The Fan Content Policy
The week started off with an article on February 20th that highlighted Wizards of the Coast’s Fan Content policy. The policy, which has been in place for a number of years, outlines how fans of Wizards’ intellectual property can express their passion in a way that falls in line with Wizards’ Code of Conduct. The announcement went on to describe the reasoning behind highlighting the policy in this way as the upcoming release of Dominaria. As Blake Rasmussen put it in the article, fans have a close connection to Magic’s original plane and the team at Wizards wanted to make the audience aware of the policy.
The Fan Content Policy governs things like fan fiction and art. It asks that the content follow a few rules, primary among them is that the content must be free to access. The creations must also be labeled as unofficial and cannot harm other people or Wizards in general. The other major element was that Wizards would be able to use and share the content, free of charge.
The community had questions. There were concerns about fan creators having the legality of their content create an issue with Wizards. This resulted in a follow up tumblr post on February 21 that sought to clarify these concerns. The post indicates that the policy is in place to protect Wizards intellectual property from people who seek to profit from it without going through the proper channels. It is not intended to prevent people from making and sharing their work. According to this amendment, when Wizards shares fan content it will properly credit the originator. The policy “is not intended to stop a creator from asking anyone that shares their art to credit them; it stops creators from refusing to license (i.e., allow people to use) their art without agreeing to a credit restriction. The requirement that your Fan Content be noncommercial is similarly intended to remove barriers to sharing content. We’re sharing, and we hope you will too.” The update closes with a promise to continue to examine the policy and respond to other concerns that were raised.
Speaking of Dominaria, the expansion symbol and the packaging materials were officially revealed.
Last week at Grand Prix Lyon, Gabriel Nassif made an attack into a board that contained the From the Vault Dryad Arbor. Unlike the Future Sight version, the special foil Land Creature bears more than a passing resemblance to an actual Forest. The attack cost Nassif the match and sparked a discussion around whether or not the specific version of Dryad Arbor should be legal. Marshall Sutcliffe covered this in great detail on his MTG Breakdown YouTube channel.
This week Wizards of the Coast will be spoiling 25th Anniversary Masters. In an article from February 22nd, Gavin Verhey discussed how Masters sets would be handled from here on out. Iconic Masters represented a soft launch of what are being described as “themed” Masters sets. Rather than focusing on reprinting cards for specific formats—Modern Masters, Eternal Masters —these compilation releases will be built around themes: iconic creatures in the case of Iconic Masters and nostalgia in the case of 25th Anniversary Masters. The goal of these sets will be to reintroduce cards to the cardboard economy. The goal is to have cards for non-rotating formats as well as Cube and Commander.
When Event decks were retired, Wizards announced that they would be introducing a product designed to allow people to enter tournaments with a deck available right out of the box. An article published February 23rd let us know that Challenger decks would fill this role. Available starting April 6th, 2018, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $29.99 each, the four Challenger decks are designed to be competitive at the Friday Night Magic level right off the shelf. This is a step up from previous releases of this nature, which would struggle against most competitive Standard offerings. These decks feature high powered cards, including planeswalkers, and resemble current Standard decks.
Hazoret Aggro headlines the decks and looks an awful lot like the aggressive red decks that have been present in Standard since Hour of Devastation. Vehicle Rush is basically a Mardu Vehicles deck. Second Sun Control is just that—an Approach of the Second Sun deck. Finally, Counter Surge is a black-green Winding Constrictor deck. Challenge decks are legitimate contenders for smaller tournaments and can serve as a great introduction to Standard play.
The updated Pro Player Rankings were released. Seth Manfield remains your world ranked number one player. Javier Dominguez jumped three spots to 8 and Marcio Carvalho moved up 6 to 14th place.
Grand Prix Memphis also took place this past weekend. After three straight weekends highlighting Modern, the spotlight turned back to Standard. Having recently undergone bans on January 15th, Memphis was the first high profile Standard tournament to include Rivals of Ixalan and not include Attune with Aether, Rogue Refiner, Rampaging Ferocidon, and Ramunap Ruins. This led to a relatively diverse Top 8 with five different archetypes represented. These included 3 copies of Grixis Energy and 2 copies of Blue-Black Control, alongside Red-Green Monsters, Mardu Vehicles, and Sultai Constrictor. At the end of Sunday it was Tyler Schroeder with Red-Green Monsters that won the Grand Prix.
The remainder of the Top 32 decks showcased a dozen archetypes. Standard, for now, appears more diverse, including aggressive red and black strategies, slower decks built around The Scarab God, in addition to cycling based decks and a reemergence of Anointed Procession builds.
The recent string of bans in Standard were implemented to improve deck diversity. While it is still early in the format, thus far it appears their efforts are working. With a new Play Design team working on unreleased sets, the future of Standard appears bright.
This week 25th Anniversary Masters is being spoiled. This weekend is the Magic Online Championship, featuring four Pro Tour Champions and two Hall of Fame players.