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  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    As stated the Federal workers minimum wage was increased, not States minimum wages. It also doesn't matter what MSRP (Manufacturer's SUGGESTED retail price)is, it is just that a suggestion. Areas and LGS in those areas that jump to a $15 minimum wage WILL see an increase to the price of a pack or any product. Employers aren't going to eat that loss, they will pass it along to the consumer or cut minimum wage jobs/hours in the process. And yes if an LGS owner can't afford $15 hourly staff they will cut that staff or hours of that person or they will have to adjust their prices upwards accordingly. MTG is going to become MORE expensive over the next few years. Above what it normally would adjusted for inflation. Get ready for it.
    It also doesn't help that the next round of Stimulus Checks (assuming it's still $600 compared to $1,200 the first time around) will continue to drive more market demand for card singles because whales are still dumb enough to spend their $600 checks on EDH / Commander and/or Reserve List singles instead of saving it for items actually necessary to survive off of that aren't tied to a luxury item like Paper Magic. Looking at the current release schedule that Wizards of the Coast has set up for Paper Magic right now our only hope for more reprints is more than likely going to be in Modern Horizons 2 assuming they fulfill the promise on reprinting the Enemy Fetches after the Secret Lair drop disaster from last year. Why can't they separate what cards to reprint for Standard and cards to reprint for Eternal formats?

    The majority of the most popular cards in EDH / Commander right now are above $20+ with not enough supply within the Secondary Market to help circumvent the demand for these cards in which EDH / Commander Precon exclusive cards such as Dockside Extortionist and Blade of Selves have sort of already become a pseudo Reverse List of sorts along with the majority of "The List" cards from Mystery Booster that's probably become a one time thing. With no Organized Play at Local Game Stores due to the ongoing pandemic, Standard is unable to keep the Secondary Market for a lot of Eternal formats in check because most players are buying cards for those formats not because they want to but because it's the ONLY WAY they can play Paper Magic right now during the pandemic whether In-Person or on Spelltable.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    So I kind of want to go over the Federal Minimum Wage increase to $15 an hour that U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law as an executive order, how it pertains to COVID-19, and it's effects on the Local Game Store (LGS). So when you combine Hazard Pay, Tax cuts for the Middle Class and Poor, and a Federal Minimum Wage increase to $15 an hour or $10 an hour pending on State Governments it creates a scenario where Local Game Stores (LGSs) are forced to overcharge what they sell in order to compensate how much they're able to pay their employees to stay in business. That means the price of sealed products and card singles are going to be much higher than what the Secondary Market and MSRP currently demands by forcing potential customers to buy online from other retailers with no overhead.

    They can't survive that especially If they're paying insurance and $1,000 loans because most of the money will have gone to the employees with no meat on the bone for these businesses to stay afloat. From a practical perspective when you're having to pay bills, insurance salaries, plus the bills to even own a business it just doesn't pan out. If you're being forced to spend less at your LGS due to competitive pricing while having to purchase through online retailers then you're not going to have a physical location to socially interact with playgroups in-person despite the lack of foot traffic from the ongoing pandemic. By the time everyone is vaccinated and the pandemic is already behind us there probably won't be a Local Game Store (LGS) left within the United States that can weather the financial storm.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    https://deadline.com/2021/01/another-new-covid-19-variant-in-l-a-vaccine-resistant-denmark-1234675834/

    On a positive note, the recent daily cases / deaths for COVID-19 are down to almost all countries by a significant gap recently as of last weekend. Then again, mutations in the COVID-19 genome were bound to happen eventually as some strains become more resistant to the antibodies that the vaccines develop. mRNA mutates faster than vaccines can adapt, and hoo boy, even an mRNA vaccine can't adapt as fast as an alive mRNA virus. On a morbid joke, George Carlin once said that viruses and diseases are Earth's tools to get rid of us pesky humans...

