Jason’s Archives: Tweet Police

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Greetings, Speculators,

I had a lot planned but I may make this one brief. Today, in the process of minding her own business in a pedestrian crossing, my wife managed to get struck by a car. I have it on good authority from an eyewitness that the noise she made when her head bounced off of the windshield was roughly "GaFAWK!" which, slowed down, I imagine stretches out to "Is this ACTUALLY #$*%ing happening right now?" Worst of all, Team Dreamcrush member (he insists on being referred to as the founder) Dr. Kyle English was on duty in the ER that day, so he insisted on treating her when she came in.

"Does it hurt when I do this?"


"Does this hurt?"


"How about now?"


Six hours later she's resting comfortably at home, propped up in bed with her laptop, eating painkillers and demanding to be waited on. Unfortunately, she is going to live.

That's Fascinating. Want to Talk About Something I Care About?

Wow, you're kind of a dick, rhetorical device.

Fine, let's talk about the latest MTG drama before we talk about decks.

Over the weekend, someone posted something racist on Twitter. Ok, lots of people posted lots of racist somethings on Twitter, but only one in particular caught the particular ire of the Magic Community. I won't repost the tweet here, you can find it on Helene Bergeot's page should you desire. Helene's response is also at this link.

Essentially someone made a racist tweet, it was reported to Helene Bergeot and she responded by saying there would be an investigation. Predictably, the community lost its damn mind. There were people defending the tweet as "not that racist" (I personally think it's kind of funny but that doesn't mean it's not racist; it so is) and that they were "disgusted by the level of PC." PV compared getting a DCI ban for a tweet to getting a DCI ban for getting in a fight at school. Phrases like "Twitter police" and "PC police" and "Nate Silver is a genius!" were tossed around on Twitter all weekend.

Here's what the libertarian wing of the Magic community forgot in their condemnation of the DCI ban (which itself is something they made up; if you re-read Helene's tweet, you'll see she used the word "investigation"). Tweety McRacist used the #SCGSea hashtag.

Can you see how that's maybe kinda relevant? Anyone who types in that hashtag to read about coverage is going to get that racist tweet as one of the search results. That means when someone performs a search associated with the event, they'll see that tweet, and Wizards allowing it to stand could be construed as a tacit endorsement of racism. Wizards should be allowed to take steps to protect its brand. If you think it's a First Amendment issue, you're mistaken. If some guy is putting flyers on windshields in a WalMart parking lot, no one will likely think the guy speaks for Walmart. But what if the flyer he's distributing is printed on WalMart's letterhead? See how that is a little different?

This isn't about WoTC caring what some chucklef%$^ says on Twitter. It's about Chuckles' use of a Magic hashtag. That's it. No one said he'd get a ban. Helene Bergeot only responded when an offended member of the community brought the tweet in question to her attention. Put down your pitchforks. WoTC isn't abridging anyone's First Amendment rights, it isn't policing twitter, and it certainly isn't banning someone for the equivalent of getting into a fight at school (PV himself conceded that the use of the hashtag was a nuance he hadn't considered that made the situation different).

I think WoTC is within its rights to investigate someone making a racist comment using an SCG hashtag which could cause the tweet to show up in the crawler on coverage, could be seen by people searching for coverage and could be construed as being tacitly endorsed by Wizards if they don't condemn the tweet in question.

Am I wrong? Let me know what you think in the comments, the forums or on my own Twitter feed. I'm pretty entrenched in my position (my position being "calm down, you're not thinking this through") but I'm willing to have the discussion. Anything's better than going upstairs and having to fluff pillows and refill water glasses.

Deck Me in the Face!

Besides racial controversy, what else happened at SCG Seattle?

SCG Seattle Top 16

Good God! Is that... Zombies!? In the top eight? It is! Is that eight unique decks out of a possible eight? Yep! Seems like the format is getting healthier.

Half of the decks jammed the maximum possible number of Thragtusks, but I prefer to think of the glass half empty. Meaning only half of the decks jammed the maximum number of Thragtusks, and given the diverse top eight, the other half can beat Tusk. Bant Control, a deck I've been on for weeks, has so many possible permutations to respond to different metagames. I've seen it built around [card Snapcaster Mage]Snapcaster[/card], planeswalkers-- even Cyclonic Rift. Whichever way you build it, the shell is sound and probably the right colors for a control strategy right now.

Garruk, Primal Hunter is criminally underpriced right now. I can't keep them in my binder and I was buying them for $3 cash a few weeks ago. That seems not correct.

How many [card Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]Thalia[/card] do you have? That card's on its way up, and with its high Legacy playability, not on its way back down. If you can trade another Standard card straight for Thalia, get the Eternal card always. Geist of Saint Traft is putting up results too, which is why it's sold out at $75 on a popular website. That's not even exaggerated that much!

