Monday (Moon Festival) Musings (9/24/2018)

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  • By J Brian Andersen
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Last week we discussed a few of the interesting new cards I am looking forward to (and a little bit of why you should as well), the legacy format here in Asia (especially side events at GP Hong Kong), and the general state of GPs and side events. This week we will cover a few similar things and go a little bit deeper into some thoughts about tournament preparation and handling travel to and from large events.


As you may remember I am back in Taiwan and will be here for the next week or so before a short trip to Singapore then back to the states to meet up with my wife for our fourth anniversary. Very exciting stuff.





If you were watching my fakebook you would have seen a post about the 14 player monthly that I played in the way that you say a burn deck in Chinese is the same way that you say Teriyaki, there were a couple other unique deck naming conventions, but that was the funniest. Food Chain is a direct translation so that one was easy…I even picked up 3 copies of the namesake card in Chinese (which I have been looking for a surprising amount of time). The tournament itself was well run, all in for a $12 entry fee that came with a free drink I was happy with the structure (we played swiss +1). First place took about $70 in cash or credit and second got about $35 all other players received a booster pack or equivalent credit. The tournament metagame was basically what you should expect at a tournament with Grixis Control being the most played. Burn had a relatively surprising showing with Elves tying it for second most played. Those 2 decks were unfortunate for me because they require me seeing a very specific subset of my deck without walking ballista in the 75. I took down the first round versus Grixis but then fell against burn, eldrazi stompy, and elves. I had a bye in the final round and was able to contemplate how important matchups can be in such a small tournament. My mulligan decisions also proceeded to get worse as the losses stacked up.


Legacy in Taiwan is bigger than I once thought, with a healthy meta game. The players were all welcoming and generally among the best opponents I have faced in the format. As a Chinese speaker it was quite easy to get by, but for those of you who are you may find a more convenient location out of Hong Kong or Singapore where English is a widely spoken language.





This is where we dip into the community drama. Gerry T decided to boycott the World Championship this last weekend to bring to everyone’s attention some things he considers at issue with the pro scene of Magic: the Gathering. After reading his manifesto (reddit post) I could see the importance of a lot of the points. While I don’t believe that it is WotC’s responsibility to make a lucrative career out of the game I think that as they are promoting their events they need to do a much better job of…you know…promoting the event. I didn’t watch any of the coverage and would be surprised to learn that many of my peers did. I also think that making qualification more meaningful should be in the cards. I have dreams of checking the Pro Tour off my bucket list, but as a legacy specialist I don’t have any illusions at the difficulty of that. I hope that there is meaningful discussion surrounding this. From the same tournament there was another player that ‘joined’ the boycott when he was disqualified for calling a judge on himself (a few turns late) over a sideboard card that he drew during game 1. This should be relatively clear to everyone. When in doubt call a judge immediately, they tend to do a great job of sorting things out and facilitating communication. There should be no expectation that your opponent is remotely a good person or willing to work with you in any way. I believe that people should be decent and cordial, but that requires energy and mental capacity that not everyone will have available at the end (or at any time) of the tournament.


Another big announcement came out on Friday. This is that Wizards has negotiated direct sales relationships with Amazon and other online retailers. There have been many arguments on each side of this (that it will keep costs for players down or that it will be a hardship for LGSs). For those that believe this will keep certain exclusives (From the Vault, spellbooks, etc…) Wizards themselves said that several of these sorts of products will remain a WPN exclusive. So much for MSRP on those in some areas. Paragon City Games is committed to offering all these products at MSRP through at least one channel. We generally offer things below that. For those that say this will be a hardship for LGSs haven’t been paying attention to the changes that have occurred over the last several years. Massdrop has effectively done this job already. Most LGS make less than 10% profit on any sealed product they sell. With sealed product going online an LGS can only hope that the draft format is relatively popular, singles go for relatively high prices, or that buy-a-box promos stay relevant. Without those things many stores will only stock enough product to keep a decent turn rate. With the amount of other overhead that goes into owning a retail location continued hits on sealed product will simply be flushing more locations out of the WPN system. If we see Amazon sell these boxes anywhere close to MSRP ($145) some of these issues may be alleviated. It won’t take long to see the effects of the changes. If you are already on a digital platform for MtG then you are ahead of the curve, if you aren’t pay close attention to Arena announcements and enjoy the open beta later this week.





We still don’t have a schedule for next year to plan premier event attendance around. Does this have to do with the now justified concerns with CFB management of the entire system? I speculate that there are some communication issues on both sides preventing the release of information. I would certainly be of the camp that would enjoy knowing what to plan for. I have so many other things going on in my life that knowing what I will and won’t be able to attend is quite meaningful. I hope that it doesn’t come out as a multi-part announcement going quarter by quarter because that makes both preparation and planning quite difficult.


On this subject, if you attended GPs in the past are you still going? Do you attend nearby events even if you aren’t playing the main event? Do side events provide enough value (joy of play, prize tix, etc…) to justify that attendance? What sorts of changes would you like to see in the system?





I just spend over $100 travelling from the north of Taiwan to the south to play a $12 entry fee legacy tournament that I scrubbed and enjoyed it. I didn’t love the city, but I enjoyed being a part of a fledgling event playing a format I love. Would you have done the same?

I have spent over $1000 to fly to stay and enter GPs in the past where I wasn’t nearly as satisfied as this smaller scale. I have also quit paper magic to play online for multiple years at a time. I can’t tell what keeps me buying cardboard and 1s and 0s to continue playing other than the incredible nostalgia from my youth and the people that I have met on the way. As you plan travel for events take time and consider what you are doing it for. I think it will make the outcomes just that much better.





I will be at Eternal Weekend this year! I am also planning on GP Portland at the end of the year. I may try to build a modern deck once again to play the main event despite lack of monetary value of entry. See you for Future Sight Friday.


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