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The Dragon's Den
The Fun Never Stops

By DeQuan Watson - 06.30.05

I'm sure a lot of you went to Regionals.  Hopefully you all had at least moderate success.  Everyone wants to do well at an event of that caliber.  It's tough.  You spend all that time building, reading, researching, practicing, and playing.  You get to the big moment and hope for great results.  Unfortunately, not everyone can be given an invite. 
Those of you that didn't earn an invite shouldn't be too upset though.  The best part about Magic is that there is always something on the horizon.  There is always something else to shoot for.  Even now, we are just days beyond Regionals and there is a ton of news out there regarding things in the Magic: the Gathering community.
In case you haven't heard, spoilers are already floating around for 9th Edition.  This is great for those of you that can't stand to wait for surprises.  The set looks amazing.  The return of the 10 pain lands is amazing.  It will surely add something to the game.  Everyone wanted these and WotC listened.  They even included cards such as Quicksand.  This is sure to see some play.  But this also provides you with another chance to play in a large fun event.  Ninth Edition release events will be happening sometime in July.  This is a great chance to change speeds a bit.  These tournaments will be a little more fun and relaxed and there won't be a lot at stake.  Take advantage of the moment and enjoy it.  It's not something you have to really stress over.  Heck, it's not even something that you have to prepare for in any way.  Yeah, I know, some of you will.  Those that do are just over competitive.
For something a little more competitive, but still a lot of fun, you can make your way to Origins this weekend.  It's in Columbus, Ohio.  Yeah, it's a huge game convention.  However, there is an event that takes place there that many of you may not be aware of.  Origins is home to the Magic: the Gathering Amateur Championship tournament.  This event is open to everyone.  Well, almost everyone.  Anyone without any Pro Tour points can play.  And that's not current Pro Tour points.  If you have any points LIFETIME you are ineligible.  Needless to say, this event won't be full of sharks. There won't be any pros.  You likely won't run into anyone that you pay to read articles from.  It'll just be you and the others that have pro tour aspirations.  This is sure to be a fun event for those of you that can make it.
Speaking of Pro Tour aspirations, there are more Pro Tour Qualifiers coming to a city near you.  This time, they are giving you a chance to play in Los Angeles.  And even better is that the qualifying format is fun.  It's Kamigawa Block constructed.  This means that you can only build decks with cards from the latest three sets.  And the format is highly unknown to this point.  And no one has really spent time learning the format because Regionals has been on everyone's mind since the release of Saviors of Kamigawa.  This means that it's anyone's game at this point.  Which is great news for those of you that want an interesting challenge.  You can be a little creative.  You can build some new decks.  And you can still win a chance to play on the Pro Tour in Los Angeles. 
In other news, I'm sure many of you have seen the stories about the Magic: the Gathering Pro Tour Hall of Fame.  This has created some, how shall we say, "interesting" discussions on various message boards and whatnot.  Only four members are getting voted in on this first ballot.  Of the names on the ballot, none of them are drawing more attention than Mike Long.  I'm sure if you know anything about Magic history, you've heard of Mike Long.  If you haven't and don't know about him (or others on the ballot for that matter), I'd do a quick search of the internet.  Get to know the stories and the people that shaped the game.  A lot of those old pros work for WotC now making the product that you so love an adore.  You might as well know about them.
Anyway, back to Mike.  He's been the topic of a lot of discussion lately.  He's been accused of cheating.  He used to have a bit of an attitude.  He even held up a tournament once for almost 45 minutes.  He did have his reasons, but it happened nonetheless.  Fortunately, for me, I was recently able to have a conversation with Mike.  He's changed a lot.  He's a more down to earth person.  And he accepts that what he did in the past was wrong and that people will look at him in a negative light for some of that stuff, regardless of the facts.   
If you've heard anything negative about Mike, I implore you to go look up facts.  Ask questions from people who actually knew him.  Don't take information at face value.  That's one of the reasons this guy is so knocked on all the time.  People don't look at the facts.  And it's also a matter of perspective that people are leaving out.
I know that I'm a huge fan of putting Pete Rose in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.  I'm not even a huge fan of baseball right now, and them keeping Rose out is one of the reasons.  The guy put up great stats.  He played in big games.  He was a player and a manager.  He is a fun character.  Did he bet on baseball?  Yeah, it's likely.  But why let one thing that he did overshadow all his other accomplishments?  It doesn't make sense.  It's not like he bet against his team and put in the fix to throw games.  That would be a big deal.  That would call a lot of player's integrity into question. 
These same things apply to Mike Long.  He was a character.  He was one of the early professionals.  He did a lot to bring people to the game.  He made people watch games and gave them someone to root for (or against).  Did he cheat?  Yeah, it's likely.  But should that overshadow all of his other accomplishments?  No.  He's done too many other things to have that be what holds him down.  He even spends his time now with programs to help inexperienced players.  He's still promoting the game (be it for a small profit) within the community even though he's not on tour. 
Think of it like this.  Most of us are different people than we were ten years ago.  Most people I know think I am a great guy.  And I honestly try to be one of the nicest and most helpful people I know.  But you know, somewhere around 12-14 years ago, I was a bit of a thief.  Fortunately, I never got caught for anything big and I never had to do any jail time.  But I learned from my experiences and I don't do it anymore.  I can't even remember that last time that I had a serious thought about stealing ANYTHING.  But people now don't judge me for that.  And they shouldn't. 
I know people that used to be rude with attitudes.  I know people that used to abuse drugs and alcohol.  I know people that used to rip players off in trades.  I know people that used to be gambling addicts.  I know people that used to get into fights.  And those people are great people now.  People learn from their experiences.  This is just something to think about.  Don't let this hype you're reading online regarding all of this shape your opinion of some one that you've never met.  The hype is even less relevant when you include the fact that the last time he had a major incident was about six years ago or so at this point.
Wow, this wasn't meant to be a rant on the Hall of Fame.  I just hate seeing people being judged unfairly. 
As you can see though, there is a lot going on in the world of Magic.  There is very little down time.  You can always find something to do.  There is always something to read.  And there are always ideas on a ton of topics out there.
Until next time,
DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn
PowrDragn at Pojo dot com

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