    If only we were a society dedicated to responsibility rather than false notions of freedom. If people are going to be forced to wear a face mask at home aside from wearing one out in public then so be it. After all a person's ability to breathe is less important than people's LIFE AND DEATH, asthma be damned. A gaming hobby that requires direct social interaction has no place in the middle of an ongoing pandemic and eventually someone who frequents their LGS nowadays is going to contract COVID-19 while only having themselves to blame for. The risk just isn't worth the reward.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    Quote from motleyslayer »
    Stores in a lot of Canada haven't been able to have people play in their stores for close to a month now due to lockdowns in various provinces and the in store play suspension. I know a few stores that didn't even allow in store play even when they were allowed to by local/provincial guidelines. At first I thought the second wave of lockdowns wouldn't be as bad/long as the first but I'm getting doubtful of when we will see the return of in store play again. It might be a few months still for even small, local level events. I can't see Magic Fests happening again until next year and I'm really starting to miss large events now
    I know everyone has their preferred method of playing Paper Magic but why not try to get a playgroup together to play EDH / Commander at your LGS, online via Spelltable, or at a friends' house? It's not as hard for me since I've always been more casual than competitive ever since I started playing back in 2002-2003 back when 60 card Kitchen Table Casual was all we had before EDH / Commander was first conceived in 2009. It might not be your thing but cEDH might appeal to your liking since you're more of a competitive player than I am though I would advise to tone down the power level and mana curve to adapt to what your playgroup is actually capable of handling.

    My first taste of cEDH was going up against Prossh, Skyraider of Kher and Food Chain which was a pain to go up against but was a good learning experience to help measure the power level between my deck and my opponents'. Eventually I got better at trying to lower the mana curve of my decks the more options are available. It's more about understanding the efficiency of what you have to work with that makes for consistent builds, knowing what synergies / combos you're trying to put forth, and going with it. The goal is to try not to ruin your playgroups fun but to make games as interesting as possible while still racing toward a potential win and If you don't then at least you had fun playing.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on My disappointment at Pioneer. (warning - rant)
    I've already dropped out of Pioneer to stick solely to EDH / Commander simply because Red Deck Wins is pretty much dead, GUR Onmnath is still a thing, and there's really not as much interest in the format as there is in Modern right now where you have a much bigger card pool to combo out on turn 4. Also doesn't help that the lack of Organized Play due to the ongoing pandemic hasn't really done the format any favors either but even before then there was more interest in other competitive formats before COVID hit in Spring 2020.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Legendary MDFCs, Rules Text, and Color Identity
    If a Modal Double-Faced card has a legendary creature on its front face and has mana symbols labeled on the bottom left hand corner of the card does that count toward that legendary creature's color identity? In other words are cards such as Esika, God of the Tree and Jorn, God of Winter considered to have multiple colors in their color identity with Esika being WUBRG and Jorn being BUG?

    Google already answered about Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge saying that it's a 5 color Oath of Druids that only triggers for the owner, can hit Planeswalkers, and sits in the Command Zone. I just wanted to make sure since the EDH Rules Committee hasn't posted on their official website regarding to this new rules update unless they already did with Zendikar Rising and I missed it.
    Posted in: Magic Rulings
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    https://www.aol.com/news/coronavirus-variant-circulating-u-health-210859521.html

    According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, over 75 cases of the UK strain have been identified in other states aside from Colorado such as New York, Georgia, Connecticut, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. In California at least 32 cases have been detected while 22 cases have so far been identified in Florida. The CDC has predicted that the UK strain (a.k.a. The B.1.1.7 variant) could become the dominant strain in the United States by March 2021. Aside from the UK and South Africa strains of the virus there's been reports of another new strain found in Brazil which has been raising concerns about whether the current existing vaccines will be effective against all of them. While the new mutation doesn't appear to be deadlier than the previous strain, it's rate of transmission is concerning. Unfortunately the U.S. doesn't have a robust, centralized system for identifying genetic variants of COVID-19 like other countries do. The current vaccines available were developed to create antibodies to multiple regions of the virus's spike protein that enters human cells.

    Unfortunately some of the mutations in the newly identified variants won't effect the efficacy of the vaccines. Vaccines don't just work against one form of the virus's spike protein as it helps the body create an immune response to multiple aspects of receptors of those spike proteins. So until the U.S. ramps up it's vaccination numbers, therapeutic treatments should also be bolstered. There have been some concerns that antibody treatments may not work as well If the virus has mutated so it's unclear to what extent these new variants or strains evade the antibody treatments we currently have as further research is necessary to determine that. As for how long immunity against the virus lasts, the vaccine is said to only give 5 months of protection so If you have a weak immune system then you're destined to have a COVID-19 vaccine booster every 5 months. So the bigger question is what does this all mean for Local Game Stores (LGSs) trying to survive this pandemic? It could mean that businesses may have to scale back it's retail space again similar to what happened last Spring and early Summer with less indoor activities involved.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    Scott Thorne of ICv2 recently outlined his top three predictions for 2021:

