Magic: The Gathering sticks it to their players

A couple of things about me so everyone can understand where I am coming from. I played Magic: The Gathering 20 some years ago. I am a single father. My son and I needed a place to socialize and interact with other humans. We have fell down that dark hole where 90 percent of our socialization was done via the internet. We also needed a hobby.

The answer to all of these things was MTG and our local game store. The people we have met there that have not only helped us become better MTG players, but have invested time and effort into my son making him a much better player is invaluable. Those are the fringe benefits for us as being active MTG players. They cannot be broken down monetarily because the benefits we reap far outweighs the cost of participating.

Magic_the_gathering-card_back

As a returning player who also brought a new player with him the news that MTG is discontinuing its Friday Night Magic promos is disheartening. There is so much value in these promos for us. This game is so different  when I played in its infancy…seeing new cards for me and my son gives us the germ of idea for new and better decks. Getting good promos like Aetherhub gives us the tools to build competitive standard decks. In September the promo will be Fatal Push. How much value does that have? A ton, a literal ton not only will we be able to build better decks, but gain value for our trade binder to possibly start building modern decks.

fnm

Before we continue I just want to point out that in terms of financial cost I am way ahead of the game even though I am supporting two MTG habits. The rewards we reap even without the FNM promos are great. However, speaking as a new player the decision to turn FNM promos from useful interesting cards to foil tokens is a poor one.

From what I have read and listened to from more established and trusted commentaries about this game that we love is a company talking out of both sides of their mouths. They want FNM to be more casual. This is flawed thinking.

Since I started entering my son in more competitive formats and tournaments his skill level in this game has increased 100 fold. There was only so much that I could teach him and thankfully the really good players at our local game store have taken the time to play him and teach him he is that much better. Since our LGS makes a detailed effort to be competative the competition we see each week is high and that makes all of us better players…and it creates a meta where we are constantly evolving our decks IE buying more product to get better which should be the goal. Our rewards for that have been stated but from the company they were promos…useful promos either in decks or for trade fodder.

More established players love foils and often trade for them. In September Fatal Push, maybe the best Standard card there is will net us useful pieces for other things. That seems like a small investment from a company who reaps all the profit every time we build a new deck or evolve a current one.

I see no data that indicates that the FNM promo affects the participation at FNM. However, I bet we will have said data in November. After a month of Fatal Push promos and then a month of Foil Token promos any MTG player with half a brain can guess what that number will be. On top of that the current state of standard is a bigger factor than whatever promo is being handed out. I haven’t been back to this game for a year yet and I know that. My eleven year old son who is a new player understands that. Why doesn’t MTG understand that?

In the end this curious decision isn’t going to affect what my son and I do. We are still going to play at FNM because the social interaction is the main goal for us. However, being rewarded for our investment of money and time generates loyalty. Many companies we spend our hard-earned money at have these loyalty programs. None of them are earth shattering in what they give back, but it is nice to get something. A foil promo of something is far superior to a foil token. It’s a nice reward for the time and money spent on a hobby.

For the company it is a minimal investment in the community that generates their profit. It is very curious and shortsighted to take that minimal investment away. While the capitalist in me thinks nothing should ever be free…breeding loyalty in a customer base is a very valuable thing.

 

30 Day Blogging Challenge: GoT Day Twenty Four

Finally I have new Game of Thrones episodes to watch…still waiting for the new A Song of Ice and Fire installment to read. In little over a month we all will get the seventh season of the hit HBO show. I am betting we will not get the last two books until the show has completed its run in 2018. I hope I am wrong about that but more and more it feels like that is what is going to happen. That means for now the show will be the officially unofficial canon of Westeros will be the show. As a writer I am not super happy about that but as a fan I just need my GoT fix already.  To help satisfy that need I embark upon a 30 day blogging challenge about Thrones. I am going to try to answer each prompt once for the TV show and once for the books since a great many things differ. With that being said…

Day Twenty Four-Favorite Place

Is it to morbid to say Walder Frey’s hall? Exactly how many people have died there? Arya is a OG…and let’s be honest the Twins is a strong answer. Two castles a big ass bridge and well the opportunity to collect some tolls. If it wasn’t for the creepy old man stink, the fact that Edmure Tully was imprisoned there, and ya know the many acts of wholesale murder I could see chilling there to be pretty all right.

Dorne seems like it’s too hot and there are all those bad pussies running around there…so in a lot of ways its like where I live now and who wants that. Highgarden could be the choice but we don’t learn a lot about it in the show or books proper. Winterfell isn’t the place for me, and I’m not going to Essos because well because its Essos…its like the K-Mart brand Game of Thrones there…is that still a thing? Does K-Mart still exist? No? Okay then moving on…

theeyrie

For me my favorite place will always be The Eyrie. Not only does this castle come with a fun donkey ride (and no that isn’t any dirty…damn internet perves) butit features a moon door for which you can throw your exes out of. That’s just awesome…I would love to lean into my ex girl and whisper the best thing about you is how you fill out a t-shirt and then push her bitch ass out the moon door and watch her go splat on the ground thousands of feet below…ya I got problems.

