Hello Magic Community,

Welcome back to the Jester’s ReCap, a reckless and haphazard semi-monthly delve in to Magic: the Gathering news. This week sucks for me because nearly anything and everything is about Dominaria Spoilers and I’m trying really hard to cover actual happenings rather than just giving card-by-card jokes all the time. (I like doing those fine, but they feel like a cop out, plus someone has almost always beat me to them). Don’t get me wrong, there’s a ton of hilarious Dominaria spoilers and the set looks tremendously sweet, but with the spoilers taking up so much of my mental bandwidth it was definitely hard to remember other stuff going on. I’m going to try anyway though, because whining that something is hard and then wandering off leaving the job unfinished is what the Gatewatch is for, not comedy writers. And we begin, as always with:

MTGO Sucks

Arena is out there and it’s not perfect, but it’s in people’s hands. It’s on people’s streams. It’s economy might be a steaming pile of money-grubbing bullshit, but that perfectly describes about 90% of all popular games these days. Arena is pretty. Arena works. Under all of it, Arena is Magic, which is the best asset it could have in it’s corner. Arena is coming and while one should never count out WOTC’s ability to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory, it looks like it’s here to stay.

Is it possible for a computer program to sweat? Can a bunch of lines of code possibly wake up screaming in the night? Is it possible for a .NET framework to yell obscenities into a mirror while eating raw cookie dough in its underwear? Because if the level of personification I tend to imbue MTGO with has given it the ability to feel fear, then it must know its days are pretty numbered. It must occasionally close its medicine cabinet and see Arena standing behind it for just a second, only to turn and for nothing to be there. It must get weird phone calls in the night, made up of  pretty new sounds effects and heavy breathing. It must often find beautifully animated card art wrapped in filthy newspaper on its porch in the mornings.

MTGO isn’t going anywhere either, at least not for awhile. There don’t seem to be any immediate plans to make all the cards in Magic’s history retroactively available on Arena and that seems like a metric ton of work to do. But the fact is, MTGO has always thrived on being the only game in town. We had no other option, so we kept coming back. Not to jinx it, but it would be difficult to make a program less appealing to use than MTGO. If we can get that sweet, sweet Magic high out of just about anything else, you can bet MTGO is on the way out. You spent most of the run time of this movie as the horny teenage asshole, MTGO. The knife-wielding psychopath is in the house, laughing maniacally. If you’re going to get a happy ending, you had better get the audience on your side, pronto. Time for emotional revelations and newfound character depth. Evolve or die, MTGO. Your choice.

Rodrigo Togores Gets a DCI Ban


Here’s an interesting story that stayed with me just because I thought the guy had a very punchable face. Jester’s ReCap is like that sometimes, stories stay with me for odd reasons and then make the cut. So this Togores character got handed down an 18-month DCI Ban and although the DCI tends not to go into great detail about this kind of thing, the scuttlebutt is he was DQ’d from a GP for stacking his deck using some slight of hand nonsense.

Completely unrelated side note: the term “Scuttlebutt” comes from a term for a cask full of fresh water that sailors would drink from on old 19th century ships. Sailors tended to hang around the water and chat. So, Water-cooler gossip, basically. I bring this up because etymology is its own reward, but also because imaging a bunch of pirates around cask and chatting like office drones makes me unspeakably happy.

Pirate holding tiny paper cup: You hear about Earl?

Pirate holding mug that says “World’s Best Thug”: What, from rigging?

Pirate holding tiny paper cup: Yeah, he was fired. Out of the cannon. To create chum and attract sharks.

(My apologies to anyone who knows anything about actual privateers. We now rejoin the section about the cheating asshole)

What’s fascinating about Togores isn’t that he cheated, or that he got caught, or that he got banned. That all seems pretty straight across to me. What’s fascinating to me is that Togores tried to claim that he got punished more severely because he’s an amateur magician. Which, I mean… What does that have to do with goddamn anything? As though the DCI has it in for people who are slightly less talented than Birthday Clowns. Don’t get me wrong, I get the thin thread of logic there. You were caught/accused of cheating in a way that uses some slight of hand. You’re a well known slight of hand aficionado. Maybe the DCI was jumping to conclusions based on your personal history? On the other hand, you also released a video series called “HOW TO CHEAT” on Youtube, so maybe go sit on a dick, Rodrigo Togores.

