Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trace the Mistake Back...Now, Keep Going


When the spoiler bannings (Wafo-Tapa, Matignon, and cohorts banned for leaking the spoiler) were announced, a detail emerged that was glossed over by Wizards.

Why the hell were some players given confidential information that they could use to gain a competitive advantage in Magic tournaments?

Well, we kind of got the "why;" it was explained that the spoiler was given to aid Matignon in hyping the new set in his publication. There is no way disclosing the whole set is necessary. Why can't Matignon just talk about a preview card or two, or a mechanic? If an NDA is entered into with an author of preview articles, must it be a Pro Club member? The answer to these questions is that the benefit of providing this information to pro players couldn't possibly have justified undermining basic principles and expectations of fairness in competitive play.

It's really frustrating to see such oversights come to light only after a non-disclosure agreement was breached. I lost to Wafo-Tapa in Worlds (where I finished a win away from drawing into Top 8 in the final round), but I was outraged before I even remembered that fact. My friends and I fly around the world and try hard to prepare for these tournaments in the limited time we have with the new set. We show up to compete on a fair playing field. That's one of the things I love about the game, and it is an obvious pillar of tournament play.

The biggest mistake made was not Matignon sharing the list with his friends. It wasn't those friends sharing the list with the world. It was Wizards of the Coast providing an undisclosed competitive advantage to certain competitors.