    https://icv2.com/articles/columns/view/47310/rolling-initiative-three-predictions-2021
    Quote from ICv2 »
    No Organized Play Until At Least Third Quarter. At least, the major companies won't offer OP till then. There are a few companies that are currently offering some form of organized play but the larger ones, WotC, Konami, and The Pokemon Company, have indicated they still plan to hold off authorizing in-store Organized Play for the foreseeable future (see "Wizards of the Coast Expands the Suspension of 'Magic: The Gathering' In-Store Play"). None of them want to deal with the negative publicity that would accompany an outbreak of COVID-19 at any sanctioned event, whether in-store or at a professional level event. Once a vaccine gets widely distributed, the likelihood of the virus spreading at large events drops drastically. My best guess, from what I have read, is that we will see most of North America, Asia and Europe vaccinated and the virus under control by early summer. Although we may see in-store play start up by then, the logistics of running a large event are a lot for companies to commit to, and I would not expect to see any OP launch before September and maybe not until 2022.

    No Major Conventions for 2021. The same problem affecting Organized Play will likely preclude any large conventions until next year. Lining up convention space, getting guests and organizing lodging, and events takes a lot of organization. And again, given that conventions do not want to have an outbreak of COVID-19 during their event, and we are not likely to see the virus under control until summer, which is prime gaming and comic convention season, I doubt we will see large events take place. However, I would not be surprised to see comparatively small local and regional events attracting a few hundred to a thousand or so take place. Speaking from experience, it is possible to pull together a small convention with a couple of months lead time (see "Rolling for Initiative -- How to Host a (Gaming) Convention During an Epidemic"). However, I would expect the organizers to take quite a few precautions in order to keep attendees safe and we will probably see these continue until 2022.

    Magic Theme Boosters End. Based on sales, I expect to see WotC quietly shelve Theme Boosters. Unlike Draft, Collector, and Set Boosters, we have seen very little interest in Theme Boosters since the first set in which they were released. Here, interest was so low, we did not order any Theme Boosters for the last two sets and never had a customer enquire about them. WotC has tried to drive interest in them by including cards that are not available in other boosters but players appear willing to buy those cards individually instead of buying a booster with 34 other cards of a color they do not want to play or are common enough that they are available in other sets. Here’s hoping they drop the Theme Booster and come out with a good beginner set instead.

    What do you think? Am I off the mark? Email your thoughts and predictions for 2021 to castleperilousgames@gmail.com.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    Just recently heard that a new strain of COVID-19 was recently discovered in Japan distinct from the UK and South Africa types meaning that there are now 4 strains of COVID-19. Just how screwed is humanity? I figured with the virus mutating that it would get weaker but it seems to be getting stronger as time goes on. Luckily the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was super effective against the UK and South Africa strains but as for the Japanese strain of the virus it's still up in the air at this point (not trying to be sarcastic). There was another Paper Trading Card Game / Collectible Card Game outside of MTG that me and my friends used to play that we just recently decided to get out of due to complications with the pandemic and power creep issues with the game in general so we figured it was best to stick with EDH / Commander in MTG while liquidating everything we have for Cardfight!! Vanguard. I don't know If we plan on getting into any other Paper Trading Card Games / Collectible Card Games in the near future or when the pandemic is finally past us so that we can have Organized Play again however I feel like we're going to be in this for the long haul even with effective vaccines.

    I do feel as though things seem to be getting better. During the height of the pandemic back in Spring 2020 me and my co-workers at work were on cleaning duty most of the time especially when on carts since I work at a retail Supermarket. Back when everyone thought that the virus was contagious on physical contact we never really had time to sack groceries since we mainly just cleaned windows, doors, and other chores but as we gathered more data on the virus we eventually got back to doing our main duties again. Don't know If that will change with these new strains of the virus recently being discovered so we'll just have to wait and see. To answer your question earlier motleyslayer, Local Game Stores (LGSs) in the U.S. are still allowed to have customers inside the store as long as it's at a limited capacity due to safety concerns. Right now I'm just doing my due diligence supporting my Local Game Store (LGS) during their time of need by buying singles for EDH / Commander especially since they've made a ton of money on Commander Legends. My other Local Game Store which is primarily a Comic Book Shop is doing just fine right now as I periodically check on them via Facebook.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    The entire color pie got quite the shake-up with the amount of multicolor cards and combinations WotC wanted to do:
    https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/mechanical-color-pie-2017-2017-06-05

    Mark says it right in 1. "some of this will change over time" , so the color pie of mechanics is just a baseline to look at, but they put any ability everywhere if they wish to (especially when they design a card by flavor first).

