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Jul 03 2015 12:00pm
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Episode 327

Hosts: Adam and AJ

Episode Length: 01:18:41


  1. Zach Jesse banned:

  1. Magic Online Performance Updates: July 8.

  2. Origins Tokens

  3. Mulligan Rule Update

  4. It’s not MTGO-related, but it is Magic-related; What do we think about the Board game, and is anyone planning on picking it up?

  5. Origins prerelease is July 24th. Modern Masters 2015 event stop July 8th (comin’ up fast).

  6. Magic Origins Spoilers talk Part III.

Random Gatherer Card o’ the Week:

Mox Emerald

Question of the Week:

Another Gem from Reddit: What’s your favourite Planeswalker?

Adam: This is tough because are we talking about, in Magic lore? Or in playability of cards?

If we are talking Lore, then I have to say either Liliana Vess (because pacts with demons you are now trying to weasel out of is totally awesome), or Karn because he’s been around so long, or… well, I’ll paraphrase someone from reddit: “Tibalt. At one point someone said on reddit that lore-wise, he is extremely powerful, but that the reason why his planeswalker card is so weak is because the loyalty counters reflect his will to help you. Which means Tibalt is powerful, yet really doesn't want to help you, even when you cast him”

If we are talking Cardwise, Karn and Ugin go in every one of my Commander decks, and my favorite planeswalker cards to use are Lily of the Dark Realms, Venser, and Ajani, Mentor of Heroes.

AJ: Jaya Ballard. Yes, she's canonically a 'walker. Karn as well, though it's a pity he no longer bears Xancha's heart to go along with Glacian's Spark.

Whatcha been playin’:
Adam: A lot of Grenzo still, but I just made a King Macar deck, which has been pretty fun to play.


AJ: Mighty Morphing Power Angels! (Angel of Redemption) is amazing alongside Exalted Angel and Akroma, Angel of Fury, but even better with Mastery of the Unseen. Unnatural Selection lets her redeem other Angels, as well as letting Angelic Overseer become a human, and exiling everything with Angel of Glory's Rise, which can also recur your whole team with Ashes of the Fallen. Add in Conjurer's Closet to go with the morph Angels and the mastery, and I had way too much fun.


Great stuff guys. The Zach by olaw at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 06:05
olaw's picture

Great stuff guys.

The Zach Jesse ban sounds ridiculous to me. I don't see how his past has anything to do with Magic or why you would ban someone from playing Magic for having a criminal past. Unless that criminal past has something specifically to do with something that happened at a MTG event or perhaps relates to a fraud/cheating (which may directly relate to playing Magic). I do not think the public safety argument very far. I don't think Wizards does anything to background check players at MTG events and nor do I think they should need to. Of all the people who play Magic how many have a criminal past? I have no idea but you have to imagine it's far more than just Zach Jesse and I think there's a good chance that there are people with far worse criminal pasts who are currently playing the game (though presumably not quite as well).

I can see from a public image point of view Wizards probably doesn't want people with criminal pasts representing their brand and that top level Magic players do that to some degree. However, I don't think it is remotely fair to single out and ban people essentially for doing too well, as seems to be the case for Zach Jesse who only really came to light after making Top 8. Also, there's a big difference to saying we don't want you representing our company (which seems like something they are entitled to do) and saying we don't want you to play our game at all...ever. It all seems very unfair and I hope Wizards sees the light.

Not to mention Patrick Chapin by jay85 at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 09:25
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Not to mention Patrick Chapin and his record. From what I've heard about Zach, he is about as likely to assault someone at an event as Chapin is to sell ecstasy to some kids.

I slept on this, not wanting by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:02
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I slept on this, not wanting to respond in haste.

I was nodding my head at what Adam was saying but I had no chance to read the reddits or the links from them (because strangely the mods were obstructing reading of reddits yesterday to make some obscure point to its admins...) until much later in the day.

I am horrified that he essentially got away with his crimes despite having "served his sentence". I find that to be the fault of the government and the judicial system though. and apparently the victim (through her kindness?) was influential at least partially for the leniency shown to him, so who am I to want or demand further justice??

I understand now, better maybe. WOTC's reasons for doing this. But it is still an extremely flawed and dangerous precedent. I can only hope someone in a position to say something meaningful (sorry Mr Jarret, your reddit post does not count) will explain what was going on, because this really shakes the customer's faith in WOTC's rationality.

As much as I desire rapists to get what is due them, and as many people have said concerning social rules, this is not how to go about ensuring that happens. Trial by Mob Mentality went out of style with the French revolution. (Not that it hasn't happened many times since, its just no one beats the Maddame LaFarge archetype for grossly unfair rabble rousing.)

I don't think this pertains at all to Patrick Chapin or his past misdeeds as that has been out in the open for a long time and he has proceeded to be a darling of the PT and GP circuits as well as a highly favored author/deck designer and commentator. And I am not afraid for most of the other ex-cons who play magic. Registered Sex Offenders should maybe tremble a little. As unfair as it may seem, looks like WOTC has set a policy here that is pretty draconian. Unless there is some more information forthcoming it is likely to cause quite a bit of unease in the community. Which is not all that well glued together to begin with.

