Summer Hex Schedule

Summer is almost here so I am pushing my schedule around a small bit to accommodate more time outside with the kids. Since I’ve expanded into doing some original YouTube content now as well, I am going to use some of that to supplement my schedule, with the goal being putting out some amount of new content every day.

My Summer schedule at a minimum will be the following:

  • Monday – New Hero Battle Video on YouTube
  • Tuesday – Live Stream on Twitch noon CST start time
  • Wednesday – New Hero Battle Video on YouTube
  • Thursday – Live Stream on Twitch noon CST start time
  • Friday – Live Stream on Twitch 9am CST start time
  • Saturday & Sunday – New Draft Videos with full commentary on YouTube

While I enjoy drafting like crazy, I think putting out videos every day was not only stretching myself a bit, but it was stretching how much content people had time to watch – especially on the days where I had stream archives posting as well. Only doing two pre-recorded drafts a week means I can make sure they all have full commentary for the draft and game play portions.

This schedule change will take place starting this weekend. Thanks everyone for watching and as always extra thanks to everyone who supports my content directly on Twitch and Patreon.

 

Music While Streaming

Late last night after I had turned off the fourth Twitch stream in a row because the music the stream had playing was unpleasant to me, I tweeted this:

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Due to the brevity Twitter requires I was unable to fully explain why I felt this way in this single tweet. I wanted to take a second and write why I feel the way I do about playing music while streaming.

First – lets assume everything is setup and balanced well. The music is loud enough for me to hear, but not so loud that it drowns out the content the streamer is creating. If I enjoy this music (or am neutral about it) I will not mind. If I dislike the music I will likely leave. In this case the streamer lost a viewer because they did not like the music, even if they wanted to watch the content otherwise.

Now – the common response to this is some people watch twitch streams explicitly for the music. In the digital age today, it is very easy to share playlists of music. Pandora, Spotify, and other services easily allow a stream to have a link that says “listen to my music” below their stream. This allows for people who want the streamer’s music to enjoy it, while not turning off people who dislike it. Even my smart phone can play music while watching Twitch at the same time.

The other defense of music on stream I heard from several people is that the streamer just wants to listen to music. Using modern streaming software, like OBS, a streamer can very easily select individual audio channels to send to their stream. They can very easily listen to their own music while streaming and not share it with the rest of the world directly.

Not playing music directly on the stream also has the added benefit that any archives you create will not be muted for copy right reasons. This means people who like the streamer’s content will be able to see more of it. Being able to archive things without audio disputes to a place like YouTube can also be an additional revenue source for streamers.

Finally – Yes I used to play music while streaming. I did it because most people I watched stream did it and it seemed like the norm. I realize now that it lost me viewers then for the reasons I list here and I am glad I stopped doing it.

Taste in music is subjective. Regardless of how many people are enjoying a stream’s music, it is always costing the content creator some viewers who dislike the music. There is a reason major sporting / eSports events do not play music as an underscores to their shows – it is a net positive not to.

Bad Modern Bracket Showdown

For my live paper Magic streams for the last two weeks of the year we are going to be trying out something a bit different. We are going to take 16 “tier 4” modern decks, throw them in a bracket, and then battle them out on camera to see which unknown deck comes out on top.

We are going to make this a bit interactive though! Once we know which 16 decks are being played, we are going to publish a bracket. People can then submit their own copies of the bracket predicting which decks will win where. At the end of the 2 nights of streaming, we will select the correct (and possibly most correct) brackets to send some Magic related goodies to.

So what is the point of this post you ask? Well – we need your help selecting which 16 deck are going to do battle! Please vote in this poll for the decks you would most like to see. Whichever 16 decks have the most votes come Monday December 12th will be slotted into the bracket.

Streaming Schedule and Content Updates

Just wanted to write a short post with my updated streaming schedule:

  • Monday       12pm-3pm CST – HexTCG
  • Monday       7pm-11pm CST – Paper Magic
  • Tuesday       12pm-3pm CST – HexTCG
  • Wednesday 12pm-3pm CST – Eternal
  • Thursday     12pm-3pm CST – HexTCG

Previous I was doing Tuesday / Thursday 12pm-4pm, so while this is less time on those specific days it is more stream time overall. I am also adding at least one day a week of Eternal Card Game which I have been enjoying playing both on my laptop and smart phone since it went into open beta.

Keep in mind these are minimum streaming goals, so there will still be impromptu streams as time allows. Be sure to follow me on Twitch / Twitter for notifications when extra streams happen.
As always if you ever miss a stream, you will be able to find the archives on my YouTube channel. I am also occasionally putting out non-archived content on my YouTube channel as well such as deck building tutorials and play testing sessions.

While I am taking this week and next week off of paper Magic content for the sake of secrecy before the Player’s Championship, I am recording a good deal of my play testing for the event. I will have both paper magic and Cockactrice videos posted for standard / modern prep after day one of the PC is over on December 17th.

You can help support my content with a donation, a subscription on twitch, or by checking out my sponsors.

Sponsors

Disaster Relief Donation Stream

Starting at 7pm CST on October 10th we will be having our weekly paper Magic stream on my Twitch.tv channel. The stream itself will consist of testing the new standard format with Kaladesh cards in preparation for SCG Regionals and the Pro Tour.

During this stream we will be doing something special though – all donations sent during this stream will be forwarded on to the Red Cross to help with disaster relief for damage the recent hurricanes have caused. To encourage viewers to contribute to the fund we are going to be giving away some sweet magic swag to some of the folks who donate. We will mail things anywhere in the world, but if you live outside the United States you will be expected to pay for any large shipping costs.

