Playing Catch Up

A lot has been happening in Magic since I last posted here. Work had been pretty slow, but that all changed in a whirlwind and I’ve been pulled away from extracurricular pursuits almost completely. Any real free time I have been spending with my two year old daughter which is great fun, especially when I give up trying to act like an adult.

I’ve been really excited to see Gerry Thompson (@G3RRYT on twitter) making some headlines on the tournament scene. I’ve always loved reading his articles and listening to his commentary on the game in general, so it’s good to see him doing so well. His recent accomplishments include placing second in the SCG Open Boston Legacy tournament and most recently winning Grand Prix Nashville.

Some of the biggest news occured just this week. During Grand Prix Florence Tomoharu Saito was disqualified for slow play. Shortly after his banning, ChannelFireball.com issued a statement that they were severing their ties with with him. Following up quickly afterward he has been subsequently banned from sanctioned play for a whopping 18 months. There’s been a lot of talk about this, of course. AJ Sacher (@HUDBot on twitter) wrote a pretty good piece that’s worth reading whether you agree with it in the end or not. There has been some pretty funny humor in relation to this as well. I think the best has come from @StillHadThese. I especially like his movie poster. In all seriousness, I think the biggest question is simply how does this affect his upcoming induction to the Hall of Fame at Worlds? He won’t be the first to be inducted despite some black marks on his career but his situation is definitely unique in that his induction will take place while he’s banned. How Wizards of the Coast will handle this, I don’t know. All I do know is that it’s rotten timing for Mr. Saito. All in all he’s taken quite a drubbing, whether it’s deserved or not. As an aside, and not a direct comment on Mr. Saito by any means, my own personal stance on cheating is one of complete abhorence. I approach the game first because it’s fun, and cheating takes the fun right out of the game for me.

I had a week of vacation during the Thanskgiving holiday, and I had much to be thankful about. My brother-in-law, who recently got back into Magic in a big way after a long time out of the game, came by for the holiday. We did everything from Winston drafting my cube, practicing Scars of Mirrodin sealed and draft, to trading. I found it interesting that in my three sealed pools I ended up playing a white and red metalcraft deck each time. I saved my pools as I want to go back over them to see what I can learn from them, as I’m absolutely certain they can be improved.

Wizards recently announced the cancellation of the Magic Player Rewards program. I’m sad merely because I have managed to get one mailing, but haven’t worked up enough points for any foils. I don’t want to judge too quickly as I hope they will funnel the money from that program into something of equal or greater value to the players. I personally liked the MPR program, and it provided me some extra incentive to try to play, as I love promo and foil cards.

Another recent announcement by Wizards is that of Magic: the Gathering Commander. Aaron Forsythe provided a more detailed look at the announcement. It looks like there will be a series of $29.99 decks that contain cards never before printed that are geared specifically for the Commander (formerly known as Elder Dragon Highlander) format. The official EDH site (dragonhighlander.net) has now been updated to the official Commander site, mtgcommander.com. Behind the scenes nothing really changes. The rules and banned lists are still maintained by the same entities that they were before. This really just marks official support from Wizards for a format that has been a fan favorite for a long time now.

The SCG Open Invitational is going on this weekend and Worlds is next. On their heels is the end of 2010. For me, this year has marked my entry into competitive Magic as well as blogging about the game that I love. It’s been a fun year all told. For 2011 I hope to be able to focus on playing better as well as getting more opportunities to play. With my wife working as a medical resident and having a soon to be three year old daughter my chances for a night off to go game comes rarely.

I’m going to enjoy the rest of the SCG Open Invitational as it plays out this weekend. Worlds will make next weekend very interesting as well. Here’s hoping you enjoy the last events of the season as I will.

Father, husband, programmer, gamer. Magic: The Gathering enthusiast who enjoys playing and discussing the game with anyone who is willing.

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