What have Wizards of the Coast ever done for us? by Mark Pinder

£20 PTQs & Dinosaurs by Magic by Mark Pinder

What have Wizards of the Coast ever done for us? by Mark Pinder


It is a common thing these days to criticize Wizards of the Coast for everything and make them out to be a monster taking away our enjoyment of Magic; the loss of worlds, Planeswalker Points and revised Grand Prix rewards are all easy targets to have a good moan about good ‘ol Wizards.

So akin to the “Life of Brian” and the rant by the Peoples front of Judea I got to thinking what have Wizards done and what could they do, going forward.

Please note, you can find all upcoming MTG events in the UK by using the UK Magic Calendar. Tournament organisers are encouraged to add their events to this calendar to get greater exposure. You can do this for free by sending us an Facebook Invite to your event. Please can you make sure that you include the address in all your event listings.

Grand Prix

I love to attend Grand Prix’s, I usually get to attend at least one per year in Europe though this year I have only managed to make it to Manchester and next year will be at least attending GP London.

Attending a GP is special, it’s not like an FNM  as you don’t get a booster just for entering but you do get your GP promo card. Recently this has been Goblin Guide and Lotus Cobra which were nice choices. I have been attending Grand Prix’s long enough to see the down grading of rewards for attending the event with the removal of the deck box for attending. The deck box served two useful purposes, the first was in a limited Grand Prix you had some way to store and deck swap your cards but just as important was the fact that it had a livery on it stating it was from the Grand Prix.

A lot of enjoyment from Magic does not come from the games but from the memories of attending these events, the people we meet, the experiences we have and stories we can retell later. This is why I feel that a deck box for each season with Magic artwork would give you a keep sake from the event.

Whenever I attend a Grand Prix in Europe I always go home souvenir shopping I have a Stein from Bochum, an ornament from Prague and a Mickey Mouse from Disneyland Paris to remind me of the trip. In America a lot of the TO’s give out a play mat and I wouldn’t have a problem paying out a reasonable entrance fee if I got a souvenir as well.

Game Day

Game Day has improved over the years but it doesn’t match the thrill of County Champs when we all got a play mat for Top 8 but at least the winner does now.  Overall this is a positive change and an improvement by Wizards, the only suggestion I would have is that apart from the Top 8 card which tends to get traded away I’d bring in a reward for Top 8 that could be kept by all.


The attendance at PTQ’s has jumped significantly in England over the past year and we’ve already discussed the rising cost in my article “£20 PTQs & Dinosaurs by Magic by Mark Pinder“. One of my proudest possessions is my Top Eight Pin, sadly these were discontinued many years ago and I feel they should return. I appreciate that for many top eight competitors,  a pin means nothing if they don’t win the PTQ, for many though it provides a memory of the day they did really well.

Grand Prix Trials

Do you know you get nothing for winning a Grand Prix Trial, apart from three byes when you attend the event and any booster prizes. I was thinking that attendance at several of these events have known to be dubious and several of those who make top eight will scoop immediately if they are facing someone who is actually going, which is of course the right thing to do. My thoughts were that maybe a Top 8 prize could be started and something for winners that is unique.

It is important to note that Grand Prix Trials must have a qualified DCI judge in order to run the event. This will increase the event running costs for most TOs who will as a result have to increase entry rates to compensate. I believe that this is one of the reasons that is holding back GPTs in England, which has potential to attract a lot more players.

World Magic Cup Qualifiers

Nice improvement for next season with a promo card when you attend, no details as yet on what rarity it will be but I hope it will be rare and useful.

Magic Celebration

What an excellent idea, free boosters for everyone and a nice entry level event for new players. This was an inspired idea and so glad that it has returned in 2012.

WPN Cards

This year WPN cards were withdrawn as a resource and replaced with a store kit, I for one have always liked these cards and over the years some excellent cards have been available in Treetop Village, Vampire Nighthawk and even Path to Exile. Will a few posters really replace these Promo’s?

League Play

This apparently looks really big for Return to Ravnica but so far it has been very hit and miss with M13 just featuring Goblin tokens.

Mass Player Rewards (MPR)

This program was abandoned a couple of years ago and one of the compensations was supposed to be that stores would be targeted with more resources, I haven’t really seen any evidence of that apart from advanced stores got a meagre ten extra foil uncommon cards per set. Now I appreciate that there was a massive postage cost for sending these cards out but with the increased sales from Magic product it is high time it returned.

Player Rewards had an advantage that it was a targeted reward to Magic players and was directly related to how much they play which supports and underpins attendance at local events, the grass roots of Magic. MPR meant that even if you didn’t do well in all your events you knew that you would be getting some cards every season, the text less foil cards were always sought after so those players on a limited budget could get expensive cards or be able to trade them away to get what they needed for their decks. IF MPR were to return it would also send a positive message from Wizards that they appreciate all their players.

Duels of the Planeswalker’s

Duels has constantly provided new players to paper Magic and the selection of mythic rare cards was also a good idea. This year we have had booster packs rather than individual cards which was a great idea  though apart from Vampire Nocturnus, the cards didn’t have the impact that the Titan’s and Planewalker’s did.

Pre Releases

Ah the good old days, when I won my first Pre Release one thing above everything else made it worthwhile, it was the T Shirt. So whilst bringing back T shirts may not be the ideal item for everyone it would be nice to have some form of prize for winning. I love the Helvault this year, I was at a pre-release when we all got Scars of Mirrodin play mat.


The biggest issue we have with Wizards is that of trust recently and unclear announcements about what the future will bring, people are inherently resistance to change and the unknown which will partly explain why players were upset when features are withdrawn.

It is a hard balancing act for Wizards who have to answer the needs of all their customers and ultimately Wizards have to remember that. What many forget by being a player is different to being a customer, those people who attend more events and buy more cards will get more sway with Wizards rather than your sporadic player who borrows a deck for a PTQ. I’ve enjoyed playing in the last year, we’ve had plenty of new things to freshen up the game.

Please note, you can find all upcoming MTG events in the UK by using the UK Magic Calendar. Tournament organisers are encouraged to add their events to this calendar to get greater exposure. You can do this for free by sending us an Facebook Invite to your event. Please can you make sure that you include the address in all your event listings.

Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing.



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Mark Pinder
I have competed twice at GB nationals in 2010/2008, was Runner Up at Senior Nationals 2010, Won a Grand Prix Trial which took me to Paris 2009. My love of the game was such that I did previously win a writing competition on MTG Twincast which led to me being a Feature Writer for around a year until the Sponsor sold up but still did the occasional article. There is also a verb "To Pinder"colloquially used in northern magic communities which means "to gain life", I was a solid fan of Martyr of Sands/Proclamation of Rebirth combo and many players have heard those fateful words, Sacrifice Martyr of Sands, gain 21 life against me to see the game go out of their reach with lethal damage available to them next turn.