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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Nov 04 2011 8:35am
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Hammie’s The State of the Program for November 4th     

This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 

News and Discussion Items:

Huge Changes to Pro Tour Qualifiers and Worlds:  I am really happy I will be attending the Worlds this year.  It will be the very last big time Worlds. Starting next year, Worlds will be a 16 player invite-only tournament held at GenCon.  Details here.  For those of you who have been in this a long time, this will be run like the old Magic Invitationals, but with better coverage. This solves some long-time problems, which I’ll talk about in the editorial section, but I will miss the spectacle of the old Pro Tours and Worlds. Sure, it cost a mint to bring the stage setting, and only a tiny, tiny portion of the Magic playing community ever got to see it, but it was cool.
 
From an MTGO perspective, the big news is that the MTGO Champion gets an automatic invite.
 
The other big change was the announcement that the Pro Player club will be modified. The existing Pro Player club will continue through 2012, but change the following year. Details will be released in the future. The main info is in the article linked above. Aaron Forsythe also published an interview, here, with additional information.
 
As you read this, the interwebs should be alive with people screaming and ranting about this. This will be the 43rd time Magic has been killed during my time as an observer and writer – in other words, the sky is not falling. See below. 
 
MTGO Product Line Update: A reminder: From the Vault: Legends goes off sale November 7th.  
 
Redemption Coming to a Close in early November for Shards Block and M10: LAST CHANCE! The redemption window closes November 7th for Magic 2010, and for Shards of Alara, Conflux and Alara Reborn. If you want to convert those digital sets to cardboard, do it before that date.
 
Mercadian Masques Countdown: Masques block arrives, in its entirety, on December 5th. Details on the Masques roll-out here. Countdown to Masques Block: 24 days.
 
Here’s your classic Masques card for the day:
 
 
Tangle Wire looks symmetrical, but it is not. You cast it, and your opponent gets tapped first.  The opponent taps four permanents. On your upkeep, you stack the “remove fading counter” and “tap permanents” correctly, and the counter comes off first, so you only have to tap three permanents. Tanglewire is one of those, so you end up tapping just two other permanents. Your opponent tapped four, you tapped two: that is not symmetrical. 
 
Shops decks have been begging for this – and it is good enough that Shops may see restrictions.    
 

Editorial Section: Planeswalker Points and Worlds

Let’s talk about Worlds first. I have been a judge at three Worlds so far. The tournament has always been a bit weird. On the one hand, some of the very best are playing for the title. At the same time, some of the least skilled players to make a Pro Tour play here. The event is both a showcase for individual play, and a team competition. The two do not mix well, and that has always caused some friction. The tournament is a extra day longer, because one day is devoted to national team drafts. That creates a lot of extra costs, and means that at least half of the players competing in Worlds sit out a day.
 
The biggest problem is that the teams have widely different skill levels. Some events, like US Nationals, Japanese Nationals, etc., are highly competitive, multi-day affairs. In some other countries, the biggest question is whether they can get eight players so they can sanction their National Championship. (Seriously.)  The Magic Tournament Rules include a ton of information on National Championships – on whether they are “open” or “closed”, how they are run, how qualifiers, if any, are structured, etc. Wizards has struggled for years to find a solution, without a whole lot of luck. Big counties with really big Magic communities simply produce much better teams, and the team play at Worlds really emphasizes that effect. Sure, once in a while someone from a small country wins, and sometimes a country can pull out a miracle, but the final standings correlate strongly to the size of the country and that country’s Magic community.
 
Under the new system, Worlds is not going to be about Nation vs. Nation – it will be about a battle for the title between 16 of the very best tournament players. I remember the excitement of the Magic Invitationals, years ago, and I look forward to seeing that come back. On the down side, I am sorry to see Worlds go. I loved the pageantry, but while the flag ceremony was kinda cool, it really didn’t do all that much to excite people about Magic.  It was more what happened while you were waiting for the action to begin. Like the marching band at a sporting event.
 
