Responding to feedback: You might not be interested in what CML writes about, you might not share his opinions, and/or you might not like his writing style, but this is certainly not an article by a „small-minded“ person – a strange person maybe, and one could even make a case that he (still) has mental issues, but his observations prove he possesses both an eye for details and the ability to view the bigger picture. Also, he writes quite well – I have learned by now that the typical MTGBlogs reader is unable to recognize this, but you can just trust me on this.
As for the content of his writing: You should be interested in it, if you
a) belong to the group of players he describes – the PT wannabes who might or might not manage to qualify from time to time, but never reach the „gravy train“;
b) are interested in the demographics and dynamics of the Magic community; or
C) care for the discrepancy between how Magic is generally presented and how the state of that game really is.
While you’re here, let me give you a link to another, newer article by the same author. There he obviously revels in his ability to polarize his readership, but he also portrays a side of Magic tournaments which is usually swept under the rug. By the way, the very fact that a player on illegal drugs is able to win a prestigious tournament is telling and supports CML’s views about the competitive Magic scene!
The first thing I want to write about in a bit more detail is the obvious: Magic „Professional Torunaments“ pay a lot less than the comparison CML uses, e-sports tournaments. This isn’t just about a difference in payout, though: It means that Magic has a substantially different and vastly inferior quality than those sports. To put it frankly: There are no professional Magic players! Even platinum level means that you are barely able to support a living, and staying platinum isn’t guaranteed, no matter how talented you are and how much work you put into it.
There are two kinds of „professional“ Magic players: Those who do not actually make a living from playing, but from related activities like working for a large store or developing their own games; and those who are effectively taking a sabbatical, travelling all over the world while doing well enough (hopefully) to cover their expenses, but nothing more.
In contrast to players in really professional sports, you will never be able to set aside enough money during your active years to supoort your living thereafter – and it doesn’t matter at all that you can keep on playing Magic on the highest level for much longer, because you are not making any substantial profit. Also, it is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to convert your Magic playing skills into a later career, especially if you’re not living in North America – there are only so many jobs available in Wizards R&D and at Star City Games, and furthermore, I would be surprised if those payed really well.
Do not fall for those stories of former players who made all their business connections and got their dream job via the Pro Tour! For one thing, this is like the veteran paradox: Of course, everyone who tells you about the war survived it! The millions who didn’t just do not have a voice. Also, the situation of pro players around the turn of the millenium was likely a lot different from what is going on today.
The basic truth is: The „professional“ in „Professional Tournament“ is a lie. That there are no real professional Magic players is all you need to know to prove this, but actually every aspect of „professional“ Magic is a hilarious, pathetic joke, just as CML writes, and that means that this series will probably have many parts more.
After being unable to draft for several months due to a blend of computer and health issues, I have finally returned to drafting on MTGO. I am hopelessly behind with my efforts to build up my collection via drafting, and therefore I might sit out Magic Origins completely. I seem to be unable to get rid of my Fate Reforged / Dragons of Tarkir boosters because I still do pretty well in that format (which is, of course, a good thing), so this is what I have been busy with while waiting for Battle for Zendikar. You may not care about them anymore, but for the sake of continuity, here are my 3-0 deck lists from the last weeks: