Best & Worst MtG Moments of the Year – Part 1

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Posted January 4, 2017 by Abdullah Elhawary in Nerdy Bits

“2016…”

Honestly, those 7 characters sum up how most of us feel about the year. Constant bombardment with bad news week after week is the most defining characteristic of 2016, however, it wasn’t all bad in the land of Magic. It was mostly good with some lows but all-in-all, another great year for MtG. I wanted to look back at the best and worst of this year in M:tG, so prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster. Since this was 2016, starting with the worst moments seems more appropriate.

Worst:

5. (Lack of) GP Coverage

In the 2016 season, Grand Prix Coverage was spectacular from both aspects; production value and commentary. Unfortunately, a number of GP’s, especially the limited ones, weren’t covered at all barring some text coverage. I am not sure why GP coverage declined in the last season, but I hope it doesn’t continue since it is the best way to accurately track the evolution of standard and limited.

4. Community reaction to mistakes

This is actually two separate situations but the overall message is the same: the Magic community turn into head-hunters whenever a pro player makes a mistake. Usually things like this slide by but the two biggest cases of “cheating” this year were by two of the elite members of the Hall of Fame, Shuhei Nakamura and Shota Yasooka. I won’t discus the mistakes themselves but all you should know is that they were mistakes that generated an advantage. The Magic community automatically assumed their intentions were ill and accused them of cheating using the excuse: “How can a pro make such a mistake?” To be completely clear, I do not support cheating in any capacity at any level in any game, but I understand that honest mistakes can be made. People don’t understand that playing competitively after playing for an entire weekend causes both stress and exhaustion (even the stone-cold master Shota gets exhausted since he is *most probably* human). Considering both of their spotless track records and what they have given to the game, the community shouldn’t have reacted in such a severe manner. Their reaction truly was quite saddening and I hope that if (and when) this does happen again, they give the person the benefit of the doubt.

3. Eldrazi Winter

It was the worst of times… it was the worst of times. That is the tale of the Eldrazi Winter. Eldrazi decks powered by pain-free Ancient Tombs dominated the modern format for months. It all started at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, where Eldrazi decks represented 5 of the top 8 decks. The modern GP weekend that followed wasn’t much better as Eldrazi put up more than 15 top 8 finishes across three GPs on three continents. Thankfully Eye of Ugin was soon banned, which significantly weakened Eldrazi and also slowed down Tron. Trying to play any deck that wasn’t Affinity or Eldrazi was a losing proposition. It felt horrible as a modern aficionado, I was never demotivated to play the format more than during Eldrazi Winter.

2. LSV stops playing

Why? That’s the question we all asked when LSV told us he was hanging up his boots (cards?) after Worlds. He explained why and it was a convincing argument, but still the scene of professional magic isn’t the same. I grew up watching LSV stream and play and he has had a huge impact on me as a player and person. I am sure many others feel the same way, as you simply cannot hate LSV. Our saving grace is that he may return next year to the professional scene and probably put up a few more top 8’s before Cheon gets his first.

1. Randy Buehler Retires

When people think about professional Magic, they think of the great players who defined the game: Kai, Finkel, PV, etc… but very few think about commentators. I cannot enjoy a game of Magic without good commentary, and I must say, Randy was the best. That’s not a title to be taken lightly considering the quality of other frequent commentators – Marshall Sutcliffe, LSV, Patrick Sullivan, Cedric Phillips, Ian Duke, and Gaby Spartz. Only Randy can make every match feel like it’s a Pro Tour final. But he is much more than an exciting voice – his knowledge on every aspect of the game and player history allows him to back up his excellent mic skills with meaningful content. This combination earned Buelher a place in the hearts of MtG fans all over the world and there will forever be a Randy-sized hole on any PT coverage team.


About the Author

Abdullah Elhawary