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?

Views: 156

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Well I wasn't so much saying earn "my" respect, but as a general case the people who bitch constantly about the "better" players are the ones who for some reason think the better players should automatically want to be their friend and include them in their happy testing circles. gary lynch is a good example - I was reserving judgment on him as despite him seeming a dick in every online interaction i've seen him in, i've never met him, but dan barrett's recent SCG article on him confirmed that yes, he is a dick. He's the type of player who keeps making whingey forum posts about how the "good" players are rude and stick to themselves, when the reason we stick to ourselves is that we don't want to interact with people like that. I'm never anything but civil until I see a reason not to be, the odd sarcastic comment or making fun in jest aside. I'm just tired of reading people saying the reason UK players are bad is that the good ones won't let them play on the swings, just because they beat DanG once after misplaying like a monkey and didn't like the way he reacted

 

also, ginger's comments kinda pissed me off, as he continues to run the "I'm your friend but btw I'm not really"

 

Depends how you define "UK Magic" :) Just competative or casual as well? Just constructed, or limited as well?

 

I play a mixture, however if playing casually, prefer constrcuted (various formats), and if playing competativly prefer draft.

 

What is good about UK Magic?

Some of the players are friendly and fun to play with. I did enjoy going to the large London events when I could (have had few free weekends this past year)

 

What is bad?

For me, travel. The play group in Hemel I go to semi-reguarly is in a different county to me (just). I take a train, then a bus, then get a lift from where it used to be, and have to find someone to give me a lift home (I can't drive), so I don't go as often as I'd like as transport is a pretty major hassle.

 

For others, some players (not all thankfully) can be dicks. I've generally been fine when I've gone to London, but when I've taken my girlfriend along to play as well she has occasionally had some bad experiences from players. I don't know if it just happens to everyone in London and I just ignore it, or it only happens to some people, but it has happened to her a few times (I've already emailed you this Dan before I saw this topic, I'll just put the summary here). The first time was the first pre-release event we went to and after playing her first round opponent, instead of being constructive, just looked at a few cards in her deck going "thats crap, thats rubbish" etc. The second time was the second round of a draft at another event when a group that knew her opponenet crowded round to watch, but distracted her a lot so she made some play mistakes and lost. The third time was the M11 Game Day and the first time I had conviced her to play sanctioned constructed. Of the 4 rounds, she was bored shitless playing the same deck with Jace: The Mindsculpter in it for two rounds (I guess "Game" in Magic speak actually means "Full-on Tournament practice". My mistake). Afterwards, I had to exlpain to her what netdecking was. She said next time she'd just go shopping in London instead. We've not gone to a Game Day since (although this is in part due to having less weekends free)

 

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

Either have more places to play, or have the current places easier to get to using public transport. Yeah, pretty hard to do realisticly.

 

I don't know how you can stop players being dicks, however. The problem is, if a large amount of people at events are just arseholes, fewer and fewer people will want to go along, and new people will only go once and not bother again.

 

Are there any heroes (or villains)? 

I've liked the events Jason has put on, they've been great.

 

Are players not travelling enough to other events?

This could be rephrased as "Are events too far for people to travel?"

 

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

I don't think I've tried to qualify for any major tournament, so can't comment. I guess, rementioning the issue with people being dicks, if you don't get new people to continue playing with you and current players stop or move away, there are less people to work together with.

 

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

I like the events Jason has put on in London (when I went to London it was usually just for major events - prereleases and releases). The Hemel venue is nice, but awkward for me to get to. I live in Luton and have heard there is a group here (more of a general game group who sometimes play Magic), but need to look into it really.

 

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

Not enough experience to comment.

 

I guess thats fair enough; but it is true, no? You guys where one hell of a disruption on the PT amsterdam testing group; I think seb or Tom or someone kicked you out eventually? Dont get me wrong, Marco and Richard offered me the decklist they had in the end, but I didnt take it cos I run the blind arrogance gambit too sometimes :/. I mean I like you guys company in person, but its not like there arent times when you take the we know whats best line too strongly; try talking to Marco about plays you disagree with after a match he just won, its hard work. You know I dont dislike any of you, and im aware that Marco especially helps me out when I need it, but you are a bit unapproachable; I felt that at GP Stuttgart ages and ages ago first time I met any of you (I think it was just Dan G and Marco there though) that you treat "barns" with low levels of respect. its easier now that you dont just take me for a barn, but you guys know that you are better than me and show it sometimes. mind you, I have only seen you personally once in the last year or so, whereas Marco and Dan G more often (and at PT amsterdam they repeatedly snubbed me for their own amusement, we were looking for a team draft then they found some italian guy to be their 3rd and ditched me..)

