The 2013 Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame

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First of all, let me welcome you to my new site – bmkgaming.com.  I’ve been meaning to put this up for a while now, since I’ve wanted a better home for my public thoughts than Twitter or Facebook really provide.  It’s taken a lot longer than I’d intended, and things aren’t nearly as pretty as I’d like just yet, but here we are.

 

It is not my intention for this to be a strategy site.  You can still find my strategy articles and videos at starcitygames.com.  What you can expect to find here are my thoughts on various issues relating to the Magic community, thoughts about non-Magic games, insights on game design, music I’m listening to right now, and whatever other random ideas I might want to share.

 

That said, let’s start things off with a big one – the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame, and who I will be voting for the class of 2013.  The Hall of Fame means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, so it’s important to set my parameters before I begin with my discussion of the candidates.

 

In my mind, the Hall of Fame is meant to reward those who have made a significant positive mark on the history of the Pro Tour.  I believe that it is essential that a player has demonstrated excellence in both game play and character.  If someone has been caught cheating during their career, I will not vote for them.  I do make an exception here for players who made mistakes in their youth but managed to turn themselves around, but if someone has shown a pattern of indiscretion or was of questionable character during the prime of their career, I do not think they are deserving of Magic’s highest honor.

 

I know there are some who say the Hall of Fame is already “tainted” because some players who have already been voted in have demonstrated questionable character, such as Olivier Ruel, who was suspended twice during his time on the pro tour.  I don’t buy this argument at all.  Simply because voters in the past have made mistakes does not mean we are doomed to repeat them.  I did not vote for Olivier, even though I like him and enjoy his company, because I believe it’s important that the Hall of Fame recognizes those players who have done good for the game, not simply those who are good at the game.

 

I place a high value on Top 8’s and wins in major events and less value on consistent good performances.  I’ve seen a number of people question the use of Top 8 finishes as a reasonable metric when players like Shouta would rank much higher if we were looking at Top 16s.  You have to weight certain thresholds higher than others, however – do we care how many Top 32s a player has?  Top 64s?  Top 100s?  Looking at Top 8 as the most important threshold makes sense, because that’s where the elimination rounds begin and that’s where the attention is focused.  It is the Hall of Fame, after all, and you’re pretty much going to fly under the radar until you break through that Top 8 barrier or post impressive performances in other venues.

 

Speaking of other venues – I also place value on performances outside the pro tour – not only Grand Prix, but also Nationals and Master Series tournaments, neither of which are included in the official WotC stats page.  I’ve been around the Pro Tour since the beginning, and I know that US Nationals was once regarded as the toughest tournament in the world, since there was a time when most of the world’s top pros were American.  Similarly, the Masters series was the original incarnation of the “Player’s Championship” (now the World Championship) – tournaments featuring many of the game’s best players – and I believe that top results in these events ought to be considered as well.

 

Additionally, because I have been playing so long, I have the advantage of actually having known all of the major candidates during the periods in which they were competing at the highest level, so I know firsthand the way they were perceived by their peers.  This matters to me, since being held in high esteem by the pro community is a certain measure of both a player’s character and their skill.  Having a strong profile among one’s peers is not enough – despite the consensus that Neil Reeves was one of if not the best Limited player in the world for years, I’m not going to vote for him because of his lack of finishes – but it is certainly a contributing factor.

 

Lastly, my longevity also gives me context for understanding the significance of different resumes in different time periods.  For instance, it’s important to realize that it is MUCH easier to earn pro points in the modern era than it was in the early days of the Pro Tour.  Grand Prix didn’t even exist in the first year or so of the tour’s existence, and even when they were introduced, there were only a handful each year, and they gave out far fewer points.  Winning was only worth 6 points, and points only went down as far as the Top 32 – in fact, for quite a while, you only got PT points for finishing in the Top 8, making 9th place on breakers that much more heartbreaking.  Even pro tours awarded fewer points.  These days, a Top 16 finish is worth 15 points, but there was a time when it was worth half that.  Granted, there were far fewer players competing, so you had less competition for those top spots, but there were still less points available to be earned.  It’s also worth noting that there wasn’t the same incentive to travel to GPs that exists now.  For a long time, there was no Pro Player Club, no appearance fees, and no real reason to accumulate points unless you were in contention for Player of the Year.  Fewer pros went to Grand Prix in the early days because they didn’t have the same motivations as exist now.

