Friday, August 31, 2012

Day three of the Magic: The Gathering Players Championship is tomorrow!

We're right on the heels of the World Magic Cup, but now instead of national teams from more than seventy countries around the world, it's a tight competition between only sixteen of the best players in the world. It's intense! If your typical Grand Prix is a red giant, then the PC is a white dwarf: small, but densely-packed and blindingly bright. (White dwarf stars are bright, right? They have "white" in the name, so I just assume...well, I'll look it up on Wikipedia later.)

Day 1 began with sixteen. By the end of Day 2, only four remain: Shouta Yasooka and Yuuya Watanabe from Japan, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa from Brazil, and the Shadowmage Infiltrator himself, Jon Finkel.

Now, me, I'm rooting for Finkel. For one, he's the home team; let's win one for America, right? Plus, he's a big name in Magic--big enough that I know his name. And I tend to root for the guy whose name I know. On top of all that, he's also a pretty cool guy. So I'm pro-Finkel.

If not Finkel, I'd support PV. He's from Team ChannelFireball, so he's practically an honorary American. Or I guess since he's from Brazil, an actual (South) American, but whatever. If you can't root for the home team, root for the neighbor's team, that's my philosophy. Also, again, I know his name and I, like, read his articles on the CFB website, and stuff. And if I had to pick, I'd say that although neither accent is especially sexy, the Brazilian accent is definitely sexier than the Japanese accent. So he's got that, too.

But enough about the players, let's talk about the coverage team. Best commentator? Eh, probably Rich Hagon. I am a big fan of Zac Hill, but he's relatively new to the commentator booths and it does show. Rich, however, is a coverage veteran, and he knows what's what. It's a tough job and Rich Hagon is just more experienced at it.

That being said, Zac Hill and Marshall Sutcliffe had their share of...uh...what would you call it, um, like, good commentary, I guess? They certainly weren't 100%, but they shed a lot of light on what the players were probably thinking about. Nobody can get inside another person's head; there were many moments when they didn't understand what a player was thinking, and got confused as a result. That's where Zac's commentary was weakest, I think--he didn't quite know what to do with himself when the player's line disagreed with his analysis. On the flip side, however, if it wasn't a miss, it was a hit. Zac and Marshall are good players, and their insights were often illuminating.

As for the formats, Cube was an awesome choice. I'm glad they picked it. LSV drafting mono-red--good times, good times. (I was rooting for him too, but sadly he has fallen out of contention.) I think Cube is the quintessential format of the Timmy/Spike. It's highly skill-testing and complex, but it's also packed with awesome, epic things. It's the draft format where every card is awesome and the awesomest deck wins.

In other unrelated Magic news, the planeswalker points website now allows players to officially align themselves with one of Ravnica's ten guilds. There are guild leaderboards and guild achievements and everything. So I chose a guild.

I tend to identify, color-wise, with sort of the top of the color wheel, like, Bant-y. I used to be more blue, but since I started college I've been drifting more towards the green end. Occasionally I dip into black, but red's pretty rare. I think nowadays I identify most strongly with green and its "Shit happens, life goes on" attitude. Gruul is way too crazy, though, and the Golgari seem kind of harsh (and creepy). Simic is okay, but I feel like they overthink things.

On the other hand, the Selesnya Conclave has...tokens! And tokens are awesome! I love having lots of tokens out! So I am sold. Selesnya is the guild for me. I was one of the first visitors to the new website, so I am the 000006th member of the Conclave! I wonder if I get a pet wolf like the Ledev dudes in the books. I don't normally like dogs, but if it's a psychic mind-linked wolf familiar, that's different.

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