My wife spent the weekend sick and I think has passed whatever she had onto me. So the end result was last night both of us came home from work completely dead and ready to go to sleep. We managed to last until around 8 pm before hitting the sack, and then slept the entire night through without interruptions. This is not exactly normal for us and as a result I feel a little weird after getting all of that sleep. As far as gaming went I managed to complete the daily key challenge in Anthem before logging out… thankful that you can bank keys for a later time. Shortly after that I attempted to play some more Breath of the Wild and managed to get the outfit needed to sneak into Gerudo Town… but could not stay conscious long enough to actually do that thing. It was around this time that my wife showed visible signs of succumbing to sleep… when in truth I had been quietly nodding off the entire time we were sitting in the living room. Basically I had a very unproductive night gaming wise, but I hope the sleep helps because she sounds miserable… and I am starting to feel that way.
This weekend I got wrapped up in the Magic the Gathering Mythical Invitational happening at Pax East, which is weird considering I generally bounce off of all e-sports streams. However I watched most of the finals on Sunday strangely compelled and finding myself actually rooting for one of the players. What was interesting about this specific format is that it all happened inside of MTG Arena, meaning there was no need for a judge and limited stalling tactics… the end result being very rapid matches given that most of the mechanical stuff was being taken care of by the game. What was also interesting about the roster specifically is it was a mix of Magic Pro League players, 8 Qualifiers that came up from the ladder play on Arena, and a mixture of notable streamer types. So this could have played out a bunch of ways, but if you were a gambler you probably would have bet on one of the battle hardened MPL players to take hope the trophy. However what happened in truth was something slightly more interesting. The final ranking looked a little bit like this…
- Andrea Mengucci – MPL member
- Piotr Głogowski – MPL member
- Janne “Savjz” Mikkonen – Challenger – Mostly known as a Hearthstone Streamer
- Ondřej Stráský – Challenger – Top 8 MTG Arena Qualifier
So yes at the end of the day Magic Pro League players took the first two slots… however they absolutely gave them a run for their money. Savjz especially played some matches that could have gone either way and like so many Magic matches it wound up coming down to card draw and top decking. I think this even more than probably anything was a chance for WotC to show that Arena players could in fact compete in the MPL and I wonder if at some point in the future we will see all MPL matches played out using the Arena client. The difference in speed was noticeable as well as the match being way easier to follow for the viewers at home. When watching a normal Magic match, things are happening so fast that you are largely entirely reliant upon the announcers to tell you what is actually happening. Here you can see both sides and the what the players have in their hands as well… and as a result it leads to way more tension as you know what the other player has as an answer to the play that the active player is about to make.
The other cool thing about the tourney is it gave them an opportunity to show off the cosmetic changes to the client including the introduction of special full art skins that you can get for various cards. The game also launched without card sleeve art that is so popular in games like Hearthstone. Throughout the game play they announced redeemable codes over Twitch that allows the players watching at home to pick up some of the things. Here is what I believe is a full list of the codes that are redeemable.
- StarterStyles – The Pack Shown in Screenshot
- SparkleDruid – Druid of the Cowl
- SuperScry – Opt
- ParallaxPotion – Revitalize
- FoilFungus – Deathbloom Thalid
- ShinyGoblinPirate – Fanatical Firebrand
Additionally they are starting to add the cosmetic rewards to various events. Now the interesting thing about a cosmetic is that if you don’t already have the card… you seem to also get the card when you collect its appearance. During one of the various redeems I did not actually have a copy of whatever card it was granting me and the game made a note that I was getting one of that specific card. I fully expect that there to be more cosmetics surrounding the release of the War of the Spark. That is probably a whole other topic however and I am running out of time this morning so going to wrap this post up. I really think Wizards of the Coast finally understands what it takes to make a viable product for the internet age, and I look forward to seeing what happens surrounding the Arena client and future tournaments. This was probably quite literally the first time I cared about anything e-sports related, so good on them.