Zombies went from the most expensive deck in Standard to a budget deck. [card Gravecrawler]Crawlers[/card] and [card Geralfs Messenger]Messengers[/card] were still beaucoup bucks because of other formats, but the rest of the deck was really affordable ($3 Lotleth Troll? Gimme!) and it might pop up more as people put it together on the cheap. It may not be able to beat double Thragtusk, but as decks get durdlier, it may be to go-to aggro deck for the budget-conscious. The mana base is still bonkers, but every mana base is, and Zombies is the deck without the $35 mythic or the $25 core set rare.

Augur of Bolas may be the best consolation prize for Ponder we've seen in years. It's getting jammed in a lot of decks, and its tribal alignment may be relevant in the next block. As a Simic guild member, I don't foresee us not getting crapped on, but others are more optimistic. I personally think all the merfolk will be prohibitively-costed.

I said to pick up Hellrider before it went out of control, and the top eight mono-red deck is why. With Gruul and Boros both in the pipe, Hellrider will almost certainly go up even more post rotation.

Reanimator is changing. With Brad Nelson's hoof deck stomping people (more on that later), expect more graveyard hate. Don't jam a Reanimator deck unless it can win through a Rest in Peace. Could those be going up the more popular [card Craterhoof Behemoth]Hoof[/card] gets? That all depends on whether it beats Hoof. Test it, and if it's effective, pick some up. They're practically a throw-in on trades, and if it hits $4 or $5, you did pretty well.

SCG Seattle Legacy Top 16

High Tide wins? Ugh. What a miserable deck both to play and play against.

Maverick was declared dead on Brainstorm Brewery this week (not by me) and it's looking good for a reanimated corpse. I'm sure a deck with efficient beaters, good ramp, access to hate bears, Green Sun's Zenith and Sylvan Library will always get there. Maverick is the best Knight of the Reliquary deck.

Junk begs to differ, though. Essentially "Dark Maverick," this list is also a contender for "best Knight of the Reliquary" deck.

BUG Still is a great deck idea and BUG decks have always been popular in Legacy since they printed Tarmogoyf.

I went a long time without mentioning Aluren! I love this deck! Parasitic Strix makes the combo much deadlier than previous iterations and Aluren proves that pet decks can get there given a skilled pilot and a little luck.

Eight decks in the top eight. Not much else to say. Legacy trends show RUG Delver and Sneak and Tell decks decreasing in popularity as players have finally figured out how to beat them. Show and Tell is peaking, and if you don't think you'll play them again, now may be the time to ship. Still no Academy Rectors... why did that card spike, again? Certainly not based on results.

What About the GP? Tell Me about This Hoof List

GP Bochum Top 16

Brad Nelson and event winner Martin Juza both played a silly Craterhoof Behemoth Ramp deck that uses Hoof (hope you got these at $2 like we said to on Brainstorm Brewery) and Somberwald Sage (potential spec target here as well). With its resilience to graveyard hate, hopefully its popularity won't cause other graveyard decks to take a lot of splash damage. Monkey see monkey do is in full effect here as the entire internet is scrambling for Hoofs and Sages. You pay a premium for lacking foresight and imagination, it would seem. It may be too late to get on the Hoof train, but Rest in Peace could get there as I said earlier.

Three similar Jund decks in the top eight. The pros still like this deck even if it's falling off a bit on the SCG trail.

B/R Zombies? OK, sounds fine, I guess. These could be on the rebound, so get those trade binders stocked. Anyone who sold their cards off and now is kicking themselves when they want to rebuild it will likely need the entire deck from you. Oblige them.

U/W/R and U/W Flash are both getting there. It's possible the pros play a little tighter and that Thragtusks are training wheels for control decks, or it's possible they made a metagame call. Either way, only one Bant deck top-eighted, but I guess only one U/W Flash deck made top eight and people won't shut up about how that deck is the dominant deck in Standard. Everyone's a pundit, but waiting for a U/W deck to get two top eights before declaring it the dominant deck isn't exactly Sabermetrics. The deck is good, but so are a lot of decks.

This Is Your Idea of "Short?"

I guess I can't half-ass my article, even when I'm busy. Oh well, more for you. I'll be back next week where I'll be telling you how I've invested my Craterhoof money. I may try to pay my house off a decade early.

22 thoughts on “Jason’s Archives: Tweet Police

  1. Hey, great article. Let me preface this with: I haven’t seen the tweet, just had some thoughts. In your article, you wrote about the comment made on the SCG hashtag and I think it raises an interesting question: who owns the hashtag? You liken the scenario to someone using Wal-mart letterhead to distribute racist flyers in a parking lot, but I think that is saying that SCG owns the hashtag, and I have a problem with that. Maybe that’s not how you feel, but I see the hashtag as more of a public meeting being hosted by SCG. Should SCG be playing a larger role, since the incident happened on their turf (the hashtag)? Should PV be banned from only SCG events? In the end, I think there needs to be repercussion against the offender. I’m just not sure if it is Wizard’s job or not.