 

I’ve certainly said a lot already without even mentioning any of the candidates on the ballot this year, so let’s take a look at them:

 

Frederico Bastos

Nico Bohny

Benjamin Caumes

Tiago Chan

Andrew Cuneo

Bernardo Da Costa Cabral

Antonio De Rosa

Willy Edel

Gerard Fabiano

Ivan Floch

Eric Froehlich

Justin Gary

Sam Gomersall

Simon Görtzen

Christophe Gregoir

Mark Herberholz

Rich Hoaen

Tsuyoshi Ikeda

Michael Jacob

William Jensen

Scott Johns

Robert Jurkovic

Mark Justice

Martin Juza

Tomohiro Kaji

Craig Krempels

Matthias Künzler

Tzu-Ching Kuo

Albertus Law

Osyp Lebedowicz

Vincent Lemoine

Marijn Lybaert

Rogier Maaten

Tom Martell

Guillaume Matignon

Makihito Mihara

Katsuhiro Mori

Andre Muller

Chikara Nakajima

Yoshitaka Nakano

Julien Nuijten

Kenny Öberg

Koutarou Ootsuka

Takuya Osawa

Brock Parker

Mario Pascoli

Chris Pikula

Florian Pils

Joshua Ravitz

David Reitbauer

Paul Rietzl

Carlos Romão

Tomoharu Saito

Luis Scott-Vargas

Rasmus Sibast

Geoffrey Siron

Terry Soh

Matthew Sperling

Ben Stark

Helmut Summersberger

Gadiel Szleifer

Amiel Tenenbaum

Gerry Thompson

Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

Gabe Walls

Craig Wescoe

David Williams

Stuart Wright

Shouta Yasooka

Matej Zatlkaj

Arnost Zidek

 

 

Quite an extensive list.  I’m very happy with the change that will be coming next year that makes the cutoff for eligibility 150 points rather than 100, because it’s just too easy to get to 100 points nowadays.  If anything, I think that decision helps reinforce the importance of the point that I made above – modern pro point totals are significantly inflated compared to older ones, which is going to be important to keep in mind during the discussion of candidates.

 

To cull this list down to a reasonable size, I’m going to cut anyone whose performance I feel does not meet the minimum threshold for inclusion.  This means that anyone with fewer than 4 PT Top 8’s needs a serious additional body of work to remain in the conversation.   I chose 4 as the cutoff because there are more than enough players with that level of performance to fill out a class, so it will take something special to convince me that someone with fewer deserves a spot over them. That leaves us with this list:

 

Willy Edel

Eric Froehlich

Justin Gary

Mark Herberholz

Tsuyoshi Ikeda

William Jensen

Scott Johns

Martin Juza

Osyp Lebedowicz

Marijn Lybaert

Makihito Mihara

Chris Pikula

Paul Rietzl

Tomoharu Saito

Luis Scott-Vargas

Ben Stark

Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

Shouta Yasooka

 

An impressive group, to say the least.  Let’s take a look one by one.

 

Willy Edel:  

 

Willy’s resume was pretty impressive already before last season, when he went on a tear with his 4th PT Top 8, as well as a GP win among many top GP performances.  He has a strong reputation as a deckbuilder, and has been an integral part of the growth of Brazilian Magic.  I believe that his candidacy suffers from being from a part of the world that doesn’t have a large player base.  Americans and Europeans make up most of the voting committee, and tend to vote for the people they know, which is one of the reasons that we’ve seen players from those areas making it into the hall while players from regions like Japan and Latin America have trouble getting enough support.  There were allegations of cheating early on in Willy’s career, but I have never heard any of them corroborated, and they came from American players at a time that there was a significant bias against unknown foreigners.  Latin America, in particular, had a serious stereotype associated with shady play, and I think that hurt Willy in the eyes of the community judging him at the time.  Paulo has vouched for Willy, and I believe him, so I don’t consider those allegations a strike against him.

 

Eric Froehlich:

 

EFro’s accomplishments recently have been extremely impressive, with a level of consistent performance that has been tough to match.  That said, the whole of his resume isn’t quite as impressive as some of the other candidates, though I have no doubt that given time it will be given the tear he’s been on.

