If you missed it last Monday, we took a look at all of the different products Wizards released for the Magic community in 2013. Next week we’ll take a look at the top community stories from the past year as well. However, what you won’t get here is a comprehensive “year in review” column. Why would we put time and effort into that when virtually every other MTG writer on the planet has already done so! What follows is a compilation of the best (and worst) the Magic community had to offer in their reviews of the past 12 months of Magic.

The 2013 Year in Review in Review

Star City Games’ 2013 in Review

Three of the illustrious contributors at SCG felt the urge to recap their 2013 performances. First we’ll mention Ari Lax’s recap, which is on the premium side of the SCG pay-wall. Assuming you don’t have a premium subscription we’re just going to move on to Frank Skarren’s yearly wrap-up. Frank’s post is focused on his personal achievements as a Magic player. He walks through his accomplishes this year and the goals he’s set for 2014. I like this kind of year-in-review because it helps us get to know a player better. The more connected we can feel to the players we see on video every weekend, the better the product becomes for both SCG and Wizards. Also, Frank’s goals are a great benchmark for anyone who wants to have a similar level of success.

The other year in review worth talking about from SCG comes from none other than Evan Erwin’s The Magic Show. Evan’s 2013 break-down is split into two parts which you can check out here (part one) and here (part two). As expected, Evan covers most of the big news points, as he splits the year in half. Part one looks at January through June and part two finishes out the rest  of the year. There’s a lot to cover, but Evan gets pretty much all the important points into 25 minutes worth of video. If you have roughly a half hour to kill, check it out.

Gathering Magic’s 2013 in Review

Heather Lafferty got things started for Gathering Magic’s 2013 look-backs with a Twitter-filled retrospective of all the year’s major stories and controversies (although there’s no mention of the Top 100 or Top 25 list so I’m assuming she hates me because I said mean things about a thing Chas Andres wrote). It’s an easy read and will help you relive all of the joy and anguish from Melissa DeTora’s Pro Tour Invite to Brian Kibler’s Blog.

If you’re looking for a list of some of the best Magic articles of the year, the GM staff has you covered. Heather Lafferty polled the GM staff and got them to contribute what they thought was the best writing of the year. Now, obviously the list contains a lot of links to other Gathering Magic articles, but it also has an even amount of links to other sites, so it kind of evens out. Some of them are definitely worth a read, but I would not recommend reading every single article linked unless you have a lot of free time.

Finally, Blake Rasmussen wrote our favorite kind of recap, which is a bunch of hilarious predictions for next year. This one is a quick read and well worth your time for a good laugh. My favorite is the idea that Remand will be reprinted. I can’t wait to get my money back on this one.

PVDDR’s 2013 in Review

Everyone’s favorite Brazilian pro player had a very rough 2013 on the pro circuit. Paulo recaps his trials and tribulations for us in a two part recap over at Channel-Fireball that you can check out here (part one) and here (part two). It contains a mix of commentary on deck selection and Paulo’s performances, homage to the folks who won the events he played in, and personal introspection on his own future as a professional Magic player. For anyone who’s looking for an inside look at the highest level of the game, and an inside look into the mind of one of the game’s interesting players, definitely read this recap.

Daily MTG’s 2013 in Review

Even the mother-ship got in on the year in review action with two pieces looking back on 2013. The first is Gavin Varhey’s look back on a year’s worth of his column ReConstructed. If you’re not familiar with the theme of this weekly feature on Daily MTG, let me sum it up for you. Gavin asks for community deck submissions and then he improves upon them. Or at least he tries to. Gavin’s review article takes a look back and highlights four deck construction lessons that he learned in 2013. This is a must-read for any deck brewers.

The other recap article that went up on Daily MTG was the year in review edition of The Week That Was, penned weekly by Pro Tour Guru Brian David-Marshall. BDM does a great job rounding up the Top 25 pros in the world (including Luis Scott-Vargas at the time) to take part in a mini-interview. The questions covered include Card of the Year, Deck of the Year, Personal Highlight of the Year, New Year’s Resolution, Breakout Player of the Year, Best Color to Describe Tournament Magic This Year, and Moment of the Year. This is a fantastic recap to get a ton of varying opinions from the best of the best in the game.

