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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Oct 24 2014 11:32am
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State of the Program for October 17th 2014


In the News:

The Big Crash: MTGO went down last Friday at 2am PDT, and came up about 16 hours later. This was not a problem with the program or client: something hit all the Wizards servers.   In addition to MTGO, WotC websites, Wizards Event Reporter and the WPN were all down.   Wizards managed to bring up WER first. Getting WER up is extremely helpful, since FNM events around the world were affected, and while you can run large events on paper, or in WER’s offline mode, it’s a pain. Having MTGO down did affect several PTQ prelims, which were rescheduled. 
Big Client Update: The big update last Wednesday fixed a number of lingering bugs and problems. The Pauper rarity bug is gone. Limited and Constructed ratings are back. Several of the known Khans bugs have been fixed. The graveyard now pops out. Most importantly, the sideboarding disconnection during draft is fixed. Collection and trade problems are also being resolved, but only partly in this update. The list of the dozens of fixes included in the build is here. Unfortunately, the build created a new bug: if you navigate directly to the Collection Scene and open a trade binder, context menus won’t appear. Opening another deck seems to fix this. Details of the bug here.
Client Satisfaction Survey: Wizards has launched an online survey polling customers on their reaction to the new client, and other digital options. The survey I took had 30 questions (that may vary depending on your answers) and took me about 3 minutes to complete. The survey is here
Spooky Online Sealed: To celebrate Halloween, Wizards will be running a special Phantom event featuring the six “spooky” boosters: 1 Odyssey, 1 Torment, 1 Judgment, 2 Innistrad and 1 Dark Ascension booster. All players in the event get a promo copy of (Tawnos’s Coffin).   Spooky Sealed runs from October 29th through the downtime on November 5th.  Details here.

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. Here’s what we know, want or are tracking. This list is getting short, mainly because Wizards is so bad at passing on any information about future products or events. They generally have announced these events a day or two before they happens, which means most players never hear about them, and news compilations (like State of the Program) only hear about them too late to be included.  (But big props and a thank you to Wizards for announcing “Spooky Sealed” early enough to include it.)
Item (date it will return) and notes
·         Spooky Sealed: Oct. 29th to Nov. 5th.   Special Phantom sealed event.
·         Leagues (2014) Wizards has promised that leagues will return this year. Details here.
·         Commander 2014: (11/21/2014) Details here.
·         Modern Masters II: (May of 2015?) 
·         Fix the Changeling bug in Tribal Wars: No date yet. Been bugged for 3 months.

Opinion Section: A Totally Depressing Week

Generally, I try to limit what I put in these articles to news and issues related to Magic online. However, I do need to address a couple issues, only some of which apply to MTGO. These include cheating at paper events, Gamergate and the “add all but 4 to active binder” bug.   I’ll take these in reverse order.
First, apparently MTGO had a bug where if you used the “add all but 4 copies to active binder” option in the collection screen, the bug would add more than that to the trade binder. As I described a few weeks ago, I used that function when trying to trade away my draft leftovers. Now I have been playing MTGO for over a decade, budgeting about $100 per month for Magic, most of which I spent online. (That $100 was justified partly because Magic was my main hobby expense, and partly because it supported my writing which generates an offsetting profit.)   Point is that I have a lot of money invested in MTGO, and that bug appears to have flushed some of that money away. I appear to have sold some cards that I had wanted for constructed, probably getting maybe 40% of what it will cost to replace them. I don’t know for sure what I lost, or even that I lost cards, but I seem to have incomplete playsets of cards I thought I owned. 
Reportedly, that bug is fixed, now. Of course, Wizards never bothered to tell us about the bug, or even that you should have carefully checked the cards you made tradable if you used that option. They just let us use the program, assuming it worked as stated, and even though the collection interface was so bad that you couldn’t easily tell what cards you were throwing away.       
Look, Wizards, fix the damned program. (aside: I’ve published over 800 articles.  I’ve sworn maybe three or four times, total, but this deserves it dammit!) Enough. 
For the first time, I am seriously thinking that Wizards should consider rolling back V4. Half of my drafts in the last two weeks crashed. Large events don’t work, even with DECs. Deckbuilding and sideboarding have been/are bugged. Collection management (as distinct from deckbuilding) does not work, and barely exists. Multiplayer is a joke. Support for formats other that Standard, Modern, Legacy and Vintage is spotty to awful.  
In short, I can no longer name anything, other than the basic rules engine, that actually works in V4 better than, or even as well as, it did in V3. 
And, yes, that is pathetic.
Moving on.
Next, I want to talk about Gamergate. Apparently, this whole mess started with some people upset about bias in the press covering the gaming industry, or maybe some jackass out to punish his ex-girlfriend for leaving him. Accounts vary, but who cares? – that whole issue has been completely overwhelmed by the abusive tactics used by the proponents. The actual issue is lost now: if you wanted to work on bias in the gaming media, walk away right now, and come back a year from now. 
Gamergate has become indelibly stained by the vicious, evil misogynistic attacks made by its “supporters.”  Right now, what people are doing in the name of gamergate is so hideous and disgusting that you could be offering a cure for all diseases and an end to unhappiness and your association with these morons would still poison your cause. If you actually care about bias, then stamp out everything evil associated with gamergate first, then, a year from now when this has all calmed down, then start the campaign again, civilly, under a new hashtag.    
As for those people who have made gamergate – and gamers in general – notorious throughout society as a whole – shut up! You can argue and debate if you want – but learn how to do that. What the brain dead crazies now widely associated with gamergate are doing is not even close to debating. It’s thuggery.
Here’s how debate works: one side presents a position, supported by evidence. The other side presents countervailing arguments, also supported by evidence. For example: Side A: “He’s not going too fast. The speed limit is 55.” Side B: “Yes, but the road is wet and the tires are worn.”   Side A: “True, but…” and it continues, with both sides presenting assertions supported by relevant evidence.   That’s a debate. 
What you cannot do is make stuff up – no “oh yeah, the speed limit is actually 2mph, or 200mph,” or “but the car is accompanied by invisible unicorns that push it back if it skids.” If there actually are unicorns, that could be relevant, but then your first responsibility is to demonstrate the existence of the unicorns. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof – not just your personal assertion.  Not that the thugs are presenting anything like evidence.
What they are supplying are personal attacks. Personal attacks is not debating – personal attacks in debates is a logical fallacy called an ad hominem attack, and a non-sequitor. For example, replying to “Mardu aggro works because it exploits holes in this metagame” with “yes, but you’re ugly” is no more relevant than replying with “yes, but Mickey Mouse is not a real mouse,” or “tangerines are sweet.” Possibly true, but totally irrelevant to the point being discussed. “But you’re a woman” is generally irrelevant and almost always an implied ad hominem attack. So stop it.
Worse yet, some of these attacks have way gone beyond just ad hominem attacks and abuse into threats. That is so completely beyond the line it’s on another continent.  Absolutely, totally unacceptable. It isn’t even a logical fallacy – it’s saying “I can’t win, so I won’t allow debate.” Riling up potentially unstable people with hyperbolic comments, calling for “action,” then telling them where people actually live is not discussion or debate – it’s incitement to violence.   It has got to stop. Now!
I’ve been a part of gamer culture since the late 1970s, and I’ve been to a ton of gaming conventions. One thing I have always loved about gaming culture is that everyone is welcome, and gamers have always been some of the nicest people I know. At events like GenCon, tens of thousands of people can spend the weekend together with almost no anger, fights or abuse. Gamers judge gamers based on how they game, not stereotypes. 
At least, that’s how it has always been. 
As a player, you have a right to object to someone because of what they do, or say, or how they act. You have no right to object or vilify anyone because of what they are. Gamergate seems to be saying that women have no place in gaming. That’s ridiculous, and wrong, and – well, my first thought was that I could not find enough adjectives to express how reprehensible that is, but I should probably change that to I could, but no one wants to read one million words, on this, right now. 
At a Magic event, I will throw you out for cheating, for theft, or for acting like a bigot. All of these are equally bad.   Gamergate folks are acting like the most vicious of bigots. 
Unacceptable. Completely and totally unacceptable.
Twenty to thirty years ago, gamers were viewed as some sort of lunatic fringe. In recent years, gamers and gaming have been accepted, even lauded, by the mainstream. The actions of the gamergate fanatics is putting all that at risk, and if someone like Felicia Day is seriously hurt, it will set that back decades.  
Stop it. Stop the mentality that allows people to act like the gamergate nutcases. Don’t defend it, don’t defend them, don’t tolerate it. Don’t sit by and hope that it will blow over. Oppose it. If your friend supports gamergaters, demonstrate (with facts and objective reasoning) just how far he has his head up his butt. And help him get sorted out. 
Zero tolerance. Gamergate has the potential to do horrible things to gaming itself. Maybe you don’t remember when the anti-gamer factions were burning Magic cards and picketing stores that sold D&D books. I do. And maybe you don’t remember when politicians called for bans on video games, or tried to shut down gaming clubs. I do. I really don’t want to see those days coming back, but if the general public begins to think that all gamers are like the bottom-dwelling psychopaths that are doxing people who disagree with them, they may.
Think about it.
Finally, I want to comment on the cheating allegations coming out of the Pro Tour and recent SCG events.  Three points:
First, this sort of cheating is actually really rare.  Serial cheaters are a fraction of 1% of the total player base. Most also get caught, eventually, and thrown out of the game. It just takes time – but that’s where players come in. 
Second, if you see something, call a judge. If you don’t want to make it obvious, call a judge, point to a card in your hand and ask the judge if you can ask a question away from the table. This is perfectly acceptable, and players do it all the time. Then, away from the table, explain your concerns. Even if you cannot prove the cheat at that moment, the judges will start watching.  Eventually, we will.   
Second take two: when you see something you question, please call a judge or talk to the TO. Wizards cannot take action if they don’t know about problems, so report them. (This goes for abusive conduct on MTGO as well. Wizards does not read every game log, but they will investigate if you tell them where to look.)
Third, a quick comment on the stacking cheat that allegedly happened at the SCG event: when you play paper Magic, shuffle face down. Any type of shuffle that gives you any chance to see the front of any card is wrong, period. When your opponent is shuffling your deck, keep an eye on them and call a judge if they get sloppy, or worse. As for what people are claiming happened, this video shows what to look for.
Now I can hear a lot of MTGO only folks saying “see, that’s why I play online – no cheating.” Well, that’s kind of true, but only because some things that are totally illegal in paper Magic are tolerated online.   For example, check out this video. It’s Reid Duke drafting Khans, with assistance and commentary from several of the best of the CF team. It’s a great video, and a lot of fun to watch. Of course, if someone drafting in a sanctioned paper tournament was discussing his picks and plays with a handful of pros standing behind him, it would never be tolerated. Outside assistance is illegal in the paper world. Online, it’s tolerated, because there is not practical alternative.  Besides, it makes for fun videos and streams. 
Okay, enough depressing stuff. On to tech.