Worlds going away is going to be a change. Personally, I don’t like it much, but if Wizards handles the publicity and coverage well, the new version could be almost as interesting, at least for people who do not attend. (That is the vast, vast majority, after all.)
 
The bigger news is that the Pro Player club is going to be different. How different? We don’t know. In the past, players who did well were given airfare, lodging and appearance fees. When the club was first created, the balance of levels and payouts were off, and Wizards ended up with too many people attending the Pro Tours. (An interesting problem – a few years before that, the problem was too many people not attending. Back in those days, PTQ winners got cash, so they could choose whether to spend it on airfare or other things. Changing the PTQ payout to airfare solved that problem.) Anyway, Wizards has already adjusted the Pro Players’ Club benefits a few times. Now they are doing it again.
 
In recent years, Pro Tours have averaged about 400 competitors. A few, like Berlin 2009, were much bigger. A few, like Kuala Lumpur, were smaller, but most were within a 5-10% of 400 either way.  Presumably, Wizards will keep that size: at least, they have not suggested otherwise. 
 
Under the system announced so far, PTQs will qualify 200 players, and Planeswalker Points will qualify another 100 players. That leaves 100 more players who will be qualified through the new Pro Players Club replacement.  (Technically, the numbers might be slightly higher or lower: not all qualified players show up, and Wizards may allocate some slots to the Hall of Fame members.)
 
What Wizards has not announced are the criteria it will use for the choosing these players. I suspect that the criteria may not be solely based on skill – they may have some element of service to the game, or name recognition. If so, that will ignite another firestorm. However, what Wizards wants to do, I believe, is to get players excited about the Pro Tour. Suppose that they had the option of inviting one of two players who were not otherwise invited. Player one is very highly skilled, but plays only in drafts in Jon Finkle’s apartment, and with friends. He does not write or interact with the Magic community much at all. Player two is a Brad Nelson or a Conley Woods. Which player would be more likely to get people to watch the coverage? 
 
The sky is not falling. However, Wizards may be making a change. They may no longer be interested in finding the most highly skilled Magic players for their events. They may want to find the Magic players who play a lot, and also win a lot. I have watched Bob Maher play, and he was technically much better – at least in terms of accurate, error-free play - than the top players on the SCG Open series. However, I have watched the SCG Open players play week after week all year. I have not seen Bob play since last year’s Vintage Champs – and I only saw him because I got to table judge some of his matches. So which player should be on invited to the Tour. 
 
StarCity Games and the Pro Tour both broadcast their Top 8s. Viewership is pretty close to the same. Right now, SCG Opens are doing the same sort of publicity work that the Pro Tour is doing, and Wizards does not have to pay for it. The big question is whether the players winning SCG Opens can compete with the gravy trainers. It looks like that question might be answered in Hawaii, since the SCG folks look likely to take a number of the Planeswalker Points qualifications. I suspect Wizards will be watching very carefully to see how they finish. I know I will. 
 
If the Planeswalker Points folks have an average finish of 350 out of 400, expect to see changes. If they finish respectably, then Wizards will have proven that its new system works. Overall, I would expect the average grinder to finish about 225 – below average, but that’s because there are some truly amazing players on the Pro Tour – the Hall of Fame folks, plus future Hall of Famers like LSV. 
 
I think that the Pro Tour is shifting a bit.  It used to include four groups: 
1) the elite: like LSV, Paulo, Shuhei, etc. – the Pro Players Club regulars
2) the PTQ winners
3) the GP Top 8ers and low level Pro Players club
4) the old pros who have been qualified on rating for years, and show up occasionally when the Pro Tour is conveniently located.
 
Now we will see these groups.
1) the elite: like LSV, Paulo, Shuhei, etc. – the new Pro Players Club
2) the PTQ winners
3) the Planeswalker Points grinders who win – a lot. (You cannot grind in regularly going 4-4 and missing Day 2.)
 
