This week Rich is on holiday so we’ve tapped Hipsters of the Coast founder and PTQ grinder Zac Clark to share his thoughts on Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir!

Top 4 Moments at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir

Holy SNIKES guys! Looks like Magic has an image problem to deal with. It’s only Sunday morning and so far there have been 4 pretty big rules situations at the Pro Tour in Belgium.

Felipe Valdivia

It’s ironic to me (maybe I’m using that word incorrectly) that Felipe Valdivia scooped up his Temple of Deceit against Michele Ancona. Ancona’s End of Hostilities provided the perfect cover as Valdivia swept his creatures into the graveyard and moved a Temple of Deceit into his hand, played it and plussed his Narset for a Dissolve. As I’m writing this the DCI is investigating the incident.

Chapin’s Appeal

Patrick Chapin played sloppy and drew Tasigur (legally from Ajani Mentor of Heroes) but forgot to reveal it before adding it to his hand. A resulting back and forth with the Judge staff and Chapin ensued. This should have really never been broadcast. It is of note that in the heat of the moment Chapin told the Judges that he never picked up his hand (he had) and he asked the judge to check the video to prove we legally drew the card. Sadly, for Chapin, the Judges can’t use video evidence to decide whether the play was legal. This situation culminated with a game loss after a lot of back and forth between the player and the judges. I’m pretty sure Chapin’s memory was just incorrect in the heat of the moment and he really didn’t think that he had picked up his hand.

The question here is really whether video footage can be used to determine a ruling. Personally, I agree with the judges, simply because I’m a scrub that never gets to play on camera, and when I Ponder my Brainstorms and vice versa, I realize my mistake and know the rules state that I’m losing that game. There’s no coverage no save my gamestate, I don’t think the pros should get special consideration… any more than they already do.

A Short Fiction Piece by Jeremy Dezani

Jeremy Dezani created a bit of fantasy/sci fi for the judges during a call and misrepresented the game state. You’ll remember Dezani for being the guy that got a list of cards other players bought at Worlds last year. A true pillar of the community

53 Card Stevie

Stephen Speck who won a non-zero number of matches of the first turn at Grand Prix Vancouver including a turn two kill for his win and in, was caught presenting a 53 card deck with a “perfect 7” waiting in hiding while his opponent randomized his deck.

If you remove the Patrick Chapin’s situation, which I really think was just a PR nightmare for WOTC, we have a rash of high level cheating going on once again. Which once again brings up the question, “What is the DCI doing about cheating?” In the wake of Shuffle Gate we saw them take a hard stance against it with 3 bannings and one player stripped of his Player of the Year status. You would think that those actions would reduce the amount of cheating by players for fear of retribution. I mean, I would think that. It turns out even decisive bannings won’t stop the most stalwart cheaters from starting with 53 cards and palming 7, telling Judges about a fantasy game state to get a favored ruling, or palming a scryland after a board wipe.

Its a scary time to be a straight-up Planeswalker. Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir has shown us two sides of a sword. Cheating gets results. These players are making it onto the Pro Tour. On the other hand, cheaters are getting caught. Despite more players getting caught, the recent rash of banning and stripping of titles has not deterred all the shady players. We have to hope that Wizards makes the risk not worth the reward in the future, maybe by increasing the penalty for these transgressions. Especially when caught on camera at high level events; it’s so damaging to the image of the game, not just for the players but for any new people who don’t play looking in.

In other Pro Tour related news, it looks like Control is back in force and it’s wonderful to see Adrian Sullivan with a top 8! Standard looks to be very healthy, enough that even I’m playing it lately. It’s Fear and Loathing in Tarkir: it seems like we’ve entered dragon country. The Top 8 featured 5 different archetypes. Martin Dang took it down with Red Deck Wins so look forward to seeing your LGS littered with cheap red one drops and goblin tokens. The deck is one of the cheapest to own right now so that’s a boon to anyone thinking about taking down a PPTQ or an FNM.

The Quick Hits

  • Sigmund Ausfresser kicks things off this week with a look at how to apply Warren Buffet’s investment strategies to MTG Finance [MTG Price]
  • After much outrage, Wizards has agreed to change the PPTQ format so that it can either be sealed deck or the constructed format of the Pro Tour it feeds, meaning next season is Modern season. We’ll talk more about this in the next few weeks [Daily MTG]
  • Sean McKeown dives deep into the community reactions and issues with authority with respect to the Commander tuck-rule changes [Star City Games]
  • Mark Nestico talks about experiencing the various levels of competitive Magic for the first time, from FNM to the Pro Tour [Star City Games]
  • Gaby Spartz wrote an incredibly important piece for Channel Fireball on the topic of getting women into Magic. If you haven’t read it yet, go do so now. Also, as a reminder, women have been writing about this topic for 20 years. Go read it and see if you can help prevent it from having to be written again in another 20 years [Channel Fireball]
  • Ant Tessitore wants to expand the role of iconic creatures. This is a great read for color-pie enthusiasts or anyone who wants a better understanding of the relationship between the colors of Magic [Gathering Magic]
  • Sheldon Menery discusses the role of the Commander Rules Committee and how they have decided to approach the complexities of the social aspects of the format [Star City Games]
  • Alex Ullman looks at the rewards and challenges of being a Magic writer [Gathering Magic]
  • Mike Flores assembled a graphical history of dragons appearing on the Pro Tour in advance of PT Dragons of Tarkir [Magic Arcana]

Wallpaper of the Week

I suppose that Dragonlord wallpapers were an inevitability since this is the Dragon set after all. It remains to be seen if this will be a five-week cycle or spread out for a bit between now and the release of Magic: Origins. For what it’s worth, Atarka is a good start for adorning our screens.

Grade: B

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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