Ten Minute Magic (June 3, 2016) – Fabrizio Anteri Ban, Decreased Pro MTG GP Attendance and Coverage

Join Ben Cottee and Joe Butcher (sitting in for Joseph Dunlap) in this week’s episode of Ten Minute Magic, a bi-weekly podcast format that highlights recent news in the world of Magic: The Gathering and looks at exceptional comments from recent content on Manaleak.com.

This is what’s going on in Magic: The Gathering this week…


1. Fabrizio Anteri Disqualified from GP Manchester, Suspended for 18 Months

Following Round 4 of Grand Prix Manchester, Helene Bergeot tweeted a statement that Fabrizio Anteri had been disqualified from the GP for deck manipulation. The crux of the disqualification is that Fabrizio (by his own admission) made a conscious effort to separate land and spells in an even manner in his deck before games, otherwise known as “mana weaving”.

Nearly every player has done this at some stage, but afterward you must sufficiently randomize your deck before offering to your opponent, which makes the exercise rather pointless. The issue in Fabrizio’s case is that he did not randomize his deck after doing so. This creates an unfair advantage and is against the rules.

Rumours have been surfacing in the past few months on Fabrizio with some on the American GP circuit voicing these both publically and to members of his pro team team EUreaka. The team asked Fabrizio about these concerns, to which he assured them he was clean and these accusations were false. The fact that this was caught before the first game of his first round at the GP suggests this was a targeted operation by the judges.

In a post on his Facebook page, Fabrizio’s defence is essentially that he occasionally “spaces out” and presents the deck immediately after mana weaving, thus forgetting to shuffle properly before presenting. Only he will truly know if this is an honest representation, but to the outside community this is a poor defence.

On Wednesday night, confirmation came that Fabrizio has been banned for 18 months. What this means is when December 2017 comes around, if Fabrizio comes back to the game he will have no pro point level and no Planeswalker points for the season. In short, he will be at square one. He will have no pro team, and Tournament Centre EU have ended their sponsorship relationship with him.

UK Magic did not always fully embrace Fabrizio due to his Venezuelan birth. Even at the World Magic cup he never did show much English patriotism as our captain in the past few years, but he was a shining example of what was possible and his success was motivating and driving a lot of UK players to emulate. His loss and banning is a knock to the game in the UK.


2. Rosewater in Vorthos Oopsy

Mark Rosewater has a very good and open Tumblr, known as the Blogatog, where he answers many questions from Magic players. In the past week, however, he may have given away a big Shadows Over Innistrad spoiler. A poster asked about Nahiri’s place in the story line and where she had been all this time.

Rosewater responded by saying Nahiri had been trapped in the Helvault for the past 1000 years. The post was quickly deleted, but the internet remembers everything and someone took screenshots before it disappeared. This would explain why Nahiri is so irritated with Sorin and why Sorin didn’t want to tell Ugin where she was.

Vorthos, or Magic players who enjoy the stories of Magic: The Gathering, were split in saying “I told you so” and “please, no spoilers!” I think Mark probably just thought everyone knew so just said it then someone pointed out that it wasn’t, so it was taken down. What does this mean? Does it mean that Nahiri is the big bad on a revenge mission or is something bigger and scarier still coming to Innistrad!


3. Grand Prix Apathy From the Pros

This is the third season where the Top 6 (previously Top 5) finishes in a Grand Prix count towards a pro player’s points total for the season. Now, early in the fourth quarter of the year, many Pros are either questioning why they are attending a GP, since they need a literal Top 8 in a 2,000 player tournament to get any additional points, or if they should skip them altogether.

Playing against, or meeting, top Pros is a big appeal for many players at a GP, so their attendance dwindling cannot be a good thing for Wizards of the Coast. In the US this also means the pro players attending SCG tournaments from a cash perspective may increase.

Wizards have added the title GP Master (most pro points across any number of GPs) as a route to qualify for the World Championships. Fabrizio happened to be the points leader until last weekend and the unfortunate case in Manchester. This title was designed to help motivate Pros to attend despite the cap limit, but realistically it only incentivises a handful of players who can travel enough to have a chance.

Maybe Wizards need to reconsider this policy, either with more events or an additional incentive for the professionals to attend.


4. Grand Prix Coverage Lacking

Wizards of the Coast announced at the start of the year that they were cutting down on the number of GPs in coverage, saying that the previous year they had overextended and the focus would shift to quality over quantity. Wizards said that text and other pieces would fill the gap and help the narrative flow on non coverage weekends.

After the highs of Modern coverage by Channel Fireball last week, a Standard double header with nothing on Twitch is mind boggling to everyone. Their decision to cut back on Limited coverage is understandable, as it is difficult to craft the narrative and connect the audience with so many different random lines of play, game states, and deck contents.

While e-sports push coverage to the limit, and we are told Magic growth and numbers are the healthiest ever, the lack of investment in this area doesn’t seem to fit. Lets hope for a rebound in the next year.


5. Popular Magic: The Gathering Articles This Week

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Ben and Joe (and Joseph)

Fabrizio Anteri Ban, Decreased Pro MTG GP Attendance and Coverage - Ten Minute Magic (June 3, 2016)
Join Ben Cottee and Joe Butcher (sitting in for Joseph Dunlap) in this week’s episode of Ten Minute Magic, a bi-weekly podcast format that highlights recent news in the world of Magic: The Gathering and looks at exceptional comments from recent content on Manaleak.com. This is what’s going on in Magic: The Gathering this week. Useful links and references below...

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