Ten Minute Magic (October 14, 2016) – Organised Play Announcement Changes, Budget Deck Price Spikes
Join Joseph Dunlap and Joe Butcher 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 recent content on Manaleak.com.
This is what’s going on in Magic: The Gathering this week…
1. New Tournament Procedures for Pro Tour Kaladesh
In last week’s State of Organised Play announcement, Helene Bergeot went over some big changes to the Pro circuit that will go into effect with Pro Tour Kaladesh. First, Wizards of the Coast tested three new procedures at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon which will continue with Pro Tour Kaladesh this weekend. The first new change is decklist submission, which has been moved entirely to electronic mediums.
Pro Tour Pairings
The anti-scouting measures employed at the previous pro tour will continue this week. Wizards called out scouting, or teammates giving advance knowledge of an opponent’s decklist, for having a negative impact on the Pro Tour experience, especially for players who are not currently on a team or are protective of their secret deck tech. As a result, pairings will only be posted at the venue, and players will not know the name of their opponent until they sit down to play. The use of electronic devices will only be allowed between rounds, so players will not be able to communicate with teammates once pairings go up.
Pro Tour Top 8 Restructured
In a continuing effort to limit concessions, which we have previously discussed here on Ten Minute Magic, Wizards has restructured the Top 8 bracket specifically for the Pro Tour. In the past, it has become commonplace for pro players to concede to a fellow teammate prior to the Top 8 if it guarantees both players will advance. There was little drawback to this practice, as a Top 8 player’s specific ranking after the Swiss, otherwise known as the player’s Top 8 seed, only affected whether they could choose to be on the play at the start of each match.
However, with the new restructuring of the Top 8 bracket, a Top 8 player’s seed will play a much more significant role. The Quarterfinals have been divided into two stages, where the bottom four players must win their match to advance and face the third and fourth seed players. The winners of Stage 2 of the Quarterfinals will then advance to face off with the first and second seed players in the Semifinals. This means the first and second seed players will get a solid 2-3 hours of rest once advancing to the Top 8, and will only have to potentially play two opponents on the way to the top. In order for the last four seeds of the Top 8 to take home the title, they will have to wade through four single-elimination rounds.
This new structuring is intended to give pro players second thoughts when it comes to conceding to teammates on the way to the Top 8, as the top seeds are heavily rewarded and the bottom seeds run the risk of a costly misplay after many grueling hours of play. Whether this will be an effective deterrent remains to be seen, especially with the advent of the Pro Tour Team Series.
Adjustments to the Pro Tour Team Series
The Pro Tour Team Series will launch with the 2016-17 season and will provide a payout at the end of the season to the team with the highest total pro points. The series was first unveiled with the Pro Tour Eldritch Moon Organised Play Announcement, but last week’s announcement brings one small change.
Originally, the pro teams would consist of nine players, but players from smaller regions expressed concern that a team of that size was too difficult a threshold to meet. This new announcement reduces the size to six players, and for the upcoming season, the way in which points are tallied has been slightly altered since not all players on a pro team are able to attend each pro tour. As a result, the prize payout for this season has been significantly decreased, with plans to increase it for the 2017-18 season.
The goal of the Pro Tour Team Series is to provide a more cohesive team narrative for Magic fans and spectators. In the past, the Wizards of the Coast coverage team has spent time bringing out these narratives during the Pro Tour. The recent Magic: The Gathering documentary “Enter the Battlefield” also gave special emphasis to pro player teams by following the Peach Garden Oath team, consisting of veteran Huey Jensen, powerhouse Owen Turtenwald, and protégé Reid Duke. Wizards aims to enhance these narratives by adding a storyline of pro teams competing for an additional prize purse at the end of the season.
Revised Pro Players Club Thresholds
With the coming season, the Pro Players Club thresholds are once again undergoing changes. Wizards of the Coast’s goal in the past has been to have roughly 30 players begin a season with Platinum Status, 60 at Gold and between 80 and 120 starting with Silver status.
Current assessments have yielded that the current thresholds are too low due to the lowered requirement of going X-3 in a tournament in order to advance to Day 2. This resulted in nearly double the number of Pro Points being handed out compared to the previous year.
To address this problem, the 2016-17 season will see the following changes: Platinum status will require 52 Pro Points as opposed to 50, Gold requires 35 Points instead of 33, and Silver requires 20 Pro Points rather than 18 – an increase of 2 Pro Points per threshold. Such a change mandates higher levels of play and therefore more attendance, or at the very least, better results. Bumping up the requirements may put many people off, considering that in order to earn even 1 Pro Point in a Grand Prix currently, you must finish with a record of at least 10 wins and 5 losses. Grinders may not find this as big of an impact, but smaller, less financed players may struggle to attend enough events in order to reach the goals of Professional Status.
All the changes that have been identified will all be coming into effect immediately due to its impact on the 2016-17 season ahead.