This story is so very by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 22:26
Kumagoro42's picture

This story is so very disheartening.

I found this post by Matt Sperling, where he notes that WotC is certainly doing it uniquely for reasons of public image, because if they really had to keep away convicted felons from the PT to protect themselves legally, their legal department would require background checks of all the pros, and ask all the players to fill in a form where they declare they have never been found guilty of criminal charges.

But then I wonder what kind of public image they're pushing for. Of a company that doesn't believe in rehabilitation? Once a criminal, forever a criminal? The prison system is rotten enough as it is, but to outright negate the possibility of rehabilitation? That seems a crazy stance to take if you want to be politically correct beyond reproach. In fact, someone commented on Sperling's post that WotC actually supports the use of Magic as a recreational form in prisons. I've no details on this, but it makes sense that they do, it's the kind of humanitarian stuff a big company like Hasbro typically uses to look good. So felons can play Magic as long as they're not reintegrated into society? A murderer who plays Magic in jail is okay, a reformed sex offender is problematic? (I wonder if the nature of the crime is affecting these actions. I wouldn't be surprised, given America's weird double standards relationship with anything sex-related as a whole vs. non-sexual violence).

By the way, Zach Jesse is not a "rapist", as it seems. In the last link provided by Adam, someone mentions that for the laws of Virginia, "aggravated sexual battery" means "touching someone's intimate body parts with the purpose of sexual gratification" without the victim's consent. Therefore, quoting from there: "While the law considers Zach Jesse a sexual offender, it does not consider him a rapist. The other thing to keep in mind is according to Jesse, he's had his civil rights restored so even the state doesn't find him to be a future threat." (So among the other things, Drew Levin is guilty of defamation). I seriously want to hope they wouldn't propose a 3 months deal for actual rape.

The more interesting part of Sperling's post, though, is the opinion given by Magic judge Tasha Jamison, herself a victim of sexual assault. Which makes us realize what incredible, monstrous can of worms this whole thing is opening: as Tasha notes, a case like this gives more ammunition to people (often but not exclusively women) who use false rape claims as a weapon, because they see to what extent such accusations can go and what fruits can bear, and this in turn makes the real victims' life harder, for a complex series of reasons (it also helps us understand why Zach Jesse's victim reportedly helped him getting a reduced sentence). This on top of essentially instigating recidivism by negating the reformed criminal the rights to even simple activities like playing Magic.

Also disturbing is that WotC didn't just prevent Zach Jesse from playing competitive paper Magic for the rest of his life (and by the way, how stupid is to give a date for that? Banned for 30 years for having served time in prison? Like that was some MTG infraction calling for a specific sanction). They closed his MTGO account, and this means they took away how many money he had in there, possibly thousands of dollars. This reminds us how WotC has the power to literally take our money away overnight because they don't like who we are, or who we were.

Read the report linked in by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 23:48
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Read the report linked in Jesse's own reddit. It states he performed acts of rape on the victim. Clearly this is not something to be said lightly or easily. And while he was not convicted of rape this is at least partially due to the victim offering him the compassion of leniency because she did not want to ruin the rest of his life over the incident.

That in itself might make one wonder why. Most of the women I've known who have suffered from this kind of violence were not particularly vindictive but I know, were I in their place I would not rest until the perpetrator was dead. That might be a guy thing though. We males have a tendency to be harsh with those who hurt us.

I do agree however that whatever the case with the legal aspect it is irrelevant to this incident and WOTC has either erred severely in judgement or in their inability/unwillingness to fully explain their actions. Particularly the banning from MTGO which is the part that most people scratched their heads about.

The fact that WOTC can flex their legal muscle to ban anyone they like from MTGO is not surprising or new. I even warned about that in an article after an acquaintance was banned for being in a chain of acquisitions of stolen cards. In other words he wasn't actually the person who stole the cards, or knew that person. He merely received stolen cards and was banned for it.

This is the way Modern PC games work and it is a shame in general but it is allowed because players have no recourse if they want to enjoy the games that their peers play. And for the most part it is not our concern because we are behaving (ostensibly) within the CoC and ToS and shouldn't ever run into this problem.

As for the account being a proxy for actual money I am pretty sure WOTC hates the idea that people think that way about their cards because they certainly don't. They see people's collections as one end of a contract. One which they have full rights over, whenever they want. That this might backfire at some point in the future is a possibility but it is probably a slim one and would require someone with serious clout to challenge this status quo.

Meanwhile is Jesse going to be reinstated? I doubt it. I think he should be (if there is no deeper reasoning going on here) despite the outrageousness of his crime. I don't think WOTC should be making decisions like this without being REALLY clear about it. On the other hand what we the players think really has no bearing on what happens.

Quite literally they hold all the cards.

