Esoteric Controversy: MTG Pros fail to feel the magic

Ah, Magic the Gathering. A game that has exploded in popularity since its inception back in 1993. A trading card game with lore so deep it’s spawned novels. Originally mired in typical fantasy conventions, it has since branched out, covering dozens of genres, each of them nerdier than the last. Every expansion set covers a new world with it’s own narrative, though at times they may link back to each other.

But while the exotic locales shift from set to set, one thing in Magic remains eternal: it’s tendency for controversy.

Some of these leak into a frightening place called the real world, like last year’s Crackgate, where one tournament-goer posed next to unsuspecting players whose hygiene unfortunately left much to be desired. The photoset exploded in popularity, shared around the web, attracting notice from all corners of the internet.

Other controversies, like what occurred last night at the Grand Prix Las Vegas, stay firmly entrenched within the community.

Draft Tech - Maynard

At the center of the Vegas controversy–since dubbed Goyfgate–is Pascal Maynard (pictured above), a Magic the Gathering pro player and tosser of gang signs.

Among the many of MTG’s formats is one called Draft. Fairly self-explanatory. Like a sports draft, players involved in a Draft tournament are given access to a certain number of packs, before choosing a single card they want from a single pack and passing it around the table. Drafting rewards players on their deckbuilding skills and thinking on the fly, as they’re not given forewarning of what cards they will receive.

For one of his picks, Maynard selected a card he wouldn’t use because it wasn’t suited to the sort of deck he was playing. He chose it over other, more strategic options simply for what it was: an extremely rare and expensive card made rarer and more expensive due to the fact it was a foil. I’m talking about the Tarmogoyf.


A hyper-efficient card which, at its cheapest, runs almost $200. And this one was shiny.

Typically, when one drafts, he or she will choose the card that has synergy with the rest of the deck. A card that executes a certain task and will move its player one step closer to victory. Opposing this is what’s called hatedrafting, when one drafts a card solely due to it’s potential value in other decks. One hatedrafts to prevent other players from using the card. It’s like burning down a bank before it can be robbed.

Carnage axis

And a third, even more uncommon style–though I hesitate to call it such–is called raredrafting, wherein a player simply chooses cards based on their rarity. Several top-level players of the game condemned Maynard for his raredrafting. To them, it symbolized a preference towards money, rather than competition.

goyfgate reid duke

goyfgate william jensen

goyfgate owen turtenwald

In spite of this, other Magic professionals came out and defended Maynard, if not supporting his choice, then opposing the absurd demonization of the man.

goyfgate cedric phillips

paulo vitor goyfgate pau

goyfgate brian kibler

Maybe it’s something you can only understand as a professional. I, and most of the commenters I’ve seen on Reddit, take no issue with Maynard’s decision. Even more, I’ve found the personal attacks to be unwarranted. But as I said, I’m merely a Friday Night Magic regular, and as such might not grasp the nuances of this issue.

Do you?

Comment below with your thoughts on whether or not you think Maynard was right and people should leave the guy alone, or if he should be tarred and feathered through the streets.

Ruglife, I don’t see too many other MTG folks on wordpress. Have you heard about this?


4 thoughts on “Esoteric Controversy: MTG Pros fail to feel the magic

  1. I had not yet heard about this controversy, but I honestly don’t take any issue with it. I’d take the foil goyf. It’s a $500 foil at the least and it will only go up. It’s definitely interesting to see how many people were upset about it though.

    Maybe they just make more money than me. If the card in question were not a foil Tarmogoyf, or even a regular Tarmogoyf, it would make sense to me to opppse the pick so strongly, but with the versatility of the card and the increasingly high demand for it, I think it’s entirely justifiable.

    Regarding MTG people on wordpress, there do seem to be a couple of casual sites, but nothing too in-depth. Personally, I enjoy writing stories set in the multiverse, and I hope to post some pf those in the future in addition to some of my other MTG related content.

    Thank you very much for linking to my site. I saw that you would like to have a link to yours on my About Us page, and I would love to link to your site. However, I’d like to put the link in the sidebar of my site, if you don’t mind. I think it would be more visible and anyone who is looking for it will look there first. Is there a specific reason you wanted it on the About Us page? Or would this be okay with you?


    • Whoa, the multiversal story thing sounds great. Kind of like an unofficial Uncharted Realms. Mind if I submit to your site some stories?

      Honestly, I’m new to wordpress and don’t really know how linking works quite yet. I just thought what I did was akin to tagging you in my post. I didn’t meant to imply I’d like a permanent spot on your page, though I’d certainly welcome it. If you do it, sidebar would be fine with me, thanks =]


      • I’m new too! Still figuring stuff out myself. Glad you like the concept. Right now I’m reading up on Zendikar. I’d love to have you as a guest author every now and then. Sounds like fun. I’ll put a link to your site up when I next have some time at a computer rather than a mobile phone.


  2. I think the fact that the foil goyf in question is selling on Ebay for $12000 says it all. I have no problem with Pascal Maynard’s choice and I think the proof that this now 1 of a kind, stamped, GP Vegas, Top 8 Foil Goyf is a $12000 collectible says it all. While the guy likely didn’t process all that in the 40 seconds he had to pick his card, I bet he’s pretty pleased right now. Good on the guy…and I hope the extra $$$ pays some bills, plane tickets to some more GP’s and some big finishes for the guy. Nice article! I like It! Keep it up! I’ll be looking to read some more.


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