Grand Prix Changes
Following on from the large changes seen in the Pro Player’s Club Threshold, Wizards of the Coast are announcing the end of their Super Sunday Series. A few years ago, these were set up as consistent events run alongside all GPs. The final tournament will be held on the 6-7th of January at the Wizards of the Coast Headquarters.
In the State of Organised Play Announcement, Wizards stated: “While the program has met its goal, it has also created some challenges. Despite many attempts to resolve the problem, it turns out that the Super Sunday Series Qualifier is always the very last event to conclude on Sunday evening.” This led to participants still playing their games of Magic whilst the sets and environment were being taken down around them, leading to an awkward feeling for the players, especially if they had a carpool of people waiting for them.
This removal of a consistent competition might cause upset for people due to their loss of a regular location at which to play, as well as removing the chances of some slightly more difficult-to-acquire rewards such as nights out and the chance to draft with Magic R&D.
Completing our segment on the Organised Play Announcement, Wizards of the Coast also made a few changes to the Grand Prix schedule for the upcoming season, which was originally revealed at the PT Eldritch Moon announcement. Some minor changes have been made, such as moving venues for a few GPs, but the primary change applies to Grand Prix Las Vegas. After shattering records last year, GP Vegas, run by ChannelFireball, will be divided into three separate GP events (up from two last year), and three different formats: Modern, Legacy, and Limited.
2. Blind Magic Player Makes Grand Prix Day 2
Outside of professional play, we now bring you a story on a unique way of playing Magic: The Gathering. Just over a year ago, a Reddit post was created about a visually impaired player who used custom made braille covered sleeves on each card whilst drafting, to help him known which card was being handled. We wrote about it here: Including A Blind Magic: The Gathering Player – Your Questions Answered, by Imogen Tilley
This same man recently made it to Day 2 of Grand Prix London using these specially made braille sleeves. This sort of inclusion is a massive step in the correct direction for the Magic community, and the team at ChannelFireball deserves a huge shout out for their dedication to supporting players in this way.
From the hosts of Ten Minute Magic, we would like to extend our congratulations to Richard Wheatley on his successful showing at GP London. Good luck in the future, Richard!
3. John Avon Unhinged Posters Going Cheap on eBay
For those of you out there who enjoy purchasing Magic related artwork, an unbelievable deal recently hit eBay. Due to the decreased value of the British Pound, a set of 5 posters of signed John Avon Full-art lands recently sold for less than $100. Six months ago these pieces were selling for roughly $140.
If you are among those disappointed to have missed out, you can always purchase a set of lithographs for $80 from StarCityGames. They’re not signed by the artist, and on a lower quality paper stock, but they should satisfy your collecting needs.
4. Metallurgic Summoning and Electrostatic Pummeler Price Spikes
Recently, two cards from Kaladesh have spiked massively in price between their release and the Pro Tour which is currently underway.
Metallurgic Summonings and Electrostatic Pummeler have both spiked drastically. In the space of less than 24 hours within Europe, Metallurgic Summons saw a percentage increase of price by 589% and Electrostatic Pummeler had an increase of 641%. The most plausible explanation for Pummeler’s increase is the increase in popularity of RG Energy in the new Standard environment as it easily races Smuggler’s Copter decks, evidenced by the multitude of screenshots on social media of a one-shot Electrostatic Pummeler attack.
Metallurgic Summonings was the centerpiece of a recent budget build on MTGGoldfish, and fell prey to the well known “SaffronOlive Effect”, better known as the “Seth Effect”, referring to SaffronOlive’s effect on the price of budget decks. The deck was popular due to its ability to deal with RG Energy. There’s more to the story, though, as Cardhoarder’s official Reddit account commented on the thread about the spike on Metallurgic Summonings. According to Cardhoarder’s explanation, SaffronOlive’s article went out just a day after the official Kaladesh release, meaning the supply of Kaladesh cards on MTGO was “just too low to absorb the demand Seth’s articles create.”
The resulting increase in demand forced Cardhoarder to buy every copy of Metallurgic Summonings they could find on MTGO, regardless of price. If you have ever played an MMORPG with its own Auction House economy, you understand just what effect that will have on the price of an item. The card spiked basically overnight, but Cardhoarder advises that as with previous cards hit with the “Seth Effect”, its price should stabilise in a few weeks.
5. Popular Magic: The Gathering Articles This Week
- A Magic: The Gathering Beginner’s Guide To Playing Blue Control, by Kerry Meyerhoff
- Doubling Moon Walkers At Modern MKM Series London, by Luke Steward
- Common Kaladesh Rules Interactions You Need To Know About, by Thomas Ralph & Mark McGovern
- You’re Probably Playing Too Much Magic: 6 Ways To Help You Enjoy Magic: The Gathering For Longer, by Graeme McIntyre
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. You can also connect with us on Twitter (@joseph_dunlap and @darth_mulligan), where you can send us topics throughout the week that you would like to hear us cover.
Joseph and Joe