News Brief: Extra Life Stream, Cheating, and Who Gets to Play Magic

With the Grand Prix circuit taking a week off, last week had comparatively fewer newsworthy events in the world of Magic.

Extra Life Stream

This past weekend, members of Wizards of the Coast helped to raise money with Extra Life. Extra Life uses games and game players to help raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Members of the Magic team and the Dungeons & Dragons team participated this year. As of the time of writing, the Magic team has raised north of $69,000, shy of their $100,000 goal. The D&D team is also short of their fundraising target.

Who Gets to Play?

A number of storylines converged in the past seven days and they all focus around a question that has been a hot button topic in the community for the past several months: who gets to play high-level Magic?

First, Dan Lanthier, a former Canadian National Champion and two-time Grand Prix winner, was recently caught cheating on camera. He submitted a letter to the DCI (shared with permission by Daniel Fournier) wherein he asks for a lifetime ban from the game. Lanthier says that “cheating has no place in Magic” and goes on to say that he hopes his requested punishment will serve as a “strong deterrent” to those who would consider cheating in the future.

News also broke on October 21 that content creator Todd Stevens lost his job writing for StarCityGames and has received a three-year ban from their Open Series. According to the story from Hipsters of the Coast, two weeks ago a group of women came forward describing harassment at the hands of Stevens. As of writing no action has been taking by Wizards of the Coast.

These two stories come on the heels of other incidents, including an 18-month suspension for Matthew Foulkes after using subterfuge to obtain a second Flooded Strand promo, while Dan Ward received a 6-month suspension for cheating at Pro Tour 25th Anniversary. All the while, several high profile players who were banned for a period of time due to cheating came off their bans and are allowed to play in tournaments again.

So who gets to play Magic? The fact that this question is being asked at all indicates that it needs a clearly communicated answer.

Looking Forward

We are only three weeks out from Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica. Standard appears to be in a good spot with the format constantly evolving over the first few weeks of the format. Despite the apparent early dominance of Golgari midrange strategies, Standard feels far from solved. Combine that with a Limited format that is getting high praise and it sets the stage for what should be an exciting Pro Tour in Atlanta. We’ll get a final look at Standard next week with Grand Prix in Lille, France and New Jersey, United States. Then the circuit travels to Atlanta for Modern the week before the big show. And in Atlanta we’ll induct Seth Manfield and Lee Shi Tian into the Hall of Fame and determine who will be the 2017-18 Player of the Year: Manfield or Luis Salvatto.

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