It’s been a while since I last wrote an article. There are reasons for that, but again, not enough to justify the silence. Keeping up with the online part of my business is an issue. It’s quite time consuming, but absolutely necessary. Unfortunately for me, since I am the only one working for…myself, I have to do everything. Which is great from one perspective of course, because I have total control over my store and how it should look/feel like. But on the other hand it’s also problematic. Not because of the time consuming part necessarily, but because I have one perspective and I need different ones to be able to get my shop to a better level. My ideas are going to get me far, but not far enough for what I want to achieve with the store.

I really wanted to create a Con this year: ArenaCon. However, I simply don’t have the financial possibilities and/or the team to find the solutions to each and every aspect of a big Con. I want a team of interested people, but I can’t afford to pay them. So this Con will have to wait until next year or whenever I will feel capable of setting it up.

What’s happened to the Mondays in the Arena? I got tired. Really tired. Exhausted. For around 10 months I have worked 6 days a week, sometimes even 12 hours per day or 13 days in a row when there was a pre-release. I love my job and I love what I do, but like anyone else, I burned out after too much work. I tried hiring someone to keep the shop opened on Mondays as well, but it didn’t work out with all the contracts I had to make. The law is very strict and I don’t want to risk my entire business just so I can keep open on Mondays. This scenario is reminiscent of what the previous shop struggled with. I learned something from that and I don’t want to follow in the same footsteps. Whenever I will be able to hire someone, then I will re-open on Mondays. I have no problem with that. I am somewhat sad that I can’t keep open 6 days, since different people have different times when they can play a game or meet up with their friends in the shop. But for now this is what’s happening and I hope it’s going to be fine.

Recently I have had a few discussions with people from my shop about the products I sell. It’s not a mystery that I make most of my money from Magic the Gathering. I love the game and I promote it as much as I can. I would like to get the Yu-Gi-Oh! community to the same level, but it’s simply not worth the effort. There is no interest in this game. At the last Sneak Peek there weren’t even close to enough players. Yu-Gi-Oh! is the type of game that has severe highs and lows. If the current edition has bad or not as good cards in it, I don’t sell anything. It’s too unstable and I need the stability that Magic provides me with. Every set for Magic is pretty good. There will always be enough pros then cons to buying the set. You can stick cards in your commanders, draft it for the fun of it or just flat out build a standard deck with the new mechanics. Yu-Gi-Oh! is uni dimensional. You have Constructed Advanced or Constructed Traditional. People play only Advanced in my store. There is no drafting. There are no alternative ways of playing Yu-Gi-Oh!. You have one way and that’s it. Because of all of this I have decided to cut the Yu-Gi-Oh! products from 100% that is now in my store, to 30%. There are a lot of products that I sell for Yu-Gi-Oh! but they simply can’t be used. They are just useless if you plan on playing the game at a decent level. Nobody will buy the new structure deck because it’s trash. When I actually get a good structure deck, you need to buy it 3 times in order to get it going. It’s true that Magic isn’t cheaper either. Buying just one intro pack will not get you far into the competitive world of standard, but you can use that deck for Commander purposes or Peasant or whatever fun deck you think you can create.

Warhammer has also proved to be a huge disappointment. It’s clear that I won’t get anything done with it. I will sell everything and for the foreseeable future, not get anything again from Games Workshop. Mistakes were made. Big thousands euro mistakes were made. Well, lesson learned. Even if there is calculated risk, something can still blow up in your face. Sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling and as basic as that sounds, I felt it when I was talking to that dude from GW. I had this feeling when he said: “Let’s be honest, we both know that you will sell these products”. I just was too far down the rabbit hole and decided to see how far it really goes. It was a dead end.

A while ago I saw this comic strip from cardboard-crack.com. (Great site for some funny Magic stuff. Definitely check it out).

