Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Magic Scene in Singapore

Recently, a sanctioned event (GPT Shisoska) held in CMG DG drew the ire of a some members of the community. For those of you who were not up to speed, the threads can be found at

Essentially, it was a case in which an opponent was suspected of drawing more cards than he ought to
Four to be precise. Murhur

So the matter was brought up to a judge (Ian), whom in my personal opinion...did not handle the situation adaquately. Failing to sate the desires of the reportee ( who was incidentally given a game warning too? correct me if I am wrong) , the entire situation escalated into an all out slug fest in the forums. In Ian's defence, he was a relatively new judge and a little too eager to stamp his mark. Still, the whole situation left a really sour taste in the running of the event. In the midst, it also brought out the worse of the magic scene in Singapore...and continues to showcase the horrid behind-the-scenes that continually prevent our community of players from leveling themselves up.

Having tasted the magic scene in Japan and the States... I am just so disappointed at the wasted opportunities that our local scene continues to squander. We have a reasonable fan base... a huge slew of event organisers and why do we continue to find ourselves lack-luster in the community driver arena? Vis-a-vis say countries nearer to us? Well... here are my thoughts:

  1. Collaboration is Zitsch amongst our biggest event organisers and shop owners. Being competitive is fine, that's good for us - the consumers. But it becomes silly when the major players in the scene are at open wars with each other. Name me one other event other than the GP Singapore where we saw the entire community having fun with one another? How many times have event organisers under-cut each other, copy and paste each other's a bid to simply remove each other? Instead of being communal driven, too many of them are lost in their innate hatred for each other. Yes, I understand it is a business...but when you are talking about one that depends on a striving community - it's honestly blind faith to think killing the competition is the only way out. Collaboration! That was the buzz word 10 years ago. Sigh. 
  2. Professionalism in the running of events has slowly dwindled over time. Major events must be run on an impartial manner and shop owners/organisers must make an effort to do so. Sure, I could be great friends with the organiser... but it should never give me an edge or advantage. Professionalism also runs into the administration of events. Stick to timings? do you check the deck lists? Are enough seats catered? Table numbers ordered? Event prizes in stock? Etc. When a Judge decides to keep mum over a spotted error because one of the players is his mate...that's when things are in serious contention. ( Yes, it happened to me..sigh!)
  3. Support trading. Magic is a community driven game. And it is pretty clear that Wizards tow the same line as well. Trading between players is the core of the entire experience. It invites people to be participative. It invites people to congregate. It invites people come again. And eventually, it invites people to trade and sell at your shops.
  4. Be creative. I have got to hand this to CMG Beauty World... at times they put in some of the best effort in making the scene fun and lively. Being competitive is fine, but it can be repetitive. Event organisers can really spruce things up by simply rewarding innovative play. That gets people willing to engineer new decks. Need new cards. 
  5. Be receptive to new players. This is the biggest bug-bear that differentiates the experience here and the ones I had abroad. We forget that the player base can only grow if people jump on the band wagon. Remember the feeling when our friend brought us a deck and invited us to try it first hand? That's not happening now! Kudos to Epic Gamers @ Bishan...that continues to issue out fun decks to beginners and making an effort to enlarge the community. We need that. The biggest barrier is to have the local scene crumble into having seasoned veterans facing each other over and over again. It happened 10 years ago and resulted almost in the death of our local scene as players found it hard get into the game. Wizards reworking of magic has greatly encourage new beginnings. Lets work on that! FNMs are the best starting point - reward mentoring/tutoring! 
  6. Lastly, be FRIENDLY!  We are all in this game for the fun of it. The difference between a Kiebler/Sullivan match and us is that they do remain to strike a banter, learn from each other's deck, share some tips and move on. Yes we are competitive but we can extend open friendship to one another. It isn't tough to say a nice 'Hello' and 'Good Luck' when playing. A simple handshake would suffice to end an excellent match. Being all grumpy face and sore in losing only turns the opposing player off...and there's one more player gone from the community! Understand the context of your event. If it's a simple FNM, there isn't a point to rush your opponent, critique him for his lack of patience, hide mistakes and so on. Yes, you aint under any moral obligation...but what does that do for you at the end of the day? One more booster pack?
Let me end this by saying that I LOVE our local scene for magic....but like all things Singaporean...I simply want it to be much better! For the benefit of everyone and all the wonderful people I have met during my time playing MTG. =)

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