    1. Interesting perspective. Hashtags are such a weird grey area right now. Doug\’s going to be a better legal analyst than I am so I won\’t stick my foot in my mouth too much since I didn\’t ever take the bar or practice law, but whether or not Wizards owns the hashtag (I mean it would be really tough to argue that they did. I certainly don\’t want to make that argument) isn\’t necessarily relevant in this case because it is explicitly linked with their brand.

      Interestingly enough, though, your comment got me thinking a bit more deeply and I realized that Wizards is not in a unique position to do something. SCG could also, if they elected, refuse to allow entry to their events to people who violate a policy (one they\’d have to enact going forward) regarding hashtags associated with their events. I don\’t know that anything can be done now, besides keeping tabs on the offending individuals should their behavior escalate or continue, but an official policy moving forward would be good. You could get a DCI suspension or ban for saying the things said on twitter to a person\’s face, so we can\’t allow the internet to be a shield to allow cowardly people to become emboldened and say things that are even worse than anything they\’d ever say face to face. I tend to doubt that guy would have said \”I thought black people only played Yu Gi Oh\” to Cedric Phillips\’ face and I think there is more than one reason that\’s the case.

      I don\’t see this as abridging rights or policing extra-curricular behavior. I see it as by extension enforcing an official policy that\’s already in place because if calling someone a racist or homophobic slur can be dealt with with disciplinary action when it happens in person, it should be dealt with the same way when done digitally. I argue that digital slurring is worse since the tweet is recorded for posterity and many more people are exposed to the offending statement.

      I\’m all for the First Amendment, but let\’s not forget about decorum and let\’s not allow people in our community to bully other people in our community. We\’re better than that.

  2. I’m a big fan of punishing those that broadcast ignorant noise in public mediums. Freedom of speech is a stupid defense, too, as it has nothing to do with how businesses/other people regard your speech and has even had exceptions with regard to hate speech where it applies anyway. You can’t just say whatever fool thing you want ’cause mise.

    With regard to RUG Delver declining in popularity I think it has more to do with the fact that people still can’t play the deck well ;p

    It’s also true that some people have just gotten board of playing the deck. Many Legacy players just aren’t that interested in jamming the same deck week in and week out regardless of how good it is. I even heard a local guy say he put down RUG because he was winning too much…

    I think that it’s interesting that you didn’t weigh in on the reaction to Feline Longmore. I was really expecting your two cents on that debacle. I think that there is a lot to say and that it goes a lot deeper than most are giving it credit for.

    1. I didn\’t hear about the Feline debacle until after I\’d published the article. All the vague references to the comments made about her on twitter were sufficiently vague that I thought they referred to the racist tweet.

      Personally, I think Feline Longmore is a disgusting human being. Who plays High Tide?

      Her deck choice aside, though, the homo/trans-phobic tweets directed at her were pretty embarrassing. There are a lot of times when I\’m proud of how intelligent and progressive the average Magic player is and this weekend was one of the times I wished I didn\’t have to be associated with a lot of them. Feline Longmore had to endure the confusion of being raised as a boy, had to endure a lot of bullying from the jocks and knuckle-draggers at her high school and has to endure people looking at her sideways on a daily basis. The last thing the LBGT community needs is additional shit from our community, which should be much more tolerant due to the fact that many magic players were outcasts themselves. It\’s all using twitter as cover- the anonymity of the internet emboldens some of the more cowardly members of the community to tweet things they\’d never have the balls to look Feline in the face and say to her.

      I\’m proud to support the LBGTA (A for allies, something I consider myself) community and I\’m proud to condemn people who are using twitter as a bully pulpit to assail them. I\’m in favor of a good, off-color joke myself. I think some pretty awful shit is funny. But there is a difference between a joke and trying to make someone feel shitty about who they are as a person.

      The community was quick to condemn the awful things said about Feline on twitter and I got the chance to be proud all over again. We\’re not going to tolerate people using magic hashtags to target people and harass them. We\’re not going to encourage this type of behavior. I think most of the community feels the way I do.

      Again, not a first amendment issue. It\’s a tact issue, and we could all use a refresher in tact once in a while, myself included.

    1. Whatever, it gives me chance to clean it up.

      It is about as racist as saying all Asians like Seinfeld. Unless there is some negative stereotype involved, this is much ado about nothing. Racism requires that one race be superior to another based on some sort of racial characteristic.

      Just making ludicrous claims about blacks is hardly something to take serious. One can make all sorts of preposterous claims about races that don’t amount to racism.

      All mexicans like chow mein. Moslems prefer shoes without laces. Black people smack people.

      Unless we are nerdy enough to think magic is objectively superior to yu gi oh.

