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11.09.01 - A Bunch of Food for Thought

Well, another Pro Tour has gone by and another win for Kai Budde is in the books.  I could say something negative here about how he is crushing the game, but why?  He's dominating, and he deserves all the attention he is getting.  He is basically "Tiger Woodsing" the Pro Tour right now.  Funny thing is, I figured out the way to beat him.  It's actually rather simple. 
Don't let him make day 3.  If you can keep him from playing on Sunday, you're golden, because apparently on Sundays Kai doesn't lose.
Here I was reviewing the Pro Tour results when I started to try and figure out how much Kai has won in the last year.  I think it is somewhere over $100,000.  Not bad.  We also have to remember that is 100,000 in US dollars.  So I am sure the conversion makes for a lot more money overseas.  Anyway, seeing these numbers got me thinking.  Why is there so much money available on the tour, but not on the lower levels of the game?  Don't get me wrong...I feel that I am definitely qualified to play on the tour (now, to win it is a totally different story).  Increased prize support has kept the Pro Tour running strong.  Why not do the same for lower level tournaments to keep the game from dying out?
The most common and obvious example here is States.  I've ranted probably about a hundred times about states not being a higher caliber tournament. 
In almost every sport/competition the State championships lead to the Regional Championships.  Why is Magic any different?  I think we should conform to this system.  The most popular options are to let the State champs, or the two finalists from the State Championship qualify for Nationals.  That would make turnouts for states HUGE!!  If you don't want to do that, I would at least allow the two finalists from the State Championships to get a 2 or 3 round bye at Regionals.  The reasoning for this is simple.  Giving Pro players byes at Grand Prix events is basically giving them another reason to attend and to ensure that the pros don't just get beat out of the tournament by random folks.  Why not do the same for Regionals?  At the very least, offer a decent cash prize to the Top 8.  That would get mor
Grand Prix Trials events are next on my hit list.  It's hard for me to complain about these events really.  They generally have decent prize support.  One thing I will say, is that maybe Wizards of the Coast should give away a $50-100 credit voucher.  I have seen many GP Trials events that had very poor turnouts, even when they are attached to major events.  If you are going to be willing to give players a travel award for a Pro Tour Qualifier, why not at least give a smaller one for Grand Prix Trial events. 
I think it makes logical sense to do so and everyone would win all around. 
It is be greater motivation for the organizers to run them and more motivation for the players to participate.  And yet again, this is one more way to keep enthusiasm and participation high.
Pro Tour Qualifiers have gotten a nice boost the past few years.  It's hard to argue the prize support for these in my eyes.  Granted, the prize support may not be stellar, but you have to remember that there are definitely a lot of Pro Tour Qualifiers every season.  The only thing I could see to do is maybe work a system that allows every player to win to get a pack.  Nothing spectacular, but one more draw for the new guys trying to break into the professional ranks.  Maybe having more two seat qualifiers would help. 
People like playing when their odds are higher.  Maybe even offering a lower cash voucher to second place (possibly $50) would also make it more worth playing in.  I also think it should just be standard to give prizes through 16th place.  It's neat having the "no pro point" prizes, but most of the time, if you gave prizes to the top 16 participants, you would cover those players anyway.  I'm not saying to give them anything exceptional. &nb
Local tournaments seem almost as good as they are going to get right now.  A lot of the weight for local events has to be put on the local organizers and not Wizards of the Coast.  You need organizers to run them on time, give more random door prizes, etc.  This is something that the local organizers can tailor to their financial numbers and players.  Wizards of the Coast is doing a great job with the Friday Night Magic events.  People really like having the foil cards as prizes.  They also started the Magic Player Rewards program to increase player participation on the local level.  I think cards need to be sent out more often for this program.  Maybe every five tournaments you hit, you should have something sent in the mail.  This way they aren't batching out the events all at once.  This way people will remember more often to go play.  Plus they will also have something to work towards.  Waiting to send things out two or three times a year is
Now what good does it do me to spread ideas like these to the masses. 
Honestly it does nothing unless you let yourselves be heard.  Whatever ideas you like, share them with Wizards.  Expand on them.  Send Wizards e-mails. 
Let them know that you want some changes.  Don't just talk about the negatives though.  Let them know what things you DO like that they are doing.  This way they see what is working and what is not and can try to give you the best of both worlds.
The tournament system is very important to Wizards of the Coast (and more importantly, to the longevity of Magic: The Gathering itself).  I would like to believe that Wizards would go out of their way to make the system better for the masses.  The pros are obviously the icons of the game.  When you look at it though, the masses are the ones that honestly support the game. 
It's not that the pros don't spend money buying packs for drafts and the like, but it is simple numbers.  The average/casual players outnumber the pro players probably 500 to 1.
Well, that's about all I have on that.  Just a bunch of food for thought for you.
For those of you that are going on to states, I wish you the best of luck. 
The odds are, I won't be attending.  Not for any real reason other than the fact that there isn't anything for me to gain out of states.  Well, maybe bragging rights, but ah well.  The product and stuff is pretty irrelevant. 
The trophy would be nice to have in my store though :)  Honestly though I have more to lose than to gain by playing I believe.  That's part of what bothers me about the State Championships.
I want to take a moment and say thanks to everyone that has sent me fan mail.  I think I got back to everyone that wrote to me last week.  I always enjoy it and I try to write back to everyone one.  Also, thanks for supporting our site.  We are gradually getting better and trying to bring you what you want to see.
There are so many websites right now that are switching editors and switching management, so I'm just glad that we are still around and that I am able to write for you guys.  Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with me and the rest of the Magic community.  It takes a lot of voices to make change happen.

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn




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