cardboardcrack

So it got me thinking about this game from a different perspective. I remember when I bought my first boosters and got all these awesome creatures and spells that I could put in ALL of my decks, because I had a mono colored deck for every color and other decks with several color combinations. Nowadays I open a booster and check the rare if it’s good. Heck, if it’s an Origins booster I almost don’t bother looking at the cards because if it’s a Planeswalker you can see it from the back side. This isn’t something that recently dawned on me. I have known this for a while, but haven’t done anything about it. Legacy as a competitive format looks very intimidating when you think of the amount you would have to spend if you wanted to start. A few thousand for the dual lands and then you have to actually get creatures and spells. But what if there would be a better way of playing Legacy, giving new life to old cards from your folders and long lost strategies that have since been wiped away by the shiny over powered mega cards that have been printed in recent years? To be completely honest about this, I really feel bad for the new players. They want to play Magic, but there are these constant rules that stop them from enjoying it: this card isn’t in Standard; this was banned in Modern; you play Smokestack in Legacy? Wtf is wrong with you?; etc. It’s discouraging for new players to even start  with this type of atmosphere. It inhibits creation while setting up a mentality of sheep. “Why do you play this when you can play this?”…Standard is what makes me money and I need that, that’s true. But what about the casual players? They want Dual Decks, From the Vault, old intro packs and various other products like Planechase or Archenemy. I want to give my store a friendlier feeling. This isn’t the Pro Tour and my shop shouldn’t be considered “where the ultra geeks come to smash the beginner geeks”. You can qualify for the Regional Qualifier for the Pro Tour from my shop, but should also be able to play your mono blue deck from Visions with people just for fun without being smirked at by others. I remember seeing a guy opening a Journey into Nyx intro pack and reading the cards. He then said: “this is super awesome! Gods and mythical creatures. This is great!”. I also remember some people laughing at him for being so overjoyed with the feeling. I think that should change and people should be a lot more accepting of new players. The purest form of Magic the Gathering is kitchen table magic. It’s about time I build my ancient 5 color control again and give it a go and see what can happen. I miss attacking with a flying fish and a dragon at the same time…

On the flip side there is the Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier next week. It will be in the Standard format. I am a competitive player and love the feeling when I have to top deck that do or die card. I will always advise people to go into competitive at some point, because the game suddenly becomes a lot more complex than you actually thought it was. There are combinations and tricks that you can do, tricks that are not going to happen in casual formats that often. You can pull off hardcore wins at 1 life in Legacy on a tournament basis. But this is Standard that we are talking about and the hot decks are a UR Mill deck, a strong Abzan Enchantment deck and of course Dragons. I have a BW Enchantment deck skipping green altogether. I found that it provided me with what I wanted, all the while avoiding the third color. My worse matchup is super agressive red decks. I haven’t tinkered with the deck in a while, but I think 3x Arashin Cleric in the sideboard should greatly improve my win rate vs these decks.

I also want to make a nice announcement: starting with Battle for Zendikar I will have a promotion for displays and fatpacks. For every 12 displays bought you will get one free and for every 12 fatpacks bought you will get one free. I will create a stamp card as the Pre-orders for Battle for Zendikar approach. I will also give anyone who brings new players who have no DCI numbers to the store and play in a draft a free booster each, regardless of their standing at the end of the tournament.

What about Legacy? Has Ingolstadt become somewhat of a Mecca of this format in Bavaria? I would say so. At least that’s the feedback I get from the people coming from all over the Biergarten state of Germany. I get that I have a lot of work to do to become bigger than I am now, but I think I am doing a great job. The Arena Legacy Cup will take place at the beginning of next year in January or February. The entry fee still hasn’t been fixed as I am unsure how many people should be invited. Regardless of the number of players, what you can expect from the tournament:

  • 1 Level 2 Judge for competitive ruling, 2 Level 1 Judges for score keeping and floor Judge
  • Feature Match Table streamed on Twitch
  • High value Prize Pool
  • No outside disturbances (Geschlossene Gesellschaft)
  • Interviews with the players before and after the tournament
  • Deck techs with players

There is still a lot of time to prepare for this and I want to make it worth the wait. If you want to participate in this tournament, then come to the monthly/bi-monthly Legacy tournament in the Arena and bring your A-game. The level of play has only went up for Legacy in Ingolstadt in the past months.

Invited players:

Julian Knab
Andreas Hartl
Sebastian Bartl
Philipp Erhardt
Johannes Gutbrod
Michael Rusch

I am sorry for the ones who drew in the finals of the GP Trials as they couldn’t have known that I would organize this type of event. But I can’t just pick any of them based on swiss standings in the top 8. It’s simply not fair because one might say “But what if I won?”. I hope you will still be interested in fighting again for the top spot in the Arena. Best of luck with that.

Well this was long. I haven’t even finished actually saying everything that I wanted to say: Kaution in one month, video-blogging, board games, role playing games, online shop focus, legacy deck techs starting this month…More to come later on. Hopefully I will actually post more in the blog since I have Mondays off now.

See you in the Arena! 🙂