Hello and welcome to another episode of Raise Your Standards. In my article last week, I listed quite a few decks that have been doing well recently that might be good options for you to play at your Store Championship. This week, since there have been no major shake-ups with Standard I thought I’d write about a growing problem happening in the Magic community. That problem is people overreacting to things happening in the world of Magic.
Maybe it’s because I spend a lot of time on the internet reading other peoples’ articles and absorbing other readers’ reactions, but it seems as if every other comment is something negative about this game that we all love, with no mention of any solution that would make the problem better.
Don’t get me wrong, if you have a problem with something, I believe the proper thing to do is to speak up about it. However, I also feel that complaining about something without having any kind of a solution is pointless. If you feel that something is not right, you probably know what would make the situation better. Don’t keep that thought hidden. Even if it’s not the solution that’s ultimately chosen to fix the problem, you’ve likely helped whoever fixed the issue in their choice of solutions.
Last week, Bradley R., another content creator here at mtgdecktechs.com, created a video where he complained that the decision that Wizards of the Coast made to sell draft packs of Iconic Masters at mass-market stores such as Wal-Mart and Target was causing his friendly local game store to go out of business. If that’s truly the case (that the inability to have exclusivity of one product from Wizards of the Coast), then I would believe that this store certainly has other problems which are causing them to contemplate shutting down. As a former game store owner myself, one single product (Iconic Masters) should not be the basis for your success or failure. Even one product line (such as all MtG cards) shouldn’t be.
In business, the key is to diversify the products you offer so that no single product line is supporting your business than any others. Imagine that each product line you offer is the wall of a building, and that the roof of this building is your business. You can’t build a building with just one wall, just like a business can’t be supported by a single product line. By having multiple product lines, you’re able to build a strong business, and that business can still stand even if one of the product lines was not as strong as the others (or even if it went away completely).
(Note: I mean no ill will toward the business Bradley was talking about, or toward Bradley himself. The thought of losing your local game store is a very scary situation. I’m hopeful that his FLGS (friendly local game store) will be able to weather this storm and remain in business.)
I’d also like to point out that I agree 100% that it is better to support your local game store because they truly are the backbone of the gaming community. Without a local store, there’s no place to teach new players how to play, no place to easily hold a tournament, and no consistent place for players to get together to play whenever.
Another reason to buy cards at your local store is the price. The draft packs that I’ve seen in my Wal-Mart and Target are usually prices right around $33-35. That breaks down to around $11-12 per pack. By purchasing these at my local game store at $10 each, I can actually save money.
There’s one last thing I’d like to say about these draft packs that have been showing up at mass-market stores. While I don’t particularly like that they are there (especially for “Masters” products), I do understand why they are there. In many areas, there is no local game store within a reasonable distance. This is a way for those people to purchase booster packs of this product easily. There are also a ton of casual players that don’t visit local game stores (for whatever reason). These draft packs allow those players a chance to experience these cards for themselves. So, since Wizards of the Coast can’t bring the casual players to their local game store where these types of products would normally be found, they’re bringing the product to the places where casual players frequent. Let’s just be happy that these are packaged as draft packs and not as individual boosters.
The Problem with Promos
One other topic Bradley mentioned in his video was the Friday Night Magic promo problem. As I’m sure you’re aware, with the release of Ixalan, Wizards of the Coast changed their policy regarding Friday Night Magic promos. The alternate art foil versions of specific uncommon (mostly) Standard-legal cards had come to an end, to be replaced with double-sided foil token cards from the current set.
While I agree with Bradley that these new promo tokens are very unexciting, I don’t agree that they are the reason for dropping attendance at Friday Night Magic. I think a lot of that has to do with the current state of Standard. A lot of people are tired of Energy decks being in the format. It’s an over-pushed mechanic with no drawback. I also think that the Holiday season (from mid-November to the end of December) also keeps people away due to having other obligations. I’ve seen attendance at my local store drop every year for the past few years around this time of year, but those players return once the new year rolls around.
And while I’m certainly not excited about the current double-sided foil tokens being given out, I don’t see much difference between them and a foil uncommon that I usually wouldn’t play with. Value-wise, most of the FNM promos and the tokens are around the same price, so that’s a wash. (Yes, there are some exceptions such as the Fatal Push promo, but I’m talking about the majority of these promos).
I would like it better if the promo had some sort of alternate artwork, or if they could be full-art tokens like the backs of some of the Unstable tokens. That way they would have a unique appearance other than just the foiling.
With spoiler season for Rivals of Ixalan right around the corner, the last type of overreaction I’d like to discuss is hyperbole. Hyperbole is defined as “exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.” How many times have you read a review that talks about how this new card is the greatest thing since sliced bread? Or that new card is the bees’ knees? (Okay, I’m not really that old, but I’m using these statements to prove my point.)
I’ll admit, I’m sure I’ve been guilty of overhyping a card (or two… or more) in the past. With that being said, I’ll try to do better with my use of hyperbole in the future. Hopefully others can try to do this as well.
So, I wrote an article about how other people overreact about things, and in it I overreact about their overreactions. Hopefully, though, I also followed my own advice and provided some solutions to these overreactions. What do you think? Am I way off on my assessment of these complaints or on my proposed solutions? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment. Or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/) to be sure to be notified when a new article is posted.
Be sure to join me back here next week for another installment of Raise Your Standards. I’ll see you then!