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SK featured on Magic: The Gathering podcast

By Michael 'Zechs' Radford
Nov 24, 2009 17:15

As part of my renewed obsession with MTG i got SK-Gaming featured on a podcast.
So, i was wondering for a while if anyone around here plays Magic: The Gathering and whether it would be worth writing about it. This week i got the perfect excuse, when i got SK-Gaming featured on the 'Monday Night Magic' podcast over at You can find the 1 hour 15 minute podcast at that link.

So how did this come up? Since i got back into MTG a few months ago i discovered the professional/competitive side of the game that i never knew about when i used to play (8~ years ago). I've been following the Pro Tour and the recent Worlds event this time around, as well as attending a couple of Friday Night Magic drafts at my own local shop.

But one thing that struck me as an esports writer and fan is that MTG players, even the best in the world, have little-to-no sponsorship. So i e-mailed the guys from MTGCast about this and they thought it was a really interesting question. He e-mailed me back and said he would ask his co-host on this week's episode, as well as giving us a free plug.

His answer was pretty interesting, and could be inspiration for a future Zechs Files. He pointed out that MTG, unlike most esports, is run wholly by one company, Wizards of The Coast. The equipment needed to play the game is very, very minimal so there where esports has the ground level sponsorship like mousepads and headsets, there isn't really such a thing in MTG. The only thing you see is players wearing t-shirts that advertise online card shops.

Why this was particularly interesting is that i saw parallels with WoW and Blizzard here. Lack of regular tournaments has been a huge problem for WoW as an esport over the years because anyone wishing to run one needs the full support of Blizzard. Just like Wizards, they ARE their game. Although the intricate details are obviously different, the fact is that very few WoW teams manage to gain sponsorship.

So, what do you guys think about it? Are there any MTG players lurking out there on SK? I'd love to hear from you and maybe we could play some MTG online.

Petition to remove ROV from the game

By Michael 'Zechs' Radford
May 26, 2009 03:39

Everyone hates it, yet it's still in the game. Here is your chance to make a statement to blizzard about ring of valor.
This is it ladies and gentlemen. A chance to make a real statement to Blizzard and say "no, this map is an abomination."

Everyone hates this god-forsaken map - i have literally never heard anyone say a good word about it. Blizzard themselves removed it from the game, only to re-add it later on. So sign this petition and send it to your friends - hell, send it to people you don't even know. The more signatures we get, the better. If the response is as good as I hope it will be, maybe the developers will listen directly to the community.

So go and sign it, spread it around,have your say, and lets see if we can't make Blizzard undo this monstrosity!

Here's again so you can easily copy/paste it to people:

Extreme Masters: extremely entertaining?

By Michael 'Zechs' Radford
Mar 3, 2009 20:52

No Zechs Files this week, folks - I'm busy packing!
Tomorrow i leave for my first tournament in nearly 3 years. ESWC 2006 it was, when the esports scene was very different. I was writing for a different website for starters, and I didn't go to cover WoW either.

But I don't know whether the butterflies in my stomach are nerves or excitement. If everything goes to plan, I could end up doing video interviews - something I've never done before. Sure, I've done text interviews for various websites and audio interviews for university but I've always been fairly camera shy (hence the same 3 or 4 pics on all my columns ;D).

Oh, and let's not forget the flying part. I wouldn't exactly say I'm scared of flying, but the hand-rests on the plane might get a bit sweaty.

But after watching the CS games streamed today, the excitement and anticipation of being at a live tournament again is almost unbearable. I'll finally get to meet people like Carmac, 2GD and Zalmah (hopefully) - not to mention the SK players and staff - and there will undoubtedly be things worth seeing at CeBit itself. But the games are what I'm looking forward to most.

It's been a long time since I saw genuinely live CS, and I've never seen genuinely live WoW. Tomorrow I'll get to see both old and new in the same place. In 24 hours time I'll probably be writing up the best of the WoW action and looking forward to another three days of exhilarating action. I hope you guys at home are excited as I am, and I really really hope we (SK's staff) can do our best to maintain that excitement through our coverage.

If the games are anything like as enthralling as they been already we should have no problem keeping you guys hooked.

Sports Writing at its Best

By Michael 'Zechs' Radford
Nov 26, 2008 15:28

Need help with christmas presents or just looking for a good read to shorten the long winter nights? Look no further.
Here is a brief list of some of the best sports books I have read. Maybe you'll pick some up, hopefully you'll add your own to the list, but mainly I just want to make people aware of some excellent pieces of work that have inspired me over the course of my esports writing "career."