 

 

Justin Gary:

 

In the interest of full disclosure, Justin is one of my best friends, and I work closely with him every day as part of our game company, Stone Blade Entertainment.  That said, I think even from a wholly objective measure, Justin’s resume is extremely impressive.  He has three PT Top 8 finishes with a win, which would be a little short of getting him in the conversation normally, but in addition to that, he has a US Nationals win (back when it was among the toughest tournaments around), another US Nationals team appearance, in which he led Gabe Walls and Josh Wagoner to the Worlds Team Title, and a Master’s Series finals appearance, none of which appear in the stats.  What does appear in the stats, though, is Justin’s incredible consistency.  He has the most finishes in the Top 32 or better of anyone on this year’s list – and not just by a couple.  Justin has 20 Top 32 finishes, 9 of which were in the Top 16, with LSV his closest competitor at 13.  Additionally, Justin was a fixture on the most dominant team of that era – Your Move Games – with his win in Houston highlighting perhaps the most impressive performance of any team in a single event, where they finished in first, second, and third with three different decks, and their only GAME losses in the Top 8 were to each other.  The only real weak spot of his resume is in GP finishes, but his stats come from the era I was discussing in which there were far fewer Grand Prix and much less incentive to travel to them, so it’s hard to count that as a serious strike against him, in my mind.

 

Mark Herberholz:

 

Mark’s resume has strong highlights, with 4 Top 8’s including a win, but falls off a bit after that.  Most of his results came in the modern era, which makes his 198 pro points seem a bit on the low end of the scale, apparently due to inconsistent performances.  This can be seen in his median finish of 79, and just 59 at his 3 year peak.  It’s possible that my estimation of Mark is colored by the fact that his peak came during the brief period that I was away from the game, but I think he needs a little something extra to make it over the hump.  I like Mark a lot, and feel like he’s one of the most colorful characters the PT has ever seen.  I’d like to see him make it back, and I know he’s trying – he works for Stone Blade now and plays in all of the local PTQs.  It would be great to see him put up another result and get his name back into the conversation soon.

 

Tsuyoshi Ikeda:

 

I feel like Ikeda, like Willy, suffers from not coming from the US or Europe.  His 313 pro points are 5th on the ballot, a result of 4 PT Top 8 and 6 GP Top 8 finishes.  Additionally, he is a tournament organizer and store owner in Japan, doing a great deal to build the community there.  But how much is hard to know, since most voters don’t interact with the Japanese community a great deal.  I think there’s a case to be made for him, but I don’t feel like I’m the one to do it.  I just think it’s worth noting that there is a huge bias toward players from the larger communities in the English speaking parts of the world that we ought to keep in mind.

 

William Jensen:

 

Huey is one the very best to ever play the game.  I have known him for a very long time, and we tested together for a number of years, and I was constantly impressed by not just how well he played but how quickly and naturally everything seemed to come to him.  He had an ability to figure out limited formats that was virtually unmatched, as could be seen in his success in Team Rochester draft, widely considered the most skill testing format in the game’s history.  His team unseated the twice-defending champion Phoenix Foundation en route to their win at PT Boston, and it was Huey who captained their drafts and called the shots.  I think it’s something of a tragedy that Huey did not get inducted in the first year he was on the ballot, because he is truly one of the greats.  Thankfully, there is a chance to rectify that situation this year.  Vote for Huey.

 

Scott Johns: 

 

Many people who are new to the Hall of Fame conversation look at the stats and wonder why Scott Johns hasn’t been voted in.  The reality is that he had a reputation for being shady for a long time, and all of his results (save his team PT win with Gary Wise and Mike Turian) came during a time when dishonest players had a huge edge.  I will not be voting for him this year or any other.

 

Martin Juza:

 

Martin is a great player – that much is clear.  His results are very impressive, with 318 PT points putting him near the top of the list for the candidates this year.  That said, Martin’s numbers comparing so favorably is very much a result of the recent inflation in available points.  He has traveled to almost every available Grand Prix for a number of years now.  I certainly don’t think he should be penalized for his passion and willingness to travel, but I also don’t think GP success alone is enough to get someone into the Hall of Fame – otherwise Alex Shvartsman would have been a shoe-in years ago.  I think Martin will prove himself worthy of the Hall soon, but he’s not there just yet.

