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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?