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: A week after the Pro Tour, Standard decks were again on display at GP Los Angeles. Once again, Jeskai and Abzan were prominent, but the Top 8 had a reasonable mix of decks this time around. Coverage is here
RG Monsters
Daniel Scheid, Winner, GP Los Angeles
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
3 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Genesis Hydra
1 Hornet Queen
22 cards

Other Spells
2 Rattleclaw Mystic
1 Ashcloud Phoenix
4 Lightning Strike
3 Crater's Claws
3 Xenagos, the Reveler
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
7 cards
4 Temple of Abandon
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Windswept Heath
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
7 Forest
6 Mountain
23 cards

Courser of Kruphix
Modern: Not a lot of excitement in Modern at the moment. Last week I showcased a burn deck with Bump in the Night. This week it’s a burn deck with Treasure Cruise. Seems to be a ton of burn in Modern nowadays.  
Jeskai Cruise
Full_tilt, 4-0, Modern Daily #7570596 on 10/19/2014
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Goblin Guide
8 cards

Other Spells
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Boros Charm
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
4 Shard Volley
4 Skullcrack
4 Treasure Cruise
24 cards
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Marsh Flats
6 Mountain
4 Arid Mesa
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Steam Vents
4 Wooded Foothills
20 cards

Eidolon of the Great Revel
Pauper: It’s been a while since I looked at Pauper. The most recent event for which I have decklists was an 8man. The winning deck was an artifact WW build. The next three decks were Goblins, all pretty close to this list.
Pauper Goblins
tel0, 2nd Place, Pauper Event #7583049 on 10/20/2014
4 Goblin Arsonist
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Cohort
1 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Sledder
4 Jackal Familiar
4 Mogg Conscripts
4 Mogg Flunkies
3 Mogg Raider
4 Mogg War Marshal
36 cards

Other Spells
2 Fireblast
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Mob Justice
7 cards
17 Mountain
17 cards

Mogg Flunkies
Legacy: we had an SCG Legacy Open in Worcester last weekend.  The Khans breakthrough card is clearly Treasure Cruise – it’s everywhere in Legacy and Vintage. The Top 16 decks are here. Four Delver varieties, two Elves, a Miracles and this:
Vintage:  The Vintage Super League is a 10 player round robin tournament that allows players to change decks every couple weeks. The third set of decklists is up, and one interesting change is the inclusion of Inkwell Leviathan in a number of lists. An island-walking win condition that cannot be stolen by Dack Fayden is apparently good enough to make it into several lists.     

Card Prices

Note: all my prices come from the fine folks at 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 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 almost a decade now, and have never been overcharged or disappointed.
Standard staples: The new Standard metagame is taking shape.  A lot of cards that do not see much play dropped, while surprise inclusions (I’m looking at you, Ajani Mentor) have shot up. Overall, though, prices are falling a bit, as more and more Khans draft leftovers hit the system.

Standard & Block Cards
Last Week
% Change

Modern staples:  Modern prices dropped a bit again this week. Part of that is probably from the client issues, some from the lack of interest in the format at the moment, and some is from the preponderance of red decks online. It makes Modern a bit boring.

Modern Cards
Last Week
% Change

Legacy / Vintage: Legacy and Vintage prices are down this week, led by VMA cards. I’m guessing that a lot of the sell-off is from people who were hoping to draft their way into the format, but ended the season with a couple pieces of power and 1 or 2 or many of the staples. Those players had a choice of spending a bunch of money to buy in, or selling out. Enough players are selling out to drive down VMA prices for now.  

Legacy / Vintage Cards
Last Week
% Change

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 prices of one of everything set currently available in the store, excluding sets that are not draftable.    

Complete Set
Last Week
% Change
Born of the Gods
Journey into Nix
Khans of Trakir


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. Black Lotus continues to lead the pack, but Rishadan Port is closing the gap. The final flurry of VMA drafts have pushed down the price of Power. The VMA duals, e.g. Underground Sea, have slid back off the chart. 
Black Lotus
 $ 172.28
Rishadan Port
 $ 146.82
 $ 101.52
 $    99.53
 $    90.33
 $    85.17
Mox Sapphire
 $    81.12
Liliana of the Veil
 $    75.75
Ancestral Recall
 $    71.70
Mox Jet
 $    59.53
Force of Will
 $    58.05
Vendilion Clique
 $    55.24
Time Walk
 $    54.84
Mox Opal
 $    52.95
Vendilion Clique
 $    52.48
Show and Tell
 $    52.04
 $    50.69
Mox Ruby
 $    47.86
True-Name Nemesis
 $    41.74
Mox Emerald
 $    41.69
Sneak Attack
 $    40.51
Tangle Wire
 $    39.87
Noble Hierarch
 $    38.86
Mox Pearl
 $    38.46
 $    37.19
Hurkyl's Recall
 $    36.89
Toxic Deluge
 $    36.63
Scalding Tarn
 $    35.35
Undiscovered Paradise
 $    34.88
Gaea's Cradle
 $    34.62
Lion's Eye Diamond
 $    32.03
Force of Will
 $    31.98
Infernal Tutor
 $   31.45
Tezzeret the Seeker
 $    31.30
Karn Liberated
 $    29.82
Dark Depths
 $    29.79
Craterhoof Behemoth
 $    29.19
Dark Confidant
 $    28.62
Entreat the Angels
 $    28.43
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 $    28.38
 $    27.63
 $    25.95
Twilight Mire
 $    25.28
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 $ 25,250. That’s down about $150 from where we were last week. That’s insignificant.

Weekly Highlights:

Highlight of the week was getting together with some friends and playing a Conspiracy draft.   That just showed how great the social aspects of Magic are, and how much I miss them when playing MTGO. Even so, playing MTGO still beats not playing.
“one million words” 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 over 24,000 cards left in the collection. Those cards are being sold at 10% below retail price. Erik died three years ago, so HammyBot does not include any standard legal sets, but it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, and some nice Modern bargains. 



