Just another Kassandra rant

You probably already read it. If not, be assured, this is n NOT a fake. This IS the end: The end of Magic as a mental sport.

If you have been reading ZEROMAGIC since its beginning, you know that I warned about this process as early as 2007. But the legitimacy of competitive Magic started getting eroded even earlier. Actually, with hindsight the first clear sign was the removal of Counterspell from the core set because it was “too strong”. (Later they corrected that reasoning to “many players hate to play against counterspells”, but the fact that they lied about this to appease those players who actually believed this due to a lack of strategic understanding shows how they began to embrace the dark side). I noticed something wrong when they created planeswalkers and added another rarity, but I couldn’t yet pinpoint where exactly they were going. Then WotC reduced PTQ slots in Germany and proved at several other more or less small occasions that they didn’t care for the integrity of the tournament scene and the interests of serious tournament players below professional level. That is when I began to take the hint and started to write about the deliberate erosion of tournament Magic. My personal epiphany, however, happened when they announced that new sets would now be legal on the first day they were officially sold. I immediately realized that this policy was completely incompatible with the concept of Magic as a mental sport (and I still fail to understand how anyone could NOT see this). I took the cue, stopped playing constructed and no longer travelled to PTQs.

Now that I knew what to look for, I understood that practically every decision made by WotC over the last few years pointed the same way: Players who took this game seriously were no longer of any consequence. Bad players were now officially the new target audience. All WotC did was to adjust the pace of this change so that it did not become too obvious too early. Of course, people refused to believe that WotC would do such a thing. As is often the case with changes for the bad, at first people were unable to see them for what they were, and later they already got used to them and no longer cared. Thus, WotC were able to increase that pace.

A few weeks ago they announced Planeswalker Points, and FINALLY some players realized what WotC were up to. Of course, it was too late. The game was already out of the hands of those who saw it as a competitive endeavour. Also, ingeniously, Planeswalker Points catered to the mindless masses in a blunt and irresistible way. But still some players who should have known better defended that decision, considering it to be just flawed or misguided.

Now, however, everything should be crystal clear. Planeswalker Points are no mistake. They do exactly what WotC WANT them to do. They kill the idea of Magic being a mental sport. That’s what they were made for.

Saying “I told you so!” does not give me any satisfaction, but I’m still unable to not say it.

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8 Comments on “Just another Kassandra rant”

  1. olafkrz Says:

    Then again the question is what we could had done in 2007?


    • I’m not sure. I don’t know how much negative feedback actually influences a company’s decision. I believe it does, but I cannot prove it.

      I’m afraid the fact that many players immediately resigned temselves to the changes has encouraged WotC to go ahead as planned. Could something have been done about it? We’ll never know, just because we didn’t try.


  2. Praise AP’s wisdom a little more, probably, because now he seems a little butt-hurt that no one seemed to believe him back then. HE IMMEDIATELY REALIZED EVERYTHING, haven’t you read the entry?


    • I’m frustrated that it seems impossible to make people aware of an issue before the worst actually happens. I want to teach people that it is actually possible to see things like these coming, and to prove that, I have no other way than pointing out that I did. It’s not about ME being so smart to realize this development years ago, it’s about the potential for YOU to have seen it coming as well!

      I never said “I’m so wise, believe everything I say!” I ususally point out the signs clearly, analyze them, then explain how I draw my conclusions. I give everyone the opportunity to follow my reasoning, but also to point out flaws in it. The thing is, most people just don’t bother to do so, defending what they chose to believe instead without a rational basis.

      I cannot win. When I point out things before they happen, I’m an alarmist. When I point out afterwards that I got validated, I’m the smart alec.


  3. The worst part is player thinking that wizards is saving money in organized play by making these changes. They don’t! If you look at it, the Planeswalker Points actually cost them a lot of money, as do the additional GPs, so they just restructe organized play to compensate.

    PWP: 100 addition players get airfare to the PT (number of PTQs stayes constant is just restructured geographically). 100 * 1k$ per season more.

    GPs: 10 more per season. These cost a lot more money than they take in. But since we don”t have those figures lets just consider the additional prize money that is spent: 10*40k$

    This means organized play now is spending 500k$ a season more. In other words: WotC really knows what they are doing and they are really pursuing a certain goal here. Since they spend 1.5 million more a year they have to cut some other expenses (unless their organized play budget got heavily increased). This leads to the idea of cutting worlds.

    I really dislike all of these changes and hope that they come to their senses which they most likely will not, since this all fits into a yearlong scheme.


    • That’s just it: It’s not about cutting expenses in the marketing department. They deliberately re-allocate them to change the game’s appeal towards different target audiences: Skilled players – get out of the game! Grinders – you’re this game’s future!

      Hey – it works for Farmville…


  4. The number of PTQs doesn’t stay the same. For Philadelphia there were 245 people qualified over ptqs. The announced now, that they have only 200 PTQ Slots – so 45 slots get cut.


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