This Week In MTG News

Brian Braun-Duin brings you the Magic news that matters most. Or least. Either way, he has news. From WotC leaks to the censorship issues in Magic Online chats, BBD has it all hilariously covered!

December is usually a quiet month when it comes to Magic: the Gathering, the trading card game with some of the most lovable yet irascible fans in the world. With only one Grand Prix this month and many people taking a break from the game to spend time with their loved ones during the holiday season, things tend to slow down quite a bit in the Magic world. Thankfully, for budding internet journalists like myself…you know, the kind of people who are just looking to hit the next big story solely to fuel their own ego and unquenchable thirst for recognition and who will stop at nothing to find it. The kind of people who don’t care about getting the truth out there as much as making a big headline. The exact kind of people you hate.

This December was not “all quiet on the WOTC front.” And rest assured, if a story didn’t exist, we’d make one exist.

Let’s check out some of the hot news that’s creating quite a stir in the Magic community. Let’s also check out some of the new hot singles from Battle for Zendikar. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is only $24.85 on StarCityGames.com, your source for all your Magic needs. Buy it now, just in time for the holidays! This article was brought to you by Red Bull. Red Bull supports Soaring Hope, the unplayable Magic card that gives your creatures wings.

WotC Aggressively Targets Leaks

Having recently been burned by the early leaked spoiling of many of the mythic rares in the new Magic: the Gathering set, Oath of the Gatewatch, Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) has made it clear that they are no longer going to tolerate leaks of any kind. They have announced a willingness to protect themselves from leaks or even perceived leaks, no matter the cost, and they are going to take down anyone who dares defy them.

In an internal memo sent to employees, the new changes were made abundantly clear. Employees were urged to “just hold it” til lunch or after their work shift was done. The price for disobedience was laid out explicitly. “If you can’t hold it in, you can’t expect to hold a job here.” WOTC expects the utmost performance from their employees, and having employees be a constant source of leaks has really started to hurt their bottom line. Company data metrics suggest that employees average about 15-20 minutes a day in the restroom and that without having to constantly take a leak, these employees would be an extra 7% effective each day.

Rumors are floating around that they may even ban coffee in the office for facilitating the need for employees to go take a leak. Coffee has a lot of powerful properties for keeping employees alert, but it also pushes them toward using the restroom to relieve themselves, and that kind of behavior is no longer a part of the WOTC work environment. One employee was willing to comment on the movement to remove coffee.

“They can take my freedom, but they’ll never take my Venti Iced Mocha Cappuccino.” It’s just as William Wallace would have envisioned.

“If I catch anyone taking a leak, they will soon be taking an extended ‘leak of absence’ if you know what I mean,” one chief WOTC executive stated. “We’re also willing to take things one step further. Beyond simply firing the offending employee, we’re also prepared to embroil them in a long, painful, and expensive legal battle that will be sure to suck out all of their funds and potentially even their will to live.”

I figured that was all he would say on the matter, but he didn’t stop there.

“But taking things ‘one step further’ is not really how we operate here. We like to take things a good solid 3-5 steps further. Sometimes more. I’ve been known to go a full dozen steps further when I’m feeling adventurous. We won’t rest until the offending employee’s entire life has been stripped of everything they care about and everything they hold dear. We take leaks seriously.

Ever read the Book of Job? That’s going to pale in comparison to what we’re prepared to do. We want to ruin this employee’s marriage, friendships, family. We want to destroy their home, their worldly possessions and everything they’ve ever loved. We’re going to replace their Star Wars DVDs with versions where Greedo shot first…versions where Hayden Christensen’s face shows up as the Darth Vader ghost. We’re going to make them watch Transformers 3 on repeat for 10-12 hours a day until they slowly lose their mind. We’re not messing around here. This also isn’t our first rodeo. Our legal team is quite proficient at destroying our enemies, or even our friends who have made a single careless mistake. We’re non-discriminatory in who we take down. It’s everyone.”

One brave employee was willing to comment on the changes, but wished to remain anonymous. “I drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. It’s preposterous to think that I can go through an entire day without taking a leak. I know they need to protect themselves, but come on. This water just flows right through me. I’m sitting here squirming in my desk all day, just counting down the minutes til lunch.”

In a surprising twist, productivity has been down 20% since they announced the change, with data analysts noting that many employees were seen “bouncing off the walls” trying to hold it in. A change meant to improve their bottom line appears to be backfiring spectacularly. Company morale is also at an all-time low. This is the kind of change that would cause a lot of employees to start “seeing red” if they weren’t seeing yellow instead.

