This past weekend represented an inflection point for Magic: The Gathering. Magic entered the world of eSports with the first major Magic Arena tournament (boasting an incredible $1,000,000 prize pool), Magic’s twitch channel reached over 120k concurrent viewers, and we were graced with the most epic and cinematic trailer for an expansion we have ever seen. If this was a brief glimpse into Magic’s future, I am very excited.
Now lets start with the Mythic Invitational. This weekend we saw 64 Pros, content creators, and ladder grinders take to the stage at PAX East to compete in the highest stakes Magic tournament of all time. The winner of this tournament walked away with $250,000 (congrats @Mengu09), and even the competitors who went 0-2 left with a nice $7,500. The money isn’t necessarily the most exciting part of this event, but it shows that wizards is serious about making Magic something that people will want to compete in, and I think this will do nothing but help grow our community. The Invitational was also our first chance at seeing a high production Magic Arena tournament, and as a spectator I gotta say it’s going to be hard to go back to the glare filled tabletop matches when MC London comes around.
The coverage this weekend also took a big leap forward. I never understood the dead serious/Golf like commentary that was associated with Magic tournaments. The casters all wear suits, the players don’t show emotion, and there is very little overall excitement. With the Invitational we got a breath of fresh air with a production that seemed to embrace the fun and excitement of this game and bring some life to the broadcast. Not to mention @bmkibler doing the lords work by rocking the sport coat and T-Shirt combo to help get us away from the suit and tie look.
Streamers being involved was also a key part in the enjoyment of this tournament, because we finally got to see competitors have fun with each other. Sure there was a quarter of a million dollars on the line, but you bet your ass if I was in this tournament I would be smiling and messing with my opponents the whole time. On the topic of streamers, it was incredible to see @MTGNerdGirl , @coL_Amazonian , and @jesstephan crush their way into top 16, showing the world that keeping MTG a boys club is really stupid and a waste of time. I for one embrace our new MTG overlords.
Now I could keep talking about the Invitational forever, but considering it’s viewership I’m sure everyone has seen it and has their own thoughts and opinions on it. One of the biggest surprises for me this weekend was how amazing the roll out for War of the Spark was. Hopefully you watched the launch trailer up above, because damn. If this is the route Magic is going to take for their lore going forward I may have to start paying more attention to the flavor text.
Like a large part of the magic community I mostly focus on the gameplay and don’t pay too much attention to the lore. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the art and the world WOTC has built, but it definitely isn’t the main thing that keeps dragging me back time and time again. This trailer however is so damn good, and brings such an incredible sense of scale to this set that I can’t help but get excited for the story. War of the Spark has jokingly been referred to as the Avengers: Endgame of Magic sets, with 36 Planeswalkers being in the set, and the potential for a lot of lore-crushing deaths it sure seems like an apt description.
Now I’m no lore expert so I won’t start theorizing about stuff I am unfamiliar with, but if like me your interest in the lore has been peaked by this trailer I highly suggest checking out the Youtube series Magic Arcanum by Ryan Gomez, he does a great job of explaining the main beats of the magic story in a fun and interesting way.
This has been one hell of a long post, and I wont go on any longer, but let me leave you with this.
Uncommon Planeswalkers are upon us! Stick around for my post next week where I’ll be going deep on some of the new spoilers and putting my brewing hat on!