Monday, November 28, 2016

WHAT IS UP WITH ALL THESE NEW OFFERINGS?

Wizards of the Coast has been trying a lot of stuff lately. Standard Showdown, Bonus Holiday Packs, and the return to the old Standard rotation schedule are some of the things they have introduced recently. It begs the question: Are they running out of money?

It seems to me that Battle for Zendikar and Shadows Over Innistrad did not really deliver on the nostalgia or bring something really fun to the table. Thus, these two sets might not have produced the profits Wizards expected so the company is constantly devising ways to make us buy packs and to play with these two sets despite their flaws. What flaws? The fact that landfall is not a key mechanic. Or that the current double-faced cards are not as powerful as their predecessors. Those glaring flaws.

I hope that I am wrong. I pray that the game is healthy and thriving, which is why we are seeing these newfangled gimmicks. Or at worse, we are seeing a normal downturn, a business cycle when Magic is not doing so well for reasons other than poor card design and development.

In which case, Wizards is not running out of money but it is no longer the cash cow it once was.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The State of Pinoy MTG

I have always wanted to write about the state of Magic: The Gathering (MTG) in the Philippines. While there are good things happening, much still needs to happen for the game and the community of players for me to say that things are truly healthy and growing. This is my opinion about the current condition of MTG here in my home country based on my experiences as an MTG player, blogger, and tournament organizer.

So first, as an MTG player, I think that local players are pretty good but lack international exposure. Sure, Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) has installed the Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers (PPTQ) and Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers )RPTQ) for players in smaller markets like ours to gain recognition, maybe some money, and a chance to turn professional. However, it is too hard a path to take when players who do well at these things often lack the funds to go the countries where an RPTQ is taking place, much less the actual Pro Tour. What I see and hear at these events are people negotiating as to who is able to go because he or she is willing to pay for the opportunity. It is no longer about who plays well but who pays well.

Now unlike other people who complain but do not do anything about it, I would like to propose that there should be zonal championships. There should be an Asian or European Championship for example. Technically, the RPTQ seems to be this but in reality it isn't. It just does not motivate enough people around here. An Asian Championship on the other hand seems more glamorous and attainable. I am certain Filipinos would welcome the chance to go up against Japan every year to see if they are indeed getting better or not. At this point with a Grand Prix happening in Manila on every two years, we are not competing against the very best frequently enough to improve our skills and prove that we belong on the Pro Tour as well.

As a blogger, local Magic content is woefully inadequate. We do not have stores paying people to write about strategy, deckbuilding, theory, etc. How then can we advance Pinoy Magic if we don't read, discuss, and learn from our own experiences? We cannot always be reading about the American metagame. The culture and experience of Magic is so different here. We need writers, actually, thinkers about the game who will share their ideas and help advance our game to the next level.

My suggestion is that a store or group of stores undertake this monumental task and support writers, buy decklists if necessary from tournament organizers, and get local players to innovate and grow more quickly. The undertakers of this project will earn money from advertisements, card sales, etc. This is something doable and profitable. We just need someone brave enough to initiate it.

Lastly, as a tournament organizer, I am dissatisfied with the way the distributor prices booster packs. At 160 pesos each, it makes holding tournaments very expensive. Add the fact that renting space in malls or anywhere else is prohibitive and you see why tournaments are far and few in between. With lower costs, stores can go crazy rewarding players with booster packs like in other Asian countries. 

Maybe a second distributor is necessary to bring down prices. Maybe the current distributor and the stores can work together at reducing the former's risk by buying in bulk. There are so many solutions but they are not being implemented which seems like a waste.

Filipino MTG players are skilled, motivated, and persevering. I hope circumstances change for the better in the areas I have mentioned. 

If you know of anything else that can help or there are issues that you want discussed, feel free to comment about it and I will do my best to write about it. Thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

Friday, July 22, 2016

ELDRITCH MOON Cards for Sale - 09217603649 - CUBAO

ELDRAZI/COLORLESS

2 pcs. Abundant Maw - 10 each
1 pc.  Decimator of the Provinces - 300
1 pc.  Eternal Scourge - 100
1 pc.  Distended Mindbender - 250
2 pcs. Drownyard Behemoth - 10 each 
1 pc.  Elder Deep-Fiend - 400
1 pc.  Emrakul, the Promised End - 1,250
3 pcs. It of the Horrid Swarm - 5 each
2 pcs. Lashweed Lurker - 10 each
4 pcs. Mockery of Nature - 10 each
1 pc.  Vexing Scuttler - 10
5 pcs. Wretched Gryff - 5 each