“I’m not sure why this isn’t working,” one member of upper management noted. “Oh well, we’re just going to double down on our efforts instead of admitting we were wrong and trying to fix the problem. We’ve seen in the past that people respond really well to that. It worked with Magic Online, it’ll work here as well.”

When asked for comment, a senior Maintenance employee had this to offer: “I don’t have time to talk to you. If I don’t fix this leaky faucet before the higher ups find out, these drops of water aren’t the only thing that are going down the drain. My life, my future, and everything I hold close will shortly follow. They take leaks seriously.” It was a poignant metaphor.

It was also a sad tale, and a cautionary one. He reportedly didn’t fix the leaky faucet in time, and he’s currently in a mental institution complaining about Optimus Prime. It’s a lesson to us all about why leaks hurt. Next time, just hold it.

Magic Player Going to Quit Magic Because of New Spoilers

Claiming that introducing the new basic land Wastes and “colorless” mana as a meaningful part of Magic was going to ruin the game forever, John Wilkinson, 29, of Little Rock, Arkansas decided that he was going to quit the game. “That’s it, I’m done. This is the last straw. First they got rid of mana burn. Then they made double-faced cards. Then the new scry rule. Now this. Magic isn’t the great game I remember it being. I’m out. Seriously. This time for real. Have fun never seeing me at a Magic tournament again. Well, at least until I see my friends having a lot of fun playing the game and I decide to crawl back unashamed and pretend like I never said these words.”

Wilkinson is a member of a growing group of players who are starting to become disenfranchised with the recent direction the game of Magic is going. Magic is moving away from overpowered spells that stifle interaction and fun and moving more toward a game full of creature combat, interactive gameplay, and the style of game where both players get to play.

“I remember when Magic was the kind of game where you’d lock your opponent out with cards like Stasis and there was nothing they could do but sit there and twiddle their thumbs while you Twiddled your Tolarian Academy until you killed them 40 minutes later. Man, those were the good days. Those were the days when Magic was fun and there was actually skill in the game. I wish they’d bring back Stone Rain.”

Wilkinson and those like him feel like Wastes and the introduction of “colorless matters” in the new set Oath of the Gatewatch is sure to kill the game of Magic. “It’s the beginning of the end, and I don’t want to attach myself to a sinking ship,” Wilkinson commented. “If history is any indication, I’m sure that I’ll be completely wrong about this. I’ll be completely and utterly overreacting like I always do, and in 3-4 weeks’ time I’ll be back playing Magic, really enjoying the mechanics from the new set, and laughing at how dumb people were when they whined about how awful the new changes were, completely forgetting that I was the loudest among them. Cognitive dissonance. Look it up. It’s a magical thing.”

Wilkinson was reportedly seen at his local game store, selling his entire collection for far less than it is actually worth. When a friend asked him if this was a good idea, considering he would probably be back playing Magic again in a few weeks and would have to buy all the same cards again at a higher rate than what he sold them for, Wilkinson brushed him off saying, “I don’t think you get it. This time I’m done for good. I’m never touching another Magic card again, until I get jealous seeing your social media posts about how much fun you’re having. Then I might crawl back, and rest assured, I will have literally no shame about it. In fact, I’ll act like this never ever happened.”

Magic: the Gathering is a great game with a growing player base, but for John Wilkinson, that isn’t enough. “Magic is no longer for me. I’m happy for Magic players. I really am. It seems like the game is getting more popular, but it alienated some of the true Magic players like myself in the process. They really sold out. It seems like that’s the price they’re willing to pay to cater to these new players who apparently enjoy having a simpler and more intuitive game rather than getting mired down in weird rules interactions that nobody outside of a PHD-level Mathematician could decipher. It’s easy mode, now, and that’s just not fun.” John paused for a moment to compulsively check for Magic news on Twitter and Facebook before continuing. “Well, I guess it’s the end of the road for me. One day WOTC will realize what a mistake they made when they turned their back on the true fans of the game like me. And by then it’ll be too late. I’ll be too busy complaining about mana screw at the midnight Prerelease to pay them any attention.”

WotC Cleans up MTGO by Censoring Harmful Words

Magic: The Gathering Online is WOTC’s proprietary software designed to allow players from all across the world the ability to play Magic anywhere at any time. Magic Online has frequently been the source of headache for Magic players worldwide, as the program suffers from a lot of flaws and bugs that reduce the enjoyment level of the experience for everyone involved. Despite this, it’s clear WOTC is willing to take some much needed steps in the right direction to improve the experience. No, this doesn’t mean they are fixing up the bugs, interface, or improving the actual process of playing Magic, trading cards, and building decks. Rather, they have taken it upon themselves to broach the hot button issue of bad words on Magic Online.

