Post-apocalypse smiles

It seems like the end is near: the pandemic looks like it hit its peak a while ago in Germany. People are already in the streets and, unfortunately, this might lead to the second wave of coronavirus. But for now, the optimism is there that we won’t have to go back into quarantine. As long as everyone doesn’t magically forget about washing hands, wearing masks and keeping a decent distance from one another, we’ll actually be fine. I saw today that Germany announced that by the end of May every shop will open again. That’s amazing news of course. There are plenty of store owners who need the income right now.

The Arena has kept strong these days. Although sales have been abysmal – a logical effect of the mass-quarantine – the shop will continue on although crawling rather than being a brisky ball of enthusiasm. Reality has shifted for some of the store owners around the world, a lot of them throwing in the towel and just quitting. A lot cited financial difficulties. I won’t assume I know better than anyone from the position I am in, but to me it just seems a bit weird.

As a business owner, one of the first things I learned is to have a rainy day fund. In this scenario of pandemic proportions, I could have not foreseen a rainy one and a half months but there always is a solution if you’re willing to look for it. In the end, it really matters how one runs things in their little slice of heaven. I hope that the ones that closed have learned something from this entire experience and will come back stronger at a later time. Or maybe other onlookers will see their chance to bring their own vision of a business into reality.

With the news of everything opening up again, I am very interested in finding out what that means for in-store events. It is in fact extremely boring to play online constantly. While some people may have met a close friend or relative during the pandemic to play in real life, most didn’t have this option. I would expect a future announcement by the end of May telling shops that organize events if we can start up small scale ones that may have just 8-10 people.

I am just guessing a number here, I don’t really know what would be acceptable from a scientific perspective, what are the odds of people getting infected and all that. It would be great if every customer coming to the Arena would still wash their hands first. It’s true that the virus can be on your sleeves, deckbox or playmat, but it wouldn’t hurt anyone if extra measures of safety would be in place.

I have to mention that from now on anyone who has any type of sickness that could be contagious – common cold, flu or coroanvirus-like symptoms – will be immediately asked to leave the store. I know I said this before and I will say it again because it’s just too important. We can’t risk getting sick and infecting others without even knowing. Things have definitely changed from this perspective. It’s nothing personal, it should be common sense to stay home if sick anyway. I am sure though that everyone got that by now and the big pandemic experience has highlighted what are the DOs and DON’Ts of being a responsible citizen in our current society. Thanks in advance for taking this seriously.

In the midst of all of this negative wave that has almost drowned us out, there is also good news of course. Although the prerelease for Ikoria is slated to be on the 15th of May, I wanted to ask if people would be interested to just move it to when we can actually have it in person. I know I asked in the Whatsapp group if we should organize the prerelease over Discord, but if things are settling down and we will be allowed to hold events, wouldn’t it be a better choice?

Anyone can preorder a prerelease pack from us and we will hold a spot for you for when the event will take place. Because of the big problem with the pandemic our distributor has allocated us a smaller amount of packs, which is a sensible choice given the situation. We will only have a total of 36 packs for this prerelease. I think that’s fine, this number most likely being directed towards the most passionate members of the MtG community. It’s a good balance. Hopefully, we can organize something in the near future. I will keep you updated via Whatsapp or Facebook when any other news are announced by the German government in regard to events.

Another good news is that now the Arena is supporting an active MtG Streamer: GladRC. He drafts a lot and explains a bunch of things that might interest some of you limited players. Here are some highlights of what he achieved by now with MtG:

  • National Champion 2014
  • Qualified for Pro Tour Atlanta Journey into Nyx 2014
  • Runner Up Nationals 2017
  • World Magic Cup competitor 2014 2016 2017

He actually lost versus me in the 2013 National Finals. We’ve known each other for a long time and I think he has some knowledge to offer on his stream. If you are interested in learning something about Limited and Constructed, check him out and subscribe if you find his stream helpful.

Some news about Konami and YGO? Not really that much from that front. They have barely been in contact with any stores. We received one email a while ago that they will offer us a few displays of the new edition as support for the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s a far cry from what Wizards of the Coast are doing. We will be getting 18 boxes of Mystery Boosters as support to get our financial situations stabilized all around the globe. This is millions of dollars spent by WotC. I am not saying that I am not happy to get even a few displays from Konami. I am saying that their connection to stores looks shaky at best. Do they care about how stores promote their products?

I am very much interested in YGO, but sometimes it feels like Konami doesn’t care about stores or players. Most stuff is half-baked and there is general silence when we ask for basically anything. The majority of players seems to have issues with how Konami handles things. I just hope that this entire situation with Coronavirus has maybe opened their eyes that without stores and players they are nothing. The vast majority of their income is from people buying their physical products. WotC has clearly felt the cold steel cutting into their profits once people stopped participating in events and buying at the same pace as two months ago.

Overall things are starting to look good. I’m optimistic about the future and I hope you are too. No matter what you went through these past months, I hope you came out stronger. I hope you overcame whatever wanted to put you down and now, just like everyone else, are a better person knowing that life as we know it can radically change at the snap of Thanos’ fingers and that living it to the fullest is how things should be. I personally am very much looking forward to meeting with a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in a while and also finally play in some tournaments at the store again. I miss shuffling cards and cringing at the top deck hit or miss when it counts 😀

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay awesome!

See you in the Arena!