In effect, Wizards is replacing the old pros with the people playing big events week in and week out. It is a change, and if I were one of the old pros, I would probably be unhappy. However, as a spectator, the names people know are probably more valuable to Wizards than the people known only to people like me – people who were playing back when Tempest was Standard legal. 
 
As for who Wizards has rolled this out – I think they have done pretty much the best they can. Wizards hasn’t finished tweaking the system yet, but that’s to be expected. Speaking as an economist, people do not react to incentives in a completely rational manner, which makes creating or revising any incentive structure something of a carp shoot. Wizards knows what it wants – a Pro Tour with X players and Y watchers. It has created a system which should create that amount, but if the result is something with more players and fewer watchers, or whatever, Wizards may do some more tweaking. 
 
We will see.
 

Tournaments:

Thursday Night Magic for the upcoming week (November 10th): Modern Constructed.    TNMO is a cheap way to play some Swiss constructed, and you are likely to face a range of decks. The TNMO card for November is an alternative art Go for the Throat.
 
Let’s look at the Constructed Tournaments breakdown for the week of October 28th  through November 3rd.  88 constructed events fired, which is quite low, but then we had Release events sucking players out of a lot of those events. Let’s look at how they broke down. 
 
Format
Fired
Format
Fired
Standard
46
Standard Singleton
0
Pauper
31
Kaleidoscope
0
Momir Basic
10
100–card Singleton
0
Modern
0
Classic
1
Legacy
0
Extended
0
Innistrad Block Const.
n/a
-
-
 
It will be interesting to see if Legacy and Modern can recover once we get past the Innistrad prerelease and things calm down.   FYI: I got the number fired from the list of results, here.  
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard:  I was judging at the SCG Open in Kansas City last weekend, and got to watch a lot of the event firsthand. We also saw a GP last weekend. Here are the Top 8s.
 
Finish
GP HIroshima
SCG Open Kansas City
First
GW Tokens
UW Blade
Second
UW Humans
UW Humans
Third
Solar Flare
Infect
Fourth
UW Humans
Solar Flare
Fifth
Mono Red
Wolf Run Green
Sixth
UW Humans
Wolf Run White
Seventh
Tempered Steel
Tempered Steel
Eighth
Bant Birthing Pod
Solar Flare
 
Here’s a sample UW Humans list:
 
 
UW Humans
Rin Satou Second Place, GP Hiroshima
Creatures
4 Gideon's Lawkeeper
4 Grand Abolisher
4 Mirran Crusader
12 cards

Other Spells
4 Angelic Destiny
3 Moorland Haunt
2 Fiend Hunter
4 Geist of Saint Traft
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Honor of the Pure
3 Sword of Feast and Famine
4 Mana Leak
15 cards
Lands
9 Plains
3 Island
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Seachrome Coast
20 cards

Angelic Destiny

 

 
Modern: Still nothing on the Modern scene. No events have fired, and no Modern GPs or Opens. Modern will be a Worlds format. That might help.
 
Legacy: Legacy had one big paper event last week – the SCG Legacy event in KC. The Top 8 included RUG Tempo, BUG, RUG Countertop, Dredge, Bant Stoneblade, Bant, RUG Countertop and Burn.  Here are two lists – the winner, and the cheapest one. A bunch of Innistrad cards showed up, including Snapcaster Mage and Delver of Secrets.
 
