Howdy folks! It's Joe again and we're here for yet another month of things happening in the Magic community. This year is already kicking off to be a very strange month. Why? Well… Wizards. Wizards. Wizards.
Let's get into the deep end, shall we?
Did You Know There's a MagicFest?
Oh, you probably didn't know that. Did you know that MagicFests happen? Did you know that there are Grand Prix–level events at them and that players compete for lots of money? If Wizards had anything to say about it, you'd probably not know this at all, because there's no Twitch coverage of them anymore.
That's right, video coverage of Grand Prix–level events has pretty much gone by the wayside. Now, there hasn't been an official announcement about it, but last weekend was MagicFest Toronto, a reasonably large Modern GP, and there was absolutely zero video coverage of it. What made this situation even more obnoxious is that text coverage was also cut by Wizards during the first GP of the year (which was a Limited GP), and the only announcement of it was a reply to another tweet on Twitter. It took someone reaching out to Wizards to ask the question in the first place.
Let's be real: This is bad PR for a company that wants to push "esports." Esports implies, you know, being able to watch Magic on coverage, right? Players looking to get known are grinding Grand Prix events, and for what, really? Nothing? Not having any coverage makes wanting to grind seem really awkward. You put in a lot of work, and people won't even see that accomplishment. This makes zero sense for a company that wants to push the esports dream.
In hindsight however, this makes the $10 million that Wizards announced they were pumping into their esports program make a lot more sense. This isn't new money, it's just repurposed money from things like dropping coverage of the Grand Prix circuit. My thoughts on this is that all of this is that all of this wasn't really supposed to happen until next year. This year we were supposed to see a restructuring of coverage and lowering of eventual coverage with the esports program being announced in 2020 along with the MPL. Part of this announcement was going to shift the entirety of GrandPrix/MagicFest coverage to CFBEvents.
The problem with all of this is that this timetable was likely accelerated by the fact that Magic Arena is vastly more popular than I think Wizards anticipated. Arena blew up in popularity, Standard got way better, and people got invested in it. At some point, someone said that the esports initiative needed to move out faster. One notable piece of evidence of this is that Wizards announced increased Pro Tours for 2019 (up to 6 PTs) along with new ways to qualify via Magic Online in formats like Modern, Legacy, Vintage, and even Pauper. The esports announcement followed only a scant few months later. Those few months are when Guilds of Ravnica was released and when Arena became so huge.
I think eventually we will see the state of organized play get a lot better, but right now it doesn't feel very esports for Wizards to not have coverage of their game.
I will note that if CFBEvents does end up taking over coverage, then they should definitely investigate using something like CardboardLive for their events, much like the SCG Tour has been doing. It is a sweet Twitch extension and does a lot for paper Magic events.
If you haven't been living under a rock, you may have heard that the list of invitees for the PAX Mythic Invitational were announced. This list consisted of the 32 members of the Magic Pro League in addition to a list of Streamers/Content Creators who will be taking part in the event. As well, the Top 8 players at Mythic ranking from Magic Arena will be invited as well.
So, this sounds great right? People should be happy? Well, not really. Twitter was set ablaze by Magic drama several hours later where people were actually upset with people for getting invited to this thing, and many of the streamers/content folks involved ended up paring back their Twitter accounts because of it.
The issue with it all is that Wizards didn't really seem to have much of a criteria for who they invited outside of the MPL, and there was always going to be feel bads to this kind of setup. There was always going to be people left out and someone was always going to be a little upset they were passed over. The only thing we can do is be happy for those who did make it in, and cheer them on all the same.
Regardless of how things got, the Mythic Invitational does come with one interesting twist in that it's Best of 3 Magic with a Best of 1 flair in Duo Standard. Each player registers two decks without sideboards and chooses one randomly to play for their first game. In Game 2, players switch to the deck that wasn't used in Game 1. It's a wild format, especially since there's no sideboarding, so it should be rather interesting to see on camera.
Local Legacy Yells At Clouds
I've talked before on here about the excellent work that my LGS judge Eric Searfos-Miller is doing over at Epic Loot Games in Ohio. Recently an announcement was made on the status of FNM programs and changes being made to it. One of the changes made to the structure starting in a few months is to put Legacy on the first Friday of the month. This currently brings down the Legacy events from twice a month to only that Friday (except for the fact that Legacy could be run additional times per month based on response). The major change here however is that instead of three rounds (which almost always ended up being 1.5 rounds really) the event would be four rounds instead (meaning it's well worth driving out from further to play).
What does the Local Legacy Community do? Explode and yell about it on Facebook? Check. Not wait for full details to be announced and for the LGS to not clarify things? Double check.
What I hate about this is that it's kind of crappy. Overreacting aside, it's not productive to endlessly complain about this when Legacy scenes have basically died in other areas. The fact that we have a Legacy scene at all, and a judge who wants to keep that going, is something that we should be grateful for. Long term, a better way to show support for the format is to mainly show up to events. Now, this is awkward for a lot of Legacy players. Legacy players tend to be older and tend to have families and kids. Life gets in the way. To complain about a store paring down support in that regards because the attendance isn't there is not going to get them to keep supporting it. If anything, they're going to drop it.
Thankfully, in the long run, a great conversation was had by everyone involved in this situation and some things are in the works to improve upon the situation. I'm for one grateful and thankful for Legacy sticking around.
Well, that's all the time we have this month! It should be interesting watching these coverage changes take place. I certainly hope Wizards can put out some sort of official information or announcement on how things are going to work with that. They really need to from a PR perspective.
In other news, it's my birthday this month! Fun times to be had by all!
Until next time folks, keep on Magic-ing!
|Joseph Dyer (@volrathxp) is an avid Legacy enthusiast. He's admin of the /r/NicFitMTG subreddit, as well as a regular participant on the Source and MTGLegacy subreddits. His knowledge of the Legacy format is deeply rooted in constant analysis, playtesting, and lots of discussion of the format. Joseph's primary accomplishments include a 10–5 finish at GP Columbus 2016 with Rhino Fit, and a 32nd place finish at SCG Columbus Legacy Classic with Sneak Fit.|