The Magic Show #111 – Chapin & Me (Part 2)

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Friday, August 29th – Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re wrapping up our conversation with Patrick Chapin where we speak about two new big ideas, how we believe acquisition should work, and more. I’ve also got an audio podcast version, per fan request. Lastly I have a special text-only portion this week discussing my choices for the Magic Hall of Fame. Let’s go!

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re wrapping up our conversation with Patrick Chapin where we speak about two new big ideas, how we believe acquisition should work, and more. I’ve also got an audio podcast version, per fan request. Lastly I have a special text-only portion this week discussing my choices for the Magic Hall of Fame. Let’s go!

Here is the audio podcast version for those on the go, per fan request:

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And now, a special text-only portion on my Hall of Fame votes. I would’ve loved to have filmed a piece on this, but did not have the time.

On The Hall

Let the gnashing of teeth begin. Let’s see what we got here for my votes on the ‘Hall:

First up is Dirk Baberowski. This is the only person in my five that I haven’t met personally. Now for all others you could call bias, but this is definitely not that pick. Dirk simply has a resume that is too good to ignore. He won his first pro tour. I repeat: he won his first pro tour. That’s insane. I’d say 99% of all players scrub out of their first pro tour. When you make it to the big stage and the pressure that comes along with it, most crack immediately. Not only did Dirk not do that, he proved himself more than a flash in the pan by joining up with Kai Budde and the Phoenix Foundation to win two more Pro Tours, with five Pro Tour Top 8 appearances in full. This was the only vote I couldn’t see myself leaving off. Dirk is certainly Hall of Fame Worthy.

Next up is Patrick Chapin. The Innovator, the man of a thousand voices, faces, talents and wisdom. Call it biased if you like, but what I value in a Hall of Famer is a balance of accomplishments and contributions. Contributions include R&D Work, Pro Tour and Grand Prix appearances and finishes, and community involvement. Patrick has all three. Do you like Char? Do you like Telling Time? You can thank Mr. Chapin for those. Not only was he forced out of the limelight and the game for some years, he came back stronger than ever. He is now a Premium columnist for StarCityGames.com, and while his resume isn’t as stacked as some, I’m looking for more in my Magic Hall of Famer than just finishes, points, and trophies. Patrick has those qualities and more. His is a personality bigger than life, and those are just the kind of personalities we need.

I’ll cover Mike Turian next. Now you probably know him as the Wizard of the Coast Developer who crafts the lovely cardboard you and I enjoy. But Mike has a wonderfully long resume to back up his Hall of Fame eligibility. We’re talking about five Pro Tour Top 8 appearances, one Pro Tour win, two Grand Prix wins, and is tied for 10th in all time Pro Tour attendance. In other words, he’s been there, done that, and when he got finished with it, he decided to actually make the game he spent so much time dominating. His involvement in the game is not to be underestimated, as Mike gets to be in on some of the decisions that shape what we know and love today. Through his years of effort, accomplishment, and hard work, I give him my vote.

So…Jelger Weigersma. The pro. The Dutch master of awesomeness. You know, it’s funny how people can get impressions of others based on hearsay or rumors, or even stereotypes. You know the kind, where Pros are all ornery and pr*ckish and never give anyone the time of day? Jelger is the poster child for what an all around great Magic Player looks and acts like. Jelger is an extremely giving, friendly player, and most of all, can play Magic ridiculously well. I will say it is one of the highlights of my own Magic career to say that of the three matches I won at the Invitational, one of them was in Limited against Weigersma, the Limited master. But hell, enough about me. Jelger is simply the man. A kick ass friend who is world-renowned for his Limited skills, but whose Constructed prowess is not to be underestimated. Of those I voted for, Jelger places highest amongst the Three-Year Median category, is the second highest Pro Tour point getter in the running with no one else even close, has 13 total Grand Prix Top 8s and won two of them, most recently Grand Prix: Indianapolis where he beat the largest field of players in North American history! Not too shabby.

Jelger is the epitome of sportsmanship and fair play. Which is ironic, because my last vote was the most controversial of all…

Olivier Ruel.

I’m going to get blasted for this. I know. Not only do I know it, I’m not afraid of it. I hope you blast me. I hope you try and wrap your head around exactly why, of all the people in the world, of all the people on the ballot, I’d vote for Olivier Ruel.

And for that’d I’d respond simply: He deserves it.

Yes, he’s been disqualified and even banned for cheating. I know. Everyone knows. Teddy Card Game, Ted Knutson, even wrote a treatise about the subject, explaining that a vote for Olivier is akin to drowning kittens while pouring sugar in your mother’s gas tank. The effect was quite chilling, and the response was expected: Everyone picked a side.

He’s a cheater!
No he’s not! He was just shuffling weird!
He was looking at their cards! He even lied to a judge!
He told the judge he couldn’t see the cards in the sunglasses and then he could. That’s all!

Back and forth, back and forth. You know what Olivier represents to me? A great story. A great tale of a Magic player who has given a great portion of his life to ensure that he stays on the proverbial gravy train. Who has weathered six Pro Tours a year the same as he now weathers four. Who travels like a madman, going to an absurd number of Grand Prixs, and who rests so comfortably on top of the all-time Pro Tour points standings amongst other nominees he might as well use binoculars to see his closest competitor, Jelger Weigersma, almost a hundred points away. That’s almost the accomplishment you need to get on the ballot, and that’s his freaking lead.

But, the cheats. The mad, mad cheats. That I can’t prove and have never seen, but I know they’re out there. Sort of like aliens. You know the saying, with all of that space, and all of this time, it’s impossible not to have aliens? So is it possible that with enough games, and enough tournaments, it’s impossible not to have the mad cheats?

I don’t know and I can’t say. But I know a star when I see one, and Olivier Ruel is indeed a star. He makes a great story, he’s great to talk to and he’s a player that people can get behind. One of the oft-repeated arguments against his behavior is: If he’s so popular, and he’s done so well, and he’s in so many feature matches, he can’t cheat all the time! Which I’m sure is true. And I for one hope he’s scrutinized as heavily as anyone else. And I look forward to interviewing him on this very subject in December at Worlds, or in Berlin in October (but we’ll speak of this next week).

Olivier’s accomplishments speak for themselves. His consistent prowess at winning games of Magic is not to be underestimated, no matter how Cheatyface you think he is. He’s simply one of the best in the world. And with an incredible 413 pro points, 46 Pro Tour appearances, five Pro Tour Top 8s, an incredible 23 Grand Prix Top 8s, this man has dedicated his life to Magic. He and his brother have formed a unique and enduring bond that have lasted and will last longer than they ever could. He’s a player I’m always excited to see, whether it’s in front of the camera, in a big Top 8, or just chatting between rounds.

Olivier Ruel deserves a shot at the Hall. And I’m happy to give him one.

Just thank your lucky stars I didn’t vote for Mike Long. This time.

Until next week Magic players, this is Evan Erwin, tapping the cards…so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorangeproductions dot com
Written wondering what kind of response I’ll be getting.