Feature Article from Brian Braun-Duin

Definitely Real MTG News: This Week's Top 5 Stories

Brian Braun-Duin

3/13/2020 11:02:00 AM

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Author's Note: The following article contains no citations, evidence or true statements.

As many of you know, I am Brian Braun-Duin. Yes, that Brian Braun-Duin, the famed Pulitzer Prize-losing journalist. While my accomplishments are many, unfortunately they don't speak for themselves. I have to qualify each of my accomplishments with a lengthy explanation for why they matter in a pleading attempt to convince others of my relevance. But we don't have time for that nonsense today, because I have news to report. I take my job very seriously and would never get sidetracked from my life's goal of firing off piping hot news stories before anyone else even gets a whiff of them.

I've spent every waking moment of the last week scouring the internet for the juiciest pieces of news, and it's my honor to be able to report to you the top five stories of the week.

MTG Arena to Come Out on Mobile

The long-awaited release of MTG Arena for mobile devices is finally set to come out sometime in 2020, according to Hasbro, the parent company of Wizards of the Coast. Players have been pushing for a mobile release of the game for a long time now. While the announcement doesn't set a concrete date for the release, the response was generally positive among players who are happy to know that this is something in the works for the future.

Some of the expected features for MTG Arena on mobile include:
- Simplified deck building tools for a smaller screen
- Ease of use options for in-match gameplay
- Only available on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Not all responses were positive. Some users expressed concern about the platforms for the mobile release.

“While I'm happy for the release of MTG Arena on mobile, I'm disappointed that I still won't be able to play MTG Arena on my iPad or my iPhone. Sure, not that many people use these devices, but we do exist and we want to play too.”

Even among the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users, a few expressed concern about the upcoming release. The biggest concern seemed to be that if a player's phone overheated, melted, or exploded during a game of MTG Arena they would be unable to determine if it was because of the battery factory defect inherent in the Note 7, or because they forgot to restart their phone after each game.

Despite potential hiccups, Hasbro stock is set to explode upward because of this announcement.

Convention Center Employee Surprised to Find Soap Dispenser Needs Refilling in Men's Restroom

John Braddock, local convention center employee, couldn't believe his eyes when he checked the soap dispenser in the men's restroom and realized that it actually needed a bit of a top off.

“I almost didn't bother to check.” said John. “I've been working here for three years and I've never had to fill the soap in this restroom before. I usually don't even bother looking. I only decided to check on a gut feeling today, and to be honest, it shook me a bit.”

John said his coworkers didn't believe him at first and had to be shown firsthand. Some of them suspected foul play, thinking that perhaps John had emptied the soap himself to trick them.

“I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out why this happened, and the only conclusion I can draw is that all the news stories about washing your hands finally got through to people. I'm open to other interpretations. This is all new territory for me.”

Wizards of the Coast Weighs Options for Upcoming Events

As Magic tournaments get cancelled around the globe due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Wizards of the Coast has been forced to consider difficult options for how to proceed with the upcoming Players Tour regional events.

After hearing that Wizards planned to reschedule and relocate the events, a number of players and community members have suggested running the events on Magic Online instead. But that suggestion comes with its own set of problems, many of them inherent to the limitations of Magic Online.

“We are sympathetic to the idea of running the events on Magic Online.” said one employee who wished to remain anonymous. “The question becomes: is Magic Online up to the task? We believe that Magic Online is only able to safely run a tournament for a maximum of 128 players without any risk of the event crashing.”

The number of qualified players for some of these events are in excess of 128 players. That's not necessarily a dealbreaker, though, if you're willing to think outside the box.

“We believe we've come to a solution for that problem. Discretionary outvites. We will be selecting, based on our discretion, a number of players who will be outvited from the tournament until we get down to 128 players. Those players will not compete in the event.”

As they find creative solutions like this to each problem that springs up, the notion of a Players Tour event held on Magic Online inches closer and closer to a reality.

Local Testing Team Disbands Before First Game Played

Dank Ritual, a local team hoping to eventually compete in the SCG Tour, unfortunately disbanded last Wednesday before even playing a single game of testing. Their team captain, Barry Barrison, cited issues between teammates over an inability to randomly determine who had the option to play or draw.

“We sat down for the first match to test Alan's brew vs. Seth playing Stock Temur, but we never got past the shuffling.”

Apparently former team member Seth Manda suggested high roll as the methodology to determine who would get to be on the play, but then he rolled two six-sided dice onto the table before waiting for a response from teammate Alan Smith. The pips on the two dice showed 11. Alan said that he preferred odd/even as a randomization method, but Seth then accused him of only preferring a different method after noticing that Seth had rolled an 11, a difficult number to beat in two-d6 high-roll.

This prompted much argumentation and accusations between the two, including a suggestion that Seth only “dropped” the dice and didn't actually give them a good enough shake to be considered a real roll. Fortunately, Dank Ritual was the kind of team determined to move past these squabbles.

Eventually, the two players decided that they would choose to do even/odd and ignore the result of Seth's high roll. Unfortunately, they then found themselves unable to decide which player would hold the dice and which player would call the result. Furthermore, they found themselves unable to decide whether even or odd needed to be declared prior to rolling the dice or if it should be called with the dice in the air. At what point in the process of a dice roll does it become too late to declare even or odd? This was one potential pitfall that they felt needed to be addressed before the first die was cast.

Britney, a teammate who had thus far chosen to remain uninvolved, joined the fray by suggesting that each player hold one die, roll them simultaneously, and add up the result to determine even or odd. This method would reduce the possibility for one player to cheat in rolling the die after the other had selected odd or even.

This suggestion sparked widespread disagreement across the team regarding the mathematics of such a roll. “You can't roll one with two dice, so even is the more likely result,” said Seth. “No, it's 50/50. The odds of rolling a seven are higher than other numbers, so it balances out,” responded Britney.

As the two argued over statistics, both reaching for their phones to use Google to prove the other wrong, Barry came to the sudden realization that he was no longer interested in competing in the SCG Tour this season. Dank Ritual was summarily disbanded.

Magic Player's Unsubstantiated Hot Take Somehow Proven Right Four Years Later

William Jackson, 28, posted a series of tweets after the card Inverter of Truth was previewed suggesting that the card was “broken” and “would need to be banned.” He followed up with a four-part tweet diatribe about the role of power creep in Magic and how it was ruining the game, and that he was no longer interested in playing Standard after seeing this card.

It may have taken four years and involved fringe new cards creating a niche home for the card, but we're happy to announce that William was proven right about Inverter of Truth after all.

Unfortunately, William could not be reached for comment. He quit Magic and deleted all social media accounts after enduring excessive backlash over those tweets.