Mmmmm. Can you guess who won that exchange?
After scoring eleven times in two games, New York goes home packing and Jim gets to plaster a very, very sexy picture of himself wearing Pens colors in his next piece. Trust me, Jim, you’ll never look as good as you will when you take that picture. Cheers, and good luck next year.
If any Magic writers are Washington Capitals fans, I’d be obliged to make the same wager.
But on to the serious stuff.
Presenting Nestico’s Not Entirely Fond of It
Starring me…Mark Nestico.
Let’s just jump right into the deep end.
Pro Tour Changes
I’m friends with a lot of professional Magic players, both from just having similar interests and my time spent on the Pro Tour over the last year. One thing that they always talked about, and I mean probably more than even winning the Pro Tour, was chasing Platinum.
Platinum meant a very, very nice payout for participating in Pro Tours, which, let’s face it, are essentially gigantic commercials meant to showcase the new set. That doesn’t mean they aren’t the crème de la crème of Magic competition, because they are, but reality came crashing down upon every Platinum pro’s head this weekend, and I’m not entirely fond of it.
The pursuit of Platinum cost money, and copious amounts of it at that. Unless you’re one of a literal handful of people who can spike a PT or a Hall of Famer, the end of the rainbow of professional Magic is Platinum. This means payments that allowed you to actually be a professional Magic player are gone. Imagine someone telling you that thousands and thousands of dollars are going to be taken out of your pocket, but not to worry, because they will be funneled into the World Championship!
Your Dad: Son, we’re canceling Easter, your birthday, your graduation party, and the family vacation over the summer. Thanksgiving is also off the books and no more Halloween.
You: …okay…well, what are you going to do with the money?
Your Dad: Buy all of your relatives presents for Christmas.
You: What about me?
Your Dad: Damn, you’re selfish.
You: At least I still have college to look forward to.
Your Dad: We spent your college funds on hamburgers that we threw into the ocean.
You: What the…
Perhaps I’m just overreacting, but this sets a devastating precedent going forward. Magic wants to be bigger and better than anything else on the planet, right? Pointing to eSports like League of Legends, DotA, or even Hearthstone for what professionals should make is drawing a false equivalence, although it’s the first place our minds tend to wander. They have hundreds of companies sponsoring players throughout the world, whereas Magic doesn’t have the luxury. Even more so, the product simply doesn’t translate to the digital medium the same way, but that’s all right. Magic has a huge niche, and it should be using that to its advantage.
Now Platinum players simply do not care. Go check Twitter and see the sheer disillusionment.
The people got hosed, and that is something I’m not entirely fond of.
What Is About to Happen to the SCG Tour®
Grinding Grand Prix events and traveling all over the world, spending tens of thousands of dollars on plane tickets a year and hotels to fight for Platinum, just got a lot less attractive.
Enter the actual nexus of competitive Magic that has driven the scene for years.
The SCG Tour®.
Eric Froelich made a comment on Twitter about getting his SCG Tour® card ready, and while it was said partially in jest, the sentiment picked up quite a bit of steam on social media. The multiple groups I am a part of erupted with how much more interesting they feel the Tour is about to get because the expected value from grinding the SCG Tour® has always been massive for the top tier of players, and it’s only a matter of time before the highest level of professional Magic players join that group.
Imagine for a moment you’re little Maria Donahue from Tennessee and all you want to do is play some Magic. Boom! SCG Tour® is passing through town! You beg your parents to go so you can try out your G/B Werewolves deck and…is that Ben Stark you’re playing Round 1? This should be so much fun…oh, he just crushed the hell out of you. Today is a sad day if you’re little Maria Donahue.
The days of needing to travel all over the actual globe may be coming to an end, and with events like the Invitational and Players’ Championship coupled with how many SCG Tour® dates there are in a given year, it seems like, while the chase for Platinum may be ending, the hunt for the Players’ Championship may be getting a very, very ridiculous infusion.
Just kidding. I’m kinda fond of that.
How many of you played in SCG States last weekend? I know I did. I mulliganed a lot. I’m not entirely fond of that.
Do you think I like losing and then shaking my opponent’s hand, telling them how I hope they do well the rest of the tournament, and joking with them? Well, I do, but I’m not supposed to. I’m not entirely fond of that. Being nice to people is tough. It takes a toll on me each time I take a selfie with someone who says they like my articles. I had to get away from it all and get my chicken tender on, only to have some guy come over to the table and shake my hand. What is up with that? How cool is that? Really cool.
Wait, hold on.
I’m supposed to be talking about how I’m not entirely fond of mulligans.
I mean I did that a lot, and when I scryed it wasn’t the card I needed on top, so I had to bottom that. Then I usually lost.
For reference, this is what I played this weekend:
As far as maindecks go, I really screwed up the mana. Other than that I liked my configuration quite a bit, and since I didn’t have Brad Nelson’s initial list to go off of (or very much information, for that matter) I was really pleased with the numbers that I came up with that were relatively close to his. The rounds I won were incredibly good. My losses were to my mana being hysterically ugly compared to what it could have been, which rippled through the deck and caused mulligans and just outright losses. It was a pretty basic error that I committed, but I’ll be the first to admit creating manabases is a weakness that I need to overcome.
Dammit, I was supposed to complain about mulligans and I failed again.
We’re moving on to the next topic.
Modern Getting Bodied
Oh boy. Modern really took it on the chin this weekend. The exit of Modern as a Pro Tour format isn’t something I’m entirely too fond of. After winning an RPTQ that was Modern and then posting a positive record in the Modern portion of Pro Tour Eldrazi, it has quickly become one of my favorite formats oh my gosh I can’t believe I’m typing this with a straight face I hope they don’t notice that I am lying in such a way as to make it seem like I’m sad when in reality it’s time to dance.
So many people despised Modern as a Pro Tour format that it’s hard to not be entirely fond of them removing it from the schedule. When I had to test it for a few months, I immediately understood that the format, while deep, had a large repetition cap on it. Aside from the Eldrazi crashing the party, there weren’t huge innovations that glued players to their seats.
It was fun, yes, but nowhere near as difficult a puzzle to crack as Standard. I’m sure some of you will argue the notion, but until you’ve lived, it’s hard to understand. Modern is an awesome format in certain ways, and will of course go on to post huge numbers on the SCG Tour® and Grand Prix circuit, but its time as a Pro Tour format ending is a step in the right direction for competitive Magic.
I really suck at this whole not being entirely fond of things. Except for the Platinum changes. Those are probably nonsensical.
Modern being off the Pro Tour is great.
Standard is great.
The Pro Tour was great (congrats, Steve Rubin)!
Bant Company didn’t win and that’s great!
Shadows over Innistrad is great.
Even though I didn’t do well, the food I got to eat at States was great.
At least satire is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Isn’t that great?
Ah well. I’ll try harder next time.