Wow. There are a ton of things going on in the world of Magic lately. Last week we talked about the major topic of the moment, but aside from the Eldrazi Reality Smashing everyone and everything, there are many other things going on as well. Today we are going to touch on as many of those topics as we can, as well as just random topics I've been wanting to discuss for a while. I also have an exciting announcement to make.
Let's dive right in!
Eternal Masters Is Here To Save Legacy!
Just like Modern Masters did wonders to support Modern and make it more affordable for the masses, Eternal Masters is here to save Legacy as well!
Legacy is my favorite Magic format, and finally there will be new copies of Legacy staples like Force of Will and Wasteland in circulation. The worst thing about Legacy is the high monetary barrier to entry, and these sorts of reprint sets do a great job of getting more cards in circulation while making the cards a bit uglier so the original versions retain a good portion of their value.
Once Eternal Masters comes out, I can finally build that Storm deck I've always wanted to…
…oh. Okay, well I can have some fun create comboing people with Elves by…
…hmm, well I love Wastelanding and Rishadian Porting people, I can play lands with…
…jeez. Well how about a more fringe deck like MUD? Turn 2 Lodestone Golem sounds cool…
Ugh. Well how about…
Eternal Masters sounds like a great idea, but as long as the Reserved List exists, it will continue to wrap its black tentacles around the format, suffocating any attempts it makes at breaking out of being a niche format. And frankly, that sucks. Legacy is an awesome testament to the complete history of the game. It has all different kinds of decks, and its diversity and deep gameplay should be supported, not shunned into a corner by an extremely awkward and dated policy.
I understand the importance of the Reserved List, but its time has come. The spirit of the Reserved List is that Wizards of the Coast will not massively reprint, and therefore devalue, many old valuable cards.
This can be maintained without strictly adhering to the dogma of the current Reserved List. Given their track record with both Modern Masters sets, Wizards of the Coast has been very careful with their releases. I could easily see them doing a release where they reprint Reserved List cards in a controlled and tactical way that would not destroy the value of these cards on the secondary market. Quite the contrary, if Modern is any indicator, many of these cards may even raise in value.
End the Reserved list! Save Legacy!
Bring Back The Junior Super Series!
It has been eight years since there has been a tournament Magic series designed for getting younger players into the game. Things like Eternal Masters and Modern Masters are fantastic for the players already deeply involved in Magic, but there is a void for getting new younger players into the game. Retention is high, but I am worried about acquisition.
For those who are unfamiliar (it was eight years ago), the Junior Super Series was a tournament series for players who were sixteen years of age or younger and had zero lifetime Pro Points. Rather than giving out qualifications to Pro Tours or other big events, they awarded scholarship money for college. Imagine the following scenario for fourteen-year-old little Timmy:
Scene – The present-day world we live in.
Timmy: “Hey Mom, can you bring me to a big convention center in downtown Philadelphia so I can play in an 800-person event with a bunch of 25-30 year old dudes? I can win some money and a chance to play in an event that's a thousand miles away in a city you'd never let me go to by myself for a few thousand dollars.”
Mother: “Timmy, go to your room and never speak to me of this devil gambling card game again!”
Timmy: “Oh… okay.”
Now imagine this scenario:
Scene – A future where the Junior Super Series exists again.
Timmy: “Hey Mom, can you bring me to my local card shop to play in a 40-person event with a bunch of kids my age that are just as excited about Magic as I am? I can make new friends who enjoy the same hobby as me, and if I can win, I get thousands of dollars in scholarship money to help you pay for my college education!”
Mother: “Wow Timmy, you can win money for college by playing a card game with your friends that will keep you off the streets and out of trouble? Should I buy you Abzan Aggro or Bant Company?”
Timmy: “Thanks Mom, you're the best and I love you!”
A lot of getting the younger generations into the game is simply getting the parents' support, and the Junior Super Series did a fantastic job of that. It provided a gateway into larger Magic events for kids and put them on the path to being upstanding degenerates like the rest of us.
The Oliver Tomajkos and Dylan Donegans of the world aren't going to grow on trees, but with things like the Junior Super Series, we can cultivate them ourselves. While Wizards of the Coast has dropped the ball on this one, maybe StarCityGames.com® can pick it up and spin it on their finger, like they have with basically everything else they have touched when it comes to Organized Play.
Get Them Started Young!
Last weekend, Nicole and I played in a PPTQ in Brooklyn. We won some booster packs and saved a few to bring home to Nicole's son John to open – gotta hook them young. He is five years old and is almost at the point where we are ready to start teaching him the game, but for now we just have him open packs and read the cards to us.
His favorite card, without question, is the 8/8 Octopus Token. I don't think he realizes that it's not actually a Magic card you can put in your deck and play with, but we don't really have the heart to tell him yet.
So we are opening our six prize packs, and disaster strikes:
Jim Davis (@JimDavisMTG) February 14, 2016
Poor kid really just can't catch a break.
Luckily, your 2015 Players' Champion and all-around good guy Jim Davis was on the scene to make a little kid's dreams come true:
What can I say? I'm a champion for the people.