RUG Tempo
David Thomas, Winner, SCG Legacy Open in Kansas City
Creatures
4 Tarmogoyf
4 cards

Other Spells
2 Dismember
4 Force of Will
1 Temporal Spring
3 Spell Snare
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
3 Daze
1 Life from the Loam
4 Stifle
4 Lightning Bolt
30 cards
Lands
4 Wasteland
4 Volcanic Island
4 Tropical Island
3 Misty Rainforest
3 Scalding Tarn
18 cards

Temporal Spring
 

 

Burn
Samuel Davis, 8th Place at the SCG Legacy Open in Kansas City
Creatures
3 Hellspark Elemental
3 Figure of Destiny
3 Keldon Marauders
4 Goblin Guide
13 cards

Other Spells
4 Lava Spike
4 Price of Progress
4 Chain Lightning
4 Flame Rift
4 Rift Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Fireblast
24 cards
Lands
17 Mountain
2 Barbarian Ring
19 cards

Price of Progress
 
Classic fired just one DE this week. It was won by Workshops deck with Goblin Welder. I played against something similar last night in Season 3 of MMoggs Classic League.
 

 

Welder Shops
goat314 went 4-0 in the Classic Daily #2953764 on 10/29/2011
Creatures
4 Goblin Welder
4 Lodestone Golem
4 Metalworker
3 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Wurmcoil Engine
17 cards

Other Spells
2 City of Traitors
2 Batterskull
4 Chalice of the Void
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Mox Opal
1 Sol Ring
3 Sphere of Resistance
1 Spine of Ish Sah
2 Staff of Domination
4 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Trinisphere
19 cards
Lands
4 Ancient Tomb
1 Buried Ruin
3 Great Furnace
4 Mishra's Workshop
2 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
3 Wasteland
19 cards

Goblin Welder
 

Card Prices:  

Notes: All my prices come from MTGOTraders.com for cards that are available in multiple sets, I am quoting the most recent set’s price, which is almost always the lowest. Thus, the price I’m quoting for Primeval Titan is from M12. If a card is out of stock, take that price with a grain of salt. MTGOTraders may not adjusted prices for a card until they have some to sell.
 
Innistrad prices are wobbling, but we are probably at about the low point, so buy now. The new Standard metagame is forming up, and that is affecting prices all over the place. Primeval Titan and Inkmoth Nexus were tech two weeks ago, now UW Humans is the hot new deck.  If you wanted a Hero of Bladehold or a Sword, should have bought those last week.
 
Last week, I dropped a bunch of TIX buying one or two of all the not so hot Innistrad cards, especially Mythics, I didn’t own.  The trick is to buy early, and not wait until a card gets hot, and expensive. For example, Sun Titan was 3 TIX or so after the release events (it was the prerelease card.) Six months or so later, it was five times that. Likewise, I bought a Consecrated Sphinx when it first came out. I should have bought a playset – I would have paid less for the playset then than what I would have to pay for a single copy now. My plan used to be to draft into playsets. Now it is to buy 1-2 of everything when the price is low, and draft the rest. That seems to work better. 
 
Standard & Block Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 21.16
N
$ 25.58
- $ 4.42
$ 12.00
N
$ 12.58
- $ 0.58
$ 8.56
N
$ 8.29
+ $ 0.27
$ 18.56
Y
$ 15.69
+ $ 2.87
(GavonyTownship)
$ 1.55
N
$ 1.44
+ $ 0.11
$ 0.76
N
$ 1.48
- $ 0.72
$ 4.44
Y
$ 3.61
+ $ 0.83
$ 2.68
N
$ 2.84
- $ 0.16
$ 0.46
N
$ 0.81
- $ 0.35
$ 2.55
N
$ 3.97
- $ 1.42
$ 1.28
N
$ 2.34
- $ 1.06
(WoodlandCemetery)
$ 1.70
Y
$ 1.66
+ $ 0.04
$ 11.33
Y
$ 11.57
- $ 0.24
$ 18.29
Y
$ 17.96
+ $ 0.33
(Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas)
$ 14.59
Y
$ 14.90
- $ 0.41
$ 24.87
Y
$ 23.44
+ $ 1.43
$ 16.58
Y
$ 17.30
- $ 0.72
 $ 12.22
Y
 $ 12.22
---
$ 3.58
Y
$ 4.57
- $ 0.99
$ 13.11
Y
$ 12.60
+ $ 0.51
(Sword of Feast and Famine)
$ 34.73
N
$ 28.05
+ $ 7.68
$ 19.55
Y
$ 19.56
- $ 0.01
$ 17.55
Y
$ 11.80
+ $ 5.75
$ 23.61
Y
$ 21.19
+ $ 2.42
$ 15.32
Y
$ 15.19
+ $ 0.13
(Sword of War and Peace)
$ 27.30
Y
$ 20.49
+ $ 6.81
$ 9.94
Y
$ 10.17
- $ 0.23
$ 10.66
Y
$ 11.77
- $ 1.11
$ 24.57
Y
n/a
n/a
 
