Demonic Tutor

Magic: the Gathering in the UK

Have been inspired by pre-release chatter to try and put together a balanced view on Magic in the UK - please reply with any and all thoughts, boys and girls!

 

Ideas to get you started:

 

What is good about UK Magic?

What is bad?

How can the bad be solved, and the good improved yet further?

Are there any heroes (or villains)? 

Are players not travelling enough to other events?

Are players not working together enough (esp those Q'd for PTs)?

What are the good/bad tournament venues/TOs/etc?

Why aren't British players performing better on the PT?

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What is good about UK Magic?

UK magic rules because everyone enjoys a good pint before/during/after their match

 

What is bad?

WotC making really awful decisions based on foreign markets

 

How can the bad be solved, and the good improved yet further?

?

Are there any heroes (or villains)? 

i am obviously the biggest hero

 

Are players not travelling enough to other events?

there was a time many years ago when i would travel up and down the country every weekend to hit as many PTQs as possible. i don't know for sure but it seems to me like there are less and less people doing that these days

 

Are players not working together enough (esp those Q'd for PTs)?

I ALWAYS SHARE MY TECHNOLOGY

 

What are the good/bad tournament venues/TOs/etc?

i've always been quite partial to the little modern "village hall" type venues, like Reading and High Wycombe. That aside, I think that Jason's venue choices around bloomsbury are excellent.

 

Why aren't British players performing better on the PT?

because there are so few good british players any more. you can honestly count the number of PT-skill-level players on one hand.

 

bonus question from myself? sure: why are there so few opportunities to play constructed at TGC?

hmmm, not really able to answer this question properly for what is NOW good/bad, however I will comment on what I can...

 

I think that the top players in the uk are generally too proud to work together on something, and the whole tournament structure in the uk seems very clique-y. When I was in London I ALWAYS tried to help in any way I could to make the entire community better at magic, partly for selfish reasons (better community means better opponents, making you better too), partly for less selfish reasons (I like it when new players learn the game and become confident members of the community).

 

However, I honestly feel that this is something ppl just don't care enough to do as a whole. There are the people from Leeds, people from Coventry, old school London players, younger London players, Bristol players... but no British players. Furthermore, a lot of the "pro" players are actually quite unfriendly to newer players (ever seen Dan Gardner lose a game of magic to a less skilled opponent?). This means that you don't have a British community, you just have some 4-5 people preparing for a pro tour. I have been part of deckbuilding preparation for a pro tour before on message boards and people honestly just prefer to flame each other than work together, so I quickly lose interest (the only people from outside London I keep in touch with regularly are Marco OJ and Chris Bateman).

 

EDIT: The loss of "big" prereleases will make this a much more serious loss than it is already

 

The best venue in England is Fanboy games in Manchester. I would happily travel up there for any ptq (in spite of the 12 hour round trip by National Express (1am bus leaving, 11:59 coming back, it's a day return, I've done the trip about... 4 times?). The owner genuinely cares about his customers, and even lets you play sanctioned drafts (WITH PRIZES PROVIDED FOR FREE) with product won from the swiss portion of ptqs, so that ppl who travelled up with others can do something during t8s). I obviously have a soft spot for Jason too in London (but I would say that, I've been playing in London since the South Bank/Pontefract Castle days and I would have stopped if I found the tournaments unfriendly).

What Pete said, most of the good UK players are up their own ass. They seem to think being good at magic makes them cool. Unfortunatly I dont see anything that can be done about this as you cant really change peoples attitudes. Perhaps this is why they dont perform well on the PT. They think too much of themselves and feel they have a "right" to win.

 

Like Phill I think the good thing is the drinking. I know this Saturday is gonna be strange not drinking at a pre release.

 

Whats bad is the poor decisions about having to be a store and that there is no continuity with events. Sometimes places have PTQ's and sometimes they dont. Also the fact that people in London dont bother to play constructed. We used to think that Jason didnt run constructed cause it doesnt make him as much money as sealed, but the truth is people just dont bother to show up unless its a PTQ or a GPT. Perhaps people dont seem to realise that without playing regular constructed events you decrease your chance of winning a GPT or PTQ.

 

The stuff on the wizards end can only be solved if they players do something about it. Write/email them, start a petition. Most of all, dont bloody play. If they keep chaning things and like sheep people just go where they are told Wizards wont see the hit on their bottom line and will think everything is ok.

 

The other bad stuff is down to players and I dont know how you can get them to be smarter and do stuff that benifits them in the long run. People are lazy as a general rule.

 

Oh and for venues/TO's that suck, BIrmingham wins by a mile. Hated the venues there and the TO comes across like he doesnt want to be doing it and hates the players.

Pushed for time so all I can say is Kent Magic is awesome both in terms of T/O's and Judges and Venues and has friendly people as well as some of the best players in the country so thanks to Glen and Stelios for that.