 

Osyp Lebedowicz:

 

Osyp is someone whose results are a little shy, but who has contributed a great deal to the community surrounding the game.  I love the fact that he’s playing again and trying to make it back on the PT, but I’m even more of a fan of him in the coverage booth, because he’s a charismatic and entertaining character, and Magic needs more of those.  That charisma doesn’t quite get him on my ballot this year, but he’s close.

 

Marijn Lybaert:

 

It’s strange to me that Marijn hasn’t been mentioned more in the HoF discussion, since he does have 4 Top 8 finishes – one a year for a while, which is a pretty impressive feat.  That said, his results outside of that are a bit underwhelming, coming in at only 194 pro points in total.  Like Osyp, I’m glad he’s found his way into a coverage role.  While I haven’t watched much of the European GP circuit, I have heard good things, and I think they’re setting a good precedent for getting more expert perspectives in the booth.  Not quite making my ballot, though.

 

Makihito Mihara:

 

Mihara’s stat line suffers from the exclusion of non-PT and non-GP results, since he has five Japanese Nationals Top 8 finishes, including a World Team Championships.  San Diego was his 4th Top 8, and he has a Worlds individual win as well.  He doesn’t quite make it on to my ballot this year, but he’s very close, and it’s probably only due to my North American bias that he falls short.

 

Chris Pikula:

 

Chris Pikula should be in the Hall of Fame.  His numbers may not be the best, with only 3 Top 8 finishes and no wins, and only 135 PT points, but all of those results came during an era that not only rewarded fewer points than modern Magic, but also rewarded dishonest players due to poor policy and lax rules enforcement.  Chris was one of the most vocal individuals to fight against that environment.  I’ve heard some people suggest that he shouldn’t get credit for being “against cheating”, because obviously anyone ought to be.  But it wasn’t just his adamant pursuit of fair play that made him stand out.  Chris was one of the first real stars of Magic.  He was a great role-model in an era that had many bad ones, and was a larger-than-life figure who always had crowds gathered around him to tell outrageous stories about his matches.  He was amongst the first Magic commentators, a role that was his for years until yours truly took over in 2000.

I mentioned in my introduction that I think it’s important to reward players not simply for being good at the game, but being good for the game.  Chris was one of the best influences on the Magic Pro Tour in its earliest days.  The Pro Tour is better for him having been a part of it, and I feel like he ought to be recognized for that.

 

Paul Rietzl:  

 

Paul’s resume is another that is good but not quite there on numbers alone.  If he had beaten Ben Stark in the finals of PT Paris it would be a different story, since two individual PT wins is an incredibly rare feat.  Given how impressive Paul’s results have been in recent years, it’s hard to imagine how much better they might have been if it weren’t for that pesky “job” he has.  He’s played in far fewer GPs than most of the other players on this list, and yet has still won two of them in the past year!   He frequently plays in PTs with minimal testing, and yet still manages to do well.  I know he’s somewhat resigned himself to drifting away from Magic after missing Platinum this year, but he would not have to worry about falling off the pro tour if he could muster one more top finish to get himself solidly into Hall of Fame territory – or if he’d just write a few more articles now and then.  His PT Amsterdam tournament report was among the best ever  written.

 

Tomoharu Saito:

 

Saito is clearly one the best players around.  Saito is also clearly a player who is willing to bend the rules to get an advantage – stalling is cheating. I have seen people suggest that Saito has “served his time” and should be a serious consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame again this year.  My perspective is that Saito has served his time, and as a result ought to be allowed to play Magic again – that’s it.  It’s going to take a lot more than that for me to ever consider voting for him for the Hall of Fame.

 

Luis Scott-Vargas:

 

Luis is not only one of the best to ever play the game, but he is a pillar of the community and an incredible role model.  He is friendly, sportsmanlike, and occasionally one of his puns is even actually funny.  It would be absurd for anyone not to vote for LSV.

