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RE: Planeswalker Points

September 11, 2011

In my latest article that went up on Blackborder.com I mentioned that September usually is a fairly “slow” month in the Magic world. But this year have been filled with curve balls and surprises so far…and we haven’t even seen Innistrad in it’s full glory yet! The by far biggest news yet though have been the announcement of Planeswalker Points.

Planeswalker Points (or pwp for short) is the name of the new rating system that Magic will embrace and will in turn phase out the previous system (ELO) by the end of the year. I feel it’s pretty unnecessary for me to get in to detail about what exactly the change will mean as you are in for a much better explanation by just reading the announcement. But what it’s interesting is the uproar this has caused.

In nature, Magic people likes to complain and are in general fairly repulsive when it comes to changes to the game we all love so it’s not that surprising that this news has caused the amount of buzz it has. But nevertheless I find myself baffled every time by how reactionary people can be. I heard a rumor that people at Wizards have been working on the project that lead to the Planeswalker Points-system for up to 5 years and I feel it’s very unfair for someone who has just read about the rating system to condemn it already.

So, I thought I would weather my thoughts about the new rating system today but as I was starting to write down the body of my arguments I just felt drained of all my energy. I have debated this subject quite extensively on svenskamagic.com and I feel that I would just be repeating myself (at least for my Swedish readers) by doing this so I opted not to.

My overall reaction to Planeswalker Points are positive thought although I don’t think its perfect and has room for some tweaks. The fact that the new system actively encourages you to play more Magic while the ELO system didn’t, is the major drive force why I like it. To quote Star City Games writer Gavin Verhey, who I think put it excellently:

“We went from a system that was fundamentally bad with some good parts to a system that is fundamentally good but has some bad parts.”

Also worth pointing out is that Wizards have yet to reveal information about how the Pro Player Club will look like in the future and other details regarding competitive playing. For example, while they pulled the auto-qualifiers for Top16 of GPs it seems reasonable that they might increase the volume of PTQs for each region, right? My point is, we don’t know the whole story yet. The new rating system is only a part of it.

To round off I recommend you to check out this podcast as well as this episode of MagicTV. They have a good conversation going  on and they pretty much mimics what I think about Planeswalker Points. So, make sure you check those out.

Bernhard, over and out.

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