WHITE

2 pcs. Blessed Alliance - 50 each
3 pcs. Borrowed Grace - 5 each
6 pcs. Choking Restraints - 5 each
2 pcs. Collective Effort - 100 each
2 pcs. Courageous Outrider - 10 each
4 pcs. Dawn Gryff - 5 each
4 pcs. Desperate Sentry - 5 each
2 pcs. Drogskol Shieldmate - 10 each
2 pcs. Extricator of Sin - 10 each
5 pcs. Faithbearer Paladin - 5 each
2 pcs. Faith Unbroken - 10 each
4 pcs. Fiend Binder - 5 each
2 pcs. Geist of the Lonely Vigil - 10 each
1 pc.  Give No Ground - 10
7 pcs. Guardian of Pilgrims - 5 each
5 pcs. Ironclad Slayer - 5 each
4 pcs. Ironwright's Cleansing - 5 each
1 pc.  Lone Rider - 25 
2 pcs. Long Road Home - 10 each
3 pcs. Lunarch Mantle - 5 each
2 pcs. Peace of Mind - 10 each
1 pc.  Providence - 25
2 pcs. Repel the Abominable - 25 each
1 pc.  Selfless Spirit - 150
1 pc.  Selfless Spirit FOIL - 400
5 pcs. Sigardian Priest - 5 each
4 pcs. Spectral Reserves - 5 each
3 pcs. Steadfast Cathar - 5 each
2 pcs. Subjugator Angel - 10 each      
1 pc.  Thalia, Heretic Cathar - 450
1 pc.  Thalia's Lancers - 75
5 pcs. Thraben Standard Bearer - 5 each

BLUE

2 pcs. Advanced Stitchwing - 10 each
2 pcs. Chilling Grasp - 10 each
1 pc.  Coax from the Blind Eternities - 100
3 pcs. Contingency Plan - 5 each
6 pcs. Convolute - 5 each
1 pc.  Curious Homunculus - 10 
4 pcs. Displace - 10 each 
2 pcs. Docent of Perfection - 50 each
4 pcs. Drag Under - 5 each
3 pcs. Enlightened Maniac - 5 each
5 pcs. Exultant Cultist - 5 each
4 pcs. Fogwalker - 5 each
2 pcs. Fortune's Favor - 10 each
2 pcs. Geist of the Archives - 10 each
2 pcs. Grizzled Angler - 10 each
1 pc.  Imprisoned in the Moon - 100 
6 pcs. Ingenious Skaab - 5 each
4 pcs. Laboratory Brute - 5 each
2 pcs. Lunar Force - 10 each
1 pc.  Mausoleum Wanderer - 200 
1 pc.  Nebelgast Herald FOIL - 100
1 pc.  Niblis of Frost - 40 
2 pcs. Scour the Laboratory - 10 each
4 pcs. Spontaneuous Mutation - 5 each
1 pc.  Summary Dismissal - 50
3 pcs. Take Inventory - 5 each 
4 pcs. Tattered Haunter - 5 each 
4 pcs. Turn Aside - 5 each
1 pc.  Turn Aside FOIL - 50
2 pcs. Unsubstantiate - 50 each
1 pc.  Wharf Infiltrator - 100

BLACK

5 pcs. Boon of Emrakul - 5 each
7 pcs. Borrowed Malevolence - 5 each
4 pcs. Cemetery Recruitment - 5 each
4 pcs. Certain Death - 5 each
1 pc.  Dark Salvation - 50
2 pcs. Dusk Feaster - 10 each
5 pcs. Gavony Unhallowed - 5 each
2 pcs. Graf Harvest - 10 each
5 pcs. Graf Rats - 5 each
2 pcs. Haunted Dead - 10 each
1 pc.  Liliana, the Last Hope - 1,500 
3 pcs. Liliana's Elite - 10 each
2 pcs. Markov Crusader - 10 each
5 pcs. Midnight Scavengers - 5 each
1 pc.  Murder - 50
1 pc.  Oath of Liliana - 100
4 pcs. Olivia's Dragoon - 5 each
2 pcs. Prying Questions - 10 each
2 pcs. Rise from the Grave - 10 each
2 pcs. Ruthless Disposal - 10 each
6 pcs. Skirsdag Supplicant - 5 each 
5 pcs. Strange Augmentation - 5 each
1 pc.  Stromkirk Condemned - 150
2 pcs. Succumb to Temptation - 5 each
4 pcs. Thraben Foulbloods - 5 each
2 pcs. Vampire Cutthroat - 10 each
1 pc.  Voldaren Pariah - 50
5 pcs. Wailing Ghoul - 5 each
4 pcs. Weirded Vampire -5 each