 

As for the nationals thing; I talked to Marco extensively about deck choice for the format that year then one time he just said (paraphrased): "we have the nuts and are going to crush nats". No big deal, my decklist was sweet anyway but it was still meh. Last year was fine; I was offered all your tech by marco but decided against it.

 

As for the MTGuk thing; It offers very little support and cares very little for players based in the south of England. Just something ive noticed; I actually really like the work Tu and to a lesser extent you and JR are doing for the community there, but understandably as it is based in the north its impact is felt very little here; hence the niggling resentment felt by many.


Matteo OJ said:

 

also, ginger's comments kinda pissed me off, as he continues to run the "I'm your friend but btw I'm not really"

 

didn't realise this got so personal, I only realised today what everyone means I have a decklist for nats that I think is rather spicy but don't want to share as it is easily hated against, I guess it almost comes down to trust but then again I would rather know that my deck is good with testing than just assume

Yo, i was directed here by Dan so i'll give my views on the questions:

What is good about UK Magic?

 

The fact that there are not that many players means that after a while you get to know everyone, which is both good and bad but mainly good as it makes going to events more fun when you know that you'll see some of your mates there. Eg i love going to worcester to see JR (Jon Randle) and Tu and like seeing the Scots at northern (and sometimes southern) PTQs.

 

What is bad about UK Magic?

 

The worst thing is the general cliqueiness of it and the fact that it doesn't seem that people can get along if theyre not from the same areas of the UK (see eg this thread). I think that there is also a pretty big divide between the 'top players' and the 'rest' (see again this thread), and that up-and-comers like charlie find this especially awkward as they fit into neither group. The reasons i see for the divide are: (i) the main group of top players (me, my brother, DanG, JR) can be inaccessible and arrogant towards others (this seems to be a big sticking point for those we are dismissive of) combined with (ii) the excessive touchiness of those who aren't in this group.

You guys need to understand that we are constantly dicks to each other (not just you) and shouldn't take it so personally. Trust me staying for an entire tournament weekend with DanG is tough for his mates let alone those he doesn't like/doesn't know, but this is part of why we like him so much: constantly being a dick to everyone is funny, as long as noone takes things too personally. Me and Matteo often talk about what a shame it is that the UK group isn't more like the Italian group. Maybe it's just a cultural thing, but the italians insult and banter with each other pretty much constantly and yet all of them (20+ ppl from different parts of italy) get along awesome, always share accommodation together etc. and always welcome new guys into their group, provided theyre able to take and dish out the insults. From my experience of people in the UK who travel with us or hang round with us (me, matteo, dan, sometimes jr) for a tournament or w/e, noone seems able to take any insults without going crying back to their group of friends and bitching about how dickish we are. Similarly, i am going to be dismissive of most of your deck ideas. I am dismissive of most of my own deck ideas. Its a fact that most of them will be shit, and some things really dont need explaining (or shouldnt if youre preparing for a PT), which is why i will sometimes just say a deck is shit and explain no further. This doesnt mean i dont like you as a person or that i am being a dick for the sake of being a dick. People are way too touchy in the UK.

 

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

 

I mention above that the top players could be a little less dismissive and those wanting to interact with us could be a lot less touchy, these things would certainly help. Also like i said, the best thing about magic is seeing your mates so i really dont like the scrapping of the big prerels (as already brought up by pete i think). Bigger tournaments are awesome for seeing your mates and generally bringing people from different areas in the UK together, especially prerels which bring all sorts of different players together. A UK magic series like the SCG series would also be awesome for these reasons.

 

Heroes/villains

 

Here i don't see it so much as people who are good/bad at magic but rather people who have served magic in the UK well and/or for a long time.

Tu is doing great work right now for competitive magic in the UK at manaleak.com/mtguk and like matteo said, although it is linked to his store website, he is going well above and beyond the profit motive with the work he is putting in atm.

 

Some of the TOs and judges have been around for ages and are cool people, eg Glen, Jason, Nick Sephton, Mick Wright have all put a lot into UK Magic. It's good that David Lyford-Smith is working his way up the judging ladder because even though hes a bit of a goober, he's a good guy and a good judge.

 

Obviously Dan_G is the no. 1 villain because everyone seems to hate him. It is really funny hearing the angry mumblings of, excuse my french, barns at ptqs when he makes another top 8 or insults someone or is impatient with someone playing badly/slowly. People genuinely seem to resent his success, even when they don't know him at all, which we (he obviously realises) all find very amusing. People don't seem to realise that Dan is also a very honest player and person, who as far as i know never cheats, who always pays back debts, who used to lend his cards out freely before he sold them and who will always take meticulous care of cards he is lent and return them in good condition and in good time (something i'm not so good at).

