February 24, 2023
Magic: The Gathering
Some people dream of becoming a doctor, flying to outer space or becoming a movie star. Everyone has a dream, right? Well I can tell you first hand not all dreams are the same. I got the “MTG Bug” - that thing you can never get rid of, but keep coming back to over and over again.
Ever since I got that bug, I wanted to just keep getting better and
better, and my dream was to compete with the best in the world. Yes, I’m
talking about the Pro Tour.
of you might be asking yourselves, “what are you even talking about
Seth?” Well, for those living under a rock or maybe trying to get
through a worldwide pandemic, you might not know what the Pro Tour actually is.
For newer MTG players, it’s an unfamiliar term, as the last Pro Tour
was held in 2018. That’s right - it’s been almost five years since a Pro
Tour has taken place.
The Pro Tour is an invitation-only tournament, where the best of the best compete
over multiple days of competition for money, prestige and the
opportunity to be a Pro Tour Champion. Personally, I was fortunate
enough to win Pro Tour Ixalan,
but along my journey to becoming a Hall of Fame level player, I learned
that for me MTG was much more than a game. It was about the community
and coming together for a special occasion. The Pro Tour provides a
unique opportunity to see friends and familiar faces. I wouldn’t be able
to otherwise, which is perhaps the best part of all.
to a Pro Tour, World Championship or really any MTG event you’re
invested in takes an emotional toll. I’m not just talking about laughing
with friends, but also nervousness, and even crying in some cases. For
those who followed my career, you may remember moments like my Hall of
Fame induction speech or when I won the World Championships in 2015.
Emotions definitely took
hold of me in those moments. I do my best to keep them in check, but
sometimes it’s okay to let them out. Playing and competing at a high
level is serious business and hard work. In order to do well, you must
defy the odds, and sometimes caring a lot about how you do, at least in
my case, can help provide that motivation to succeed.
first Pro Tour I had a chance to compete in was Pro Tour Geneva in
2007. I flew with my aunt and uncle to the event at the age of 16 years
old. It was a tournament that featured exclusively Time Spiral
Limited. Yes, you heard that correctly, the Pro Tour was only Limited!
The electricity at a Pro Tour just hit differently for me. Maybe it was
the lights or the famous players I read about, or the fact that I was in
a foreign country playing Magic. Perhaps it was indeed a combination of
factors. I was officially hooked for life.
we flashforward to today, let’s call a spade a spade: organized high
level MTG has gone through some recent changes. Part of this shift was
out of necessity; the COVID-19 pandemic hit players hard. Trust me, I
know. Going to large conventions where massive amounts of people gather together
quickly was out of the question for multiple years. I played very
little in-person MTG over the past few years. Along the way, monetary
benefits were also cut from the system as WOTC reimagined their
competitive offerings. For someone who cares so much about the game, to
say the past three years have been stressful is an understatement.
prepare ourselves now to turn a new page. As a longtime Magic player,
do I look at the glass half full or half empty? I choose to look
forward, because dwelling on what has previously occurred does little
good for anyone, and I want the Pro Tour to live up to its legendary
name. That’s right, as I write this, the Pro Tour which will be held at MagicCon
Philadelphia is less than three short weeks away. What I have been
longing for, alongside many of my peers, will make its triumphant
return. Let us do the Pro Tour justice and look forward to the greatest
tournament series in Magic’s history returning!
those out there who are aspiring to play on the Pro Tour, do it for the
love of the game. Don’t do it for the money, because you want playing
MTG to be your forever job or just as an excuse to buy a bunch of cards.
Professional Magic players devote a ton of time into the game for often
very little payoff as the end result. In fact, once you take into account
flights, lodging and the amount of time spent, becoming a full-time MTG
player is currently far from practical. Players that dwell on a
tournament result rather than the overall experience and enjoyment of
the game won’t make it long-term in the competitive scene.
here I am, a 32-year-old man playing a game I started playing when I
was only 10 years old. A child’s card game to many, including myself at
one time. I have two children, a house of my own and I’m getting married
in June. I look at myself in the mirror sometimes trying to make sense
of it all. The key is not to let other people’s perceptions define what
the game means to you. I personally look forward to what’s next for
Magic: the Gathering, and am hopeful in fact that we will look at the Pro Tour coming up as a glorious new beginning.
For me, today signifies the moment I join
the Ultimate Guard team, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working
with such an amazing brand. Many of my fellow CFB Pro writers have
welcomed me with open arms, and it honestly fills me with warmth knowing
I will be rocking the best MTG apparel on the market. This won’t be the
last you hear of me! I will be showcasing some of the decks I’m rocking in future blog posts, and feel free to give me a follow on Twitter (@SethManfield) to see live tournament updates straight from the Pro Tour.