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Utopia Lost
By Tom Bergmann
Tom Bergmann

The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them. When the idea is new, its custodians have fervor, live for it, and if need be, die for it.
-Alfred North Whitehead

Now, I'm not suggesting anyone should die or anything...

But I am suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the adventure is over.

When I joined the CPA back near the time of it's inception I came on board with a purpose - to join with some others who shared the same feelings about the way WotC was manipulating our favorite game, and us along with it, and to tell them to knock it off. It seemed a fine idea at the time, gathering together a group of casual players whose motivation wasn't rooted in the number of PTQ's they'd attended, or the number of Grand Prix they'd won. Our motivation was simply the desire to preserve the game we all loved, and to preserve it in it's best possible form.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Utopia...

I don't know when it happened, or how. I don't know why, though I could speculate. Maybe it was because of the time required to build our membership. Because it took a while, maybe complacency set in. I don't know...

Or maybe we, as a group, weren't as committed as I had thought. It seemed to me, based on the wording of the Mission Statement, that everyone here knew what it was we were trying to do. I thought it was pretty clear in it's intent.

But now, it seems, that statement is hopelessly outdated. An idea, as it were, that just didn't keep.

There's a thread on the Board about the apparent death of the Dojo.

Sad thought, that. Even though it had recently been reduced mostly to being a place where the pros came to talk about themselves, I will miss it for what it meant to me in years past.

But it's even sadder to me that it was pointed out mid-thread by someone that we'd strayed from our original purpose here, in that we no longer seemed to be even trying to influence changes made to this game. This notion was reinforced by one of the Founders of our group, who basically stated that things had already changed in the game for the better, and that his perception of our purpose for now was that we should act as a watchdog group for keeping WotC on the straight and narrow.

Please forgive me - I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it. And when I asked for input from the other Founders none replied, which leads me to believe that this is how they also feel.

So be it.

See, I don't feel anything has changed. I don't think the watering down of the environment with MM and NE helps much, considering that it only affects type 2 play, and if it's more to follow with Invasion I think it'll be real hard to find a type 2 tourney anywhere outside of the Pro Tour a year from now. I think everyone will be playing Extended so they can continue to explore the brokenness of Urza's block, and I think retailers everywhere will be having problems making ends meet due to low sales of new cards and lots of stock just sitting on their storeroom shelves.

And I still don't like WotC's policies concerning bannings and errata. It seems that, to me, they don't even listen to the pros anymore, much less common folk like you and me. The Dark Ritual banning in Extended seems to show that the dartboard method is still alive and well, considering that most everybody would have rather seen Necropotence banned instead, if something needed banning. Maybe they use that dartboard just so they can seem spontaneous and unpredictable, but I honestly feel it would be better to ask the players instead.

For me, that hasn't changed.

Neither has my distaste for 6th ed. rules. I subscribed to MTG-L a couple of weeks ago, thinking that by listening to the explanations of the rules by the Netreps it would help me to understand them better, and that maybe I'd start to see the advantages in the changes. People have told me the changes made it so much easier to make rulings...


From what I've seen, rulings are anything but easier to make. Every Netrep, it seems, has their own take on CE's, SBE's, TE's, SBTE's, etc. They babbled on for a week and a half about what would happen if a White Knight was enchanted by an Animate Dead, and from what I could tell, never came up with a consensus answer.

And volume? Arrgh. Half the time the letter comes into my AOL mailbox as a zipped file because it's so big, and when it is unzipped I've 10 or 12 or more text files to read.

I thought the new rules were supposed to make things easier to understand.

This is easier?


So no, unlike my fellows, I am not content with the current state of the game. I do not feel that WotC is listening to what we say, except maybe to get a laugh every now and then, and I don't think they will listen until we tell them where to get off.

I think that's the part of all this that bothers me the most. I think we've an opportunity to tell them exactly what we think should be done with 7th Edition, right now, and it's now that our Founders have apparently decided that we no longer need bother ourselves with the notion of having input into the changes that are about to be made. That everything about the game is OK with them, and that we should continue to follow WotC around like dogs, yapping at their heels whenever they make a blunder, like the Dark Ritual banning, after the fact. That being pro-active in our approach to issues like these is simply unnecessary anymore.

I do not agree.

But I will bow to the will of the greater consensus. Since it seems that the majority of our membership isn't interested in activism I'll try to tone down my rhetoric a bit. I might as well, since everything I've written about for the past couple months has fallen on deaf ears, except, of course, for the misguided rant about being "forbidden". That one got some feedback, at least.

Instead, I'll try to come up with something more like Tony Scott's "Voodoo Magic", as was suggested by another Founder. That was an excellent piece, by the way. I'll try to do something more like that if I can.

It may take me a while though...

Tom Bergmann
TomB on the CPA BB
CPA Member

"I do not teach. I simply reveal."
-Daudi, Femeref tutor

Read More Articles by Tom Bergmann!

 - Wednesday (July 18. 2018)
 - Thursday (May 17, 2018)
 - Tuesday (Aprl. 24, 2018
 - Monday (Apr. 16, 2018)
 - Friday (Apr. 6, 2018)
 - Wednesday (Apr. 4, 2018)
 - Monday (Apr. 2, 2018)
 - Friday (Mar. 23, 2018)
 - Thursday (Feb. 15, 2018)
 - Thursday (Jan 25, 2018)

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