PPTQs Kinda Suck
Speaking of PPTQs, I've gotta say I'm less than enamored with them. We've had some time now to digest this change, and given that I'm not locked in to going to a bunch of IQs or an SCG Tour® Open every weekend, I've had a chance to play in a few PPTQs.
They haven't been very fun. It seems like I'm not alone in this feeling either.
Was going to PPTQ today but then decided to just go on living my life instead.— Patrick Sullivan (@BasicMountain) January 30, 2016
This feeling of “ugh… do I have to?” seems to run rampant when I hear players discuss playing in PPTQs. Players clearly want to qualify for the Pro Tour, but players also don't want jump through a bunch of unsatisfying hoops to get there. This leaves players playing PPTQs because they feel like they should rather than because they want to.
Old-style PTQs were hard. You were looking at a full day, around 200 players, lots of local ringers, and the only prize that mattered going to exactly one person. However, because of that, they felt like they really meant something. At the player's meeting, you knew that one person in this room was going to get a free plane ticket to Hawaii, Japan, or wherever to compete in a Magic Pro Tour, and with tight play and a little luck, it could be you! You also knew that person was really going to have to earn it. Winning a PTQ was exhilarating, and even making Top 8 felt like a major accomplishment.
Now we have PPTQs, which feel more like a casual FNM. With only five or six rounds to play and 30 to 40 players, PPTQs feel more like a weekend win-a-box tournament than “the path to the Pro Tour.” Small local stores aren't always well-equipped to handle events like this, and with lack of table space, only one or two judges, and a generally causal feel, these events just don't feel exciting or important.
If you win, you don't even feel like you've accomplished anything because you haven't really won anything, and if you do poorly, you feel bad because the experience is lackluster and not making Top 8 of a 30-person tournament feels bad. This doesn't even take into account the logistics of needing to play another tournament to actually get your shot at the Pro Tour.
PPTQs lack excitement, a feeling of accomplishment for the winner, and are frankly embarrassing as the first steps to the Pro Tour. The old system was not perfect, but after living with this one for a while, I can safely say it is a failure. There are many reasons I do almost all of my playing on the SCG Tour®, and this is one of them.
I Will Be Streaming Full-Time Starting Today!
Perhaps “full-time” is a little excessive, but I am very excited to announce that I will be streaming three days a week! I have been streaming sporadically for the last few months and having a great time, and I have decided to make it a thing.
I have a lot of awesome ideas, and here is where we are going to start:
Monday: 7:00pm-Midnight EST
Mondays on the stream are going to be all about Limited. We will be drafting whatever current set is on tap, with some occasional Sealed decks and other formats thrown in as well. With my focus on The SCG Tour®, I don't get to play much Limited these days, but I used to be a Limited aficionado back in the day. I got my start playing Limited on Magic Online and Limited was my focus for much of the early parts of my Magic career. My best Pro Tour finish was in Limited, and I'm excited to get back to drafting.
We've also got Grand Prix Washington DC to prepare for, and my teammates Pete Ingram and Jason Imperiale may be stopping by the stream to work with me as well.
Tuesday: 11:00am-5:00pm EST
Tuesdays are going to be all about Constructed, with a focus on whatever format is the main format for the coming weekend. This means next week's Tuesday stream will be all about Legacy as we prepare for The SCG Tour®'s stop in Philadelphia. Join me as I brew up decks to test and work on popular decks from previous events. I'm even working on a feature where you can submit decks for me to test live on stream, which will be rolled out in the future.
Thursday: 7:00pm-Midnight EST
Thursday is where it gets interesting.
Back in the day when I would religiously FNM every week, I would amuse myself by building wacky decks and giving myself silly challenges. One of the more memorable ones was that during Lorwyn-Shards of Alara Standard, when Five-Color control was all the rage, I challenged myself to build a Five-Color control deck that was all singletons beyond the core of the deck. I allowed myself a proper manabase, four Esper Charm, and four Cryptic Command. Otherwise every single card in the deck and sideboard had to be a singleton.
This is where you guys come in. I'm going to have everyone submit ideas for challenges to me via Twitter all week, and on Wednesday night I will pick my five favorites and put them in a poll on my article. The poll will go live with my article at 11:00am EST and will close at 6:00pm, leaving me with an hour to build a deck that adheres to the challenge. When the stream goes live at 7:00pm, I will play an entire five-round League with the deck and we will see how I do!
The goal of the challenges is to be difficult but playable. Ones along these lines seem reasonable:
- Play with a 90-card deck.
- Play with a maximum of three of each card.
- Build a deck around Hedron Alignment.
- Build a mono-blue control deck in Modern.
And so on. I'm sure you guys can come up with some really fun stuff and I look forward to the challenge.
I am very excited to get started, and this is only the beginning. I've got a brand new layout with a ton of really fun bells and whistles and a whole bunch of awesome music ready to go. I also look forward to doing all sorts of fun stuff in the future such as fun guests, giveaways, and even more interactive things. I'm open to any and all suggestions. The sky is the limit.
Of course, we can't vote on a challenge today because I just announced it, so for my first stream, I'm gonna be taking Legacy Goblins out for a spin to see if the deck's still got any life in it.
I go live at 7:00pm EST at www.twitch.tv/JimDavisMTG. Come hang out!