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17, Feb, 23

Players Baffled At MTG's Biggest Event's Digital Disappearance!

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Article at a Glance

As of the writing of this article, the Pro Tour event is under way. It’s been years since the last paper competitive event of this caliber, and players are incredibly excited to see the exciting tools that competitors have brought to the table. This can be considered the absolute apex of Limited and Pioneer play, so it’s bizarre that Wizards of the Coast is not advertising this prestigious event on their digital clients. Players have taken notice, and they are absolutely baffled.

Promoting the Pro Tour

Tournament Grounds by Cristi Balanescu

Early views of the MTG Pro Tour’s beginning draft event suggest that a shocking number of players are excited to see its return. Magic events have not exceeded ten thousand viewers on Twitch for some time. The anticipation for this speaks for itself.

Strangely, even though this is one of the biggest competitive events Wizards of the Coast has hosted in years, there aren’t any advertisements on any of Magic’s digital clients. Both MTG Arena, which hosts Phyrexia: All Will Be One draft as one of its biggest formats, and Magic Online, which has a huge Pioneer tournament this weekend, has absolutely no advertising related to the prestigious event, and players have noticed.

Player Response is Massive

Mobilized District by Jedd Chevrier

This, in itself, may not be the most interesting thing in the world, but the player response to this decision has been surprisingly vocal. A Reddit thread with over a thousand upvotes breaks down players’ opinion on the matter, starting with DontCareWontGank asking this question:

“Why is WOTC simply refusing to use their biggest client to advertise the Pro Tour? Do they want it to fail just so they can say “see nobody cares about paper magic anymore!”? It literally costs them nothing to put a slide in their client that says “hey there’s the Pro Tour happening this weekend and it features Pioneer, the format that we are trying to put onto Arena”. It’s not even like they are out of slides currently, there is nothing of note happening in Arena right now. Are they embarassed of their paper coverage?”

Considering the event hosted could be a shining example of paper play for the Arena audience, especially since, according to a recent fireside chat, the Hybrid MTG player is the most lucrative one for Hasbro, it’s rather confusing that paper play is not being advertised to digital players. While many players had some charming assumptions, many speculate that this may have been an oversight due to a lack of communication between departments:

“It is definitely the corporate structure. The “paper” team is the actual development team for the game. They make the cards, the mechanics, the art etc.

The “arena” team are all software engineers, database developers and administrators, etc.

There is clearly a lack of strong cohesion between the teams and/or marketing just isn’t doing their job or lacks the resources to do their job.” – Sarkans41

“I have played Magic for a while now and I have always felt Wizards’ various departments were heavily siloed away from each other. They have gotten way better about bringing the creative side into the design side more, but still seem to keep things like digital and paper kind of removed from each other.” – 22bebo

“In contrast, the nanosecond a secret lair is announced they staple it all over the banner” – SecondCharacter

According to further Reddit chatter, this is far from the first time that communication issues have plagued. There are even whispers that MTG creator Mark Rosewater has mentioned some communication issues between both departments himself. Whether that is true or not, however, is a different story.

Read More: MTG Players Push Back Against Once Per Turn Effects!

Do Players Care About the Pro Tour?

Thoughtseize by Lucas Graciano

The overwhelming amount of support for this particular topic and the Pro Tour stream itself suggests that MTG players are excited to see the return of competitive MTG’s most prestigious series of events. That said, Commander has grown immensely since the Pro Tour disappeared from the scene, and many Redditors, and MTG players, seem convinced that the Pro Tour is a relic of the past:

“But nobody cares about the Pro Tour! And we know that because nobody watched the stream we didn’t advertise.

Sadly, most of Reddit agrees with WOTC’s stance on this and doesn’t understand that maintaining a healthy competitive environment has positive effects on the rest of the game even if they never want to play a sanctioned event.” – big_bara_tiddies

“With most players asking what The List is and their first deck being a commander precon, it’s pretty safe to say competitive MTG is the sidegame. Most players don’t care or know who LSV or Yuuya Watanabe is. They don’t even know what’s legal in Pioneer or Modern. Pro MTG always got low view counts but it’s been plummeting since commander turned into the main selling point. I guarantee you more people are hyped about The Command Zone Live than this.” – BlackUndeath

As mentioned earlier, the fact that the Pro Tour’s disappearance on MTG Arena got so much coverage proves that, at least, a passionate number of people want the Pro Tour to succeed. In a recent Fireside Chat, Wizards of the Coast president Cynthia Williams did mention that about 80% of the playerbase is casual. Personally, I think letting players know about the Pro Tour on MTG Arena can only be a good thing – as long as it’s not too difficult to implement. Even more interesting would be a stream into the MTG Arena client with some sort of drops enabled for time watched.

Read More: MTG Players are Being Tricked by Bad Actors

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