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The Spotlight, 2013


Welcome to The Spotlight, my new series—which, over the next few years—will be shining a spotlight on community topics, conversations, and issues as they arise from the dredges of the interwebs. As tinkling bells of Christmas begin to grow louder and this year of Magic 2013 closes, I thought it only fitting to shine a spotlight on the year and all we accomplished, toiled through, and celebrated.

It can’t imagine a Magical year without tiny flashes of controversy, but this year took it to a whole new level. Maybe we should have taken the hint from the way our magical year began all the way back in January, when WotC announced Sponsored Invitations to Pro Tour Gatecrash and the community began to voice their thoughts on special invites (or #pityinvites, as some would claim).

January wasn’t finished with us wizards yet, as the late midnight bell began to toll, and thousands of fingers across the world began clicking endlessly, hoping against hope their favorite broken cards wouldn’t be receiving the ban hammer. When smoke cleared and pages loaded, WotC announced we would be saying so long to Bloodbraid Elf and Seething Song.

With the Gatecrash release, special invites sent, and the ban list official, it was time for Magic’s giants to dust off 2012 and get their 2013 magic on at Pro Tour Gatecrash. Melissa DeTora went honey-badger on her haters, showing that girls can hang with boys by leading the charge on Day 1 at respectable 8–0. She would hang tough till the very final rounds, but skill and fate would lead Tom Martell and Joel Larsson to the finals table for the ultimate matchup: aggro vs. control.

2013 to some would become known as the year of the “cease and desist.” With WotC sending out notices to fan artists, web site operators, and more, it became very clear WotC plans to protect and enforce their brand rights, and the magical world was put on notice when Cockatrice went dark.

In everyday life, there is a battle between sex, what is sexy, what is tasteless, and what’s just plain sexist. It can be confusing, maddening, and complicated. Sometimes, it’s not complicated, though. Sometimes, it’s just plain sexist. Magic in recent years has been confronting this issue head on, with many people letting the community know what they thought about a certain coupon that was offered, which featured a certain planeswalker in her naughty-come-take me underthings.

We had slung cards, rolled our dice, and made it all the way to April, but if you thought we had gotten complaining about special invites out of our system way back in Janurary, boy howdy were you wrong!

As the summer began to heat up, something started slithering its way into the forefront of Magic conversations. Slivers were announced for Magic 2014, and . . . well . . . just take a look . . . 

WotC proved yet again they aren’t afraid to shake things up by completely revising the legend rule. There were people frothing at the mouth to watch a duel of Jace, the Mind Sculptors—and there were some other few whose inner Vorthoses cried out in blasphemy. Like it or not, the legends were coming to a play mat near you, and they were there to stay.

As preregistration hit a thousand and then two thousand and then three, everyone in the community knew this event was going to be different. This was our Magic Woodstock. Wizards from across the country poured into Sin City for Grand Prix Las Vegas, to play with a special set called Modern Masters. When all was said and done, over 4,500 players cracked-pack in the desert oasis. Party houses were rented, Booze Cubes were spotted, and modern magic players showed the neon streets they could hold their own.

As the summer sun began to fade and fall was upon us, previews for Theros began to ignite the Internet with buzz. Gods and goddesses rejoiced as images from the upcoming set were released at the major comic and gaming conventions across the world—all building up to one of the most highly-anticipated Prereleases since Innistrad. We will need time and the dawning of 2014 to see how the Theros block shakes out, but the excitement for its release was palpable and infectious.

Theros went live, and players began to debate new strategies; we were left with a feeling it would be smooth sailing until the end of the year. There were the new Commander decks to rush out and hustle off the shelves of Wal-Mart and Target at MSRP, and there was a brand new holiday box to wrap and put under the tree for the special magical player in your life. It was almost a wrap. Then, a Magic Online Championship Series happened—the crash heard round the world. Tension was high, everyone could agree Magic Online was not the ideal we hoped for in a digital representation of our beloved game, but what was there to do? Well, “Shut it all down,” turned out to be the answer. Your move, WotC.

2014 should be another epic year for Magic: The Gathering. We will be able to see how Wizards fully responds to the demands of its consumers with new sets, rules changes, bannings, digital upgrades, and more. Vintage is on the way to Magic Online, and there will be Pro Tour battles waged and many friends gathered. Looking back over the year, what struck me most was how passionate the people who play Magic are about every aspect of our game. I don’t know what 2014 will bring or what controversies will arise, but I do know I will be right here with you, recording your magical history and sharing in your magical lives.



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