Gamergate by Adam_the_Mentat at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:34
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I don't speak out much but one of the catalysts for gamergate was Zoe Quinn, aka Chelsea van valkenburg, my wife's first cousin. Her father who gets harnessing phone calls all day an who is my wife's uncle, live about seven min from us. She is an indie game developer, she dumped her ex and he cried foil and cheating and worked the lesser an least respectable 'gamers' into a level of mysoginy the likes of which is scary. How a person who I have had thanksgiving with could e threatened with rape and myrder under the guise of fighting for justice in game journalism is the most disgusting thing I could have imagine having my family embroiled in. People who cyber bully a person into hiding may find it ignoble to do now but some day these people will experience times of deep duress and wonder what they could have done to deserve such a fate. Next time you wanna reddit out some rape threats, perhaps envision you are sending them to your cousin who ate family dinner across from you an see if you still have the nuts to make that threat. People disgust me. This whole situation is disgusting

Well thanks for putting that by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:45
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Well thanks for putting that so much more into perspective though I was already outraged for her. Now I get to be outraged for you and your family too.

Gamergate asshats who perpetuate and stir up this sort of thing need to be stopped. Legally. I agree that that this situation is disgusting but it is ever more infuriating than that because these turds with keyboards assume they are safe behind their anonymity.

This needs to stop and now. Gamers are not these nut jobs. These useless sexist tools, these misogynist nut job criminals just happen to be gamers.

I hope you and your family stay safe and can deal with the crap fest this has become.

banning updates by one million words at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 15:00
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Update on the SCG cheating scandal. The player who was accused of card stacking has been banned. Alex Bertoncini, also accused of cheating the SCG, has also been banned. Full DCI banned and suspended list is here:

Fast work. Props to the judges and Wizards folks that review and oversee this stuff.

Nice. Hopefully this will by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 15:07
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Nice. Hopefully this will discourage serial cheaters from being so casual about it.

Well said on #gamergate Pete. by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 15:06
Paul Leicht's picture

Well said on #gamergate Pete. As I have said on FB and other places Felicia Day is a rolemodel and a shining example to us gamers. Also, Chris Kluew surprised and amazed me with his a) grasp of the vulgar vernacular and b) on target article concerning this. The fact that they targeted her and not him is simply astounding. Bigotry at it's narrowest most hateful aspect exposed like a diseased core in our larger community. (I seriously doubt any serious mtg player is involved with the hashtag. But I'll get to that in a second.)

Gamergate is about ethics in journalism (or the lack there of)? Then why the frack are gamers going around doxxing (exposing personal details to the public) and hacking (accounts of) female gamers and game industry personnel whom they have a beef with? A more unethical approach to "debate" is hard to imagine. Misogyny aside if you had a moral point to make you lost any leg to stand on by approaching it this way.

Thuggery is what some are calling it and I agree. It is purely asinine bigoted thuggery of the sort perpetuated by white asshats when segregation was ended. Arrest the malcontents and let them reexamine their positions from inside a jail cell.

As for the legitimacy of the claim before the attacks and threats started? It is pure bullshit even if the facts surrounding the instigation of this hashtag aren't utterly false. (Which I assume they are because who acts this way if they have adult facts to bring to the table??). I apologize if anyone is offended by that term but it stinks so much that I can think of nothing else that fits so aptly.

The fact is there is no such thing as "Journalism" in gaming. It is all advertising. Every last bit of it is designed to sell you products. Either Alienware, or joysticks, or keyboard/mouse combos, or this game or that game and none of it is being reviewed fairly and impartially by truly independent sources. Except for the exceptions. There are always exceptions and they matter not a little.

I like Steam's system of game review because at least it is somewhat democratic and if it is seeded with plants there are usually enough players who will speak their mind if a game is truly rotten or has serious issues. And I recommend anyone who wants to buy games to read up on their steam reviews even if they go with Humble or Gog or some other source to do the actual purchases.

So far the reviews have rarely steered me wrong. Because they aren't journalism either but they tend to be honest by averages. Knowing how to discern a hissy fit from actual issues helps. As does discerning a glossing over. But when there are enough other reviews to read these things average into an honest opinion eventually.

So that's my 2 cents on the whole "ethics" argument. Just a gigantic strawman to barely mask a misogynist agenda. Stop the trolls, the asshats and the nut jobs and preserve gaming for people who actually enjoy gaming.

I think the GamerGate guys by RexDart at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 15:41
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I think the GamerGate guys were initially addressing some real problems with the insulated, San Francisco centered, games journalism crowd. In both the worlds of sports journalism and gaming journalism, you get way too many people trying to write about larger social issues. I get it, they think they have more to contribute than just reviewing Bayonetta or predicting the Phillies' pitching rotation next year. But this is hobby writing, I don't need all this social justice crap crammed down my throat twelve times a week. The "women in Magic" issue occasionally drives our own hobby into frenzies of hand-wringing about rampant misogyny, yada yada yada, resulting in dozens of copy-paste articles on the topic for a few weeks from all the usual suspects. This is the kind of thing that made the hilariously funny Geordie Tate become completely unreadable. I don't go to hobby websites to be challenged about my "problematic" views. If I want people to preach at me about the alleged shortcomings of me or my community -- and I don't -- there are plenty of other places I can go for that. Hobby journalists need to stop taking themselves so freakin' seriously, leave the holier-than-thou social justice ramblings to the special little snowflakes on Tumblr, and just report about the hobby.

