The news of last week was about more than just Magic. This past week showed us just how the events of the world can directly impact our communities.
First, on August 26th, a gunman opened fire on a Madden Tournament at a sports bar in Jacksonville, Florida. Three individuals were killed and more were injured. While not directly related to Magic, this tournament is akin to a local game store event. While there are many factors that went into this particular occurrence, it leaves the question of what can be done to protect players at Magic events both large and small.
A few days later, three artists who work on both Magic and Dungeons & Dragons were prevented from entering the United States through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). The artists, Titus Lunter, Magali Villeneueve, and Anna Steinbaurer, were later transported to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility where they were detained overnight. The three artists, from the Netherlands, France, and Austria respectively, were returned to the airport the next day and placed on the first flight back to their home country.
The reason for the detention hinges on the ESTA visa waiver. The waiver allows individuals to come into the United States without a visa to participate in certain work-related activities. The three were coming for a concept push and as such were subject to interpretation of the waiver. All three artists had their ESTA waivers revoked and if they want to return to the United States, must apply for a visa.
(2/2) These creators are beloved at Wizards and in the community. While we address the events of this weekend, rest assured that they’ll continue to be a part of Magic and D&D for years to come.
— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) August 27, 2018
Game Night and Gift Pack
Two new products were announced last week: Magic Game Night and Magic Gift Pack. Game Night is a game in a box for five players. Designed as an entry level product, the package comes with five cards exclusive to Game Night that are geared for multiplayer play. The deck lists and cards can be seen at the link above.
The Gift Pack is designed to be, well, a gift for the holiday season. Packaged with five premium lands, a spindown, and four Core Set 2019 booster packs, the box will also come with five exclusive creatures (one for each color). These cards are Standard legal and will rotate with Core Set 2019. They are designed to be at a similar power level to the planeswalker deck’s cards. They too can be seen in the above linked announcement.
Guilds of Ravnica
We got our first look at Guilds of Ravnica this past weekend at PAX West. First, we learned the guild mechanics for Selesnya, Izzet, Golgari, Dimir, and Boros.
- Boros gets mentor, a keyword that puts a +1/+1 counter on an attacking creature of lesser power when the creature with mentor attacks.
- Dimir now has surveil. Surveil X is a keyword that allows you to look at the top X cards of your library and put them either back on top of your library or into your graveyard.
- Golgari has the ability undergrowth, which counts the number of creatures in your graveyard.
- Izzet has jump-start. Instants and sorceries with jump-start give you the option to discard a card and pay the spell’s cost to cast it from your graveyard. The spell will be exiled if it is cast with jump-start.
- Selesnya gets convoke again.
We also saw that the shocklands will be reprinted.
The panel also revealed a new prestige product: Ravnica Mythic Edition. With more information coming September 5, this is what we know. The box will contain 24 booster packs and 8 of the packs will contain 8 planeswalkers (6 from previous sets, 2 from Guilds of Ravnica) that lack borders and instead have art extensions. The box will be available through the Hasbro Toy Shop online and will retail for around $250.00.
We found out more about the Guild Kits. These boxes will include a guild stamped spindown die, as well as guild specific basic lands.
Grand Prix Richmond
Labor Day weekend featured a double-Grand-Prix in Richmond, Virginia. In Legacy we got to follow Reid Duke in his quest for Player of the Year and in Standard we started the long goodbye to the Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks.
The Legacy Grand Prix came down to two classic archetypes. Duke, on Grixis Control, missed the Top 8 and a draw in the final round also knocked him out of the Top 16, which would have tied him for the Player of the Year lead. Instead, it was Duke’s Ultimate Guard teammate Andrew Cuneo who took down the event. Using Miracles, a deck firmly in his wheelhouse, Cuneo carved through the Top 8 and defeated the three players who handed Duke his losses in the Swiss. In the process, the longtime pro also managed to lock up Platinum status for himself.
Over in Standard, it was another Goblin Chainwhirler story. After dropping from the Legacy Grand Prix, Seth Manfield and Luis Salvatto—both Player of the Year contenders—went undefeated on Day 1 of Standard with black-red decks. While Salvatto fell by the wayside, he still got to 11 wins and tied Reid Duke for second place in the Player of the Year race. That would have been great for Salvatto if Manfield didn’t make the Top 4 and extend his lead to 3 points. But Manfield fell to eventual winner Alex Hon, who himself was piloting Black-Red Aggro.
Congratulations to Andrew Cuneo and Alex Hon!
There are only two Grand Prix left in this professional season. Next week the circuit travels to Detroit for Team Unified Modern. At the same time across the Pacific, Japanese Nationals will be taking place.