Standard and the Pro Tour

Standard forum

Posted on May 10, 2017, 11:46 a.m. by Argy

I really enjoyed my last FNM.

There was a variety of decks. People like myself were trying out some really fresh, original builds.

Copy Cat was gone. #1 Mardu Vehicles deck was the only net deck being played, and only two people were playing it.

Then it hit me. This is how Standard had been for me when I first started playing it.

So, what changed?

The prevalence of people copying the winning deck of the Pro Tour is what changed.

The Pro Tour.

What Wizards relies on to drive interest in the Standard format, and sell a lot of cards.

Is it selling more cards, though?

All the net deckers I know buy cards from Sellers, and the net deck cards raise in price.

That must mean that the Sellers have to open packs in order to get the cards.

What happens, though, if you compare how much you make with this process, versus people buying their own packs and building a deck made with a majority of cards they have opened themselves? Buying more packs in the process, to give them more tools to build with.

I don't know, but I'd love to find out.

I was chatting about this with my partner.

He said that he felt like there were actually three viable decks from the Pro Tour that could be played throughout a season, in the past.

He felt that number had dropped with Aether Revolt.

Is the Pro Tour helping to promote Standard, or harming it?

Last FNM was the busiest that I've seen Standard be, for a long time.

I enjoyed it so much that I will be playing again this Friday. I usually only play FNM on a fortnightly basis.

I'm predicting that after the Pro Tour, people who can't afford the top decks will lose interest.

Maybe the Pro Tour does more harm to the format than good.

Your thoughts?

Zman995 says... #2

I agree! People wait for the pros to build the top decks and then they copy instead of building their own.

May 10, 2017 6:01 p.m.

Zaueski says... #3

I really wish that Gameday and the Pro Tour were reversed. It happens every season, the new set drops, brewers come out and shine and the format is healthy and a little meta develops that's balanced and stable. Then the Pro Tour happens and destroys our little haven by preying on the meta we built. Then Gameday happens and attendance is lower than expected because every shop has that one guy who buys the winning deck and crushes everything and then what's the point?

Now, yes, that is very pessimistic but it isn't too far off from the truth. For most casual players, Gameday is the biggest tournament of the season that they'll participate in. So how do we get these casual players out to FNMs? Gaining the shop more money and then in turn Wizards? Let's try having a healthy game day where it takes place before the Pro Tour and then it becomes more of what Magic was meant to be, players exhibiting their creativity and seeing who's the better player instead of who has the most money...


Wow, that sounded a lot like one of TCC's The Professor's Speeches... Sorry about that but I still stand by it lol

May 10, 2017 9:35 p.m.

hardhitta71194 says... #4

Zaueski do not apologize for sounding like the Prof! He's the bomb. It's when you start to sound like Creepy Rudy that it becomes a problem. =P

I sort of agree with what y'all are saying but I do enjoy watching the streams of the Pro Tour, although it has gotten a bit boring to watch lately.

May 10, 2017 10:37 p.m.

Zaueski says... #5

No, I love the pro tour, I just think it should come after us casuals have our fun in the sun with the new sets. I still try to watch it whenever possible, I would just immensely prefer it if the orders were reversed.

May 10, 2017 10:41 p.m.

hardhitta71194 says... #6

Gotcha. I can't complain until I actually start going to Standard events. Lol

May 10, 2017 10:47 p.m.

Argy says... #7

I think you're on to something there, Zaueski.

Give the builders a little more time to let our decks shine.

It's not like net deckers aren't going to have the rest of the season to win tournaments and nab all the best prizes.

I might actually suggest your idea to Wizards.


I usually enjoy the Pro Tour, but the last one was deadly dull. The same old deck being played. Usually whoever played first won, except for bad luck.

I remember the Pro Tour when Origins had dropped. It was thrilling.

Basically it was RDW
against Artefacts.

I built a Artefact deck to play that season, and it did REALLY well. Won a night and came second often.

In those days there was no one deck that could dominate everything. We were able to build a decent Sideboard to answer the winning decks.


These days I don't look forward to the Pro Tour like I used to, because:

  1. I'm less convinced that it will bring interesting battles between a variety of decks.

  2. I know that once a deck wins I will repeatedly be playing against an exact copy of that deck over and over at tournaments.

People will say, "Stop complaining. Git gud and build a deck that beats the top one."

It's not that simple. I am one person building, with some help from TappedOut.

The decks that win the Pro Tour are built by teams of professional players.

May 11, 2017 8:44 a.m.

Zaueski says... #8

I'm all for sending it to WotC Argeaux, if I'm not alone in this sentiment then let's start a Petition or something for them... I really think it would be helpful for everyone involved.

May 11, 2017 5:57 p.m.

sylvannos says... #9

Unfortunately, the Pro Tour exists to sell cards and showcase the newest set. WotC wants people to watch it, buy all the cards they see on screen, then take those cards to Gameday. If they hold the Pro Tour later, they lose out on the potential for people still riding the hype train to buy cards. It's something WotC has more or less acknowledged over the years. It's most apparent with the way placing structure is catered to pro players.