Now if they've gone off the rails recently, that's a shame. As a prosecutor I actively take part in punishing threats and harassment on a regular basis. But sadly, I think this behavior is just WHAT TWITTER IS ABOUT these days. Everytime somebody tweets anything the self-important millennial kids disagree with, that person needs to OMG DIE IN A FIRE, be immediately terminated from their job no matter what it is, then stalked, harassed, threatened, etc. That's basically the entire modus operandi of the roving gangs of thought-police on social media, so I would expect to find that behavior in ANY sizeable group of Twitter-ers.

I think if you consider hobby by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 16:08
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I think if you consider hobby writers as pundits rather than journalists you get closer to the truth and less hyperbolic responses as a result. Seriously though, Rex we don't 100% see eye to eye on this issue. Calling the group millenials does not excuse their behavior and it does not make it OK. I don't care what the hashtag is. Twitter needs to go away if that is all the thought it generates. (I'd be perfectly happy to see that happen btw.)

I thought Geordie Tate's article was pretty on target even if it made some people uncomfortable. This isn't a social justice issue. This is a gaming community issue. Obfuscating it by calling the people who bring it up pejoratives is missing the point.

Also "SJW" as the term is used seems to be sarcastic as if those proposing attitude changes and awareness of issues aren't earnest or sincere. If they aren't then fine, have at them. But attacking people for sincerely held opinions is pretty fracking stupid.

That's my sincerely held opinion of course. :D

The "social justice warrior" by RexDart at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 16:31
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The "social justice warrior" appellation seems to have arisen on Tumblr, I first encountered it at a very funny Tumblr blog that highlights some of the more weird or fervent devotees to the stranger corners of the social justice blogger-verse. I honestly don't have much respect for those people, because they never really do anything but complain about the world and preach at us as if they are enlightened and we're stupid or evil. I'm the one out there actually having to DO SOMETHING about, for example, domestic violence. I don't get to just yell about the patriarchy, watch all the clicks to my website roll in, and then walk away feeling smug. I have to actually take the dang case to trial, deal with victims who still love the defendant, juries that "don't want to get involved", and so on. Internet bloggers may sincerely hold their beliefs, but their expression of those beliefs merely reveals over and over how little actual experience they have with the issues they write about. I never cared for the whole 90's craze of "raising awareness" -- it was just a way to feel superior by showing how much you cared about something, but without getting your own hands dirty actually dealing with a problem on the ground. Now we have social media, where "raising awareness" requires only a click of the "share" or "retweet" button, and is more pointless and trivial than ever.

For all those reasons, you can rightly assume I didn't involve myself in the GamerGate thing, because I don't involve myself in ANY social media wars. They run on a spectrum between "pointless and stupid" on one end and "actively harmful" on the other. There is no thought or insight to be had there, only herd mentality and groupthink and the Two Minutes Hate, with a sprinkling of tar and feathers.

I think your assumption that by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 17:52
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I think your assumption that the bloggers aren't doing anything is really flawed. For example someone like myself. I write songs. You may feel that isn't doing anything but we may have to just disagree on that topic. Some go out and march for what they believe in, getting arrested like our Billy Moreno who right or wrong got arrested for teaching the protesters in Fergusson how to protest peacefully.

I agree that people who just blog an agenda for the hits are mostly ignorable (and that's what I do with 99.99% of all blogs anyway.) But don't lump everyone into that category.

As for SJW being popularized by tumblr I don't know. That sounds right but I haven't see anything that talks about it.

And finally as for raising social awareness, really? Pointless? Maybe if you are only concerned about a) what you care about already or b) the instances where people "raise their awareness" and then do nothing because all they care about is appearances. But those who are spurred to action no matter how futile are the actual point. Changing views and discourse is important and despite some people trivializing it, change occurs partially because of these kinds of things.

And I'd like to say because I don't think I have before: Good for you, for being in a lousy profession with a lousy reputation and doing something extraordinary with it and yourself. Putting people in jail for killing, hurting or otherwise abusing their spouses is important. As long as its not just to feed the penal industry. Which I am sure is not the case with you. I know you to be conscientious if extremely right of most beliefs I have. NY vs TX traditions and all.

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Your recent comments show how little you actually understand the gamersgate fiasco. You seem to think the thuggery is one sided? More doxxing has occurred on the feminist side than the side of the gamers. Now I understand as a liberal it must be fairly difficult to not white knight every socially marxist idea, but really at least hear out both sides of the argument before completely discarding opinion. Thanks for playing

Huh. Someone actually made an by AJ_Impy at Mon, 10/27/2014 - 03:28
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Huh. Someone actually made an account just to flame someone else regarding the fiasco.

Hey new members, eh? :D by Paul Leicht at Mon, 10/27/2014 - 03:47
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Hey new members, eh? :D

Thank you for the nice laugh by Paul Leicht at Mon, 10/27/2014 - 04:00
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Thank you for the nice laugh too! Having had some recent stress it was quite the relief.

Now, to comment on your remarks individually:

I am more than willing to imagine women fighting back by using the same foul techniques and thus blowing their high road status. (Thus without a shred of evidence of that I will take your word for it. After all it takes 2 to tango so to speak.) But that makes the ggers no less wrong or plain socially stupid imho.

I will say this I am proud to be a Liberal because I think social progress is important for human evolution. As for the term being used as a pejorative I think you should try harder. Republicans have been unsuccessfully doing that for years and failing miserably.

A point of fact: Liberalism is not Socialism or Marxism which are both discrete ideas, distinct from Liberalism even in its most modern usage.

I doubt you want a lengthy lecture on the subject so I will only recommend you look them up in the terrible but handy Wikipedia.