 

Are players not travelling enough?

 

No (theyre not). People in the US routinely travel 4+ hours to ptq whereas most in the UK wont bother with anything over 2 hours. It comes down to how much you want to qualify, and at the moment it's a shame but most people don't really seem to care.

 

Are players not working together enough?

 

Again, no (they're not). I went over this a bit in the 'what's wrong' section and i think the same problems apply. The top players are rude/dismissive of the stupid ideas of the new players, who take this to heart and go back to their local playtest group then bomb out of the PT and resent the top players for not helping them, instead of working harder to improve their ideas so they will be taken more seriously. There is responsibility on both sides for this, but as matteo said basically respect (in terms of magic ability, not personally) is earned, and i personally am not overly keen to spend ages explaining why an idea is rubbish if it clearly is. My relationship with Pete (not sexual) is a good example of this, as i am constantly making fun of his stupid ideas (of which he has loads) and yet he doesn't take it too personally, and occasionally he has an awesome idea and which i am more than happy to discuss.

 

Re: nats, i think that this tournament is quite different from all the others in terms of working together, as it's obvious here that people will stick to fairly small testing groups due to the direct competition within the UK. Having said that, one of my biggest regrets in magic was shutting some people out of the barnslayer deck who probably deserved to get the list (note i dont think you're one of them charlie, as iirc we just chatted about the format a bit beforehand, not exactly a huge contribution), in particular JR and the Coventry group, both of whom i'd tested a lot with before i'd found the deck, and Pete whose idea i nicked and built on (though hes stubborn enough that he might well have gone with his inferior version anyway :P). If i could, i would definitely go back and give those ppl the list. Overall, i think keeping tech to very few people is probably overrated for nats as there are enough people there and there is enough variance to make it unlikely that giving a list to 10 ppl rather than 5 will make any difference to your own chances, but i still think it is reasonable for this tournament to stay fairly 'cliquey', and i quite like the region vs region competitiveness element too.

 

Good/bad venues/TOs

 

I dont like manchester simply because it's far too small a venue to comfortably host ptqs, though im sure the shop owner is a nice guy (dont know him myself). Reading is probably the best regular venue for ptqs, and London is good too. I don't really know too many TOs, but i know that Glen, Jason and Tu are all cool.

 

Why aren't UK players performing better at PTs?

 

I think it's a bit of a cop-out to say 'it's because UK players aren't good enough' as this is basically repeating the question. The real issue is: why arent UK players good enough to do well at PTs? A lot of it comes down to preparation, which is usually fragmented and poor, largely for the reasons i set out above about different people not working well together. Secondly it's a question of dedication. Realistically to do well at PTs nowadays you have to be very dedicated to the game and be willing to put a lot of hours in, in order to get better. This naturally favours younger players without jobs (school/uni students), but at the moment there don't seem to be many of these who are committed enough to the game to do well. Success breeds success, and it's good to see Matteo and JR t8ing PTs, Dan_G coming 1 win anyway and Richard t8ing GPs, so hopefully this will have a positive effect, but right now im struggling to see where the next batch of quality young players is going to come from, which is a shame. Another factor is that magic in the UK seems to be stunted by a general lack of ambition, so that when i go to ptqs and talk to people, most are there trying to make t8 and will be very happy if they do. I think that this is a lot down to the very cliquey/regional nature of magic in the UK, so that people are more than happy to be the big fish in their small pond rather than challenging themselves to be the best in the UK and to perform on the European/world stage. A good way to address this would be more large UK tournaments where people from all over attend, so hopefully Tu's UK tournament series will get off the ground.

 



 

 

 

 

Tried to edit to include this so apologies if im repeating myself, but obviously Rich Hagon should also be in the 'Heroes' section for all his coverage work over the years, and he always gives a shout out to UK magic/UK players.
You lot should come out on the piss with us more often.
Mills time is an experience not to be missed

James Mills said:
You lot should come out on the piss with us more often.

Ya, really. Pretty sure most cliques of players in the UK would get on a lot better if they put the games aside once in a while and just talked shit over a few beers. Sheffield...?

 

 

Anyways, thank you everyone for your responses, a good broad range of opinions I think. I already have way more than enough material before putting my own thoughts in, so will take some work, but hopefully the end result will be worthwhile.

James Mills said:

You lot should come out on the piss with us more often.

Not sure why you felt the need to call me out personally? Im fairly certain I have never expressed interest in joining your testing groups or being your friend.