Yes, it's a contract. And in by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 07/05/2015 - 11:09
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Yes, it's a contract. And in a civilized society, contracts are guaranteed by certain rules and the expectation that both parts will fulfill their end of the contract provided those rules aren't broken. A telephone company or a bank or any service provider of any kind are potentially fully able to ban an user from their services overnight if they decide that, say, they don't want people with red hair as customers. But our expectations as people living in a civilized society, and as reasonable people, is that this won't happen.

A MTGO account is not proxy for money. It's theoretically (but not technically) goods you acquired with money. If I buy a $1000 statue of Liliana, and then one day the store owner comes to my house and takes it back, they can't say, "Hey, it wasn't money anymore, it was just a statue". It's not proxy for money, it's an item I bought. If someone stole that item, that would be theft. Or if we want to talk of immaterial goods, if someone stole my power I pay the electric bill for, that would be theft as well. Or if we want to talk of renting, which is more to the point, once I paid the rent for a service, if the provider stopped supplying the service, they would have taken my money without giving me what they promised in exchange, which is fraud. There has to be a reason on their part, governed by the contract we agreed upon at the beginning of the provider-customer relationship.

Now, we do agree to an user agreement for MTGO every time we install a new update. This one. It comes with the caveat that we don't own any digital objects, we just rent them (with no expiration date: we rent them for as long as the agreement stands). It's in Section 9. Section 10 mentions the cases for which they can terminate such agreement unilaterally. Most of these cases involve stuff like cheating, hacking, pirating the software and/or game events and/or other people's accounts. Then there's "violations of the code of conduct". The code of conduct is this one. The only point of relevance to this story is:

4. Do not promote, plan, glorify or engage in any illegal activity or otherwise make available content that would encourage or provide instructions for an illegal activity. These topics include crimes relating to drugs, drug paraphernalia, rape, solicitation of a minor, computer hacking, counterfeiting and fraud.

Specifically "Do not (...) engage in (...) rape". Makes sense. They don't want their customers to commit crimes while they're their customers. I can even approve of this. What happens here is that they, I imagine, retroactively applied this point in the code of conduct to events of the past which were casually brought to light, since they don't actually investigate their potential customers' background before accepting them. And there's not a point where it says, "Do not be a former convict". If that were the case, a former convict would just know not to rent MTGO services to begin with. Instead, they take the former convict's money, and then prevent them from using the services those money paid for. I think a lawyer of average cleverness may be able to mount a fraud case here. A former convict can still be, in turn, a victim of a crime.

:A former convict can still by longtimegone at Sun, 07/05/2015 - 13:06
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:A former convict can still be, in turn, a victim of a crime.

Statistically speaking, they are more likely than the average person to be the victims of crime, due to having already been socially disenfranchised.

I agree with what has been by TugaChampion at Sun, 07/05/2015 - 18:58
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I agree with what has been said in the comments for the most part.

What Zach did was horrible and he was probably lucky on how everything turned out. I understand that some people would want much worse for him, but the legal system's goal should be to discourage people to commit crimes, to make them pay for crimes but also, and if possible, to try to bring criminals back to the community as positive members of it. And it seems that was the case with Zach. 10 years later, we have to look at who he is now and what he has done since he got out.

Rape is an horrible crime, but right now, the public opinion thinks of it as the "end boss" of all crimes. That is probably because for many years, it was not dealt with the seriousness it deserved. So when people started revolting about it, it got out of hand and now the public opinion is on the other extreme. It doesn't help that it can be hard to figure out who is lying and who isn't and that it's something often related to alcohol and drugs on both parties.

Wizards/Hasbro reaction is purely PR (and obviously dealt horribly) and that is only because of the public opinion. I understand why they did it but it is my opinion that the dealt with it in an horrible way, especially the mtgo ban. I also understand that if their position is to show "we don't allow rapists on our events" but if people found out he was still able to play mtgo they could point that out and they didn't want to risk that either. However, considering he didn't cheat, hack or in any way tried take advantage of anything, he should have been given a grace period to move everything from his account in any way he wanted. Maybe give it out to friends, maybe sell everything, or whatever. Sure, they gave him some ammount of cash for his stuff but this option would probably allow him a better deal while not costing any cash to Wizards.

They did? First I had heard by Paul Leicht at Mon, 07/06/2015 - 01:19
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They did? First I had heard of this. Remuneration makes a little more sense than blank, "your account is banned, have a nice life".

Yes, Zach posted that himself by TugaChampion at Mon, 07/06/2015 - 06:33
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Yes, Zach posted that himself and he said he still had to analyze the contents on his account (they sent him a list of cards he had) but he thought the value wasn't that far away from the value of his collection at first glacne.

Well, that's something. At by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 07/06/2015 - 12:25
Kumagoro42's picture

Well, that's something. At least they didn't commit a crime in retaliation.
Funny that when it's needed, they perfectly know how they secondary market works. Did they use prices as a guideline?