As for 'white knighting' I hear this term a lot and I think people using it the way you did, are perhaps not using it the way it was initially intended. There is very little about an internet post that can rise to the chivalry required of a White Knight. We are all just mundanes here I think. Magic Playing Mundanes for sure...

(An aside: I knew a fairly noxious young fellow in a few games called Ocelot, would you be related? Just curious. It is after all an uncommon animal name as cat fanciers go.)

I agree with your penultimate sentence in principle. If gamergaters come forward and tell their story I will certainly listen to them before burning them at the stake. :p From what I have read so far the issue hasn't been terribly persuasive for me.

And finally "No, Thanks to YOU, for playing, please do come back and visit."

In response by Revolver Ocelot at Thu, 10/30/2014 - 19:46
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1.My name is a reference to a video game character
2.I mistyped, what I meant to say was cultural marxism, which I really hoped you would look up before brushing it off, but again *sigh* liberals.
3.I do agree however that progress is necessary for human evolution and I am all for it, however burning ourselves at the altar of white male cis guilt is not progress, but I digress from the politics of the post.

here are some fast facts for you about the other side of gamergate, the "high road"
3. (id reccomend skimming through this)
5.better yet, just skip all this and read this
(also I made this account cause I wanted to, not just to "flame you")

Grammar by Revolver Ocelot at Thu, 10/30/2014 - 19:47
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Sorry for the various mistakes, I was typing this while drafting

Guilt is a useless emotion in by Paul Leicht at Thu, 10/30/2014 - 21:03
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Guilt is a useless emotion in adults. It is a tool espoused by certain child-rearing pedagogues to inculcate children with a sense of right and wrong.

I don't engage in it.

As for "*sigh*, Liberals..." that sounds like you still feel in opposition to myself: "Might as well use any dirty dozens insult I can come up with..." If you'd said "*sigh*, people" I'd probably agree. People indeed.

As I have already stated, I am proud to be a Liberal. Though I get the distinct impression we have different ideas of what that label means. Especially after your self-correction of "cultural Marxist". Which makes no sense to me so I will look it up as you suggest.

But just on the face of it, Marxism is an economics philosophy and one I disagree with based on empirical evidence of it not working for any major country ever in its form of communism.

I'd guess because of the strangeness of the juxtaposition of those terms that it is a kluge label used to obfuscate its meaning rather than clarify it. But I will have to read up on it. Having not had a chance to even brush it off yet. (Don't sigh at me mister! grrr *shakes cane*.)

Thanks for the links. This discussion may have had an entirely different tone if you'd just supplied those links in the first place. And Thanks for joining puremtgo for the content then, and I hope you stick around and get involved in what is important here.

ONE LAST THING by Revolver Ocelot at Thu, 10/30/2014 - 19:51
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It appears you were suggesting that I was republican, I'm not, I'm a reactionary. I don't vote

As an independent myself, I by Paul Leicht at Thu, 10/30/2014 - 21:09
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As an independent myself, I totally get the confusion too, but no. I was not assuming you were anything of a particular political nature. I was merely noting the incidence of Republicans spreading the word "Liberal" around like it's some kind of insult when for the most part it has been Liberal politics (on both sides of the aisle!!) that have affected change in the last century+. They've been fairly successful with their campaign if people estranged from politics use it that way.

Whereas the Democrats have been rather unsuccessful in using Conservative in the same manner (though in the 70s it was a dirty word for 5 minutes or so.)

Fair enough by Revolver Ocelot at Fri, 10/31/2014 - 18:58
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I apologize for my harsh tone, I get fairly passionate about the topics I care deeply for. In hindsight I should have just supplied the links lol

A lot of Ado... by Paul Leicht at Sat, 11/01/2014 - 02:31
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And now to stir things up again, lol. Please read this with the thought in mind that I am responding to your links and suppositions. And please pardon the ramble as I skip around a bit.

Cultural Marxism (and politics)...
OK I have read through the links and a wiki entry on "Cultural Marxism" and I'd still say that was a slur. As it says in the article on that subject, the extreme right have been using that term for many decades (before I was born) to try and discredit their political opposition. The same people who stood against civil rights, voting rights, rights to freedom from segregation and discrimination, these are the people slurring the "left". A little salt with that gum...

Personally I don't go as far left as some but I am probably further left than the majority of Democrats and that is one reason I became an Independent in the 90s. I felt that the Democratic party served an unconscionable master in Corporate America, the same as their counter parts in the GOP. Not voting isn't an option imho, unless you think that opting out is better than doing your civic duty. I do mine partially due to culture (I was raised that way) and partially due to conscience.

I am wary of those who use politically charged terms to argue their agendas because it seems like it is easy to just c/p stuff from the T-Party or Greenpeace or other blatantly manipulative sources to justify a position. I don't know that is what you meant but I think it is pretty obvious your passion allowed you to go places you shouldn't have gone. But it is alright.

Fairness in the media...
Your point about fairness is well taken. I don't engage in most modern "news" media because it is just a dog and pony show which I saw plenty of growing up. No need for indoctrination procedures, I've become immune to them. So CNN, CBS whatever can go to hell and I'll never know it because I don't turn on the TV. In fact I don't even have a TV anymore. (Threw our last one out a few years ago.)

I agree with the basic idea that ethics in journalism is an issue. I don't think it is a good enough excuse to engage in the kind of warfare seen here. On either side.

Calmness is important...
And I think the self-righteousness in those links you posted points to part of the problem. Indignation, ad hominum attacks, misinformation, and indiscriminate behaviors bordering (if not always crossing into) the criminal are all justified by being self-righteous and "injured". My advice to those who feel "injured": step back and take a breather. Then drink something soothing and try reading it again.

