In the weeks before the World Magic Championship tournament WotC has been pushing the event heavily. Its 24 players, who have all proved themselves in various ways throughout the year, so they are indeed “some of the best players in the game” as coverage keeps pointing out. However, I think they are making a mistake in their wording.
Sure, all of us longtime fans understand that Jon Finkel, Kai Budde, Gabriel Nassif and Bob Maher were not in attendance (although PV was) and if we think those are the best players in the game ever, then they can’t really claim its the best players. Even many of the the best current players are not in attendance. Josh Utter-Leyton and Reid Duke missed the new form World Champs for the first time, while Shota Yasooka, who just made Hall of Fame, missed as well. Matt Costa has pretty much completely fallen off the train, but is still considered one of the best by some of his teammates, many of whom I’ve listen here already.
Still, even if you know its not actually the best players, its not the message you want. You want to make sure everyone understands that these 24 players are there, because they are the 24 best players. Sure, you can add a qualifier of saying they are the best players right now, at this very moment, but please don’t downplay them any more than that. They should be players the viewers want to see, rather than just some guys who we got here because we couldn’t come up with an excuse to bring the really good players here. You have to sell them. And by adding qualifiers like “some” just doesn’t cut it.
I know some of those people just happened to spike this year. Martin Dang’s accomplishments aren’t that great besides that one Pro Tour win and I guess a GP win just before. (Sorry, Martin, we’ve met briefly and you were a very nice guy, but I’m trying to make a point here.) Maybe he’ll prove me wrong here, but I can’t really call him one of the best, but if I was selling this particular event, I’d do my best to do so.
Besides, not simply calling these people “the best” takes something away from the accomplishment. “Sure, you’re now the World Champion, but you didn’t really win over Jon Finkel or Kai Budde, so it doesn’t really mean that much.” You don’t want to dilute the brand of the tournament in that way either.
Is Seth Manfield the best player? Probably not (sorry, Seth, you didn’t seem quite as nice as Martin, but I doubt anyone is, but you don’t deserve this either, but again, I’m trying to make a point), but for now WotC should do their best to make sure everyone knows they think he is.