Also, in his statement about the incident Rodrigo said something to the effect of “If I’d been cheating, you would have never caught me.” Which is sort of like saying “Yes, my fingerprints are on the knife and yes, I have defensive wounds and yes, the victim appears to have spelled out my name on the floor in his own blood. However, think about it. If I committed this murder, why did I leave so much evidence behind? Wouldn’t I be trying to NOT get caught? Your argument defeats itself.” It’s the sort of brazenly stupid BS that does genuinely cause people to hesitate, before they shrug and bust your stupid ass.

Story Time!

There have been a ton of story updates, but only like three things I care about, so let’s blast through those real quick:

Tiana (or as some of us know her, Kaylee) is a fun character that Wizards is maybe having too much fun with. She the Angel Artificer, she’s neat and she clearly has some secret origin that connects to a classic character. Fan theories abound, but the most important thing to note is that she’s an Angel with more character than a damp rag which is a marked improvement. As a general rule, Angels make awesome cards and uninteresting characters since they are, by design, singular in purpose. Although, making Avacyn a crazy psycho-killer was a pretty cool too, since singular and unrelenting purpose DOES make for a good serial killer.

Arvad showed up. Goddamnit Wizards. I knew it. I goddamn knew it. Oh look, a tormented Vampire who wants to be mortal and resents his curse and isn’t really a bad guy at all. Angel- I mean, Blade- No wait I mean Edward (Edmond? I didn’t read the Twilight books)- no wait, I mean who gives a crap. Now this guy and Elendra can go make a hundred not-quite-elf children and Vampires can be good guys forever. The redemption of the species is in full swing.

Well screw you, Wizards. If the forces of evil don’t get Vampires, than I’m taking another tribe back. I choose Kithkin, for a couple reasons. One, Vampires were a primarily black tribe being pulled into white. Kithkin can be the reverse. Second, Kithkin were often sort of creepy and unsettling in the art. Despite having friendly names and very white abilities, they were sort of “uncanny valley” sometimes and seemed weird and doll-like, with their dead, pupilless eyes. Third, while vampires seeking redemption is a boring and played-out trope, I think “Evil Halfling Community” has some legs from a narrative perspective. They can be all about social hierarchy and base their standing on who has the highest body count, or ate the most babies or something. They can be partying hedonist murderers like the Rakdos, only with with less masochism and more sadism.  Or maybe you can do better. Maybe all Fungus are evil now. Or Boars. Actually, for something of similar size you could make Merfolk evil…but first you have to make them interesting so we’d care. Ball is in your court, WOTC, you owe me an evil tribe.

The only other interesting thing I want to note is that there’s some mild Gideon / Lili shipping going on and while neither of these two are my favourite characters, and while “bad girl gets charmed by literal white knight” is a boring trope as well, I actually have some hope for this one. If Gideon does his usual “I’m loyal to a fault” bit and Liliana not only uses him, but feeds him into some kind of narrative woodchipper, it would do a lot to get her back on the evil side. Gideon gets to be a martyr, which is his only remaining useful talent, and Lili gets to go back to the dark side, full stop. I don’t hate that plan.

Format Decay

There’s no “official” death sentence for a Magic Format. People can always play the formats they like and some of my favourites have never had a whole hell of a lot of support. Still, it’s probably worth nothing that MTG Goldfish removed their pages for Frontier and Tiny Leaders recently. I wouldn’t normally comment on it, except the idea that fan-motivated formats like these that were genuinely interesting and trying to find new game space essentially flopped while stupid “Brawl” is going to get official support for years to come makes me sick to my stomach. Frontier was never my jam, but I appreciated the concept of carving up Modern a bit seeing what interesting stuff fell out. As Commander variants go, I find Tiny Leaders a hell of a lot more interesting than “The Format where Harvest Season might get Played”. Again, I’m not saying Brawl is a bad format. It seems like it might be a lot of fun. But it came from a place of convenience for Wizards, while genuinely interesting experiments have fallen by the wayside. That’s pretty sad.

And that’s it for me this time. I was up against a deadline and dog tired, so things got pretty loose. What did you guys think? Was Togores given a fair shake, or was it a Magician Hunt? Should Lili and Gideon be a tragic romance, or are these two not enough to carry a subplot? And most importantly, which tribe should go evil to offset Wizard’s redeeming vampires?



One Response

  1. Dan

    With the whole thing about vampires, I think you’re forgetting that black is just a colour of magic, it’s not inherently evil, yes a lot of characters/races that used black mana are historically evil, but that doesn’t mean that they all are, look at Sorin for example, selfish, yes. Evil, not necessarily.

    The same goes for Lilliana, she isn’t evil per se, and I don’t think ever was, but she is selfish and will ultimately work to her own goals first, but i will concede that “vampire seeking redemption” is such a cliche.


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