Skipping the upcoming Grand Prix

19:25 Thu 16 Aug 2007
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Earlier this week I decided not to play in the major MTG event Grand Prix “San Francisco”. A Grand Prix is a two-day mixed professional/amateur tournament, open to all attendees (unlike the invitation-only Pro Tour events). I put the location in quotation marks because the GP is actually in San Jose—something that is a factor in my skipping it, and it annoys me quite a lot that Wizards of the Coast wouldn’t either put up the money to host the event in San Francisco or honestly admit that it wasn’t in San Francisco.

They did something similar with their City Champtionships program: San Francisco was one of the test cities, but of all the Bay Area stores involved, not one was actually in San Francisco. That’s not quite as egregious, partly because it’s easy to get to e.g. Berkely from the city. San Jose is rather further away, and is a lot less convenient.

In any case, I had originally intended to play, despite the location. But I ended up following the same pattern as for other competitive MTG events over the past 18 months: initial interest, followed by lack of preparation, followed by declining interest, culminating in the realization that I didn’t want to spend such a significant chunk of my free time on the event.

I feel slightly guilty about this, because West Coast Grand Prix events are annoyingly rare, and I feel like I should support them when they occur, to encourage more of them. I also feel that I “should” be a tournament player, and hence “should not” be skipping events. But those impulses aren’t strong enough to make me go.

I still enjoy MTG when I play it. I don’t intend to give up Wednesday night drafting. But I’ve definitely drifted away from competition, especially Constructed competition. Two years ago I played Constructed PTQs at a reasonable level. Three years ago I was spending a lot of time and thought working on deckbuilding across multiple environments, and came up with some strong builds that I’m still proud of. But since then, my involvement has waned steadily. My ability at draft has decreased at more or less the same pace, but draft still holds my interest, whereas Constructed at this point seems like something other people do. Except when I’m playing with the World Championship Reprint decks, which I still really enjoy—and I wonder if the absence of recent editions of those is contributing to my lack of interest.

I’m really not sure what the reason for the downturn in my interest is. It’s not the quality of the current sets, which I think is excellent. Part of it is due to spending more time doing other things (particularly writing). Part of it is some other factor, some loss of interest not in MTG per se but in the general realm of activities of its kind. It may be part of a long cycle.

Perhaps building the 2005 and 2006 Worlds decks myself will get me back into it. In the meantime, Wednesday nights, Prereleases, plus occasional casual games, and that’s about it.

4 Responses to “Skipping the upcoming Grand Prix”

  1. Lev Says:

    tadhg, I fully support you in this decision. I, too, was toying with the idea of going, but the main event (block constructed) is simply beyond my mental and temporal scope right now. I may, however, end up going for an afternoon of casual drafting or to watch the more talented players in the finals. I think we are both experiencing a waning interest in MtG, and are striving to hold onto the part of the game we enjoy (good company, creativity, challenge) while letting go of the darker side (obsessiveness, over-analysis, anxiety under pressure). Tournament MtG is just not the right thing for me right now.

  2. BDU Says:

    I went, filmed the event with a few interviews from pros, and am still outraged by the fact. I even heard the reason why from Tim Gin of Cards and Comics in SF.

    He stated that the organizor has lots of connections with judges. The person who has the most connections will be the one most likely picked to host the event. But then as many people who know the organizor well, they know that he never posts up accurate information so that is the reason why attendence never shows high levels. Although they posted up more accuracy since then with SF Bay Area now on the locator, it still isn’t enough for a large legacy format supporter like me.

  3. BDU Says:

    Then the reason why World decks are no longer being published is the fact that it is no longer making the company anymore money in promoting the PT. So they got rid of that concept and went for player cards, since it was a more appropriate approch other than classifying a player’s ability by the deck they built and played at a world event.

    Even now I push to hold Legacy events up here because Block, PTQ formats and FNM formats just have too much time in the sun with the occational P9 Vintage tourney. Then its just insulting to a community that the format isn’t promoted enough.

    I still even push to get locations correct, because when I interviewed Raphael Levy towards my last question at the GP he wished that the organizor had better accuracy.

  4. Tadhg Says:

    Lev: wait, I thought that obsessiveness, over-analysis, and dealing with the stress of competitive play were the good things?
    I still love the game, and it feels like I want to want to play it more. But other activities are crowding it out (and I’m not even going to the limited PTQ for Kuala Lumpur this Saturday).

    BDU: Thanks for the info. The poor quality of information about upcoming events is one of the major gripes that people around here have with the current event organizer, and that’s been problematic for years.

    As for the tidbit about the Worlds decks and why they’re no longer being printed, I still think that was a stupid decision by Wizards. I can see why they’d go for the Pro Player Cards, and having nothing against them per se, but as I’ve said before, the Worlds decks provide a unique connection to high-level competition, a connection that’s not available to other kinds of games and which Wizards should value more highly.

    By the way, is the video you took at GP “San Francisco” available online anywhere?

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