Jon Finkel, for instance, can go to any PT event and get something like 3 byes just for showing up. He gets that because people want to watch him play on camera with whatever deck. So, that means he'll be on camera in the feature match area of the event at least once, even if he's playing complete garbage.

WotC pays for Finkel to fly out to events, stay in a hotel, then give him free wins because they know it draws a crowd. It sells boosters and singles when Johnny Magic sits down on camera. It's why you rarely see two random names you've never heard of play on camera and why everyone else has to actually win those 3 rounds just to get to what pro players have by default.

I'm rambling at this point. I just hate sometimes how professional events, especially Pro Tours and Grand Prix. When you have 30-something Jon Finkel types arrive, each getting several round byes, you then see them play a few rounds at the top seed, then they intentionally draw into top 8. And since these rules are allowed for them, they have to be allowed for everyone else. So you have this type of stuff happening at the FNM level.

May 11, 2017 10:32 p.m.

Zaueski says... #10

@sylvannos: That's what it's designed to do sure, but if you look at Aether Revolt... That Pro Tour turned a lot of people off of Magic. Watching the pros all brew the same damn deck is really boring. That's why I'm saying we should start telling Wizards that we care way more about "Johnny Magic" people. If we get a big enough crowd going for it they might reconsider. So don't say we can't, if you don't want to have a standard season like that then that's different, but if you would prefer it that way then let's start letting Wizards know. 'Can't' isn't helpful, just say yes or no.


Also, I'm willing to spearhead this, but idk how to make a petition or a request to Wizards. I think it'd be super helpful for the game and the format as a whole.

May 11, 2017 11:35 p.m.

sylvannos says... #11

@Zaueski: Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it can't change or that I even like it (in fact, I hate it for exactly the reasons you stated).

What I'm saying is the why. Don't forget that most people who buy sealed product aren't the FNM regulars. They're the kitchen table players who play 73 card decks without sleeves and don't know what a mana curve is. WotC caters the Pro Tour to those players who watch maybe 1 or 2 matches, not the entire event. They aren't the people who look at the top 8 standings of every MODO daily event for each format. Nor are they the types who follow finance blogs or even post on forums.

These people aren't wrong for enjoying MtG the way they do. They are, however, the audience WotC is catering to for professional events.

It's kind of like the Super Bowl. For most of the people watching, it's the only game they've paid attention to all year. They know the rules and how to play, but they aren't in pique physical condition or have every player's stats memorized. For them, it's about having fun and spending time with friends/family. The most involved they get is with a fantasy football league or placing bets on the game.

Ourselves, on the other hand, are like college players or sports newscasters who follow the game very closely. We may even have near-expert levels of knowledge about the current Super Bowl. We actually come up with plays that show up on screen. We can predict player picks for the draft. The best kind of coverage for us would be seeing analytic and other experts offering their opinions. That type of Super Bowl coverage bores the shit out of most of the people who watch the Super Bowl.

Pro events aren't there from WotC to improve Standard, they're there to help WotC promote a product and advertise. This is a really shitty situation for those of us who want a better Standard format and want to see a more diverse Pro Tour, but it's likely better for us to find other avenues for improving the format.

As a prime example of what I'm talking about, look at Pro Tour: Khans of Tarkir. There were 3 decks that dominated that event: Esper Control, Junk Midrange, and Jeskai Deck Wins. This picture will forever be the representation of that event:

Siege Rhinos! Siege Rhinos Everywhere!

Picture is a joke, of course, but that's essentially how the entire weekend progressed.

Why does this matter? Despite the fact that Khans Standard was fucking garbage due to the format converging all towards Junk Midrange with 4 Siege Rhinos with the occasional U/W/x Control deck making an appearance, Khans of Tarkir ended up one of the highest selling sets of all time. People were more excited to see the return of fetch lands, new multicolor cards, dragons as a mechanic, etc.

The Pro Tour forshadowed a terrible year to play Standard. But it didn't stop WotC from making money.

May 12, 2017 2:24 a.m.

Argy says... #12

I remember playing during Khans. The number of people playing was quite healthy.

After the AER Pro Tour was when I noticed a massive drop off in Standard.

That does end up hitting Wizards in the hip pocket. If not as many people are playing Standard, then not as people are buying the OP cards.

It also means that, when packs are given out as prizes, that is less actual packs being bought.

Less players here or there might not seem like such a big thing, but it all adds up.

If world wide numbers drop significantly Wizards loses significant income.


My LGS used to have enough players to run two Standard flights: Casual and Serious.

That allowed the net deckers to go at each other, and let the rest of us see who could build the best deck.

With the drop in AER Standard numbers just one flight has been run.

Numbers have picked up over the past two weeks. If they remain high I hope we will go back to two flights.

PS. Siege Bullshit sucks.

May 12, 2017 9:24 a.m.

Argy says... #13

I am expecting to see two decks in my local meta this week:

If that turns out to be the case, I think I'll be sitting out this season.

May 14, 2017 9 a.m.

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