      All this fuss is white guilt. There I said it.

  3. I\’ll note that this business about nerds mocking people who express different genders – heck, you don\’t even have to be BORN a woman to get mocked in MTG these days – has at least let me efficiently unfriend and unfollow some people.

  4. Jason,

    I think that would almost the definition of overly pc. If it has, as you say, a kernel of truth to it, I don’t know if censoring as a preventive measure isn’t offensive in itself. If it has no basis in reality, then show me the harm. No one should be prohibited from speaking nonsense that does no harm.

    If it isn’t overly pc to prohibit all topics of race including ones containing kernels of truth and/or ones that are inoffensive, then I don’t know what is.

    Reasonable people don’t take offence to blather.

    Or maybe it is some supreme, big deal, secret code, n-bomb prohibiting people from playing magic comfortably.

    My .02, also goes for gender, orientation, etc.

    1. The harm is that someone was offended. If the tweet had merit on its own and someone was offended, maybe that person is easily offended. If the tweet has no merit, does not provoke a debate, does not add to the discourse or advance the community, why defend it? I defend controversial speech. That isn\’t the issue. This is speech that has literally no use other than to cause harm and offense, so there is no basis for its defense and since it\’s offending people, WOTC should see if this guy is just a career troll, and if he won\’t respond to reason, they will likely institute a policy to curb this sort of trolling and punish future violaters. It\’s not \”overly PC\” to want to curb malicious speech with no merit, whether or not YOU find it offensive.

  5. We’re going to have to agree to disagree. The crux of this issue is how offensive is it to be stereotyped to play YuGiOh.

    I have a feeling that it is about as benign as you can get with stereotypes. I can’t imagine it is any more offensive to have it said that you play YuGiOh than Magic. I like how suddenly there is so much social esteem from playing Magic over any other game. I feel like people are getting all upset because someone thinks that their dark elf costume is better than someone else’s battle droid costume. I can’t imagine the bar being any lower for offensive speech than this.

    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it is offensive to have it said that you play YuGiOh, I don’t know. I’ve never played YuGiOh.

    1. You are looking at a situation where a tweet started a large debate about wizards, their power to protect their brand, whether they should police free speech and how the use of a hashtag in the offending tweet mattets and are instead focusing on the contents of the tweet. You are literally missing the entire debate because you can\’t see the forest for the tweet. The comments about Feline Let ngmore raise identical questions and the only difference in using that example is that you no longer have an argument.

  6. Ok, censor offending speech then. It is certainly easier than ignoring it.

    BTW, I’m offended that you think it is unfortunate your wife its going to life. I think it is offensive to be so flippant with human life. Now that I think about it, it reflects badly on the magic brand. We can’t have everyone thinking that those misogynistic comments speak for WotC.

    Censor it all.

    1. Jason is a writer that frequently puts out content with tongue-in-cheek phrases. This is defensible.

      The tweet in question was some moron nobody knows about being a moron. Not so easily defensible.

  7. You can’t censor comments just because someone might be offended.

    Part of the freedom of speech is the freedom to offend. Offensive speech

    and hate speech are two different things. Big Brother is quick to come down

    on hate speech. Offensive speech is protected. Check out Jerry Falwell’s

    lawsuit againts Larry Flynt. Your argument that the content of the tweet doesn’t

    matter is an epic fail.

    Does WOTC have the authority to ban people because of something someone

    said on social media? It’s doubtful that could stand up to a lawsuit. If they ban

    someone over something as inocuous as that Yu-Gi-Oh comment and the person

    banned gets a lawyer, WOTC might as well go ahead and write out the check and

    save everyone a lot of time.

    1. Freedom of speech only has to do with what the government has to say about your speech acts and the notion that you don’t understand this but pretend to know anything about lawsuits is just absurd. WotC could literally ban people for like, no reason and face zero legal consequences.

  8. No one is censoring anything. A lot of the budding constitutional lawyers keep citing the first amendment as if WOTC were the US government. There is nothing unlawful about having an official policy that does not tolerate hate speech. Punishing a player for violating such a policy is not unconstitutional, illegal, overreaching or unfair. I don\’t know what\’s so hard to grasp about these concepts.

  9. I never said anything about the First Amendment or the government. Your reading skills need work. Falwell vs. Flynt had nothing to do with the government and yet it went all the way to the Supreme Court.

    I have experience as a paralegal. People sue every day for things you might think are crazy. Once you get in front of a judge or a jury there’s no way to predict how it will go.

    I stand behind what I said. If someone sues because they are denied access due to a comment they made on Twitter, they stand an excellent chance of winning. There are cases in the pipeline now where people are being punished for things they post on Facebook. Guess what: a lot of those people are winning in court.

  10. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be at the internet the simplest factor to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed even as other folks think about worries that they just don’t realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the entire thing with no need side effect , folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

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