 

You should really try to be more like your brother. In his post he says that Dan G is a dick all the time, but that why you like him. He is fun to hang out with. Im assuming that people can feel the same way about me. Im not sure what you read in Dans article to decide that made me a dick rather than just a guy who doesnt take things too seriously, like to have fun and may drink slightly excessivey. Sorry if thats the sort of person you dont want to hang arround with. Im sure its better than judging people on how good they are at magic as an indicator of if they are worth talking to.

 

At the end of the day its about having fun. Yeah I may not have won the PTQ but at least I got to hang out with some friends and probably drink.

 

Personally I feel that you come off the worst in any of these posts as you come off as arrogant and just generaly a not nice person.

 

 

Matteo OJ said:

Well I wasn't so much saying earn "my" respect, but as a general case the people who bitch constantly about the "better" players are the ones who for some reason think the better players should automatically want to be their friend and include them in their happy testing circles. gary lynch is a good example - I was reserving judgment on him as despite him seeming a dick in every online interaction i've seen him in, i've never met him, but dan barrett's recent SCG article on him confirmed that yes, he is a dick. He's the type of player who keeps making whingey forum posts about how the "good" players are rude and stick to themselves, when the reason we stick to ourselves is that we don't want to interact with people like that. I'm never anything but civil until I see a reason not to be, the odd sarcastic comment or making fun in jest aside. I'm just tired of reading people saying the reason UK players are bad is that the good ones won't let them play on the swings, just because they beat DanG once after misplaying like a monkey and didn't like the way he reacted

 

also, ginger's comments kinda pissed me off, as he continues to run the "I'm your friend but btw I'm not really"

 

Dan,

A simple idea from twitter for your next article and look where it has gone!

 

There have been some very honest opinions expressed and I can agree with most of them, not the bitchy stuff, as I do not know some of you well enough to have formed opinions yet. It is a matter of how well we know each other, I would not call Gary a dick, but I know him and he will be missed in London.

 

The idea that the better (pro players) are distant and do not share is not new, the previous generations of pro players (the better players?) have come across the same way. I have played since the end of 1995 and have seen the ups and downs of magic in the UK. Some of it is down to the attitude of the players, awful venues, less than great TOs (most TOs and judges in this country are great and I glad I can count a lot of them as friends) and WOTC at times has not always been helpful in supporting OP (not always their fault, they have constraints from WOTC Europe and US).

 

A number of people have mentioned that some players will not travel, but there are reasons for not traveling to PTQ's, money, time, other commitments (family etc) and not having a good deck. I personally cannot travel to many events and I would love to go to more, but for me it is family commitments and work in the past. When I go I will offer space in my car (people carrier) and I will share any tech I might have/ heard about. I am only a semi serious player because I do not play enough and I go to events planning to do well and to see friends. In my opinion there less serious players now than in the past and the quality of the players wanting to be serious is not high enough. In average PTQ most of us can name who will top 8.

 

Something that will help magic in this country is more high level events, the more events the better the average player will have to be to do well. Well that is the theory. There have been cash events in the past and the attendance has been low. The Games Club has cancelled it third Saturday in the month constructed events as people were not turning up and it costs too much to pay for a room, have a dealer etc to justify low numbers.

Hopefully things can get better.

@Marco: I assure you I'm not actually bitter 100% (even if I joke about being bitter a lot), there's no way I would have run that list even if I had it... was praying for the mirror that year in the t8 instead of stupid elves :P. Also if you have 1m ideas and 999,999 of them are bad, at least you have 1 good idea. If you have 10 mediocre ideas you have no good ideas :)

 

On the other hand, your point about people taking themselves too seriously is an interesting one. It's true that that may be a contributing factor, but it's worth questioning why so many people here seem to have a problem with DanG and not Guy Southcott or Adam Barnett or whoever. It could be a different sort of attitude towards certain players... once you get a reputation for being a certain way it's hard to shake it (I know several people who think DanG is a deck not because he was a dick to them, but because he was a dick to someone else they knew... in my case that's Richard but this is getting a little off topic). At the same time you can't force yourself to like someone and give deck tech to them and its unreasonable to expect that. However, you must admit that it's a little mean (even joking around) to call every random people who wants to speak to you a barn or a barn-a-saurus rex (my favourite DanGism).

 

@Matteo. Clearly you've never actually spoken to or otherwise interacted with Gary. I don't think I've EVER seen him winge unreasonably about anything magic related (at least no more so than most people when they lose to bad luck etc.). I think it's quite the opposite in fact, he's more likely to think LESS of you if you value magic so much that it works to exclude other people, rather than try harder to get into the group. You've chosen the wrong person for your example and it makes your entire post look a little stupid.

 

@Dan: Hagon and Willoughby are of course legends... if we're talking old school, Sam Gommersall is honestly the reason I started playing magic competitively... but I don't think he counts as "recent".

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by Thomas David Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service