    Haste and Flying are so rare at "green" that they basically only use it as an excuse to print a bunch of rare cards they want the abilities on.

    Protection from X is similar. Basically any color can get it, but only white really has the color pie for it, the other colors just steal it for some Black Knight / White Knight mini cycle situations, or outright powerlevel reasons to give a card a massive bump to fight a meta-game.

    (Even Goblin Piledriver has protection from blue, only because they wanted it to be better at a potential "wizard tribal" meta game)

    ----

    Questing beast is without a doubt an abomination of abilities slapped on a card to force it to be relevant, and many of the abilities are not primarly green, not even secondary, but outright "exceptions".
    Part of the reason why I think they're breaking the color pie / color wheel the way they have is so that they help specific colors in EDH / Commander that are severely lacking in certain areas which in turn is creating an imbalance in competitive formats that tend to rely on the color pie / color wheel to keep certain playstyles in check.

    Anyway back on topic. Speaking of financial aid to Local Game Stores (LGSs) struggling with the pandemic is another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds:

    https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/47262/another-round-ppp-funding-open-small-businesses
    Quote from ICv2 »

    With the signing of the $900 billion U.S. Coronavirus relief bill over the holidays, a new pot of $285 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program has been approved, making new loans available to small businesses impacted by the Covid pandemic.

    The forgivable loans are available through banks to small businesses that had a sales decline of 25% or more from the previous year for Q2, Q3, or Q4 2020. As was the case with the first round of PPP loans, amounts can be for up to 2.5 months of average 2019 payroll costs (including benefits). If the business spends the money on approved expenses (from a broader list than the first round) in either an eight or 24-week period, the loan can be totally forgiven. The forgiveness process has also been streamlined.

    There’s a couple of pieces of good news in the bill for companies that received PPP loans in the first round. One is that businesses can have a second bite of the apple, based on the new sales decline criteria, even if they received a PPP loan in the first round. And a change to the tax treatment of the first round allows companies to deduct the expenses that were paid for with PPP money even though the forgiven PPP loan was already to be excluded from income for tax purposes.

    Changes to the criteria for the businesses that can apply mean that PPP funds for the second round should go further, but the amount approved by Congress is also smaller than the first round, so there’s likely to be a rush as soon as banks begin taking applications. A change in the structure of compensation for banks means that they no longer have an incentive to process the largest loans first, which may help make more money available to smaller businesses. Hopefully the rollout of the application process by banks will be smoother than the first time around, which was marred by problems (see "Federal Programs for Small Businesses Run Out of Money").
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    Quote from 5colors »
    Those are all green abilities pal, how long have you been playing?
    Since Onslaught and 8th Edition back in 2002-2003.

    Why do you ask?
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    Quote from motleyslayer »
    Even before Covid, paper standard was struggling in my area. Part of that was because modern has traditionally been the preferred format. This is mostly due to the format being seen as more diverse, especially 4-5 years ago. The other reason is some people just don't like the concept of rotation, which is also why standard is basically nonexistent right now. Nobody wants to pay for paper cards they might not even be able to use in paper before they rotate. I've heard some people say that it might be a good time to get cards that will be around after rotation, such as Zendikar Rising cards and Kaldheim cards
    Even Digital Standard on MTG Arena is struggling due to Wizards of the Coast's inability to balance the format with power creep issues involving Teferi, Time Raveler to just violating the rules of the game and how they historically printed things that made things more balanced. There's two big examples one of which being Questing Beast. So there was a point in the card design of MTG where certain colors could only do certain things based on the color pie / color wheel and what happened was over the course of the game's history a lot of players complained about certain styles of MTG specifically the big issue was that players hated losing against Blue decks. They hated counterspells, they hated getting their permanents bounced but that was introduced as a mechanic more recently because they took counters away from Blue. They wanted to make creature spells more powerful than instant / sorcery spells and we've already seen how that went with Planeswalkers with Oko, Thief of Crowns, Wrenn and Six, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Oko I think had the most negative impact compared to the others in formats like Standard and Modern possibly Pioneer.