Modern prices are still heading down, but the lands are stabilizing. We may see some resurgence, if people are testing for Worlds online. Otherwise, we will have to wait for Worlds, which should give us some new archetypes.  
 
Modern Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 19.33
N
$ 15.94
+ $ 3.39
$ 7.14
Y
$ 7.55
- $ 0.41
$ 12.09
Y
$ 10.43
+ $ 2.66
$ 10.10
Y
$ 8.26
+ $ 1.84
$ 6.62
Y
$ 7.00
- $ 0.38
$ 24.50
Y
n/a
- $ 0.70
$ 5.83
Y
$ 7.19
- $ 1.36
$ 6.68
Y
$ 6.19
- $ 0.59
$ 56.76
Y
$ 60.12
- $ 3.46
$ 12.00
Y
$ 11.89
+ $ 0.11
$ 4.26
Y
$ 4.34
- $ 0.08
$ 11.64
Y
$ 11.77
- $ 0.13
$ 14.92
Y
$ 16.33
- $ 1.41
$ 10.74
Y
$ 11.06
- $ 0.32
$ 14.31
Y
$ 15.50
- $ 1.19
 
Legacy prices have stabilized.  Force of Will has dropped below $100 for the first time in a long time. Natural Order is dropping – although NO Bant is still a fine deck. Legacy needs to get some love. The format was doing pretty well, and then it got hit by Mental Misstep and a hoarder buying up all the duals.  Since that double whammie, the format has fired almost no events. 
 
Legacy Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 99.00
N
$ 103.00
- $ 4.00
$ 43.00
Y
$ 43.00
---
$ 71.54
Y
$ 74.10
---
$ 27.68
Y
$ 28.00
- $ 0.32
$ 36.47
N
$ 34.78
+ $ 1.69
$ 57.00
Y
$ 65.00
- $ 8.00
$11.75
Y
$11.75
---
$ 19.00
Y
$ 19.00
---
$ 17.00
Y
$ 17.00
---
$ 14.39
Y
$ 14.50
- $ 0.11
$ 41.80
Y
$ 41.80
---
$ 3.57
Y
$ 3.50
+ $ 0.07
$ 7.33
Y
$ 7.75
- $ 1.00
$ 4.50
Y
$ 4.75
- $ 0.25
$ 12.32
Y
$ 11.95
+ $ 0.37
 
Note: cards which are staples in both Legacy and Classic may appear in either list. If you don’t see a card in one list, check the other.
 
Classic prices are not moving. The format is on hold, like the rest of the Magic world, while we wait for Masques block. 
 
Classic Cards
Price
In Stock?
Last Week
Change
$ 102.00
Y
$ 94.00
+ $ 8.00
$ 22.00
Y
$ 21.00
+ $ 1.00
$ 12.50
Y
$ 14.00
- $ 1.50
$ 12.42
Y
$ 12.00
+ $ 0.42
$ 14.50
Y
$ 14.50
---
$ 9.41
Y
$ 9.50
- $ 0.09
$ 29.28
Y
$ 28.00
+ $ 1.28
$ 40.22
Y
$ 42.00
- $ 1.88
$ 39.00
Y
$ 39.00
---
$ 10.50
Y
$ 10.50
---
$ 23.00
Y
$ 23.00
---
 

The Top Ten:

Here’s this week’s list of the top ten most expensive non-foil, non-promo cards on MTGO. Force of Will has been dethroned!   
 
