Friday, 30 June 2017

Mono Sheep Aggro

Greetings Sheep,

Are you enjoying grazing the boundless fields of Magic the Gathering articles in your little paddock? Who will you follow today?
I'm sick of all my flockmates complaining about whatever format they've been told is bad. I don't grind standard on modo everyday so I'm not as in touch as some people but I've been playing long enough to know that this game is fantastic and the team who make it do an excellent job.

This article I will be proposing that perhaps there is a degenerative behavioral pattern occuring amongst players. Let me run you through my sequence of reasoning:
It all stems from the fact that copying someone else's deck is about a hundred times easier than designing your own. What this leads to is players only playing decks from the first big tournament of the format. Under the current system, the Pro Tour is only a couple weeks after set release. This means that the best players in the world are designing the decks that everyone will use. Therefore those decks will be good, creating less incentive for players to innovate later in the format.
Next step: 
What happens when everyone plays the same two, three or four decks? Well they don't stop playing Magic, because Magic's awesome. They also don't switch decks, because the one they've already invested time and money into is good. So what do people do? They complain. And now thanks to the wonders of the internet and social media those complaints are heard load and clear by all their digital sheep friends.
Eventually the complaints reach WOTC employees. The more complaining, the more sheep that join the complaint flock. Eventually WOTC are pressured into changing something. Whether it be bannings or tournament format changes. Don't get me wrong, feedback and change are extremely important but I feel that there's way too much negative hyperbolic feedback leading to changes that are bad for the game in general. Namely, the game's reputation.

Before you bleet on facebook about how bad you think a format is, ask yourself, Have I tried building my own brews which attack the popular decks? Am I part of the problem or am I part of the solution?
Is the format really that bad or are the games still interesting and challenging? I think you'll find that even the most narrow two/three deck formats have beautiful nuances that you can enjoy for a couple months until the next set comes out.

I urge players to realise that they may just be complaining about a format because it feels good to be united in sentiment with their peers. You may not actually have a problem with the format, it's just cool to hate.
 So what is the solution? How do we stop the herd of hate? One change, which may be in motion already, is WOTC conducting the Pro Tour a bit later in each standard format's life time. This way the decks that people copy early on will be from modo 5-0's rather than from the minds of the world's best players. Consequently when the Pro Tour does happen, it will be more likely that there is room for innovation. When Pros discover new and better decks players will switch to those, which means more card sales. 
In some play circles, players who don't play 'tiered decks' are belittled and considered gimmick players, rather than people who contribute to the community. I'd like to see innovators get a little more recognition. That is another way we can reduce complaints about format diversity.

I dunno. Maybe I'm part of the problem for even writing this article. Perhaps I'm the one stirring the pot when there's nothing wrong at all. Where does the doubt end? In the end we really just need to have a good time and enjoy playing some cards during out free time.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your games,