Magister

What We Learned—MTG Conspiracy

On Friday night, across the world, the Magic community was getting its first hands-on look at Born of the Gods, the middle set of the Theros block, at the midnight pre-releases. What some people found, however, was a special promotional card, with a mysterious string of numbers on the back. The card, purportedly illustrated by rk post, and the serial number on the back, was in fact the first piece of a viral marketing campaign led by Wizards to promote their new multiplayer set, Conspiracy.

MTG Conspiracy

Magister of Worth

It was supposed to be a routine pre-release tournament for a small set in the middle of winter. These things usually go according to plan. You get your packs, build your pool, play a few rounds of sealed with an inordinate amount of judge calls, and finally you hope to go home with a few extra boosters in your backpack. But this weekend was a little bit different. Wizards decided to throw a little viral marketing into the Born of the Gods tournaments this weekend, slipping a promo card with a strange expansion symbol into a very small number of pre-release packs. Initially, a store in the Philippines shared these images on their Facebook page:

The initial responses from the community shouldn’t be too surprising. There was a healthy mix of doubt and excitement. Within a few hours though, the doubters were silenced as the legitimacy of the card became apparent when the serial number on the back was deciphered. As the weekend went on, several more copies of the card popped up across the world including one in London which, at the time of writing was being offered on eBay for $1,000 (free shipping).

Cogwork Librarian

Things started to get really interesting though when the serial number was revealed to actually be a telephone number. 425 is the area code for phone numbers in the same town as Wizards is headquartered, suburbs of Seattle, WA. Upon calling the number, a string of characters was provided to you (spacing courtesy of Gathering Magic):

vqwahuuxuhuy4xumhoxgmgupxmcubgby
amucgmuqxomgvzavuwaheuxuhxyoxgebbx
jrvduuxomxgxuurvcnxruuxomxyxuuhmh
vyxagxuuoqvnmdxmevvjmputxgwhorvbuvtc
mgzkvqwaheqxuhxuhumvmvxmevvjmpqtxgw
3/3
gvyjthqxgr

This turned out to be a cryptogram, with the numbers helping to clue people into the fact that it was a creature card of some sort. The fine folks at the Magic forums on Something Awful did a lot of legwork to de-crypt the card. The cipher was a very straightforward character shift (Wizards didn’t want to make anything too challenging it seems) and the card translates to this:

Cogwork Librarian {4}
Artifact Creature – Construct
Draft Cogwork Librarian face up. As you draft a card you may draft an additional card from that booster pack. If you do, put Cogwork Librarian into that booster pack.
3/3
Conspiracy

Obviously this only created more questions than answers, and people turned to several official channels to get the answers they really wanted. The official responses were coy, as expected. Worth Wollpert, on Reddit, simply commented, “hmm.” Over on Mark Roserwater’s tumblr page, his comment was simply, “There is no card called Magister of Worth in Born of the Gods.”

conspiracy

Some more quick sleuthing turned out that a year ago, Wizards registered a trademark for Magic: the Gathering – CONSPIRACY. Speculation is now running rampant that this is the new summer multiplayer set, and will likely be scheduled to come out before Magic 2015 (since it will be using the old card frame, as evidenced by Magister of Worth). From the cards spoiled, it seems safe to say that the set is both meant for multi-player action and meant to be drafted.

There are lots of questions and we’ll just have to wait for answers. In the meantime, bravo to Wizards for another well executed viral marketing campaign. They don’t do these very often, but when they do, it’s a lot of fun. The first one that I can recall was for Planar Chaos, the small winter set in the Time Spiral block. On January 1st, ahead of the release, an image of a 9th Edition Wrath of God appeared on the Daily MTG homepage. A few seconds later it transformed into Damnation. It was an exciting little easter-egg that built up anticipation for the new set. Magister of Worth and Cogwork Librarian should do the same for Conspiracy.

Heck, I might even play it.

Top 25 Update

LSV's return to the Top 25 was short-lived.

LSV’s return to the Top 25 was short-lived.

Christian Calcano made the most of his trip to Vancouver two weekends ago springing him back onto the rankings bumping off Luis Scott-Vargas. Meanwhile, strong performances by Jon Stern and Alexander Hayne who both made the top 8 of the Canadian Grand Prix jumped a handful of ranks over their peers. Meanwhile, Shota Yasooka who made the final tables in Kuala Lumpur also moved up the list considerably.

Unfortunately, no changes shook up the cream of the crop, and without any major tournaments this past weekend or next weekend things are going to be very stagnant until Pro Tour Born of the Gods in several weeks.

The Quick Hits

  • Mike Flores launches a new column about fundamentals over at the mothership [Daily MTG]
  • Lorwyn takes on Return to Ravnica in the first semifinal match in the Battle of the Blocks [Star City Games]
  • Mark Nestico teaches you how to build better stories about your bad beats [Star City Games]
  • Brian Demars reviews the various Banned & Restricted lists and provides some commentary [Star City Games]
  • Brandon Isleib presents the second part of his primer on evaluating how to make the ‘right play’ [Gathering Magic]
  • Monique Garraud compiles all of the instant-speed BNG shenanigans for limited players [Grinding it Out]
  • MJ Scott announces the winner of her Ultimate Cosplay  Contest [Gathering Magic]
  • Mike Linnemann brings us another look into the world of collecting original MTG artwork [Gathering Magic]
  • FNM promos may be improving somewhat in quality, though not by much [Magic Arcana]
  • Bennie Smith and Star City Games revealed Smith’s new eBook: The Complete Commander [Star City Games]
  • Andrew Rogers shares an excerpt from Bennie Smith’s new book [Gathering Magic]
  • Brian David-Marshall talks with Alexander Hayne, winner of many recent Grand Prix events [The Week That Was]

Wallpaper of the Week

Karametra, God of Stunning Artwork

Karametra, God of Stunning Artwork

With Xenagos, Ephara, and Mogis already getting the wallpaper treatment, it shouldn’t be surprising to find Karametra adorning our computer desktops this week. In case you missed it, Magic Arcana ran a special look into how Eric Deschamps created Karametra. Of all of the deities, especially those in Born of the Gods, Karametra strikes me as the most divine. Xenagos and Mogis come off as monsters while Ephara looks like a statue and I don’t really know what to make of Phenax. But Karametra oozes divine power over nature.

Grade: A-

The Week Ahead

With release weekend coming up, the Pro Tour is still on break this week. However, there are three events worth checking out if you’re in need of some Magic entertainment. The first is the Sunday Super Series Finals which is the culmination of some major day two side events over the past season. This isn’t a pro-level event so no pro points will be awarded, but there are some decent cash prizes. In the meantime, the Star City Games Open Series travels to both Nashville, TN and Richmond, VA this weekend with an Open Series event in the former and a team sealed Classic Series event in the latter.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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