The Magic Show #83 – Real Talk

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Friday, February 15th – Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going real, and we’re going to lay it out straight. This week we try and tackle just what in the hell is going on with Organized Play, Wizards lack of communication, new deck archetypes, new Magic games, crazy artwork and more is straight ahead. Let’s go!

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going real, and we’re going to lay it out straight. This week we try and tackle just what in the hell is going on with Organized Play, Wizards lack of communication, new deck archetypes, new Magic games, crazy artwork and more is straight ahead. Let’s go!

Real Talk

This week’s title segment is taken from an unintentionally hilarious R. Kelly song with the same name. In it, he discusses how his woman is accusing him of things he didn’t do, and he’s tired of it. “Is you tweakin?” he asks.

Well, boys, I’m tweaking. I’m not just upset. I’m absolutely pissed off.

I’m just sick and tired of being treated like crap. Yes, you heard me right, I think that Wizards is taking advantage of the average tournament player. You know the kind, the guy who shows up on Saturday, can win a few packs in the local tournament, but makes no splash beyond a PTQ Top 8 now and then.

Well, Wizards just kicked that guy in the teeth. The worst part? They did it clandestinely. They didn’t tell anyone they were cancelling both States and Two-Headed Giant Champs. They simply posted a notice on the hard-to-find corner of the website that discusses what those tournaments actually are. They haven’t even mentioned its absence one single time on magicthegathering.com. Not once.

Now let’s take the recent Pro Tour “announcements” in contrast. In that debacle we saw an interview turn into a pseudo-press release all while Brian David-Marshall stood on the sidelines cheerleading. Many players figured “Hey, Wizards screwed up. They’ll learn their lesson and tell us what’s going on next time, as well as layout a plan for what’s going to happen next.”

Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, they tried to drop States and 2HG Champs without so much as a whisper, and then expect us to be happy about it. I’m not. I’m not happy at all.

I’m really, truly upset that they would cancel some of the most important tournaments to me and many of my friends and viewers and not say a friggin’ word about it. As if we’d not notice or something. StarCityGames relies on the build-up of States tournaments for at least four to six weeks worth of articles and it creates both excitement and furor over the latest set. It gets me excited for both the competition and camaraderie at breaking the new cards.

Two-Headed Giant Champs was a fun romp that allows you and your best buddy to tackle other players in your area for a day of great fun. But no more.

My question is: Why? Why would they do this? What did we do wrong, Wizards? Can you honestly tell me that States made no money? That 2HG Champs was a complete bust? The last few Champs tournaments I went to were very well attended, and what is Wizards cost here? A plaque? Some textless cards?

Before this happened, I was under the impression that Wizards’ Public Relations department was just not very good at getting the word out. Now I’m convinced they don’t even have a Public Relations department. For what it’s worth, I’ve asked Wizards for an interview to go on the record with these changes, what they mean and why they were introduced.

As you might guess, they never returned my correspondence.

I wish I had a good way to wrap up this rant of bitterness and what feels like betrayal. Wizards needs to learn a very important lesson here: When you take something away, you need to replace it with something else. The last game that did this crap, also known as VS System, committed organized play suicide by slashing tournaments left and right. Now VS System had a hell of a lot more problems that Magic does, and Magic is the biggest and best collectable game on the planet. If they can’t get it right, who can?

I hope I’m wrong. And speaking from someone who puts almost all of his free time into the game, you know I believe that. I honestly hope that this episode debuts the same day that Wizards’ new Player Relations Department Initiative gets its own section on magicthegathering.com, detailing us why these changes were made, what new organized play programs are going to replace them, and how everything is going to be all right. Because in public relations, perception is reality. And the perception is that Magic is not only in trouble but that it’s dying. And I don’t believe that. I don’t even want to think that. But damn Wizards, you’re not helping your cause with these actions.

I’m ready for something new to come from Renton, Washington. Like what the hell is going on. Consider my fingers crossed.

More Positive Things

Okay, so that’s out of the way and I feel better. How about some cool Magic stuff around the web?

First up is What Card Is That? from my friend Chris “Kit” Peterson. It’s located here.. Chris is an exceptional programmer whom I’ve known awhile, and he’s created a fun and interesting Magic web game.