    So there was a shift that occurred in the game where all the colors started to kind of blur and merge as players started complaining about losing to certain playstyles and so we've arrived at a place now where Green and Red are VERY VERY imbalanced. Green does every single thing that other colors do. So your Blue cards that used to be Blue are now Green. Your cards that used to be Red are either Red and Green or now they're all Green. Cards that used to be Black are now all Green. The lead developer for MTG has gone on record saying that they're a Green mage, they love Green magic, and as a result that's imbalanced the game a lot as far as Standard goes. Questing Beast has seven abilities: Vigilance being a White ability, Deathtouch being a Black ability, Haste being a Red ability, Can't be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less being a Green ability that's more of a Red or Black ability, Combat damage that can't be prevented is a Red ability, then Deals same damage to Planeswalker that player controls, all while being a 4/4 Legendary Creature for 4 CMC. Did it ever see EDH / Commander play at LGSs? No but it was a powerful card for Standard when Throne of Eldraine was first released.

    That's roughly five abilities that don't even belong to Green! Somewhere down the line Wizards of the Coast has lost their ability to design cards effectively because players got tired of their spells getting countered, they got tired of spot removal actually existing, and so as a result Questing Beast wouldn't be that big of a deal If it didn't exist in an environment where you really didn't have a way to deal with it. Then there's Winota, Joiner of Forces. If you guys had told me a decade ago that there would be a Boros creature that dug six cards deep that was a 4/4 for 4 CMC and could put two to three permanents on the battlefield regardless of their converted mana cost, attacking, and while triggering ETB effects then I would've said you were crazy. Cards like Questing Beast and Winota, Joiner of Forces break the game as it turns it into an arms race to see who gets their flashy combos out first. The sensation of playing Solitaire where I sit down, I'm playing, and either my cards go off and I win or their cards go off and they win where there's no player interaction in between is miserable and that's the primary problem that's killing MTG.

    You also take into account the fact that actual player interaction has shifted from Paper to Arena and Online play not just because of 2020 and what happened that year but because Local Game Stores (LGSs) are going the way of Blockbuster with the last one located in Bend, Oregon which was one of the staples that made MTG great. So picture someone like me playing MTG Arena and now I'm playing Solitaire, I'm in an online client, with no voice chat, and the games are miserable. I can kind of emote (kinda) but not really it's just kind of a text box pretty much. What people don't seem to realize when they play MTG Arena is that the game is still tied to Paper Magic so there's really no ability to work inside the digital space so the only way Wizards of the Coast can fix anything on MTG Arena is If they print something that's bad or is broken enough to ban with little to no prior playtesting involved. That's a miserable experience for anybody right? So you have these cards and synergies that define a metagame and similar to Legends of Runeterra where If things get out of balance the designers can do a balance patch and adjust a number up or down.

    For MTG Arena, Wizards of the Coast can't really do that. They have to ban it because the game is constrained by a real life Paper card due to the Secondary Market (which they're unable to publicly acknowledge resulting in federal lawsuits) and they can't change those cards with new errata once after they're printed (in regards to Companions in Ikoria they didn't have much of a choice). Yu-Gi-Oh! was once notorious for this which resulted in a lot of confusion with how certain cards properly worked and whatnot which led to a lot of players and judges "rule sharking". Another problem is that Wizards of the Coast doesn't care about what happens to MTG Arena or Paper Magic as long as they make the shareholders at Hasbro happy and to a lesser extent EDH / Commander players in general. MTG has been in a really bad place for nearly three years with a Intellectual Property tie-in that no one asked for until it almost got out of hand with a Secret Lair drop with the Walking Dead. Also we still don't have EDH / Commander on MTG Arena. We have Brawl however nobody wants to play it due to the concept of rotation. Why would I want to play EDH / Commander on Spelltable or MTGO which really shouldn't be a thing anymore?

