It was a bit of a wild week in the Magic community so today I’m going to share some thoughts (a.k.a. hot takes) on an array of topics and we’ll see what sticks. You can ask anyone on Twitter, I tend to have controversial viewpoints (just ask Oliver Tiu) so I would be remiss if the below wasn’t full of controversy. Enjoy!

Alex Bertoncini

Alex is one of my favorite topics in all of Magic because so few contemporary players are this divisive. Sure, back in the day you had your Justices and your Longs and then the next generation brought us Saito and Ruel. But with the growth in organized play video coverage over the past decade or so and the increased scrutiny around cheating, who is a more polarizing pro/semi-pro player than Alex? Travis Woo probably, but that’s a different topic.

Alex made the top eight of Grand Prix Los Angeles because, wait for it, he might actually just be good at Magic in addition to being good at cheating. Even though he got knocked out by Ben Friedman in the quarterfinals (objectively Ben Friedman is a better player than Alex so well done there) he still managed to get his name in lights again only to have it dragged through the mud all over social media.

Jeff Hoogland

Speaking of dragging names through the mud, Jeff Hoogland is a moderately successful Magic player who is arguably one of the most successful full-time Twitch MTG personalities. Jamie Keller is an amateur content creator with a very strong opinion on “sportsmanship.” Here’s what happened when the two met:

Swing and a miss Jeff.

The line in the sand around the concept of “legal but shitty” is usually but not always pretty clear. But what is often clear is which side of that line casual Magic players land on (don’t be shitty) versus professional Magic players (if it’s legal then it’s legal).

Chalice of the Void

Speaking of which, what was everyone in such an uproar about? Can someone give me a tl;dr? Brian?

So if your opponent has Chalice of the Void should you try to cast spells and see if they forget they have Chalice of the Void in play because it’s their responsibility, not yours, to enforce their own Chalice?

The rules are the rules but sometimes obeying the rules to the letter of the law makes you an asshole. But hey, is it better to play by the rules and have friends or be an asshole and walk away with more money? Let’s ask Alex Bertoncini!


Last but not least, MTG Goldfish dropped this Sunday bomb on the community:

Hipsters of the Coast has its own ongoing investigation into counterfeits, so I won’t comment on the specific facts and details of Seth’s, better known as Saffron Olive’s, article. However, I do think it’s bad form to write several thousand words blaming the community for this problem because Wizards won’t fix it on their own when your primary source of income relies on something being done about this problem.

I mean, full disclosure, both MTG Goldfish and Hipsters of the Coast are in some way supported financially by the sale of singles through Card Kingdom and Card Kingdom is negatively impacted by the Counterfeiting problem. So it’s in our best interest to do everything we can about this problem. Seth makes no such disclosure in his article and then blames the community for this problem for a) buying counterfeit cards and b) not doing enough to get Wizards to take action.

Sorry Seth, this one is on us and its on Wizards of the Coast. The community has no responsibility to prop up a secondary market that primarily benefits us and not them (despite some people’s claims that the secondary market keeps Magic alive).

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13

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