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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Teaching Kids about Sex, Pop Culture and Racial Stereotypes Using the SCG Sleeves

I've heard some cool stories about people using Magic as a pedagogical tool and I figured I'd give it a spin. Below is a simple lesson plan for teaching kids about sex, pop culture, and racial stereotypes. If nothing else, it's cheaper than a Richard Pryor DVD and a few wine coolers.

For each part of the lesson plan, introduce the student(s) to the StarCityGames version of the sleeve which they can purchase or earn at any SCG Open event. Next, help the children create their own version using what they've learned. I've provided examples in case you and the students need some inspiration.

Lesson Plan Part A: Sex

SCG Open Sleeves:

Many kids won't know what it means to "Tap that," but most will be familiar with the ridiculing of others as "fatties," so use that as your starting point for the discussion. A lecture might include a short story such as "John wanted to Tap That when he saw Michelle walk into the card store, but when she turned around he realized her ass just wasn't fat enough given his personal preferences."

Build your own sleeve example:

With inspiration drawn from the card Rapacious One, as well as Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:

Lesson Plan Part B: Pop Culture

SCG Open Sleeves:


In all likelihood, the kids you're trying to reach weren't even conceived when these expressions were culturally relevant, so you've got your work cut out for you.

Build your own sleeve example:


Lesson Plan Part C: Racial Stereotypes

SCG Open Sleeves:

Don't expect the kids to understand this one right away, but stay with it and they'll get it. Make sure you do lesson plan A (Sex) first so the kids will understand why women would only want black lovers. Once you've covered this stereotype, it's time to create your own!

Build your own sleeve example:

The kids in your class won't be able to contain their excitement when they sleeve up a Millstone deck with these!