very well be the case. I don't think the advantage of seeing some cards someone is looking at (you'll probably not see all of them) is going to even be relevant most of the time so risking a DQ and maybe even a ban doing that doesn't make any sense.

After the ban he was playing less Magic, although he never stopped playing in big events. Eventually he started playing more again and in the WMC there was the Hornet Queen incident. Several pros started tweeting about this (some were there but didn't actually see the situation but most weren't even there) and everyone believes Márcio put the Hornet Queen under the lifepad on purpose so that he could get it from there, should the game be in a situation were it was good. One of the members of the Portuguese team is my friend and he is 100% it was not a cheating attempt. In fact, the Hornet Queen was in a position that it was hard to see from the Portuguese side of the table but easier to see from the other side. It was an honest mistake with a huge uproar because those pros acted out of despise for Márcio and because most people see easily influenced by what pros say.

Yes, Márcio has cheated in the past. He was not punished at the time but he is being punished now when he is playing legit. He was at the top of the game, he was banned and he was able to get to the top again. He is very good and he deserves more respect. I understand people don't have to forgive his cheating but what bothers me is that other cheaters have been forgiven or at least don't receive as much hate. This is in part because several pros like to voice their opinions on twitter when they don't even know half of the situation. However, if it's someone they know, they are very willing to ignore/forgive.

Brad Nelson fetched a Ghost Quarter with a fetchland. I didn't see a single pro saying anything on twitter. People didn't demand Brad's head. Obviously not having a past of cheating helps but if it was an unknown player and some pros called it out, we wouldn't have had such a positive reaction. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't the wrong reaction. It was the other times that were the wrong reaction.

I know Márcio doesn't stand a chance right now. In fact, I think he'd need to remain on platinum for a few years and get at least 3 more PT top8s with at least one win to actually have a shot. I don't expect people to vote for him, I just hope people give him a chance to prove he has changed.

I don't agree about the by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 15:50
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I don't agree about the redemption of these two and I think Brad cheated in the same egregious way. Did he get sanctioned for it? Apparently not but imho he should have.

I am not saying people can't be redeemed but if a title (with immense benefits) is bestowed on a known (if reformed cheater) perhaps it should be changed to Den of Notoriety. That way at least it implies that these folks aren't too pure.

What Brad did is suspicious by TugaChampion at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 16:01
TugaChampion's picture

What Brad did is suspicious but we can't be sure it is cheating.

I understand someone not wanting reformed cheaters in the HoF but there are a few of those there. In my opinion it shouldn't be impossible but it should require more from those players. Obviously everyone has different opinions and that is fine. What bothers me is when someone treats cases like these differently.

one million words's picture

First, Saito. I have a couple quibbles.

Saito is very much a borderline case. He does a lot for the community, and is a great player, but he also has a history of cheats of opportunity. He has been DQed and suspended a couple times. In the latest DQ, he did NOT "go back to a normal pace." I wasn't there, but the highly experienced judge who call stalling initially, the highly experienced head judge who investigated and issued the DQ, and the WotC investigation group who reviewed the DQ and recommended a lengthy suspension all agreed that he was deliberately stalling. You can argue that this was a lapse of judgment under pressure, which it may well have been, but he has had a number of those over time.

I also disagree with your characterization of stalling as a less serious. Deliberately stalling means that the match ends with a result that it should not have had. That might be a draw that should have been a loss, or a win that should have been a loss. That incorrect result does not just affect the cheater and the opponent, it also affects the tie-breakers of everyone that played either of the people involved in that match. That is why stalling is a big issue, and penalized harshly.

I'm not going to talk about Marcio - there is plenty of info on his play and issues in the past. However, I do need to quash any discussion of Brad Nelson in this area. Brad made a mistake. The judges who investigated decided it was a mistake. Players make mistakes. A ton of them, especially in the later rounds. It is mentally very taxing to play high level Magic for many hours, and players are never at their best later in the event. As a judge at PTs, GPS and Worlds, plus a bazillion other events, I have seen a ton of mistakes being made. Some are just errors of judgment (should have blocked that wolf), some are rule violations (that creature should have been exiled, not buried.) The vast, vast majority of those mistakes are not deliberate or intentional - the players just made a mistake. Mistakes happen all the time.

The response of the pros is important, though. The pros tend to know each other. They have often played each other, and they talk about those games. Pros generally know which players are clean, and which ones you have to watch carefully. Having the pro community see nothing malicious in Brad's mistake is actually important. When the crooked players get caught, the pros are not silent about it.