Most Expensive Cards
Price
Set
Last Week
$ 102.00
Mirage
# 2
$ 99.00
MED I
# 1
$ 71.54
Apocalypse
# 3
$ 57.00
Visions
# 5
$ 56.76
Future Sight
# 4
$ 43.00
Tempest
# 7
$ 41.80
Apocalypse
# 6
$ 40.22
Weatherlight
# 8
$ 39.00
Odyssey
# 9
$ 36.47
Portal 3K
# 10
 
Deck Prices:
Deck prices will return next week, once Innistrad prices stabilize.
 

Weekly Highlights:

I was judging at the SCG event in Kansas City. I enjoyed it a great deal, even though the long days meant I could not play online at all. I have a fair number of stories that are of interest only to judges, but I do have two classic bad beats stories. The first was in the Top 8 of the Draft Open, when a player played Mirror-Mad Phantasm. With about 20 cards left in his library, he activated the ability. One guess where the Phantasm ended up.
 
Best bad beats story of the day – a player in Standard was late in a long game, with an empty board. He cast Army of the Damned, and Reverberated it, giving him 26 Zombies. He asked his opponent if he wanted to scoop. His opponent said “No, I may draw a Swamp.” He did, played it and cast Massacre Wurm!
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO.

 

19 Comments

Masques Countdown by under_the_hammer at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 09:20
under_the_hammer's picture

Mercadian Masques Countdown: Masques block arrives, in its entirety, on December 5th. Details on the Masques roll-out here. Countdown to Masques Block: 24 days.

You got me really excited there! Sadly its more than 24 days till the 5th December...

Not really. by one million words at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 16:45
one million words's picture

I'm older thann you kids, so I have lived through a lot of previous Novembers. Half the days don't really exist. Trust me - 24 days is correct.

PRJ

Actually, my TARDIS has a working chameleon circuit, so it looks like a DeLorian. However, the day counter is a bit off. ;)

the problem with the chnages by seydaneen at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 11:26
seydaneen's picture

the problem with the chnages are the way wizards is lying thorugh helene and scott larabee by looking into our eyes. there is one real reason for these changes: cost cutting. by going down from worlds to invitational they are going down from 250k to 100k cost. by getting rid of pro club more hundred couple thousands. instead of saying the thruth they hide it behind stupid explanations. there is no good reason to dumb down nationals. it is the biggest event for most of the mid elvel players.

these chnages may not have big impact in the short tem but it will collapse the system some day, just like feeding your pet with less and less food every day.

Refreshing perspective by amcpherson at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 12:28
amcpherson's picture
5

This was the best analysis I have seen of the organized play changes; they make a lot more sense when you think about the goal being to attract the interest of the casual player, which is after all what the Pro Tour is for. Your perspective, having seen Magic die 43 times now, is refreshing and instructive.

I'm curious as to why the Innistrad card links are not live, since the MTGOTraders site has had them for sale for awhile now. Perhaps next week?

You Rock!!! by apaulogy at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 12:53
apaulogy's picture
5

I love how well you explain the OP changes. I think the whole community could benefit from having it put in front of them like this.

You are the man!!!

Gonna have to agree with you by oraymw at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 13:34
oraymw's picture

Gonna have to agree with you Pete. I'm not a big fan of cutting worlds, but I also understand that it is likely a huge expense, especially in getting people out to the tournament. Cutting the tournament down to 16 players will make it a much more manageable event for Wizards, with plenty of exciting coverage. I'd rather have Worlds, and I suspect that this is mostly a result of Hasbro requiring WotC to make budget cuts, but that is the way the dice sometimes land.

As for the PPC and PWPs, I don't know enough to comment, but I really like your analysis.