Read more of my 30 day GoT blogging challenge here

 

30 Day Blogging Challenge: GoT Day Twenty Three

It feels like forever since I have had any new Game of Thrones to watch…or any new A Song of Ice and Fire to read. In little over a month we all will get the seventh season of the hit HBO show. I am betting we will not get the last two books until the show has completed its run in 2018. I hope I am wrong about that but more and more it feels like that is what is going to happen. That means for now the show will be the officially unofficial canon of Westeros will be the show. As a writer I am not super happy about that but as a fan I just need my GoT fix already.  To help satisfy that need I embark upon a 30 day blogging challenge about Thrones. I am going to try to answer each prompt once for the TV show and once for the books since a great many things differ. With that being said…

Day Twenty Three-Dragons or Wolves

Let’s see here…Do I want some big hairy dogs, or some even bigger hungrier giant fucking lizards? By the way I am a cat person…and my cats are quite content at the moment making friends with the bunnies hat populate my backyard. I am not sure I would know what to do with a creature that is more aggressive.

Oh wait ya I do, unleash them on my enemies.

The real question becomes feeding said horrifying monsters. For most people feeding dragons is cost prohibitive. I am not so sure how much direwolves eat but I could start by feeding them the cat loving bunnies that live in my backyard. Unlike most people I happen to live next to a pizza shop. I am not so sure they could keep three dragons fed but they do serve a giant 24 inch round pizza that could probably keep at least one dragon from eating all the neighborhood children.

Another fact about me I have never owned a dog of my own. One of my four moms bred Rottweilers, and I use to live in a house with roommates who had dogs. I am not afraid of dogs to any extent just have never had one of my own and since dragons are fucking awesome and I think I could keep one from starving and rampaging through the streets for small children or goats I am going to have to say Dragons.

Read more of my 30 day GoT blogging challenge here

30 Day Blogging Challenge: GoT Day Twenty Two

It feels like forever since I have had any new Game of Thrones to watch…or any new A Song of Ice and Fire to read. In little over a month we all will get the seventh season of the hit HBO show. I am betting we will not get the last two books until the show has completed its run in 2018. I hope I am wrong about that but more and more it feels like that is what is going to happen. That means for now the show will be the officially unofficial canon of Westeros will be the show. As a writer I am not super happy about that but as a fan I just need my GoT fix already.  To help satisfy that need I embark upon a 30 day blogging challenge about Thrones. I am going to try to answer each prompt once for the TV show and once for the books since a great many things differ. With that being said…

Day Twenty Two-A character I’d kill

Can I just lure all the characters I don’t like to one place and then blow them up with wildfire? Oh ya that’s already been done.

The great things about Game of Thrones is hat most of the fucks that really, truly deserve to die do so…often in the cruellest, funniest ways possible. Fuck you Joffrey. Of course there are those that are still alive and kicking but I feel pretty safe is saying they are gonna have to pay the karma train before the show or books end.

cersei

Who would I dispose of? Littlefinger has to be way up there because he is a threat. More so in the show, but in the books as well. Taking out the greatest player of the Game of Thrones is a solid move. However, I think in the end I would do in Cersei Lannister just because she deserves it. Especially the TV version of her. I am a little more tolerant of her in the books because there she is a complete idiot. We haven’t seen a lot of that in the show were she is portrayed as much more ruthless. In the books she is vengeful to the point of stupidity and does several highly questionable things that a more nuanced character would avoid like the plaque.

littlefinger

In the books Littlefinger or Varys are the two likeliest targets. Mostly because we are not exactly sure of their endgame. Varys more than likely is helping Jon Connington put another Targaryen on the throne but I really think that entire plot point is a red herring. Littlefinger is up to…something and I am not quite sure what that is and that makes him dangerous.

Read more of my 30 day GoT blogging challenge here

30 Day Blogging Challenge: GoT Day Twenty One

It feels like forever since I have had any new Game of Thrones to watch…or any new A Song of Ice and Fire to read. In little over a month we all will get the seventh season of the hit HBO show. I am betting we will not get the last two books until the show has completed its run in 2018. I hope I am wrong about that but more and more it feels like that is what is going to happen. That means for now the show will be the officially unofficial canon of Westeros will be the show. As a writer I am not super happy about that but as a fan I just need my GoT fix already.  To help satisfy that need I embark upon a 30 day blogging challenge about Thrones. I am going to try to answer each prompt once for the TV show and once for the books since a great many things differ. With that being said…

Day Twenty One-A character I would bring back to life

There are so many to choose from.