    Also let's be real here, a lot of former MTG veterans who once played aren't ever coming back. There's this running joke that says, "You never quit MTG forever!" Right? Like If I had a dollar for every time I quit MTG you take a break. No, these last three years have been really hard on the game in general and I don't think that players are coming back. If you take a look at a lot of the big names that were once famous in MTG they're now exploring other card games whether If they're Paper or Digital. More so Digital due to costing less resources to produce and manufacture so there's that. They're exploring other card games such as Hearthstone, Shadowverse, Legends of Runeterra, Flesh and Blood TCG, Final Fantasy TCG, etc. because a lot of these Digital exclusive card games that are purely Digital aren't bound by a Secondary Market like MTG, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Pokémon TCG where they can patch the game up without getting into any sort of legal issues with publicly acknowledging the Secondary Market which costs these companies their business when they can just patch these games up If they're Digital exclusive. Why live in constant fear of losing money from a deck getting banned?
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    I am about as conservative as it gets and I don't understand this fear of vaccines at all that comes from this side of the political spectrum. You have a lot more to worry about in life than if a vaccine is going to give you side effects. Requiring a vaccination for employment doesn't infringe on personal liberties in my book as long as it is paid for by the employer. I would have loved to have had the Chicken Pox (Varicella) vaccination when I was a child. It didn't exist at that time. I got Chicken Pox as a 3 year old. I then proceeded to get Shingles 42 years after that. It wasn't fun. Vaccinations are not evil, they are not the government trying to implant microchips or give us diseases. They are for the common good. Any manufacturer that knowingly and willingly produces a vaccine with intent to harm the populace will be found out and sued into non existence. It won't happen and if it does that company is done, over and gone.

    Back to the topic, the vaccine is going to get us back to normal. The quicker the better. Playing Magic in person will be the icing on the cake.
    The idea of the vaccine getting us back to "normal" seems to only be wishful thinking at this point. I don't see how anyone expects Paper Magic to survive a Black Swan Event, health officials vaccinating / immunizing 70% of the general U.S. population, and still expect massive turnouts for small events at Local Game Stores (LGSs). Also I don't see the utility of Paper Magic in Standard in particular because it's not collectible, there's too much of it, and it's just not valuable when you look at the different versions of it. Outside of it the cheapest versions will sell including the most expensive versions while everything else is not sellable because your playerbase is either going to get the most expensive version of that one card, I mean some cards have six to seven different versions of them, that's insane like the regular, the foil, the showcase foils and non-foils, box toppers, etc. and it's a place where most players wouldn't want to be in especially inventory management and what you stock or what don't Local Game Stores stock. It's just getting out of hand really fast so I don't know If we'll see it get any better or not.

    I don't know If we'll ever see In-Person Standard again so why would you want Paper versions of cards you can already obtain on MTG Arena when you can't really use them other than for EDH / Commander and maybe Pioneer? You can't draft them, can't go to Pre-Release, and considering how long the pandemic lasts there's going to be some residue and the residue is that even If everyone is vaccinated / immunized and COVID-19 is over and done with, essentially there will always be a risk of COVID-20 or whatever new global pandemic ends up replacing the current one. Overall people won't be going to their LGS to play Paper Magic post-COVID. If you're buying Paper Magic cards right now are you using them for FNM? Are you drafting them at your LGS? Probably not. COVID-19 is really out of hand right now especially since it just mutated into a new contagious strain recently discovered in Colorado and California originating from the U.K. so we don't even know If the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be able to keep it under control. Oh sure everyone will get vaccinated / immunized until the next pandemic rears it's ugly head.

    Everything that's Standard legal right now in Paper Magic is practically unplayable during COVID-19 minus a few EDH / Commander staples here and there. In some countries around the world they might have small In-Person events at Local Game Stores for Paper Magic but as for the U.S. most of these stores are closed or on the verge of bankruptcy. By the time you're actually able to play In-Person Paper Magic in Standard at your Local Game Store, rotation will have already hit as you've wasted a crap ton of money on faulty paper products that Wizards of the Coast cannot publicly expose especially with the foils continuing to curl. No one even played Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths because most of the stores running Standard events at the time weren't even allowed to host them during the height of the pandemic back in March 2020. Think about how unhygienic MTG players are and then throw in a global pandemic with a fatality rate of 2.2% which is now slightly more contagious than ever like 9 months or so. There's a much greater risk of getting COVID-19 at your Local Game Store. I'm not being prestigious, I'm just saying that this is probably true.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on [KHM] Toski, Bearer of Secrets— @wizards_magic Christmas Eve preview
    Been trying to figure out how to brew Toski, Bearer of Secrets as a Squirrel Tribal Aggro deck even as a budget version with no Earthcraft to combo with Squirrel Nest and Throne of the God-Pharaoh but to no avail. The fact that he comes out on turn 4 (turn 3 or earlier with Jeweled Lotus, Sol Ring, and/or Elvish Spirit Guide) and doesn't ramp as efficiently early to mid game as Nissa, Vastwood Seer is a bit underwhelming IMO. Aside from Mono-Green Tribal and Squirrel support Toski doesn't leave a lot of room for infinite combos to go off as good. You want to spam as many Squirrels and pump Toski as soon as possible to not only deal Commander damage but also reap off of card draws by giving all your Squirrels deathtouch and trample. Shouldn't be hard to get a Voltron win with Alpha Status and/or Blackblade Reforged at least.

