After PAX: The Death of Magic at PAX

All that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity.
– Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2

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I’ve been to PAX West eight out of the past nine years, venturing specifically for Magic: The Gathering (the only one I’ve missed when my daughter had surgery). I feel like I have some expertise when I say this: This year was by far the worst effort put forth by Wizards of the Coast to do anything Magic related at PAX West. The only major event they produced was one panel about the worldbuilding of Ixalan for an hour. And that was it. How you found it was a blurb in the main schedule, not even a mention on DailyMTG.com.

It was embarrassing.

Let me amend that:

I was embarrassed for Wizards of the Coast.

When I’ve written these After PAX pieces, I was trying to give you a little bit of the atmosphere of Magic-related PAX. They aren’t really reviews as it’s not something that one can experience again. I tried to examine what was WotC doing to promote their latest set and their actions at the convention itself.

For years the draw was the Magic Party where they would debut cards with music, food, drinks and a bunch of people including WotC employees. Over the past few years the party was toned down but the increased presence of Magic was there. Two years ago there was a huge Eldrazi arm crushing a police car on the street. Last year, they took over a whole theater for Kaladesh and the huge street wide banner hanging on the skybridge displaying Saheeli Rai for all of the PAX attendees to see.

This year, an hour long panel with two preview cards.

And as much as it would be easy to blame WotC for this, it’s not their fault.

There’s one clear reason for this complete drop off, but I have a feeling that there were to other factors that contributed to this choice that made it a bit easier. The elephant in the room:

Hascon.

Continue reading “After PAX: The Death of Magic at PAX”

Go PAX West, Young Man

Invent your tomorrow, today!

2016-09-03-10-45-03PAX is PAX.

It’s a weekend long celebration of gaming and getting together with friends and making new ones. PAX is the one event every year that I’ll put almost everything else on hold to attend. In the past eight years of PAX, I’ve only missed once when my daughter had surgery (a few years ago, she’s doing pretty well now). I’ve seen the invention of the Magic Party, its evolution, to its final iteration last year. Now, Magic takes over an entire theater for a weekend.

I was one of the only people posting spoilers online in the first Magic Party on Zendikar (the first time around) to Twitter and now the multinational company is streaming high quality shows on Twitch dedicated to introducing cards and mechanics from the very people who designed them.

Every year WotC tries to go bigger and grander. Last year it was a section of the Convention Center that had a huge Eldrazi arm breaking through a window and smashing a car. It was pretty epic. This year WotC took over an entire building and threw a street fair (Inventor’s Fair) with a huge moving Elk (After the 0/4 Camel was previewed, I told a WotC employee that they should’ve had a real camel there too). That’s not out of place at this convention.

PAX is PAX.

WotC held the World Championship for the Pro Tour, which finally makes sense; now it’s right before a block rotates instead of at the end of the year when a new block has been in Standard for two months. The grand Paramount theater housed a variety of panels that you could watch both live and streaming live. If you didn’t want to watch what was happening onstage, you could spellsling with WotC employees and celebrities, play in numerous drafts, play Commander, Cube, or just the basic learn how to play this game all within the same building. There was merchandise sold in the lobby (with a surprising amount of variety of what to choose from), as well as a prize wall for those of you played in sanctioned drafts.

If you didn’t want to leave the Magic area for four days you didn’t have to.

I used to come to PAX because Magic was a part of it. It was something that I would do near the end of the day because of the party. Now, I go to PAX because Magic is there and I almost ignore the rest of the convention. Sure, I walked around once in the indie section and played a game in the Jackbox section, but PAX has lost its luster when it’s not Magic related. Maybe it’s because I feel it’s my duty to try and give you what it’s like while I’m there (I did a Parascope of the Inventor’s Fair).

Or maybe WotC is just winning PAX. Continue reading “Go PAX West, Young Man”

Everything That’s Pretty Okay with Battle for Zendikar

Ugin's InsightEditor’s Note: I’ve been sitting on my PAX report for a while after some delays (my brother getting married, life and work). I’ll visit it later; it hasn’t come out the way I want to.

Earlier this week, Pro Player (and notably better Magic player than I) Paulo Vitor Damo de Rosa put out an article on ChannelFireball.com called “Everything That’s Wrong with Battle for Zendikar.” In it, he explains why he doesn’t like the philosophical direction that BFZ has gone and believes it’s a bad set. He came from the angle as a competitive player completely acknowledges that angle; that’s what I want when I read something from him. While I don’t fully agree with his position I want to take a look at this groundswell I’ve seen online about the hatred for BFZ.

There has been a little bit of an issue with Channel Fireball moving his article around trying to hide it so it doesn’t effect sales of the new set in their store. I’m not looking to comment on this as I’ve had my own issues with a large online retail site/store before with their content. I’m all for an author writing what they believe without being tied to sponsors; that’s the major reason why I don’t have advertisements on this blog. If I write something like Paulo had and a sponsor didn’t like the content and this article might hurt sells, I might be pressured into writing something different or censoring myself. Paulo wants to start a conversation while giving his thoughts on the topic, and I fully applaud that even if I don’t agree with him. Continue reading “Everything That’s Pretty Okay with Battle for Zendikar”

Follow Me at PAX, The Day After

The pic that changed the world
The pic that changed the Magic world

My experiment was a success for the most part. See the pic to the right? I took that from my phone (hence the quality of the pic (there was a light right below it shining up)) and twitpiced it. People who were following me on Twitter, found out first besides the party participants, that there would be Enemy Duel Sac Lands in Zendikar. Evan Erwin (The Magic Show) took the photo and put it on the “rumor site” and the place went nuts from what I saw in the aftermath. Lesson?

Follow me on Twitter.

I don’t want to bore you with some of the details when I was at PAX (played some cards, won and lost some games) but I do want to say a couple things about my experience that Wizards did, good and bad.

The “Planeswalker Challenge”
This is what you had to do to get into the party. Five challenges for five colors. Get a stamp of each color to get in.

Red – A mat that looked like fire and you had to put your hands on it where warm stones would reveal a word. The password is “FLASH”

Black – You were handed a card that says a mythical creature and supposed to dig through a chest and find the pieces to make that creature. Mine was Vampire! (Bat+Human).

White – Four jumbled words with art of them. Unjumble 3 out of the 4 pictures to get your stamp. All were angels. (The arts were Angel of Mercy (Xth), Angel of Retribution, Angel of Salvation, and one I couldn’t identify and can’t find online. Does that mean new angel, I don’t know. I didn’t unscramble the name so I couldn’t tell you that.)

Blue – In an actual pool, identify two toy sharks that were exactly the same (out of 50), including the way the sharks floated. I really don’t remember the answer.

Green – On a wall of 9 arts with P/T, switch three P/T to make the sum of each row the same power and the sum of all columns the same toughness. This was the longest one for me as somehow adding didn’t work for me that day.

Good – It got gamers to walk around the convention center. Walking is good. Though, I didn’t have a map with me so I got lost in the beginning (That place is huge). Apparently the organizers didn’t realize that players would naturally work together so they encouraged it after it started happening. See, gaming does make you want to help out other players (I can’t believe I’m linking to a Cracked.com article for support).

Bad – Not on this exercise. Some of the challenges were easy (Black) and some were hard (Green/Blue). But in all, it was a good time. Continue reading “Follow Me at PAX, The Day After”