MTGO may still suffer the slings and arrows of a poorly functioning program, but one thing that MTGO will no longer suffer from is the harmful words of others. WOTC has established a new precedent with recent patch updates. They are aggressively going after mean words on Magic Online and they fully expect their efforts to be rewarded with a kinder, more civil experience for everyone involved.

“I used to refer to my opponent as ‘chief’ but now that chief is a banned word, I’ve resorted to calling them ‘friend’ instead. My opponents have all responded a lot better to ‘friend’ and now my Magic Online experience has become much more enriching, both for me and all of my opponents. Thanks, WOTC. I could never have done this without you holding my hand,” says one former bad word abuser.

That’s right, “chief” is one of the new words that’s banned on Magic Online, seen primarily when a player casts a card like “Chief of the Edge,” it instead shows up as “***** of the Edge.” Other words that have recently become censored include “Queen, Ball, Rack, John, and Vein.” While life just got a lot harder for enthusiasts of cards like Hornet Queen, Ball Lightning, The Rack, Crystal Vein, or even for people who have the extremely common male name John, it’s clear that overall this is a positive step.

“Yeah, sure, someone could be playing the card Crystal Vein or Ragged Veins or any other card with the word ‘Vein’ in it. Of course that’s a possibility. But let me ask you this? What’s more likely…that they play a Magic card on Magic Online with the word ‘Vein’ in it, or that they’re actually talking about their rampant heroin addiction and how they can’t wait to shoot up a vein? I think the answer is quite clear. Crystal clear, even.,” said one MTGO employee. “Heroin abusers no longer get to describe their sick habit on Magic Online. Not uncensored at least.”

Melissa Santinaro, 26, of Seattle, Washington feels like the new changes are largely a benefit as well. “I used to be a dedicated 8-Rack player on Magic Online. You know, 8-Rack, the Mono-Black discard deck in Modern? That deck. However, with the recent changes, my opponents kept lashing out at me, thinking I was cursing at them every time I would mention or cast the deck’s titular card ‘The Rack,’ because rack would show up as ****. As a result, I felt like it was time to make a change. I’ve now switched to playing Jund, and my opponents are much happier. They get to play a fair game of Magic rather than have their hand continually stripped away while they slowly die 2-3 points of damage at a time in their upkeep to The ****. I mean, what in the rack was I thinking before?! WOTC’s new censorship policy has forced me to play a better deck in Modern and has improved the experience for both me and my opponents. Thank you WOTC. None of this would have been made possible if you didn’t censor out the word ‘rack.'”

According to Melissa, however, not everything is roses with the new policy. “I’d have to say, the only real downside to the new change is every time I play against Amulet Bloom. Not only is it a hard matchup for Jund, I get really mad whenever my opponent casts that Hornet ***** card against me. You’ve gotta be racking kidding me. Just because I can’t beat the card doesn’t mean they need to resort to cursing at me. Next time, I’d appreciate it if they just played a card that is a little less aggressive in the name calling. I don’t know, has anyone considered sleeving up Ball Lightning again?

All I’m going to say is those sons of chiefs could really learn a thing or two about common decency and manners. I hope WOTC’s new policy helps them like it did me.”

Melissa isn’t the only one who has reservations against the new changes. John Ames, a regular Magic Online grinder, isn’t pleased with his first name being censored. “Yeah, I was born with this name. My parents gave it to me. It’s not even a bad word either. It’s just a very common English name. I’d like it if I could say my name on Magic Online again without being punished by those scary asterisks. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Beyonce’ to cope. You know. ‘Say my name, say my name. When no one is around you, say John.’ That type of thing.”

Other opponents of the change approach the issue from a different angle altogether.

“The danger with banning a word like ‘rack’ or ‘queen’ is that when someone says a phrase like ‘She’s the queen of Magic’ it displays like ‘She’s the ***** of Magic’ and it causes people to think an even worse word was said than what was actually said. There’s nothing wrong with the word ‘queen,’ but the B-word is negative, and there is a danger when the two can be confused for one another,” said one skeptic.

A WOTC Public Relations officer had a brilliant rebuttal.

“Come on. We know the only reason people are making that argument is because they love to use the phrase ‘That queen had a nice rack’ and they want that kind of gross language to be acceptable on Magic Online. Well. Newsflash. It isn’t, and it won’t ever be. And the Magic Online is a better place because of it. A safe, friendly, welcoming place. And I, for one, would like to keep it that way.”

While most people embraced the change, it looks like for people like **** Ames, Magic Online isn’t changing back anytime soon. These censorship naysayers are just going to have to take their ball and go home. And as long as they don’t try to stick that ball on a ball rack, there’s hope for them yet.

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