The articles on the Internet read like a close family member had died: Hasbro was firing 750 members of its work staff, and Peter Atkinson had resigned his post of CEO in disgust. Are the numbers true? Reports say so. Did Atkinson leave in disgust? I hardly think so. Thirty years old is quite young, and he is leaving Wizards in the good hands of Vince (?). Is Wizards dying? Are there troubles with the corporation that makes such great games? Did Pokemon, Showdown Sports, or Harry Potter kill the king?
Many of you also noticed the other announcement that shocked the Magic world last week: The cancellation of Pro Tour Columbus. There are a number of premiere events next year, which allows the feasible cancellation of this event. There are twelve Grand Prixs in America alone, along with the growing number of Grand Prix events in Europe and Asia. Was it important to cancel the very Pro Tour that was supposed to take place during the world’s largest convention?
What if Wizards needed help? What are some viable suggestions to keep the current players happy, yet still add new fresh faces to the scene? Here is my list of suggestions to possibly be considered.
1. Keep the amount of American Grand Prixs the same. Twelve is a very good number to have for these "open Pro Tours." Location however is a factor. Six Grand Prixs need to be east of the Mississippi River, while the remaining six need to be west of that point. Grand Prixs should also never take place in a city were there is a set Pro Tour. Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles are out of the running for these events. They should be set in locations where attendance can be the highest, and whenever possible where Magic is famous.
East of the Mississippi River
A. Boston: The home of one of the most recognized teams, Boston is an excellent place to hold a permanent Grand Prix.
E. Orlando: It may not be a swell idea to have an event of this size to compete with Nationals.
F. Columbus: The home of the world’s largest gaming convention. Grand Prix Columbus would be an excellent way to push new game ideas to a bunch of people.
West of the River
C. Seattle: The home offices of Wizards of the Coast are in Renton, Washington, which is not to far away for Seattle.
E. Las Vegas: Sex, Gambling, Bright Lights and a Big City. What could be more fun than a Prix in Las Vegas?
F. San Diego
The cities that have no explanation beside them were selected on merit of location.
2. Add more money to the Pro Tour Qualifier Scene.
Let’s face it; $250 makes it hard to get to Los Angeles from Kentucky. $500 is nearly impossible to make the trip to Tokyo. It should be suggested that for American Pro Tours, the winner receives money based on location of the event. A Qualifier for New York in say, Phoenix, gets more then a Qualifier in New York for New York. The maximum, though, should be $500 for an American PT and $1000 for a foreign one. That makes costs a lot easier for non-pro players. That in turn should get more people to attend the PTQ itself, along with the corresponding Pro Tour.
3. Increase the amount of Junior Super Series Qualifiers.
The future of Magic is in our little brothers and sisters. Your middle school friends and the offspring of your favorite Aunt all will contribute to the rise of this game. Give the kids a reason to play. By putting them in tournament situations with kids their own age, there is no pressured feeling of having to beat the older guy, or hey, he’s older than I am, and he has a better collection – he MUST be better. The foil cards are nice, and they would increase the cost of these events.
My suggestion? Five hundred total qualifiers. Ten for each state. The top two in each JSS would then move on to a statewide tournament of the other top two players at each JSS. (This amounts to twenty-player State JSS tournaments.) The top four of each state then moves on to the JSS Championship. The amount of JSS qualifiers, though, would warrant the reduction of scholarship money from $1000 to possibly $700. Still, it ain’t too shabby.
4. Make the State Championships worth going to.
The winner of States should at least get a bid to Nationals. The top eight get byes in the regional of their choice. Make States more competitive and the number of participants will rise.
5. Sanction New Formats.
New formats bring excitement to the game. Block Party, Bring Your Own Block, Solomon Draft, and All-Common Decks are interesting ways to liven up a Tournament Scene that has a set metagame, or only sees changes when a new set comes out. The Constructed formats would, of course, have their own Banned and Restricted lists.
I have no idea if these suggestions will be used. They all seem good on paper, but I may be overlooking various stuff. Production costs will always be used as an indicator of whether Magic is doing well. Tournament attendance will also be used.
Go out, play in tournaments, have fun.