Mike Lanigan’s 2013 in Review

Last but not least comes two reviews from Quiet Speculation’s Mike Lanigan. Both of his reviews are personal recaps of 2013. The first is a look at Mike’s performances in competitive play. There’s nothing terribly special here, but if you’re interested in that kind of thing, give it a look. The second is more interesting as it’s a look back at Mike’s financial performances in a year of speculating on cards. Most financial gurus charge for this kind of information (ironically perhaps) but Mike is kind enough to share his track record with the rest of us. Some of it is single sales and some of it is collections. Not all of them panned out as investments. Still, it’s an interesting look and very different from the other year in review columns.

Pro Tour Update

Pro Tour Born of the Gods Update

This past week, Wizards announced an amazing change for the Pro Tour which will go into effect starting with PT Born of the Gods in Valencia, Spain this coming February. The quarterfinals and semifinals of the top-8 will now be played as a best-of-three match while the finals will remain a best-of-five. The reason for this change? So that every single top-8 match can be broadcast on video coverage.

Also, there will be a really great set of fan-interaction activities taking place on-site on Sunday including artist signings, a Q&A with R&D members Aaron Forsythe and Tom LaPille, autographs from notable MTG Pros including Shahar Shenhar, and a customized Token Generator to put your face on a Theros token. This is the kind of stuff Wizards needs to do more of and I’m glad that it seems they’ve been listening to the community feedback.

Grand Prix Shizuoka

Ryo Nakada took home the championship besting nearly 1800 other players in Standard

Ryo Nakada took home the championship besting nearly 1800 other players in Standard

The first constructed tournament of the season in the Asia-Pacific region yielded a diverse collection of decks in the top-8. The list begins with two very different Orzhov decks including a control deck piloted by Shota Takao and an aggro deck piloted by eventual champion Ryo Nakada. Hajime Nakamura and Kazuaki Fujimura both finished in the top-8 with nearly identical mono-blue devotion decks. Meanwhile, Shota Yasooka brought a Dimir  Master of Waves controlling deck. Rounding out the top-8 were Keisuke Sato’s Gruul ramp deck, Tadaki Tsukagoshi’s RWU control deck and Jun’ya Iyanaga’s Esper control deck.

The final tables were slightly less diverse geographically, with half the players hailing from Tokyo and all eight of them coming from the island-nation of Japan. I don’t know very much about travel in the pacific islands, but I am surprised the player field for these events isn’t more diverse

Video coverage of the event was provided by NicoNico, but it seems that the archive is only available to premium members of their Twitch-like service. A premium membership costs $5/mo. If there were more APAC Grand Prix tournaments with coverage by NicoNico it might very well be worth picking up a subscription to check out all the feature matches. For now though, we’ll just have to live with written coverage, or stay up all night watching live coverage of these events.

The Quick Hits

  • Wizards presents a collection of MTGO tutorial videos [Daily MTG]
  • The Rath Cycle goes head-to-head with the City of Guilds this week on Battle of the Blocks [StarCity Games]
  • Nathan Holt interviews Magic lead designer Mark Rosewater [Talking the Planes]
  • Heather Lafferty interviews Pro Tour Hall of Famer Darwin Kastle [Gamer Boy, Gamer Girl]
  • Frank Karsten analyzes seven awful Pro Tour winning decks [Frank Analysis]
  • MJ Scott shares the final winning commander fiction story [Gathering Magic]
  • The Holiday Cube will be up until January 8th [MTGO]
  • The 2013 Magic Online Championship Series Championship (that’s not a typo) will take place in late March 2014 in San Francisco [Daily MTG]
  • Craig Wescoe lists five steps to improving your game [TCGPlayer]

Wallpaper of the Week

It could use a few more skeletons, but it's not too shabby.

It could use a few more skeletons, but it’s not too shabby.

In honor of it being MTGO week over at the mothership, this week’s wallpaper features the new art for Time Walk which will appear in the holiday cube online this season. In case you’re unfamiliar with Time Walk, it is one of the fabled “Power Nine” cards and will also be appearing in Vintage Masters on MTGO in the middle of 2014 (if Wizards gets their act together). This art is by Chris Rahn and it’s pretty stunning. Compared to the original artwork for Time Walk in Alpha we sure have come a long way. This art was also featured on an oversize card won by Mark Hornung in the Vintage Champs in 2011 with Dredge just because.

Grade: A+ because it’s Time Walk and I love me some vintage Magic

Bonus Wallpaper #1: Ancestral Recall

Bonus Wallpaper #2: Stocking Tiger

The Week Ahead

The Magic world has the next few weeks off. We will continue to produce new content through the next few weeks but encourage everyone to enjoy the holiday season with their friends and family. Competitive Magic will be back in 2014 and Hipsters of the Coast content will be better than ever next year. Happy Holidays!

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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