Ten Minute Magic (July 8, 2016) – Pro Tour Visa Surprises, MTG Reserve List Buyouts
Join Joseph Dunlap and Ben Cottee 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. Pro Tour Sydney Visa Application Mess
On 29th June, Wizards Premier Play contacted players qualified for Pro Tour Sydney to inform them that they had to now apply for a visa to allow them to travel to Australia. It seems that despite WOTC’s initial investigation and queries, the Australian authorities only now had informed Wizards that their event would require a work visa rather than the normal tourist one (which is much more difficult to obtain, requires additional cost $150 approx and time and effort to fill complicated forms). It also requires an invite letter from Wizards. Their was a lot of uproar this close to the Pro Tour (4-6 weeks depending on when you wanted to arrive in Australia) and the normal application process would take around the same amount of time.
Currently, I am debating which is harder to fill out, my taxes, or this Visa form.
— Brian Braun-Duin (@BraunDuinIt) June 30, 2016
Many players have decided to delay their invite until the next Pro Tour rather than risk not being able to arrive in time and go through the hassle. There was the normal criticism levied at Helene Bergeot and her team, but this one at least appears to have been reasonably out of their control and they have worked super hard to make sure those wanting to go can do so. Any risk to the Pro Tour is very damaging to Wizards and the game.
I did too, but you don't see me bragging about it.
— Luis Scott-Vargas (@lsv) July 6, 2016
The good news is that several pro players have tweeted that their Visa applications had been accepted, so hopefully this is all sorted in good time, although there will be some casualties in players choosing to not attend their first Tour. Helene has communicated that they are extremely unlikely to return with a Pro Tour in Australia following this, but that GPs are safe as they are predominantly aimed at local players.
2. GP Master Race down to the final event
A couple of weeks ago, we updated you on the extremely tight race for the GP Master title which grants a seat at the World Championships. With one more event to go (GP Sydney) the field has cleared to a two horse race. Brian Braun-Duin (53) is one point ahead of Tomaharo Saito (52), with Seth Manfield and Reid Duke four points behind (48), meaning that both BBD and Saito have to perform very badly to let either of the other two in. BBD took the lead with a Top 4 Team Limited appearance at GP Sao Paulo in Brazil.
With 1 GP weekend left, GP PoY is BBD – 53, Saito – 52, Reid & Seth – 48. (Owen is 5th, but mathematically eliminated at 37.)
— Randy Buehler (@rbuehler) July 4, 2016
Interestingly, they conceded to their last round opponents in the Swiss to stop Saito’s team from also making Top 4. This is somewhat ironic as BBD and his teammates were leading proponents in the “get rid of concessions” argument that was a topical debate in early 2016. Seth is guaranteed a spot at Worlds as defending champion, but if he won the Masters race it would pass down to the At Large rather than second place. The other three are unlikely to qualify for Worlds without a supreme PT Sydney, so the GP Master title is the aim.
3. It’s Emrakul!
The plot twist no one saw coming, Emrakul is the big bad of Eldrich Moon. Denizens have been transformed into Eldrazi Horrors with beings and even whole hamlets merged into one. Liliana has even been motivated to join the Gatewatch and got her long awaited Oath card.
Based on the spoiled card Imprisoned in the Moon, we now know Emrakul’s eventual fate. Are there any more Eldrazi lurking in the Blind Eternities, or have we finally seen the last of them?
4. Reserve List Buyouts
The MTGfinance community has been all in a tizzy over the past few weeks. First an individual bought out Moat and the price rocketed, and now LED (Lion’s Eye Diamond) has been targeted. As the individual began the buyout, he posted a video telling everyone what he was doing and urging them to get in on the action. This kind of group activity on the few copies that were listed on major retailers caused the price to double overnight. Where the final price ends up is unknown, but it will definitely be higher than it was before.
— Ian D (@dixonij) July 2, 2016
The primary reason why buyouts like these work is because cards on the Reserve List (the list of cards Wizards said they will never reprint) are already valuable, short in supply on the open market and needed for certain formats (Cube, Vintage, Old School and Legacy). They are very desirable almost regardless of the price, which will increase over time without the help of a buyout. These actions just accelerate that process.
The split in the community is whether this is acceptable practice on a luxury good that is based on supply and demand economics, or scummy behaviour of a gold digger fleecing the normal Magic folk. One thing is for sure: if you want a Reserve List card and it hasn’t spiked yet, the sooner you get your hands on it, the better. That’s just the way things are as long as the Reserve List exists.
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) July 7, 2016
Linked to this is the reprinting of Donate (a card on the Reserve List). Yes, we just said they can’t do that, but the card Harmless Offering (featuring potentially the cutest Magic art ever) is a functional reprint of Donate, just in another colour. This feels very much like a tentative push at the scope of the Reserve List as they previously said that this type of practice was off the table (after all, you can’t just print Snow Dual Lands). Maybe the cute kitty is a harbinger of things to come.
5. Popular Magic: The Gathering Articles This Week
- From The Kitchen Table To Your First FNM: What To Expect From Judges And Other Players – by Morgan Mcgowan
- Let’s Talk About Negative Stereotypes In Magic: The Gathering, by Joseph Dunlap (as featured on Channel Fireball’s weekly roundup)
Thank you for joining us in Ten Minute Magic. We would love to hear your feedback on the presentation, format, and length – as well as the topics discussed – so please leave a comment with your thoughts and we look forward to hearing from you.
Joseph and Ben