 

At the risk of bringing up old wars the reaction to Carrie Oliver winning a PTQ is EXACTLY what is wrong with MTG in this country. I was air fist pumping when she came 32nd and qualified for the next PT event.

 

Seems most people can't play well with others or are just plain selfish.

 

However the games I had at GP London reinforced there are good people out there [Manvir and Dan B props to you both].

I dont know how you can say that without bringing back old wars, given that basically all that was was insulting me and chifley (needlessly and incorrectly). Im not going to go back into it, but if you want to think you are right go ahead - its not like I didnt point you out to be wrong before. Clearly she is a very very good magic player; doesnt mean she didnt make a bunch of misplays. If you still want to believe the best playing competitor at a tourney always win, look at GP london (and before you accuse me again, note that Dan R is one of my best magical friends..)

 

On actual topic, I think the competition for PT slots is the actual problem with magic in England. We have very little incentive to work and test outside of our regional groups, because the competition for slots is so tight that if we help eachother out too much, we pretty directly ruin our chances. The best example of this was the nats where Dan G/OJ bros had the barnslayer deck. Despite doing testing with them beforehand, the second they had that deck they shut me out of testing - our events have too small a group of ringers to allow for too much collaboration. Its not like im not guilty of this, same with Pete; we both have external testing groups. 

 

 While we are talking about the state of UK magic, I really feel that some grievance should be raised against the lack of PTQ's at nats this year; apparently Jason had to pay (for the travel awards) for his 4 last year, and this year we have none presumably because Glen would not. While Glen is always a good TO and a good influence in the community (he was the person who pointed out the first problem to me) this is extremely disappointing. If you go to nationals and scrub out day 1 you really have nothing. 

 

Solving these problems is hard; I would advocate more people being road warriors because then you are more likely to test with other such people, but this is incredibly difficult (despite being wasting around on a gap year I cant do it). Unless you are Peter Dun, in which case this is easy.

 

The 2 times Ive been in PT testing groups on fb both had reasonable inputs from various people; however it is sad that the 2 OJ's are just disruptive to the testing and arrogant when they are some of the better players. Richard Bland is usually willing to help when able though. 


I dont want to go into venues particularly, because some of them are so bad and I dont want to cause problems. However, Gravesend, Southampton, London, and Chesham (when the tubes arent screwed) are all good venues and worthy of some praise.

 

British players are actually performing pretty well on the PT these days. We dont have that many talented players, but a bunch of top 50's have been put up recently. There are not that many players who are talented enough to perform regularly on the PT (probs just Richard, Dan G, Marco, Matteo, Sti, Brad Barclay, and probably Carrie from what I hear, and Wagz if he'd ever stop not quite getting there) but between them there have been a reasonable number of solid results. Remember, we are quite a small country which tries to punch above its weight catagory.

 

As for heros and villains; Wagz is a hero. To just about everyone. Him and Richard bland are both very good players who are always willing to help out and love the game for the game rather than the ego boost. Villains there arent many really. Mostly the community is full of players who try hard to help eachother out. Sadly there are top players (naming no names but im sure you all know who they are) who get a bit arrogant around other magic players and think they are better than other people cos of their PT status etc.

Right, longer answers.

 

What is good about UK Magic?

 

The atmosphere at a handful of venues that I have been back to after 10 years away from the game and the fact that you will upon occasion meet a real top person at a big event who you will pretty much get on with whenever you see them. The support and welcoming outlook of the local community to me has been immense since I started playing again. It makes me want to attend events to play against people like that.


What is bad?

 

Selfish people wanting to jip you to get further ahead. No need for it, let your plays do the talking if you are that superior surely? A fragmented and critical outlook on people rather than a galvanised 'get behind them and help them' perspective does seem to be apparent as well. 


How can the bad be solved, and the good improved yet further?

 

I don't know about how the good can be improved other than perhaps a support network like there used to be for PT qualified players [if it doesn't exist already]. I don't play to that kind of level so I am just hypothesising. The bad could be solved with less tolerance for people being idiots in general I guess but one persons idiot is another persons 'character so its difficult to answer.

 

Are there any heroes (or villains)? 

 

Plenty of heroes who do what they do for the love of the game and who have the desire to keep pushing the game forward for the community from the players, T/O's and Judges side of the park. I haven't met any real villains at any Kent/London events yet and the only things I have seen that I really didn't like were the point Charlie spoke about above and a few cases of people just being selfish to the point where I wondered what the point was in them playing the game. 

 

Are players not travelling enough to other events?

 

Costs perhaps? Magic isn't cheap these days. Picked that one up pretty quickly.

 

Are players not working together enough (esp those Q'd for PTs)?

 

I don't know, I would hope they are [see point above about support].

 

What are the good/bad tournament venues/TOs/etc?