What one character would I bring back? I think I would want someone who would come back and make a difference. I think it would be someone I liked and wanted to win a war or a battle.

There are so many to choose from.

This is one where I think my answer will be the same in both mediums. Jeor Mormont seems like a good candidate. He was a relatively wise leader done in by the evil in his mostly evil recruits.

There are so many to choose from.

With all the options open to me and while my heart says I should bring back Ned Stark…there is that thing about old dogs learning new tricks. Ned was as unwavering in his convictions as Stannis Baratheon was and for me that makes the two of them not likely candidates to bring back.

There are so many to choose from.

robbstark

However, bringing back Robb Stark could be the way to go. From very early on in the books and the show I wanted Robb to win the war and maybe not sit the Iron Throne but take up his place either in the North or as a respected member of the Small Council.

Read more of my 30 day GoT blogging challenge here

30 Day Blogging Challenge: GoT Day Twenty

It feels like forever since I have had any new Game of Thrones to watch…or any new A Song of Ice and Fire to read. In little over a month we all will get the seventh season of the hit HBO show. I am betting we will not get the last two books until the show has completed its run in 2018. I hope I am wrong about that but more and more it feels like that is what is going to happen. That means for now the show will be the officially unofficial canon of Westeros will be the show. As a writer I am not super happy about that but as a fan I just need my GoT fix already.  To help satisfy that need I embark upon a 30 day blogging challenge about Thrones. I am going to try to answer each prompt once for the TV show and once for the books since a great many things differ. With that being said…

Day Twenty-A character I hate that I use to like

I am going to have the same answer for books and show for very different reasons.

Davos Seaworth is a guy I was a huge fan of in the books. He was the first person to see through Melisandre’s nonsense. Much like Stannis Baratheon he is unmovable off his convictions and beliefs. The problem I have his Stannis forgives him for his battle with Melisandre and then forgives him again when he sets Edric Storm free. That seems very unStannis like and I am not quite sure that he is even needed in the story. Maybe his end should have come on Dragonstone.

davos

In the show we get a different version of the story and we see Davos get his revenge on Melisdre after she burns a small child at the stake. In the show he is an adviser to Jon Snow and again he is just sort of there. I am not sure he has anything left to offer the story. Should they have killed him during the battle of Winterfell? Should he have found out about what Stannis allowed to happen to his own child and been the one to strike the killing blow?

For me Davos is kind of like the Han Solo of Game of Thrones. His part of the story is over and maybe the writers should have the courage to simply get rid of him. In a story with this many main characters why hold onto this guy whose responsibility to carry the story forward has passed.

While I can’t say I hate Ser Davos I can say that in both mediums I have grown tired of his arc. That could change especially in the books because what is coming could be great and maybe this is just a lull for him. In the show he just needs to die already and maybe he will this season it seems almost for certain that a number of notable charactes will be lost in the war to come.

Read more of my 30 day GoT blogging challenge here

30 Day Blogging Challenge: GoT Day Nineteen

It feels like forever since I have had any new Game of Thrones to watch…or any new A Song of Ice and Fire to read. In little over a month we all will get the seventh season of the hit HBO show. I am betting we will not get the last two books until the show has completed its run in 2018. I hope I am wrong about that but more and more it feels like that is what is going to happen. That means for now the show will be the officially unofficial canon of Westeros will be the show. As a writer I am not super happy about that but as a fan I just need my GoT fix already.  To help satisfy that need I embark upon a 30 day blogging challenge about Thrones. I am going to try to answer each prompt once for the TV show and once for the books since a great many things differ. With that being said…

Day Nineteen-A character I like but use to hate

The most obvious answer to this question is Jamie Lannister. In the show the first thing of consequence we see him do his push a little kid out of a window. We also see him plowing his sister and he virtually admits to murdering The Hand of the King in his first scene. He is set up for us to hate him both in the show and in the books.

jamiebaths

Then George RR Martin takes us on a journey and we start to see Ser Jamie as a more sympathetic character. As we start to sympathize with him he suffers for his foul ways and at least in the books we really start to see Jamie as a different person. We start to understand why he is the way he is and then we start to like him because in the books he starts to make possibly better but at least different choices.

So far on the show we have not seen his transformation into something else. What we got instead was a scene filmed to stir up controversy and social media posts and that is really too bad. It is without a doubt my biggest problem with what the show has done to the story and it really seems to me that it was merely done to stir the pot. I personally believe the content of this story is of such a quality that lame publicity stunts like that one are not necessary.

In both mediums however I think Jamie is my answer. There are other characters I do not like but for the most part I still don’t like them.

Read more of my 30 day GoT blogging challenge here