Late last month SCG President Pete Hoefling outlined changes to the SCG Tour for 2017. As someone who has played in a lot of SCG events over the last few years, I have had a number of people ask me what I think of these changes. After having some time to stew on them I wanted to share my thoughts in a short post.
I would like to start by highlighting the things I think make sense about these changes:
Classics are the same format as the Open and there is always Modern
Having a classic that is the same format as the main event just makes sense. It allows people who only play a particular format to bring a single deck with for the weekend and know they can play a full two days of Magic with that deck regardless of their main event performance.
Still, having a second choice is fine. Making that choice Modern makes sense as, according to the latest data, modern classics are typically the largest.
IQ’s have relevance, but not too much
In 2015, the leader board had a pile of people towards the top who got there without playing in major events. In 2016, IQs did not give you anything at all towards the leader board.
The 2017 changes are a nice balance of the two. The smallest IQ option is now a 1k, so they will (likely) not be run on week nights. This removes people in particular geographic locations to farming them for points. They also only award 3 SCG points to first which is less than you get for top 64 at an open – this seems like a fair amount to me.
More East Coast and Less Midwest Events
While this one is not great for myself personally – I understand that it has to be more cost effective for SCG to host events closer to them. Only three midwest opens in the first half of 2017 though will leave room for others to hopefully fill the gap like with the Nerd Rage Championship Series.
There are two changes I do not understand fully / care for though:
All the 2016 Points just Vanish
Hopefully I am going to spike the last invitational of this year or win the player’s championship so this will not effect me directly – but one thing that does not feel good as a grinder is that all of our 2016 points are getting wiped away at the end of the year. When the points got reset after 2015 it almost felt like it made sense – clearing out points people had farmed from IQs seemed reasonable.
I was not able to find where I read it, but I thought when they announced the 2016 season they said people would fall off one season at a time moving forward as opposed to a hard reset like this. Having your top players suddenly become unranked at the end of the year if they do not spike one of the first two events feels bad and does not make a ton of sense to me.
No 2017 POTY or Player’s Championship
It feels odd for the first time in three years that there is no “end goal” for playing a ton of SCG events aside from getting some free Magic cards. As someone who does not need more cardboard in my life – there really is just no incentive to play a bunch of SCG events.
Myself and a number of others flew / drove long distances to get to a lot of opens this year. People formed teams with the goal of competing in all the events with the goal of putting people into a special year end event.
Without a Player’s Championship in 2017 I will not be surprised when we see all of this dissolve or see these teams redirect their focus onto WOTC events. I know I have taken a look at the Grand Prix schedule for the first time in a long time.
Even if I am player of the year for 2016, I do not see myself going to almost every open in 2017 like I did this year and years previous. I will likely just show up to play some modern and skip the rest.
I would like to close this: I am glad the SCG events exist and will continue into 2017, even if all the changes do not make sense to me personally. Whenever I see people post comments on changes SCG makes, it feels like many think SCG is a charity organization and not a for profit business. They do not owe anything to us as players.