 

Only really been to the Kent venues since I started playing again which remain really good. The Chesham T/O's seem like good people as well from chatting to them.

 

Why aren't British players performing better on the PT?

 

I don't know or have enough knowledge to be able to comment although I think a few people are doing ok? 

 

Do you think they were nice to you cause your one of the good players? Just a thought.

Charlie Grover said:

I dont know how you can say that without bringing back old wars, given that basically all that was was insulting me and chifley (needlessly and incorrectly). Im not going to go back into it, but if you want to think you are right go ahead - its not like I didnt point you out to be wrong before. Clearly she is a very very good magic player; doesnt mean she didnt make a bunch of misplays. If you still want to believe the best playing competitor at a tourney always win, look at GP london (and before you accuse me again, note that Dan R is one of my best magical friends..)

 

On actual topic, I think the competition for PT slots is the actual problem with magic in England. We have very little incentive to work and test outside of our regional groups, because the competition for slots is so tight that if we help eachother out too much, we pretty directly ruin our chances. The best example of this was the nats where Dan G/OJ bros had the barnslayer deck. Despite doing testing with them beforehand, the second they had that deck they shut me out of testing - our events have too small a group of ringers to allow for too much collaboration. Its not like im not guilty of this, same with Pete; we both have external testing groups. 

 

 While we are talking about the state of UK magic, I really feel that some grievance should be raised against the lack of PTQ's at nats this year; apparently Jason had to pay (for the travel awards) for his 4 last year, and this year we have none presumably because Glen would not. While Glen is always a good TO and a good influence in the community (he was the person who pointed out the first problem to me) this is extremely disappointing. If you go to nationals and scrub out day 1 you really have nothing. 

 

Solving these problems is hard; I would advocate more people being road warriors because then you are more likely to test with other such people, but this is incredibly difficult (despite being wasting around on a gap year I cant do it). Unless you are Peter Dun, in which case this is easy.

 

The 2 times Ive been in PT testing groups on fb both had reasonable inputs from various people; however it is sad that the 2 OJ's are just disruptive to the testing and arrogant when they are some of the better players. Richard Bland is usually willing to help when able though. 


I dont want to go into venues particularly, because some of them are so bad and I dont want to cause problems. However, Gravesend, Southampton, London, and Chesham (when the tubes arent screwed) are all good venues and worthy of some praise.

 

British players are actually performing pretty well on the PT these days. We dont have that many talented players, but a bunch of top 50's have been put up recently. There are not that many players who are talented enough to perform regularly on the PT (probs just Richard, Dan G, Marco, Matteo, Sti, Brad Barclay, and probably Carrie from what I hear, and Wagz if he'd ever stop not quite getting there) but between them there have been a reasonable number of solid results. Remember, we are quite a small country which tries to punch above its weight catagory.

 

As for heros and villains; Wagz is a hero. To just about everyone. Him and Richard bland are both very good players who are always willing to help out and love the game for the game rather than the ego boost. Villains there arent many really. Mostly the community is full of players who try hard to help eachother out. Sadly there are top players (naming no names but im sure you all know who they are) who get a bit arrogant around other magic players and think they are better than other people cos of their PT status etc.

If you want a balanced view of UK Magic then you should probably ask the same question on other Magic groups websites as well.  Otherwise you'll just get a balanced view of London and immediate surrounds Magic.
I've got a Saturday deadline, so did that by sending a few choice facebook messages and emails

Kevin Blake said:
If you want a balanced view of UK Magic then you should probably ask the same question on other Magic groups websites as well.  Otherwise you'll just get a balanced view of London and immediate surrounds Magic.

This topic has been discussed and rediscussed so many times.... (I was actually thinking of doing a podcast/ video thing about it over the summer)

 

What is good about UK Magic? 

 

The fact that it's so easy to qualify for the PT - each season you have around 6-7 PTQs all within 2-4 hours, and our nationals are comparatively soft

 

What is bad about UK Magic? 

 

The fact that despite this it's always the same people top 8ing / winning the PTQs because the rest of the country is too busy whinging on public forums about how the good players don't talk to them. On a more serious note, the country is all completely cliquey, and people just care about their own little play group. TEAM LEEDS, Cambridge Magic, team london goobers etc all just test by themselves and come up with the same inbred lists year in year out and refuse to work with anyone else. I used to put in so much effort for PTs to organise all the UK guys, sort out testing, accommodation together, mailing groups etc but it's just not worth it - people don't care because they'd rather just test at their local fnm with jimmy1400. Note that at nationals this makes sense because you're actively competing against the other players. Also note that Ginger's story sounds like complete BS and I remember none of that (unless he was just talking to marco). All I remember is that we invited him to come play with us before nationals last year if he agreed to not give out the tech we had, so he agreed then immediately gave out the tech he had. 