RED

4 pcs. Abandon Reason - 10 each
4 pcs. Alchemist's Greeting - 5 each
1 pc.  Assembled Alphas - 25
2 pcs. Blood Mist - 10 each 
4 pcs. Bold Impaler - 5 each
4 pcs. Borrowed Hostility - 5 each
4 pcs. Brazen Wolves - 5 each
1 pc.  Brazen Wolves FOIL - 10 
1 pc.  Collective Defiance - 100
2 pcs. Conduit of Storms - 10 each
1 pc.  Deranged Whelp - 10
4 pcs. Distemper of the Blood - 5 each
4 pcs. Falkenrath Reaver - 5 each 
6 pcs. Galvanic Bombardment - 5 each
1 pc.  Hanweir Garrison - 200
1 pc.  Harmless Offering - 100
1 pc.  Impetuous Devils - 25
2 pcs. Incendiary Flow - 50 each
6 pcs. Make Mischief - 5 each
1 pc.  Mirrorwing Dragon - 250 
3 pcs. Otherworldly Outburst - 5 each
4 pcs. Prophetic Ravings - 5 each
2 pcs. Savage Alliance - 10 each
2 pcs. Shred of Sanity - 10 each
2 pcs. Smoldering Werewolf - 10 each
3 pcs. Spreading Flames - 10 each
6 pcs. Stensia Banquet - 5 each
5 pcs. Stensia Innkeeper - 5 each
3 pcs. Thermo-Alchemist - 5 each
5 pcs. Vildin-Pack Outcast - 5 each
2 pcs. Weaver of Lightning - 10 each

GREEN

5 pcs. Backwoods Survivalist - 5 each
7 pcs. Bloodbriar - 5 each
1 pc.  Clearshot - 10
3 pcs. Crop Sigil - 10 each
5 pcs. Crossroads Consecrator - 5 each
1 pc.  Eldritch Evolution - 650
2 pcs. Emrakul's Influence - 10 each
1 pc.  Foul Emissary - 10
1 pc.  Gnarlwood Dryad - 25
6 pcs. Grapple with the Past - 10 each
1 pc.  Grapple with the Past FOIL - 75 
2 pcs. Hamlet Captain - 10 each
1 pc.  Kessig Prowler - 10
2 pcs. Noose Constrictor - 10 each
3 pcs. Prey Upon - 5 each
7 pcs. Primal Druid - 5 each
2 pcs. Shrill Howler - 10 each
1 pc.  Somberwald Stag - 10 
1 pc.  Splendid Reclamation - 200
6 pcs. Springsage Ritual - 5 each
6 pcs. Swift Spinner - 5 each
2 pcs. Tangleclaw Werewolf - 10 each
1 pc. Tangleclaw Werewolf FOIL - 25 
4 pcs. Ulvenwald Captive - 10 each
1 pc. Ulvenwald Observer - 25
3 pcs. Waxing Moon - 5 each
4 pcs. Wolfkin Bond - 5 each
2 pcs. Woodcutter's Grit - 5 each
4 pcs. Woodland Patrol - 5 each

GOLD

1 pc.  Bloodhall Priest - 100
1 pc.  Bloodhall Priest FOIL - 200
2 pcs. Campaign of Vengeance - 10 each
1 pc.  Heron's Grace Champion - 100
1 pc.  Mercurial Geists - 10
2 pcs. Mournwillow - 10 each
2 pcs. Ride Down - 10 each
1 pc.  Spell Queller - 600

ARTIFACTS

6 pcs. Cathar's Shield - 5 each
2 pcs. Cryptolith Fragment - 25 each
5 pcs. Cultist's Staff - 5 each
2 pcs. Field Creeper - 5 each
2 pcs. Geist-Fueled Scarecrow - 10 each
1 pc.  Lupine Prototype - 100
1 pc.  Stitcher's Graft - 50
1 pc.  Soul Separator - 50
5 pcs. Terrarion - 5 each
2 pcs. Thirsting Axe - 10 each

LANDS

1 pc.  Geier Reach Sanitarium - 100
1 pc.  Hanweir Battlements - 150
1 pc.  Mountain FOIL - 10
2 pcs. Nephalia Academy - 25 each

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Growth

We've experienced a surge in attendance over the past two weeks mainly because we added other formats to our usual Standard offering. We still haven't perfected running multiple events and our customers have suffered as a result but better planning and execution should solve most of the issues. I expect Sunday to go smoothly with two Level One judges overseeing things. We're also starting earlier, one hour to be exact from 1pm to 12pm. This is to accommodate the extra rounds required by a Grand Prix Trial and Game Day.