In this game you pick a set and earn ribbons and medals based on correctly guessing that set’s artwork. In this way you can challenge yourself and friends to get the highest scores and/or earn the highest rank. I personally worked with Chris on tweaking the game itself to be a bit faster paced and to increase the difficulty quickly. I think Magic players around the world would love to play around with this, and I’m still having fun with it.

Next up is a custom artwork alteration from the YouTube user Antonowitch. He mailed me out of the blue asking about his custom artwork and after I told him I thought it was awesome he offered to create my very own Cap’n Tickles. Yes, this baby is officially in my cube and it sees plenty of play. Thanks again to Anton for his awesome work, and for anyone else who is out there and does custom artwork, I’m in dire need of a Lt. Broccollihead.

On the metagame side, last week the Japanese Grand Prix trial lists were added to the deck database just a few minutes after I finished writing my article, so I couldn’t gush about Obsidian Battle-Axe. Now this deck, which focuses primarily on Elves, is a friggin’ ass-whoopin’. It’s the closest thing to Fires of Yavimaya that we’ve seen in awhile, and the Turn 3’s and Turn 4’s of this deck are out of this world. Ideally you play a mana elf on Turn 1, then follow it up with Battle-Axe, then play Bramblewood Paragon and just go nuts. Wren’s Run Vanquisher as a 6/5 hasty, Trampling, beatstick? Chameleon Colossus as a 7/6 with the same abilities?

And hey, is that Overrun I spot in a decklist over Garruk? My God people, are we that spoiled or is Overrun really just better? Some lists ran Overrun, some ran the Planeswalker attached to it. I personally like the flexibility of a Planeswalker, but can understand playing the five mana I Win spell.

Moving on, Reveillark’s got a new buddy. His name is Extirpate. I’d like to say that the deck is utterly destroyed by Extirpate, but at the same time, if you’re Extirpating Reveillark, they’re probably going off anyway, in which case they’re just an underpowered midrange deck, and no longer a combo deck. The jury is still out on whether this will factor in for next week’s $5,000 open.

While we’re at it, let’s take a moment and bask in the glow of some interesting Magic artwork.

First up is Shinewend. Wow, I didn’t know we were playing My Little Pony. The first order of business is now to get the Shinewind Big Country Playset, which shows Shinewend prancing around the yard being chased by the big bad Huggles (Chameleon Colossus) and getting into hijinks with Mr. Cuddlekins, a.k.a. Tarmogoyf. Er, anyway.

Meanwhile, what in the world is up with Stenchskipper? Not since Whippoorwill has a creature had such an unflavorful ability when compared to its art. Whippoorwill didn’t fly but sure looked like it. Stenchskipper is the worst add-on of an ability I’ve seen in awhile. It’s like Wizards knew it was crap and so they tacked on evasion, then saw the art and hope we wouldn’t notice.

Hey Wizards: We noticed.

For those Magic Online players of the world, I’d like to introduce you to what could be the most maddening countdown in the world: The countdown to Magic Online 3.0. Now I was really excited about this at first: “Wow,” I said to myself, “This is really awesome. I know exactly when the new client is going to launch!”

Then I learned the truth: Wizards has the ability to stop the counter. Oh my God, I’d go nuts if I were a hardcore Magic Online junkie. I can play until this date… oh wait, no, it’s this date… oh wait, no, they reset the counter back to three weeks! Make up your mind, people! Now they’ve backtracked from the counter and promised week-long leagues only, and also that Morningtide will be launching on Version 2.5 instead of Version 3.0. There go those dreams of playing both release events and drafts on the same day.

But hey, we gotta hand it to the man himself, Worth Wollpert. He promised to give us draft and release event days, and that looks like exactly what’s happening.

Lastly I’d like to congratulate Alex King of Cedar Park, Texas for being the lucky winner of an Unlimited Black Lotus just for preordering a box of Morningtide from StarCityGames.com. See? Good things do happen in Magic, all the time.

So until next week, Magic Players, when we see just what Charlotte has in store for us, this is Evan Erwin, tapping the cards so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
Written with the hope that Wizards actually listens.

Music Credits:
Title — “A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend
Real Talk — “D*ckhead” by Kate Nash
More Positive Things — “Heart It Races” by Architecture in Helsinki
Shinewend Artwork — “My Little Pony Theme Song” (don’t sue me Hasbro!)