Massacre Wurm really loves by Paul Leicht at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 14:12
Paul Leicht's picture
5

Massacre Wurm really loves those Zombies tokens. Great end story there. As far as buying in is concerned it really is tricky. Whilst you are busy figuring out what is going to be hot/important to get so is everyone else. Sure some people will sell out while the prices are high, in theory deflating them, but the really good cards might not drop much at all. It is hard to predict exactly where the low point in that arc will be. (Especially for non-mathematicians.)

It was REALLY weird to me how by walkerdog at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 14:30
walkerdog's picture

It was REALLY weird to me how they basically ignored the fact that it seemed like Hasbro mandated cutting costs and they just spun it like it was all positive. Hasbro needs to pull their heads out. You cannot cut MTG costs and hurt a very profitable product to prop up your other crappy products like they seem determined to do.

I'm wondering if Force of by Alternate at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 14:59
Alternate's picture

I'm wondering if Force of Will will continue to go down with Foil and Thwart from Masques block returning.

No by one million words at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 16:52
one million words's picture

To misquote a former vice presidential candidate: "I know Force of Will. Force of Will is a friend of mine. Thwart; you sir are no Force of Will."

Misdirection might see some play, at least as Force of Will #5.

I'm not saying you are wrong, by Alternate at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 17:58
Alternate's picture

I'm not saying you are wrong, but Thwart is a nice late counter spell.

And if I'm right, Foil, which is discard an Island + any other card seems like it would be a nice option for those who don't have $400.

I would just think that Classic would be going up since there are no more Classic set drafts like that ME4.

Btw, if they are going to bring back Kobalds for ME, then they should bring them back a ton. I have all the legends Kobolds, and would play with paper again if they brought back the insane red 0 mana creatures. That + Sac a creature get 3 mana + Play 4 more kobalds + ??? = Profits!

PRJ, you make a relatively by TwoHands at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 17:51
TwoHands's picture

PRJ, you make a relatively level-headed argument, but there's a serious flaw in it: you mistake "playing a lot" for "name recognition" among casual fans.

Let's start with examples from other competitions: would you prefer the US Open in tennis or golf (both of which are open-qualifying events with reserved spots, similar to PTs) to make the majority of invites go to people who play every weekend on the Nationwide Tour or smaller circuits, or should they go to the best players in the world regardless of play? That's not even rhetorical - both choose skill.

Obviously Wizards has the additional constraint of ROI on their marketing dollar. But that's pretty easy to address, as well -

*Casual fans of the Tour - the ones whose dollars you are attracting - are likely not the people following the SCG tournaments, right? So why favor a Bertoncini over a Reitzl, whose past victories on large stages carry a cachet that actually reaches the lowest level of play?

*The tantalizing promise of making the PT will be just pisspounded when the casual fan learns he has to barnstorm against GerryT all year, at a net loss, to make one of now THREE PTs - the GP Dream (one of the easier ways to make a non-PTQ appearance, whether by top-16 or gaining enough Elo points) is dead, and the FNM Dream will be too.

*You mistake your own view as spectator (a VERY informed one at that) for the Common Man's view from the street. You know these guys who play every week - who the hell else does? Obv SCG isn't making a killing on the Series, since they've all but eliminated their Player's Club too (nice sleeves, seriously) - is the viewership even significant?

It's a simple cost-cutting measure - the intent was never to "improve" the product. The intent was to choke it as little as possible under their new budget.

Pete. As someone who has by darthibanezowner at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 18:12
darthibanezowner's picture

Pete. As someone who has attended World's in the past, which day would you recommend for someone to go? Due to Veteran's Day, and being a teacher, I have any of the 4 days to choose from. I'm really going for the drafting and to get Chapin to sign my copy of his book.

I should mention that I live an hour away so there is no real planning needed for except deciding which of the four days to go.

Thanks! And I will look for you to say hi.