I read an article recently on "Taste Privilege" and it got me to thinking. Perhaps what is going on is that people who don't feel privileged at all (young, white male gamers for example) feel they are being told "Bad Dog!!" and having their noses rubbed in shit that isn't even theirs.

The facts vs the Opinions...
But the over the top misogyny did take place. It was not a lie and it continues to this day and targets people who had no stake in the issue prior to this. Talk about making people choose sides...

Anita and others...
Also despite her annoying presentation methods, Anita Sarkeesian has some interesting and important things to say on the subjects of feminism in gaming and women's role in games. And I think because the presentations are uncomfortable and she is challenging personality-wise (my first gut reaction was "stfu!" on an emotional level before my mind kicked into gear and clamped down on that response so I could actually process what she was saying), and bombastic, people feel attacked by her. So I can see why there were personal attacks on her despite the fact that she deserved 0 of them.

The crimes...
(The guy saying he was standing outside her apartment waiting to shoot her as she leaves should be in jail imho.) And this goes to what Pete was talking about. If someone attacks your point of view or your very cultural identity if your response is violent, unthinking and crude no one is going to credit you with any rights or points or even validity. In fact just the opposite, you get ostracized and put down as "that guy".

The points missed...
You (the male stereotyped gamer) might have interesting things to say such as "Guys are still the majority of gamers, we need/want scantily clad feminine objects as part of our fantasies because it gives us a safe way to channel feelings we aren't comfortable dealing with irl."

or "Hey it is art, leave it be! I like seeing this stuff." (with no further insights needed as to why.) And that has some validity. It might be detracted by some as infantile, and chauvinist but you aren't talking about hiring hookers here. There is some moral middle-ground. And a discussion can occur.

The victims...
Also, sure sure there is some misandry despite what some feminists may claim. (I am a feminist by upbringing but I am not blind.) But that may be a problem that is quite overblown when guys egos get involved. "How dare she not like me! I am smart, funny and attractive! She must hate men!" for example...(A common chauvinist claim in the mid 70s if you were wondering where I'd heard that.) Leaving out the idea that the subject may have taste issues, hygiene concerns, a current lover, be a lesbian even if she adores her 3 brothers, find you unattractive through no fault of your own, have no interest in love at all, been a victim of harassment, rape, death threats or known someone in that position that has made her wary of strangers, etc.

Back full circle...News ain't news!
And yes this goes quite far a field from the original complaint. "Gamer reviewers are unfair to some games because they have a bias" which I totally get. The thing about a review is it isn't news. It isn't journalism. There is no integrity inherent in writing one. It is merely one person's (hopefully) informed opinion. (Or maybe its just rubbish as is sometimes (often?) the case.)

And that reflects much of the problem with modern media today anyway. With a billion+ (? no idea what the real number is) blogs out there, who is to say what is "Truth" and what isn't? Not me. I go with my gut in cases where there isn't enough supporting evidence to decide otherwise. It is fat but it is usually dead on.

Is it real? Is it just?
As far as gamergate goes I still think the facts lean toward it being a hugely disproportionate response to something rather banal. Uninteresting even. I would not give a flying fig if someone unrelatedly told me about the "incident" that supposedly sparked the furor that created this mass of death threats to famous females.

Assuming there were no death threats, doxxing, hacking, misogyny. I'd be inclined to shrug and think "so what else is new? that's why I don't take 'pro-journalist' reviews/reports too seriously."

I even know a game reviewer for the much hated NY Times who is the last person to take himself seriously. (He writes very funny songs that he performs in the local NYC scene occasionally and is otherwise a fairly jocular personage.)

Wot I think...
My point being, the issue that supposedly is so important to gamer gaters still does not strike me as important enough to be enraged by. And then you add a clear cultural war on top and I am like "Calm down already. Be civil or be gone."

Why can't we all just get along?
What is so hard about being civil? Clearly you manage it and I manage it. Also the guy who coined the tag, Adam Baldwin? I expect this is the most fame he has gotten to date and I say that as a fan of the sometimes overly touted (but not overrated) show Firefly. Not saying there is any ulterior motive to his initial posts but it seems like he isn't exactly suffering from all this attention.

That said I wouldn't lay the blame for all this hissy fitting at his feet. Clearly both sides did reprehensible and possibly prosecutable things. I hope Law Enforcement takes an interest and follows up on the worst cases. In particularly harassment that ended up costing jobs.

Though I will say if you have a job sensitive enough that an internet interaction may cost you that job, maybe hiding behind a false identity online isn't the safest/sanest idea. But not to blame the victim they shouldn't have been fired.

In conclusion, thanks for giving me some more of the puzzle. Most of what I was getting, was just the aGG side of things and occasionally independent (and probably disinterested) reports. It is good to see what it is, authentic ggers are saying. Even if I disagree with their ideas, they deserve a forum. But perhaps GG isn't the way to get it done.

Having riled the worst elements in your midst, it may be time to divest yourself of them in order to more fully and earnestly engage in an adult conversation with those who oppose your ideas.

When I watched the live by Rerepete at Fri, 10/24/2014 - 21:22
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When I watched the live stream of the last Pro Tour, I was surprised by how many professionals were shuffling face up (which I define as being able to see any of the contents of the cards being shuffled) and none of them were being warned about that...mystifying to me.

Also, any reason why counterbalance has skyrocketed (since M15's release it has doubled in price to ~24 tix)?

Also interesting is that by ScionOfJustice at Sat, 10/25/2014 - 01:05
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Also interesting is that Counterbalance's buddy, Sensei's Divining Top has dropped a lot.