 

Ben Stark:

 

BenS was borderline in previous years, and has since made another PT Top 8 and posted enough dominant performances in limited Grand Prix to continue to cement his reputation as the best drafter in the world.  As I mentioned earlier, I think the regard in which a player is held by his peers means a lot, and the fact that so many excellent players view Ben as the best is a big boost to his already impressive resume.  It helps that I know Ben personally, and I’ve seen his willingness to share his expertise.  Before PT Philly a few years ago, I was posting poor results in our practice drafts, and I asked Ben to watch me draft on Magic Online to help me out in the days before the event.  He did, and I went on to post a 5-1 finish in the Limited portion of the PT, certainly due in part to his advice.

 

Guillaume Wafo-Tapa:

 

Wafo is in a strange spot this year, because his numbers are great, but he’s coming off of a recent suspension.  Some might argue that his suspension had nothing to do with tournament play, so it should be discounted.  But given the time frame in which the pro tours occur, it’s hard for me to accept the idea that having early access to spoiler information and using that information to playtest has no impact on tournaments.  How long had this been going on?  Would Wafo’s results have been different if he had not had this edge over the rest of the field?  While he didn’t draw extra cards, his infraction was very meaningful when it comes to the pro tour.  I like Wafo, and I certainly respect his results, but I am not voting for him.

 

Shouta Yasooka:

 

Shouta’s resume is very impressive, and he’s certainly a tremendous deck builder, particularly given that he comes up with his decks almost entirely on his own.  That said, it’s hard to justify voting for someone with only a single Top 8 when there are so many others who have better results.  His finals appearance (and utter swiss dominance) at the Player’s Championship last year certainly added to his case, but not quite enough to get him there in my opinion.

 

So where does that leave us?   In the end, this is the ballot I expect to submit:

 

 

Luis-Scott Vargas

William Jensen

Ben Stark

Justin Gary

Chris Pikula   

 

 

I welcome discussion, either here in the comments, or via my Facebook and Twitter, which you can find linked on the page above.  Again, welcome to bmkgaming.com!

 

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30 Comments

  1. Carlin Walker-Heath on

    Awesome to see you with your own website. It will be added to my daily list of websites I scour through, so thanks for giving me more excuses to procrastinate. Always interesting to hear peoples take on what it should mean to be in the Hall, especially from someone who has been around the game forever. Very good read, thanks. Looking forward to future reads.

  2. Ben Chronister on

    Mr. Kibler,
    I love the new site, I appreciate your candor and this article is a great kick-off. As hardcore FNMer just beginning to dabble in tournament play, reading your views about the hall of fame is encouraging.I especially respect your views regarding cheating and improving the overall community.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I have to thank you for your B/G builds for standard a few months back. My version is heavily modified at this point, but it’s won me quite a bit of store credit/comic book money. Thanks for this, thanks for Ascension and thanks for everything else you’re involved with.

  3. I agree with Pikula, he should be in the Hall of Fame. I’m playing since Revised and he was one of the most admired players during his time. Also he is trying to the to the PT again.

  4. Are you saying that US/EU bias in voting is a reason not to vote for Edel/Ikeda? That is what “I just think it’s worth noting that there is a huge bias toward players from the larger communities in the English speaking parts of the world that we ought to keep in mind.” seems to say. Why should that impact your vote? You’re not handicaping the HF selection, you’re voting in it.

    Implying people shouldn’t vote for players because it is hard for them to make it in based on language/geography seems pretty awful.As someone with a voice that could have an impact on the vote it seems that you should be championing players like these for being “deserving of Magic’s highest honor” regardless of where they were born.

    Just my 2 cents.

  5. You say about Wily : “There were allegations of cheating early on in Willy’s career, but I have never heard any of them corroborated, and they came from American players at a time that there was a significant bias against unknown foreigners. ”

    And then about Scott Johns : “he reality is that he had a reputation for being shady for a long time, and all of his results (save his team PT win with Gary Wise and Mike Turian) came during a time when dishonest players had a huge edge. I will not be voting for him this year or any other.”

    Now, I don’t know either of those two personally, but it seems like you’re taking a different approach for what feels like the same thing, cheating allegations without proof to back it up. I can imagine your view on Wily is different due to conversations you’ve had with Paulo (or personal experiences with Scott Johns), but based on the way it was written it feels like you’ve completely excluded one person from consideration for something you are accepting of on another player.

    It is all personal preference, so its understandable, and I’m sure there is more to the story than what you had time/care to write, it just seemed strange from an outside perspective.

    Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts! Is this blog strictly magic, or will you be talking about Ascention/Sol Forge as well?

  6. Easily the correct ballot. When it comes to “Hall of Fame” in other sports it is all about dominance in their time period and all 5 meet that requirement as they were all at one point considered top 5 players at the time.

  7. Hank Single on

    Given how many people you know, before doing a list like this, in which you both highlight your longevity and how connected you are to the community, and then discuss a bias that exists towards non-English speaking areas of the Magic community, wouldn’t it behoove you to ask around about the people you know a bit about, but not everything? It’s hard to have you acknowledge the bias, and then operate under it, without appearing to exert any effort to defeat it.

    Besides that, I liked the article, a great deal. Good luck with the site.

  8. Brian Kibler on

    I’m not suggesting that anyone shouldn’t vote for Willy or Ikeda – if anything, I’m trying to encourage people to look at them again through a different lens. As I said, I don’t feel like I’m someone who is in a position to make a case for either of them – their stats are good, but unamazing, and it’s really their community contributions that would make them stand out, but I don’t know much about those and would like to hear more from others who do.

  9. Brian Kibler on

    I played when Scott did, and have heard accounts from people I trust that suggest he was not an honest player, which is precisely to the contrary with Willy, whose accusations come at a time I was not playing and are refuted by those whose opinions I respect.

  10. Brian Kibler on

    Part of my goal with discussing the bias I perceive is to encourage others who know more about those candidates than me to speak up on their behalf.

  11. Zac Sanborn on

    Great analysis. Looking forward to the continuation of content on this new site, too!

  12. Some excellent analysis on specific players and I really agree with your criteria for choices. Your simple, succinct summary of the player being both good *at* the game and good *for* the game is exactly how I’ve always felt about the HoF. I do respect that some don’t see it that way, but I know if I had a vote, that would be my guiding line as well.

    Great read and a wonderful way to launch the site. Looking forward to reading more!

  13. Frank Gilson on

    I didn’t witness Scott Johns cheating, and tested with him regularly. Nor did I hear him discuss cheating or witness him prepare to cheat. He was extremely rules-lawyerly…back when Magic judges and PT process wasn’t as good. He could also get into angry arguments with opposing players. He sometimes used the process and rules themselves as defined by WotC at that time against opposing players. That’s as ‘shady’ as anything I was aware of.

  14. Just wanted to give you props for mentioning this:
    “[Rietzl’s] PT Amsterdam tournament report was among the best ever written”
    Agree whole-heartedly.

  15. I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time, very likely because you played the famous dragon deck at the first pro tour I played in. In order to qualify for Chicago in 2000, I got handed a deck from Willy Edel. I think it’s fair to say he has been an important member of the Brazilian Magic community since then, if not before.

    I appreciate your comments about him, in particular pointing out the fact that Latin American players might have suffered from an unfair bias. Like PV, I can definitely vouch for Willy not only being a thoroughly honest player but also the main reason many Brazilians have been able to have money finish at PTs.

    I do have one HoF question: do you think having top8s many years apart (which shows longevity) are more important than having top8s in 2-3consecutive years?

  16. Seems like a fair assessment. You having played against him during the time you thought he was doing shady things makes a world of difference, and I can see why that easily sways your opinion on the matter. Thanks for the clearing that up, and I’m sure you’ll hear from both sides of the story on the issue.

  17. Frank Furter on

    Wafo was suspended for leaking the info not for having it. Wizards gave him the info. It seems unfair to punish him for something WotC afforded to him. I still think he misses the ballot this year on merit anyway just noting.

  18. Question re: Pikula – why are his particular community contributions good enough to elevate him to the ballot compared to someone like Chapin who never made it until he got that 4th PT top 8? I feel like a lot of players from the early years are voting for Pikula out of nostalgia. He’s been on the ballot since the beginning and never been judged worthy before, what’s different this year? (Aside from him being about to go off the ballot)

  19. Louis-Samuel Deltour on

    I think the whole “it was much harder to get Pro Points back then” is not accurate. I’m going to C/C a comment made by Blake Rasmussen on Chapin’s article regarding HOF

    “Everyone seems to be taking it as a given that Pro Points are easier to accumulate today, but I’m not sure that’s the case.

