Wizards of the coast today finally announced (details here) the first big esports event for Magic: the Gathering Arena, a 64 player tournament at PAX East comprised of 64 players from the members of the Magic Pro League and hand-picked “content creators” that Wizards deem worthy. This is all happening March 28–31 at PAX East in Boston, Mass. But there are some pretty big issues that people have taken note of including yours truly.
BUT WAIT, IS THIS A PAPER TOURNAMENT?
Invitees will need to have one or TWO decks for Mythic Champs and this will be more akin to BO3 no side boarding than anything we’re used to. This is to promote a more BO1 experience to pass through games faster it seems. The tournament will not be PAPER, but in fact will be a digital tournament on site at PAX East. This is a MASSIVE move forward and to be honest, I didn’t think it was going to be digital with the sheer amount of missteps we’ve seen of late on the PR front.
WHOMEVER IS DEEMED WORTHY TO WIELD THIS INVITE
Though there is a number of female and enby players REPRESENTATION MATTERS (seriously, it does) on the list that have been included because they’re damn good at the game (looking at you, Jess Estephan), a number of content creators, big and small, have been completely snubbed. This time around, anyway.
YouTube creators and site writers were completely snubbed (seemingly) in favour of Twitch streamers. I’m not going to call out Wizards too much for this, as we know Wizards have a VERY good relationship with Twitch and they see more growth on there than any other platform. Though this brings up questions around how these other streamers were chosen and what metrics Wizards were looking at.
As a content creator, however, I saw a large amount of “very large” Twitch streaming MTG players complain about being passed over and “flat out ignored” by Wizards and there is something I want to say directly to you. Streaming has become your job, and I’m jealous of you. I’m jealous that you have such massive communities that most of us can only DREAM of. We work just as hard in other areas to try and build community and we would love to have content creation be our jobs, you should feel lucky that you’re not stuck behind a corporate deck in a corporate suit. Please take that in to consideration when you complain that you’ve been passed over, because we would gladly take your views and job if we could.
GREG ORANGE – TOP 5 RANKED PRO PLAYER, PT25A CHAMP, HAREYUA PRO
I am very disappointed to be passed over. As the current 5th highest ranked pro player and PT25A champion, I feel like my accomplishments are being swept under the rug. https://t.co/qljkmpI15H
— Greg Orange (@orange_greg) January 31, 2019
Greg took to Twitter to voice his concerns, and rightly so. Being one of the top 8 players in the world is a HUGE accomplishment, but ultimately starts to feel like it’s nothing at all when you’re not invited to the first “esports” premier tournament being hosted by Wizards of the Coast. The tournament definitely should have had the top 8 players in the world included on that invite list.
THE LADDER GRIND IS REAL
The final 8 slots in the Mythic Invitational will be filled with the “best of the best” constructed players in MTG Arena during the Feb. 1-28 preseason. But that’s actually not entirely true of this situation. First you will need to grind it out, depending on your rank, some 200+ games. Then you will need to continue playing an unknown amount of hours to reach the top 8 and MAINTAIN your rank. You’re never locked in at the top 8 spot and others can knock you out of that top 8 spot.
This favours players who have all the time in the world and/or promotes extremely concerning and downright DEADLY and UNHEALTHY play times. Grind to the death, this is a very real issue of ladders that require you to continually grind to keep a spot. In a world where we don’t know how the maths work and the details we need (win/loss ratio) can affect the end result? If I make top 8 and my win/loss is WORSE than someone at 9th spot, do I get BUMPED?
The system for this tournament SUCKS and shows that ultimately a non-healthy attitude towards players. It’s important to look to other games and understand that other laddered games do it by REGION and this is SUPER important. As it stands, the current ranking ladder will end for players in Australia at 7am, Friday 1st of march. Welcome to the last push of grind where no Australian player whom has a job, will be able to keep any top 8 position. And I am going to aim to prove this as I’m grinding it out, I want to show you how devastating it will be to be ranked top 8, and be knocked out because I chose to SLEEP that night.
LIMITED IN SCOPE…. GET IT? HAAA HAAA!
Best of three and Best of One constructed both count on this Mythic Championship top 8 qualification. However, draft is passed over, at least for THIS tournament, leaving many questions behind as to why this is the case. Players of draft fought hard to be included in ranked games, only to find out that all you get at Mythic rank is five boosters and 1k gold, a little more than disappointing to say the least.
HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU, WIZARDS
I have a suggestion to close this out, and I feel this is the fairest way to reward SKILLED players and players in general. Wizards, you should reward layers who grind it out AND players who play well by making a 100 person tournament. Take the top 60 players from ranked and have a weekly tournament where the top 10 get an invite to a digital tournament to determine a top 8 injection to the Mythic Championship. This rewards PLAY and promotes PLAY. This rewards everyone who grinds out that mythic status, but also people who just play really well.
I think the current details released to the public feel rushed and hasty, especially when the platform itself is STILL in beta and other players can’t watch games directly though the platform itself. I feel that the current ranking system still feels copied from another successful game, but you also have failed to realise what players should earn for playing.
End of season rewards being boosters is fine, but I think the 1k gold should be 1k GEMS instead. I think you should have carried over the Christmas “Ginger Bread” card backs into the game as a way that people could earn digital rewards. The platform should have had the in-game tournament platform completed before even announcing plans to go with an esport push.
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