To be fair SDT was banned in by Elbinac at Sat, 10/25/2014 - 02:50
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To be fair SDT was banned in modern and had a lot of side product reprints.
So the supply/demand dynamic is out the window.

Why Counterbalance should be jumping one could only speculate..
(I apologize for that pun.)

I tried playing a phantom by KaraZorEl at Sat, 10/25/2014 - 14:39
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I tried playing a phantom draft today. The program crashed while I was deck-building. So in addition to all the other various problems with the client, I can see no real reason why I should invest any amount of time, effort, and/or money into playing magic any longer. Their response is horrendously inadequate: I've heard nothing about the crash, nor about any of the fixes implemented. I didn't even know there were Khans bugs in the first place.

Economics basically works like this: if you upset your customers enough times, they'll stop buying stuff from you. Then you'll be losing money. I really cannot understand why Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast has not figured this out.

Edit: I wanted to do the survey, but it wasn't accepting responses it said. That's just lovely...

Counterbalance by Katastrophe at Sat, 10/25/2014 - 23:53
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At least once before we've seen Counterbalance go over 20 tix due to someone attempting to horde it. It seems like a wise target for hording: it was printed only once, it isn't likely to appear in the next preconstructed product or in a Standard legal set, and it's an eternal staple with no replacement. So raise the price!

But it is a bad target for hording because there are hundreds of thousands of them online and mere thousands of eternal players who want them. And Miracles isn't even the hottest deck right now.

Counterbalance is notoriously by RexDart at Mon, 10/27/2014 - 13:41
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Counterbalance is notoriously awful against Delve spells, and is the primary reason that Tombstalker was popular during the peak of CounterTop dominance. I'd think that with everybody trying out Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise as the flavors of the week in Legacy, it would only be even weaker right now.

I really get the feeling this by Bartimäus at Sun, 10/26/2014 - 04:56
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I really get the feeling this time they managed to loose their player base a bit more effective - at least my preferred formats (granted, niche formats) in casual dried up almost completely. The only thing available is drafting but I wonder how long the secondary market will survive under this signs and gave at least some financial justification for limited.

If they had already lost by Paul Leicht at Sun, 10/26/2014 - 05:21
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If they had already lost their player base, we would not be talking about this here. We would be playing other games. It is true that they have done some serious damage to their reputation (such as it is) and the player confidence levels (cf my last article) but I doubt very much it is done yet. I still get plenty of games of Standard on demand and while I haven't been playing the other formats I play as much I am sure if I were to stick it out Id get some games in them too.

The VERY BAD part is even while there are players in Just for Fun and the other rooms they aren't talking with each other. They don't even seem to know to do so. The chat rooms don't open automagically when you join a room.

This is what makes it appear worse than it is. Because asking for a game in chat is basically like talking to an echo chamber. The players are there but they are only looking at a small portion of the whole player base. This leaves some people out in the cold.

I think this will eventually lead to players abandoning the game in droves but at the moment the losses are made up for by new players and those who persevere (like myself) and fit in whatever games they feel safe in waiting for.

Also the state of multiplayer is about as bad as it has ever been. WIth the way it is, many of the more dedicated Multiplayer players have gone elsewhere for their gaming fun.

We can only hope that this trend does not continue. Or at some point the sky really will be fallen.

I hope you are right - by Bartimäus at Sun, 10/26/2014 - 05:46
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I hope you are right - another negative indicator of mine is that most of my buddies seem to be gone. Maybe only for a break..

"WIth the way it is, many of by TheKidsArentAlright at Mon, 10/27/2014 - 02:01
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"WIth the way it is, many of the more dedicated Multiplayer players have gone elsewhere for their gaming fun."

It isn't just the multiplayer aficionados, though I agree that they have gotten the worst of V4. I suspect that a large part of the Vintage crowd has moved elsewhere as well. I know I've spent the better part of the last 2 months replaying the Mass Effect trilogy on the highest difficulty setting (which I just finally finished about a half hour ago) rather than deal with the sorry state of MODO these days.

going backwards (not) by laffyFleur at Sun, 10/26/2014 - 08:20
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point of order: going back to v3 is technically impossible. they have clearly ported over much of the server functionality into a new format, and I would be tremendously surprised if it was backwards-compatible. Unrolling to the day v3 was shut down might be possible, but I would bet my hat on the fact that all the new information created since then (matches played, cards bought and traded, etc.) would have to be jettisoned, which I suspect is both practically and legally unacceptable. All we can do is to look forward to v5, which will no doubt be the Kingdom of Loathing version of MTG.

Lol now that I'd play for by Paul Leicht at Sun, 10/26/2014 - 15:32
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Lol now that I'd play for sure.

Would anyone happen to have by blandestk at Wed, 10/29/2014 - 01:26
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Would anyone happen to have any decent overview articles or synopses links on GamerGate for those of us who have been living under a rock?

Not sure about the veracity by Paul Leicht at Wed, 10/29/2014 - 04:41
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Not sure about the veracity of everything in it but this seems pretty comprehensive.

wotc forums by Hearts at Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:24
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WotC forums seems to be down for days these days. Whats happening ?

It could be the timing. I by Paul Leicht at Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:34
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It could be the timing. I have noticed the forums are down in the AM more often than at Night. Since I am on the East Coast and they the west it may be a matter of that being the best time for them to do server maintenance. Despite the fact that it inconveniences eastern US and Europe. (Or more darkly, because of that fact.)

OTOH asking the horses mouth (ORC Phage in this case) got the response: Upgrades. So maybe we are getting new and better fori :D We can only hope.