 

I'd also like to point out that when people say the "pros" are unfriendly and harsh to newer players, they actually mean DanG and probably acted like idiots around him. Sure I'm sarcastic and love to troll, but I don't think I've ever been rude to somebody at a tourney unless they deserved it, and I'm pretty sure the same is true for marco, randle, bland etc. Marco can be very intense during games but that's because he's there to win, and if he doesn't want to chat about your new commander deck that's not his problem

 

Are there any heroes (or villains)?

 

I'm a hero, 100% no doubt. I put a lot of effort into organising the entire uk group for PTs in terms of testing, accomm and just getting to know each other (well I used to before I realised there was 0 point), and I'm very active in helping with MTGUK (Which brings me onto my next point)

 

Tu Nguyen - I know a lot of you aren't happy with the work he's putting into sorting out UK magic because you're loyal to your beloved mike dook, but manaleak.com/mtguk is easily the best thing that's happening to uk magic right now, and was set up basically single-handedly by Tu with the soul aim of improving UK magic, not to subliminally force you into buying from manaleak, which a lot of london players seem to think. It's a site with forums, chatroom, UK magic calendar (super useful), articles (and article competitions) etc. He's also thinking of setting up a uk invitational series like the SCG one at some point in the future for no monetary gain, which I plan to help organise WITH MY OWN TIME. WHO'S THE HERO NOW EH? Rob wagner's also very active on mtguk, and he seems well loved

 

Also marco's a hero I guess for being the best deckbuilder in the world, just a shame he only gives his lists to people who deserve them...

 

Also brad barclay cus he's damn sexy

 

Also Carrie oliver cus she's put herself (and uk to a lesser extent) on the map just for having boobies. I have boobies and I had to work for my reputation! No justice in this world.

 

Villains: DanG for being too awesome for people to handle (it's not really his fault), RichardB for proliferating the barnaria across UK and causing the rise of new barnaria, JonnoR for moving to Serbia, all the goobers who bitch about the good players not talking to them rather than try and actually earn their respect.

 

Are players not travelling enough to other events?

 

Yes, completely. We have the easiest PTQ system in the world and yet people still don't give a poo. The people who do actually travel are the ones who win/top 8 the PTQs, surprisingly enough, because giving yourself more chances leads to more results (stephen murray, brad barclay, rob wagner, me when I gave a shit)

 

Are people not working together enough?

 

no, see above. Then again, also as mentioned, I failed to find a reason for why we should do so. 

 

Good tournament venues: london, manchester, worcester (shame it's so small), reading. Would say brum but the TO's a bit of a dick. Would say cov but that might seem biased.

 

Why aren't british players performing better on the PT?

 

a) We're quite bad. For a year I was the best in the country not close, and I'm not very good

b) No testing groups, so we always have a bad deck at PTs. Compare the CFB cawblade to the UK classic UW control at PT paris. yeah. (interestingly, marco had no time to test for this PT but told the uk guys the week before the pt to stop trying to play classic control and to make their deck more proactive because that's what the format called for. again, best deckbuilder in the world etc)

 

 

 

Unlike the other posts in this thread the above wasn't tl;dr

 

I wouldn't mind travelling to events with decent prize support even if it was 3-4 hours away. It's a shame I have so much else going on in my life or I would turn up a lot more. I think the problem with the London Magic players is the cost of travel can be a bit rediculous. Sheffield alone is not cheap for people to get to (by the way if people don't mind bopping up to Hemel on Thursday I still have space in my car)

 

I wanted to organise testing sessions but there are a few problems with that:

 

People drop out at the last minute - seriously one of my pet hates. If you have shit to do and you mention that a few day or even a day in advance then that's cool but not turning up after you say you're coming without telling anyone pisses me off.

 

Also people just seem to play 3 games pre sideboard and then put their decks away and play with another deck without discussing card choices or anything like that. That is doing it wrong.

 

Some people don't come unless it's at their house *cough*Dan*cough* - but seriously, I live outside London and I pay the bastard rail comanpy silly money to do it. If I can make the effort surely other people who live in London can make the effort to travel a bit too.

 

Not sure why people have a problem with DanG - I spoke to him at Florence and he seems ok.

 

God you sound like a dick Matteo...

earn your respect? wtf should I have to earn you respect for you to be a civil person...

In fact, just reading your post makes me want to quote it for what is wrong with British magic, and say: "that"

 

 

agree with everything Gary said pretty much, completely forgot what a nightmare Birmingham PTQs were

 

 

@Charlie: no excuses, national express, book a week in advance, total price return is less than half a day's work at minimum wage... if anyone cared enough they could do it (... well, anyone except comfort loving Dan R ;) )... Pepe used to come quite a lot. Whilst I hate everything Matteo says, he IS right the the UK has one of the largest and easiest ptq circuits in the world... no idea why more people don't grind...

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