    Worldslayer works pretty well with Toski If you have a way to get around that 5 equip cost somehow. I can see Maze of Ith, Sundial of the Infinite, and Ebony Horse slowing Toski down from having to attack each combat. You can even turn your draws into Bear tokens with Words of Wilding though I don't think it'd be worth it unless you need chump blockers. Toski, Bearer of Secrets seems too janky as a Voltron Commander though in regard to benefiting off of a Squirrel army is where he truly shines. It's just too bad there isn't enough Squirrel support that's in black border unless Kaldheim changes that. Krenko, Mob Boss can work off of Goblins faster than Toski can with Squirrels. I want Toski, Bearer of Secrets to be good though I don't expect him to be cEDH viable. Seems like a lot of Commanders are being pressured into having to keep up with cEDH nowadays.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    In regards to the recent rollout of the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines especially here in the United States where I'm from I'm deeply concerned with how possible vaccine mandates will impact us players to where If we refuse to take it that we would end up losing our jobs to where we can no longer be able to keep up with Paper Magic by having to liquidate everything. Either that or run the risk of taking the vaccine regardless of potential side effects such as headache, body fatigue, and the one side effect that I find unlikely among most people who've already taken the shot being cerebral palsy. I know there's been a lot of false rumors going around the internet lately about the vaccine potentially altering human DNA which turned out not to be true especially the use of nanotechnology with microchip implants which have recently been debunked by many credible doctors and nurses around the globe and since humanity won't achieve gene therapy for at least another century that gives me a sigh of relief.

    I do see a few plausible scenarios. For those who take the vaccine don't need to wear a face mask while those who don't take the vaccine will have to continue wearing a face mask while limiting themselves from others as much as possible via social distancing 6 or 12 feet which in of itself is an oxymoron. I also don't believe that it should be up to Health Departments to enforce vaccine mandates or immunizations for COVID-19 when it should be a choice. If someone doesn't want to take the vaccine especially If they have a religious objection toward it then they SHOULD have every right NOT to take it. Getting immunized with your consent is one thing but without it I consider as tyranny as it violates the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution despite not protecting people from private entities / corporations like the government does. Constitutional rights unfortunately have no bearing when it comes to private entities / corporations like it does with government. There was even a U.S. Supreme Court case awhile back tackling this issue.

    As for how this would affect Paper Magic, If we see more players who are unemployed, furloughed, or laid off as a result of not complying with their local Health Departments by not getting immunized or vaccinated for COVID-19 sometime by mid March or April of 2021 which is when the vaccines should be widely available to the general public at that time then expect to see more Local Game Stores (LGSs) go out of business and shutting their doors down for good. It would also be the death knell for Organized Play unless they force players to get immunized or vaccinated as an admission fee especially If your Local Game Store (LGS) says you can't buy or sell products unless you get immunized or vaccinated for COVID-19. Almost sounds like a certain scripture in the bible but I'm not going to get into that right now. Thing is experts estimate at least 70% of the U.S. population needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity or at which enough people are protected that the virus can be held in check.

    We don't even know how long the effects of these vaccines will last whether If it's 5 years or longer without an annual shot similar to the seasonal flu. Even though it was rushed to combat the pandemic with a fatality rate of 2.2%, the speed and scale of what's happening now could just be a prelude to the chance discoveries that we'll have to make over a longer period. Bottom line: You can't scream a cure out of a test tube. I think people are in too much of a rush for life to get as normal as it was pre-COVID or close to it at least. I understand the grim death toll of 300,000+ but still patience is a virtue. Facing the prospect of potentially losing my job of 18 years working at a Supermarket for refusing to take a vaccine that we don't even know is safe is troublesome as my mother threatened to send me to a psychiatrist for my disobedience. I even warned her not to take the vaccine in fear of what it could do to her but she didn't care. Then again I've been vaccinated for chicken pox when I was younger however recent advancements in technology has me deeply concerned.
    Posted in: Magic General
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