Don

I actually just checked and I by darthibanezowner at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 18:27
darthibanezowner's picture

I actually just checked and I was a week early. So change your recommendation to just Saturday/Sunday.

Thanks

Saturday by one million words at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 21:35
one million words's picture

Saturday will be busier, and you will have more to see. Sunday the Top 8 may be sequestered, and a lot of the activity dies down. Saturday will be longer, and more interesting.

Of course, side events run all weekend, so you will have plenty of opportunities to play, if you want to.

wise words two hands. it is by seydaneen at Fri, 11/04/2011 - 18:25
seydaneen's picture

wise words two hands. it is sad that some folks still think that wizards is doing that for players.

Foil is out already and sees by menace13 at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 02:23
menace13's picture

Thwart is out already and sees 0 play. Misdirection would see marginal Legacy/Classic use.

Why O Why by vaarsuvius at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 10:03
vaarsuvius's picture

Do I always sell my swords of X & Y just before the two weeks that they jump up $5-$10 in price?????

On the loss of Words by vaarsuvius at Sat, 11/05/2011 - 10:46
vaarsuvius's picture

I am an old time player ( early 1994) with a little experience at the highest level. My last pro event was in 2003. the reason I made it to the PT was that with a group of local players, we could learn together, team together and get better. Work towards a reachable goal (winning a PTQ, or finish high in a GP.) GP's were also easier back then, for example I would always be disappointed if I didn't make top 64 and I am not and never was a top player) What really helped though was the involvement of local players who got on the PT train, some even ended up getting up to HoF status) It was a golden era of magic in my small country. Guess from which country I am. We got the top PT players and a steady entry of new talented youngsters who got included in the nation wide competitive community. (you could compare our nation with a large urban area at the west or east coast in the USA) A reason it was succesfull was that many talented people would look at the whole picture and think: "Okay, I am good at this game and it seems the rewards (play around the world, win back (some of) the huge investments, are worth it spending all this time on this game for a year or a couple of years. Take this hall of famer. He is quite brilliant, of course he is. Besides playing magic he studied. Something scientific. That study takes 4-5 years. It took him 8. Was he a bad student? No he wasn't, he might have been one of the top students. But the security of his pro magic career made it financially possible for him to delay his graduation. These days he is working for a PhD.
Most of us are not a HoFer. Me for example. Yet, the Pro Tour was a great reward for me. I could invest time and money. Make a pro tour. Go, finish 2-4 on day 1 and have a great time. PT San Diego, yeah baby! La Jolla here I come. How many european students have a chance to visit Yokohama or Tokyo?

This dream was within the reach of many average FNM players. It was an incentive to purchase the cards needed for extended or standard.. To keep drafting to increase your skill. To travel to the next city for another tournament, to play in GPs.

In the new system, most of that all will be gone. From 6-8 PTQ (*5 PTs!!! ) slots we will end up with 3 (*3 PTs) . No more Nationals. (two of our national champions became world champions) GPs lose value. PTQ's can still provide the San Diego vacation experience I talked about, but with less slots your chances are a lot smaller , so less people will decide it worthwile to grind them out until they make it. It's not the same... saying ok, if I play them all I give myself a good chance to qualify in a year.. compared to... oh, I play them all and now it will take 2-3 years.... Well, let's find some other hobby.

So who are unaffected? The commander players? the kitchen table players... the legacy players? Oh yeah those guys have a basement full of cards.. 10-18 years worth of cards.. Do they draft? not so much.. Do they buy boxes? some might do out of habit, or because they like to collect, but many of them are quite happy to pick up a handful of rares and mythics from the new set and leave it there.

Sets these days are more and more a recycling of older ideas (See many MaRo articles on this subject, preserving design space) Cards are variants of older cards, fitting in this years theme flavor. Grassroots players already have these cards in older forms. sure they want the next dragon or angel for their collection but that's not enough to drive sales.

Sales will go down.