It's also gladdening to witness our community engaging in cosplay. It has added a dimension to our weekly gathering that makes everyone smile. Hopefully we can have more people engaging in this fun activity at a future big event.

Offering new things isn't easy and success isn't guaranteed but standing still is not an option. Customers deserve fun and competition that can't be beat and we will work hard to provide both. It is up to my team to do their best in coming up with as many ideas to add value to the customer experience and to run our events professionally. Being boring and disjointed are capital sins in this business. We don't want to commit them because we love our community.

We are currently laying the foundation for growth, developing new players and judges. New blood means the game will survive longer and new judges mean the community has more leaders to take up the cudgels from us. While progress has been haphazard, the most important thing is to TRY ANYTHING AND EVVERYTHING to make Magic the most respected and played card game in the country.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Preparing for Growth

We've been getting more players the past two weeks.  This is due in no small part to the word of mouth from our homegrown community.  They talk about the raffle prizes like Mana Confluence or Athreos or the new Commander system we unveiled two weeks ago.  They're having fun experiences and they're sharing that with others.

Our responsibility is keep giving them what they want, what they deserve.  We must work hard to serve their needs for timely recognition, good rewards, and awesome events.  It is in this vein that we are concerned with the time allotment at our venue.  With more people participating, it means more rounds of play and thus an earlier start which might not be possible.  

What is clear though is a trend indicating growth and we must prepare for that or risk being surprised in a bad way and letting down our player base.

Monday, May 12, 2014

About Yesterday...

People liked the new Commander offering.  Paying P20 for a round/pod and earning five points or kills was and is easy to do.  As it turned out, it provided lots of fun times for the regulars at Padi's Point every Sunday.

The first person to win a pack (and an Opal Palace donated by Joey Hernandez) was Robert Flores.  It only took him three rounds or pods to kill five people and thus win a pack.  Following close on his heels was Kira Manaloto who secured the second pack of the day, helped by her 4-0 wipeout of a pod.  I was personally rooting for Portia Placino to be the standout player of the day especially when she was the first to eliminate someone with Bruna.  After that though she was closely guarded by the others which limited her effectiveness.
 
We were astounded by the support for this product/service.  Although only seven people participated in the three pods, there were other Commander players closely watching and cheering.  They were intrigued by the possibilities Robert's accomplishment represented: for sixty pesos he got a pack and an Opal Palace.  Better yet he still had a point leftover which meant that adding four more points would yield him another pack.
 
* * *
Modern wasn't such a good story.  In fact, we didn't push through with it as no one showed up.  We didn't know whether this was due to a lack of information dissemination and a poorly conceived prizing scheme.
 
Despite the failure, it only fueled our motivation to get it right next Sunday.
 
* * *
Draft, too, was another missed shot.  Like Modern a couple of people showed up but that wasn't enough to get a sanctioned tournament going. While the prizing scheme was attractive (one pack per win) and the cost was lower (550 pesos), the dearth of promotion activities doomed it.

Maybe replacing this with Pack Wars would be better.

* * *
Standard was an absolute hit.  We had thirty players.  Lucky for them, our generous sponsor Comic Quest provided Mana Confluence in a raffle.  Jorrell Ang won the highly coveted card and it led to people asking if there would be more surprise rewards in the future.  Knowing our home store, the answer was a definite yes.


Friday, May 9, 2014

So we've announced the addition of three new formats to our Sunday offerings.  There will be draft, whether it is an 8-man or a pack war sort of thing.  Also, Modern will take its rightful place beside Standard as the flagbearers of Magic competition.  Lastly, Commander will move out of the fringes and assume a more prominent place.

Hopefully these new wrinkles will revitalize the community and attract members.  Even if they don't pan out, we won't regret trotting out stuff that we feel gives fun experiences to our people.