Year after year, it is an honor to be able to cast a vote for the #MTGHOF. The Hall of Fame is the pinnacle of Magic’s accomplishments. It is something to be glorified and protected. Every year I try my best to judge the contestants fairly. In the past I have made votes that I wish I could have back, but I feel like the quality of my votes has improved.
Before we get started, I will not vote for anyone who has been banned. This is not a set-in-stone policy, and I try to listen to arguments from the other side of this. But for now, I don’t think that anyone who is currently up for vote has atoned enough for their banning. Cheating just does so much damage to the game that it is hard for me to grasp what it would take for one to remedy that. I don’t know if it is possible they could “make good,” but I am willing to listen.
Now, what do I judge participants on?
The players Hall of Fame should largely be determined by skill. If writers, judges, employees, etc. were on the ballot, then it would be a different discussion. I would gladly vote to honor those groups of people, but as a player I like the idea of a separate Players’ Hall. As such, in my mind the biggest determining factor of whether a player should get in should be their skill at the game. I believe the best way to judge this is by Pro Tour Top 8s – the Pro Tour is the highest level of competition in the game. My decision grid is as follows:
Three Top Eights with a win: The baseline to be in the conversation with significant contributions in other categories.
Four Top Eights: In the conversation.
Five Top Eights: A lock for a vote that can only be taken away by significantly negative contributions.
While a player may not always have strong finishes, it is possible that they design the deck that wins the tournament. This actually happens quite often, and these guys deserve some credit. Part of that win should be attached to their name. Guys like Zvi, Chapin, and Nassif all got a bump in my book because of how much they excelled in the preparation for the tournament, not just the tournament itself.
Do You Still Play The Game?
The Hall of Fame is an honor above all others. Because I care about Magic so much, and it has been such a huge part of my life, I put a high value on others caring about it the same way. To me the easiest, simplest way to show this is to play the game that we all love. Does the candidate regularly attend tournaments? Is a Grand Prix still worth a day of vacation time to them to catch an early flight?
Are You Fun To Play Against?
To put this simply, do they show good sportsmanship? When you play against this person, or see others play against them, is it an enjoyable experience? I believe that so much of what keeps players coming back, and what turns them away, is the experience they have at tournaments. I want the members of the Hall of Fame to be examples for the community to follow. They should be people that are always approachable. Always willing to sign a card or give advice on a deck. Always friendly in a game of Magic, always willing to shake the opponent’s hand afterwards.
One noticeable omission is “Community Contributions.” This largely centers around people who are getting paid to contribute to the community. I think it is awesome that Magic enables people to supplement or even gain the whole of their income by contributing to the game’s success, but I don’t feel like that should gain them votes. Although, to be fair, many of the people with large contributions would get boosts in my #2, #3, and #4 categories.
I am still unsure who I am going to vote for this year. There are no slam-dunk choices like in many years past. If anyone has any stories about the following players that they think could help shape my vote, please hit me up on twitter at @herberheezy. Here is my current pool after narrowing down my choices – some of them I don’t know all that well, so I would love to get more insight to their game and personality.