Fetching a GQ instead of a by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 17:13
Paul Leicht's picture

Fetching a GQ instead of a basic while smelly could definitely be a mistake (though a rather peculiar one that I would not expect from a serious pro like Brad.) The hand action of covering it up, struck me purely from the video I saw as being deliberate.

reply by Hearts at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 19:01
Hearts's picture

1: I also have a story about Saito;
In some German GP 4-5 years ago he was DQed after a from-the-hip cowboy move 50 meters away by one of the 2nd in command judges at that GP. For stalling, grabbing and reading the opponents' Jace was one of the things the Judges said. No prior warning was issued to him in that GP, for anything.
I too can tell stories Mr Jahn.

2: "... Deliberately stalling means that the match ends with a result that it should not have had. That might be a draw that should have been a loss, or a win that should have been a loss. ... "

Players are responsible for keeping a reasonable pace of play, they are not responsible for finishing 3 games or more !

3: "...it also affects the tie-breakers of everyone that played either of the people involved in that match..."
So do concessions !

4: That last bit about Pros who know each other and stuff...
Yuck!

That was what I read and by TugaChampion at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 20:04
TugaChampion's picture

That was what I read and maybe that was his intention but he went to a slower than normal pace, I don't know. I also don't really know his history.

Yes, stalling is serious obviously but there are more serious offenses. It's not to take away importance from stalling, it is very serious and goes unpunished very often.

Not even Márcio denies he has cheated in the past. But right now that past is haunting him because his mistakes are being treated as cheating. And it isn't totally unfair but he has already been banned and paid for it.

Brad's action is very very suspicious, but I want to believe it isn't cheating. And that is because of his clean past but also because people like him already from his articles, tournament performances and videos. That should not give him a better protection when it comes to these things. You say that mistakes happen, why can't the mistakes Márcio made be just mistakes?

And I don't think the response of the pros is important in this case. They are better than most of us playing the game but they are not better judges of character. They are also biased, even if they don't think they are, it's very difficult not to be. And tweeting stuff that you don't know anything about is morally wrong.

reply to Tugachampion, and then some. by Hearts at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 20:08
Hearts's picture

Well written Tugachampion !

The rest of the mtg game needs to follow the trigger way of doing things.
If you cast terror on a black creature f.ex. and the opponent catches the error within some time-frame, the Judge will give the opponent these options apart from restoring the terror'ed creature itself;
- terror goes to the graveyard.
- terror goes to exile.
- terror goes back to hand.

Yes, the opponent can decide that the wrongly cast terror goes to the graveyard without doing anything, thats the penalty for casting spells the wrong way.

If the error ISNT caught however, we should have none of these endless discussions on the internet about who did or didnt do what and with which intentions.

If neither the opponent nor the Judges at whatever event did NOT approach the player then people should NOT talk about cheating in aftermath - end of discussion.

Exceptions are drawing extra cards and shuffling techniques.

Brad covered the lands with his hand ?
Well, the opponent also did not ask Brad to remove his hands.
Discussion ends with that.

Edit; and in the Brad fetch thing: if the opp catches the error within some timeframe Brad looses the fetch in whole, he is down one land and one lifepoint from the crack, the GQ is shuffled back into library. Unless the opponent WANTS him to have his GQ on the table, the opponent decides.

(Edit: why is the reply function so bad/ppl confused ? replies appear randomly /under different/wrong posts.)

How is it on the opponent to by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 20:53
Paul Leicht's picture

How is it on the opponent to notice and decry the evil deed?? I mean there were lots of people there watching the game and NO ONE said anything. Imho Brad's popularity made it "not cheating" more than any excuse you can come up with.

Also re: the reply link shows up in the same place UNLESS you can edit your post in which case the edit link shows up first.

:How is it on the opponent to by longtimegone at Sat, 07/11/2015 - 01:27
longtimegone's picture

:How is it on the opponent to notice and decry the evil deed??

According to the rules, maintaining the game state is a shared responsibility of both players. This includes making sure that your opponent's plays are legal.

That said, I'm glad I only play MTGO and don't have to worry about it.

rep by Hearts at Sat, 07/11/2015 - 08:01
Hearts's picture

"Conversation" inside a cheater or potential cheaters' mind;
- if I cheat I have to tell about it later and be DQed, therefore I do not cheat.

A Judges mind;
- I cant see everything players do, but if I ask around about cheats the cheaters that forgot they cheated 1-xx minutes ago will remember it and have to tell me. And those who have remembered it all the way will go all Pinocchio nose and tell me.

Things...just...don't...work...this...way.