TL;DR: I joined the Magic Pro League in the first place because it seemed easier to make a difference from the inside. I was wrong. The lack of transparency and unwillingness to listen to feedback continue to be huge issues.
A lot has happened in six months. Here are the quick hits:
1) Our contract “negotiations” involved WotC officials purposefully not answering our questions and telling us to either sign or walk. Overall, not the best way to start a new business relationship.
Things had not changed and it didn’t seem like the MPL was happening in good faith. I would have turned it down if not for two very smart people who reminded me that if what I cared about was making a difference, it would be easier to do so from the inside. They were right, and I would have regretted not trying.
2) The boot camp was mostly good but had several issues. We took a “how to stream” seminar roughly a month after most people had started streaming. The Japanese were forced to fly to Renton, WA for no real reason. We were supposed to get emails containing summaries of all the information, including vital streaming tools/links and feedback for PR training, but that didn’t happen for four months, making it effectively useless.
We also gave feedback on contractual issues (ever wonder why none of the MPL players have been picked up by esports orgs?), structural issues for the MPL (nobody knows how to qualify for 2020 or what it’s going to look like), and Duo Standard with seemingly all of it being ignored.
3) The Mythic Invitational is a huge hit, despite Duo Standard. Coverage is immediately walked back to the status quo at MCII. While not the only factor, it’s certainly a large reason why the Twitch numbers were so poor.
4) Communication is still lacking. Announcements for the Mythic grind, the MCQs for MCIII, and even our MPL league play were given with very little lead-in time.
5) At this point, it should be very clear that the players selected to represent Magic at its highest level were not thoroughly vetted.
Now, you could argue that I’m in that camp. However, I’d like to think that if things were progressing rather than regressing, I would have held onto my position. Following my Worlds protest, I’ve tried to go through the “proper channels,” but all that got me was a string of unanswered messages. I don’t think my decision to leave is unjustified.
6) There is no information about the Magic Online Championship Series finals. It’s happening this weekend and even the competitors don’t know who is qualified for the event. Since Platinum no longer exists, it’s no longer part of the first place prize and won’t be replaced by anything. Given that it’s roughly $20,000 worth of equity, advertising that it’s part of the prize pool and then taking it away (without telling the players about it no less) is concerning.
The system is currently a mess and since it doesn’t look like it will be fixed any time soon, it’s not one that I’d currently like to participate in.
“Isn’t the MPL what you wanted following your Worlds protest?”
Yes and no. My protest was about far more than just pro players. The MPL existing is great for my contemporaries and I know many of them are happy with their situation. However, if the MPL comes at the expense of Silver, Gold, and Platinum pros, it’s a change that is a net negative on the ecosystem of organized play.
A big part of my protest was in regards to those who aren’t top professionals and those players have very little to strive for at the moment.
“How does this affect your relationship with Magic?”
In short, very little.
I’ll finish my obligations to the team series, which means playing the next two paper Mythic Championships (if I’m qualified, heh). In the meantime, I want to double down on doing what I do best, which is making content that helps others succeed in tournaments.
“How does this affect how we should interact with Magic?”
Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t take my frustrations or criticisms as a sign that you should alter how you engage with Magic. I’m choosing to do the things I find rewarding and I’d be happy if everyone else did the same.
If you want to chase those Mythic Championship invites or the MPL, do it.
Throughout his tenure in Magic: The Gathering, Gerry has worn many hats. Tournament grinder, content producer, professional player, game designer, teacher, and broadcaster are part of the ways he’s made MTG part of his life. Rather than flying to a tournament each weekend, Gerry enjoys his time trying to help the next generation of Magic players hone their skills and be positive members of the community.