The following are some of the things Mat and I have put together with the help of community members to give away:

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Thanks in advance for your contributions!

Short Comment on Ryan Hipp

It was recently brought to the attention of myself, Mat, and Brad that in one of the recent paper testing videos one of our guests, Ryan Hipp (not to be confused with the children’s author of the same name), appears to have manipulated the top card of his deck while shuffling. While this was an unsanctioned game / match, this is not behavior we want associated with the content we work hard to produce every week.

While we cannot confirm the intention of the manipulation present in the video, we would like to echo that cheating is wrong and hurts the integrity of the game. I intend to leave the video live on my YouTube channel for reference purposes, but Ryan will not be a returning guest to our weekly stream.

10k Follower Hype & Stream Updates

Apparently while I was not looking my Twitch Channel rolled past the 10,000 follower mark. I never expected my streaming to grow as quickly as it has in terms of followers, subscribers, and viewers. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has helped me get thus far – the channel would not be anywhere near as awesome as it is without all of you.

The paper Magic streams have really come together in the last month. On screen card overlays, better positioning of the hand cameras, and lightning improvements have all made the product we are producing a very reasonable quality.

The things remaining that still need improvement are going to require more sizable investments on my part, so they will likely be a bit slower to come. Eventually I would like to pick up cameras that have an optical zoom so we can zoom on player’s hands without the low resolution we have now. Better area microphone is also going to happen at some point as well.

At any rate – the paper streams in their current form have been far more popular than my MTGO streams were. Not only do we have more people watching live, but the archives on my YouTube Channel also see far more views than any of the MTGO archives ever did. This alone makes it worth the increased production time the live streams take compared to just firing up a piece of computer software.

Finally I just wanted to comment on something folks have asked about – the lack of a “sub goal” ticker on my stream of the late. Previously I had been doing long streams every time we hit a goal, but I am currently in the middle of 7 straight weeks of weekend travel, so fitting in a 12+ hour stream just is not feasible for me right now. We will for sure have another long stream after my travel season is done and I will post details about that when I have them.

As an alternative bonus for my subscribers I have created a private Discord Chat Server for Hex & Magic conversation 24 / 7. While I am not awake 24 / 7 obviously – this server allows me to prioritize responding to questions from people who help support me directly. While I still try to answer things on Facebook / Twitter as time permits – folks on the Discord server will always have priority.

Failing and Improving

If you are afraid to fail at something you can’t try to do great things.

Tonight during our second paper magic stream we failed at a few things. First and foremost – we failed at brewing in the new standard format. All three of our new decks were midrange decks that all failed to beat the existing midrange king: Bant Humans.

We also feel a bit short in getting our setup improved. We tried a new positioning for the hand cameras that I think ended up being a bit worse, but I will have to spend some time reviewing the recording to confirm what my few glances while recording was seeing. We also used standard gloss sleeves instead of the normal double matte sleeves which caused some glare issues.

Next week we will have some improvements on both fronts when we come back with deck ideas trying to go over and under the Bant Humans deck before the open in Columbus. Thanks to all the folks who watched this evening through our small growing pains as we get this live paper magic streaming down to a science.

Farewell to MTGO

To cut right to the chase – I will no longer be regularly streaming Magic Online on my Twitch.tv page after the first week of July. If you would like a bit of explanation please read on.

To start – I would like to give an incredible thank you to the folks in the MTG community who have supported my stream via subscriptions and donations since I started streaming 15+ hours a week in February. I was not making what you would consider “good” money, but it was enough to be considered a part time job that purchased plenty of cases of diapers. Not bad for something I was going to be doing anyways because it was something I enjoyed doing.

That last part was the most important though:

“Because it was something I enjoyed doing”

Spending 15+ hours a week playing Magic Online for the last few months though has reminded me why I stopped playing digital Magic once before. The point of this post is not to rant about Magic Online though. Anyone familiar with the software even a little does not need to be told yet again about the bugs, memory leaks, and Wizard’s insistence on raking every last penny out of their players.

I thought I could put up with the issues – after all Magic is fun and playing an interesting TCG on the computer is convenient. At the end of February though something happened – I discovered Hex TCG. Not only was the game play as deep / interesting as Magic – but the client was not riddled with bugs / lockups and the events they ran were structured with rewarding the players in mind as opposed to dragging every last cent out of them.

More and more often while I was streaming Magic Online I felt like I was just waiting for the minutes to pass until I had played enough to satisfy my Magic subscribers so I could get back to playing Hex which provided an enjoyable digital experience.

So with all of this in mind my Twitch stream is going to become more of a dedicated Hex TCG stream. As I mentioned – I intend to keep my normal two days / week MTGO streaming schedule through the first week of July (as my travel schedule permits) because I know many of my subs sent me that money with the desire to see Magic content and I do not want to rob them of what they paid for.

After the first week of July you will only see Magic content on my twitch channel when it has been long enough for me to have forgotten how bad playing MTGO feels compared to a TCG built with digital in mind instead of digital as an afterthought.

Finally – if you are a Magic player reading this who has not checked out Hex already I would highly encourage you to do so. It is everything I have ever wanted as a digital TCG and if you enjoy Magic you will likely enjoy Hex a lot as well.

You can find an intro guide written by myself to Hex here or if you prefer video content there is a video intro by Chris VanMeter here. You can also see how cheap the competitive scene is compared to Magic by taking a peek at my write up here talking about tier 2 decks starting at 10~ USD and a tier 1 deck for only 100~ USD. Hex is also a digital Trading Card Game – which means it is possible to cash your collection or sell cards when you are done with them – unlike Hearthstone.