    The historical POY list seems to show there really isn’t much point
    inflation going on, at least in the POY Top 10. (Found here: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/TCG/Events.aspx?x=protour%2Fstandings%2Fpoyroylist).

    In 1998, the average Pro Points for the POY Top 10 was 53.5.
    In 2013, the average Pro Points for the POY Top 10 was 60.

    That might look like some slight inflation, but not when you consider
    that the highest POY Top 10 average was 2005 (68.8), second was 2004
    (67.6), and 3rd was 2001 (65.7).

    This year, the POY earned 77 Pro Points and second had 67. In 1998, the POY had 87 points and second had 70.

    Averages for the POY Top 10 from 1998-2002: 53.5, 53.9, 55.6, 65.7, 58.9: Era average=57.52.
    2003-2007: 56.2, 67.6, 68.8, 49.9, 53.7: Era average=59.24.
    2008-2013: 50.1, 57.7, 52.9, 54.7, 56.4, 60: Era average=55.3.

    For comparison’s sake, the overall average from 1998 to 2013 was 57.225.

    None of these (somewhat but not completely arbitrary) periods
    particularly stand out, and the modern era (2008 is when we went to 3
    Pro Tours) actually has the lowest average. So where’s the point
    inflation?

    I should add that I couldn’t find the POY standings
    for 1997. 1996 is abysmally low with a 33.7 average and just 50 points
    for the winner. Only Mark Justice and Scott Johns were on that list.

    Grand Prixs give out significantly fewer points than Pro Tours, and
    even then only if you do very well. Prior to 2008, there were more Pro
    Tours. In some seasons, many more. It doesn’t matter how many GPs Juza
    travels to, for instance, if he doesn’t perform.

    The one place
    this analysis does miss is that there are more points at the bottom. In
    1998, 10 Pro Points put you roughly in the top 120 for the year. Today
    it’s closer to 200. There are more points at the bottom of the standings
    and more points being spread out among the general populace. You can
    probably attribute much of that to Grand Prixs, but I don’t have any
    real way to prove that from the statistics at hand.

    But when
    talking about the Hall of Fame, we’re not talking about the bottom of
    the standings or points spread among the general populous. We’re talking
    about people that are or should be competing for the POY many years.
    They should, in essence, be somewhat accurately represented by the POY
    Top 10 trends. And the POY Top 10 has definitely not inflated.

    So is the key difference between 200 and 300 Pro Points picking up those
    scrapings along the bottom that tend to filter out to the general
    populace but sometimes end up with the Juzas of the world? That doesn’t
    seem right. 100 points is a lot to put together from the Pro Points
    leftovers. It seems far more likely that either performance or longevity
    or both vault you up that high.

    I’m very open to the
    possibility that I’m missing SOMETHING, I just can’t see what it is.
    Everyone seems to be taking it for granted that more points are given
    out now, but, as far as the Player of the Year race is concerned, that
    just isn’t true.”

    I wasn’t on the tour back then but I think the numbers are pretty convincing.

  20. In 2002 Kai Budde won 2 Pro Tours worth 32 Pro Points each and finished the year with 117 Pro Points, the highest single season total in history, outpacing the next highest finisher by 37 points. If you look at your statical averages info that is the only year of that era that the average was over 59 points. The next season, the only other season pre 2003 where the top ten average was higher than 55 Kai again won 2 Pro Tours, albeit one of the two was his second team PT win and again was 16 points in front of the next highest finisher. As a matter of fact in 2001 the third highest “average” year, the third place finisher was below the mathematical “average” for the top ten. So for those of us who remember Kai’s dominance of the Tour, those statistical averages are rather less than “convincing” and more like “statistical outliers”

  21. Yeah youre right its pretty unfair to hold something against someone when they were trusted with something and then breached that trust.

  22. I believe Pikula was central to the evolution of the pro tour because of his role as a positive figure in its early days when it desperately needed one. Historically, he had an enormous impact.

  23. As the other comment alludes to, I think it’s worth looking at the median pro points in, say, the top 20, rather than the average of the top 10 for a better sense of how many points were out there to be earned by top players.

  24. seventhirty2983 on

    That’s the exact 5 I would for. Though I do have a bit of a bias toward players who played in the 90’s, because thats when I was most into the game.