Before I start, I should point out that most of these are about football. There are a couple of exceptions but not many. They are also in English, although not many of them are about english football. Perhaps some of them are available in translation, I don't know, but I assume some of them must be.

So, without further ado...

Brilliant Orange
This list is in no particular order, but I have chosen to start off with probably my favourite sports book of all time. Subtitled 'The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football' this is an in-depth look at the country and culture that blessed the world with Total Football. Football is the driving force behind the book, but David Winner goes so much deeper than simple football. Explaining the anti-semitic chants thrown at Ajax fans is just one example in this fine book.


King of The World
I'm not a big fan of boxing, but it apparently attracts much of the best sports writing there is. This biography of Muhhamad Ali was on the reading list when I was at Huddersfield University and I thought I'd expand my horizons. There's really not much else to say here. It would be very difficult to write a bad book about the most enigmatic character ever known to boxing, and David Remnick doesn't disappoint. Encompassing racial prejudice, religious tension and boxing's dirty underbelly, this is a great read, whether you like boxing or not.


Football Against The Enemy
A sort of travel-writing-meets-political-thriller-meets-football, this is a fascinating read. Simon Kuper visits locations as varied as Glasgow and Cameroon on his travels around some of the most bitter rivalries in world football. If you only read the chapter about the Brazilian style of play, you'll have your money's worth out of this gem.


In Black and White
Jesse Owens, for many reasons, is still the most famous athlete to have ever won an Olympic medal. But this is the tragic story of his treatment at the hands of the country he and his friend, Joe Louis, represented. Racing against horses to make a living while his friend feared for his life, Owens faced an appalling life, brilliantly portrayed by Donald McRae. A great read for boxing fans, athletic fans, or anyone interested the history of racism in America and 1930's Germany.


Those Feet
Those victorians had a lot to answer for didn't they? The second entry from David Winner is slightly closer to my heart, being an insightful and well-researched history of English football. Why do we still cling on to 1966, over 40 years later? Why have we failed so spectacularly ever since? Winner's answers are as thought-provoking as they are varied. This is right up there with Brilliant Orange, and the depth of its insight into the English psyche should not be under-estimated.


Another culture-meets-football book, but this time about the Spaniards. Our sun-drenched cousins have one of the most vibrant football scenes in the entire world and Phill Ball does a pretty good job of translating it to the outsider. From autonomous states and Basque-only teams to Franko's beloved Real, this is about as political as domestic football gets. Even the word 'morbo' is complicated, but if Ball's translation is correct, it seems to desrcibe Spanish football perfectly. (Note: this was written before Euro 2008)


So there you are, some of the best sports books ever written. I hope some of you pick them up for a read, and I particularly hope you will add some of your own in the comments. Next up for me is 'Tor: the Story of German Football' and 'Inverting The Pyramid'. Keep reading, folks!

Lazy Columnist Begs for Help

By Michael 'Zechs' Radford
Oct 28, 2008 15:16

No Zechs Files this week, folks, i'm dying of cold.
Since my brain is bunged up with cold and I've been laying in bed most of the day, I decided against writing my column this week. Rather than give you some half-assed speel about... whatever, I thought I wouldd take this problem and turn it into an opportunity.

Columns, by definition, are personal, opinionated and sometimes contreversial. However, that doesn't mean that a columnist should ignore his audience altogether. So, although blogs don't get that many hits, I thought I would try and ask you guys what you would like to see more of in The Zechs Files. If you want a chance to flame away, go for it. If you have some sensible suggestions, even better.

Now I'll crawl back in to bed with a book and a mug of lemsip and hope Paco De Lucia can send me back to sleep. Adiós!

PS. Back next week, assuming I survive.

A dummy's guide to ignoring CGS

By Michael 'Zechs' Radford
Mar 4, 2008 04:46

I've been one of CGS's biggest critics and I'm still no great fan. But all this ranting and raving from either side is getting a bit boring now, isn't it? I suggest a different solution.
Our mutual friend, evan, released an article today - you might have noticed. As i said in the preamble I am unequivocally against the CGS and one would assume that would mean I am fully behind evan and SK for publishing such an article. If anyone read the comments I posted there they would still draw a similar conclusion. However, time rolls on, opinions change, etc etc ad nauseum.

The thing is, all this CGS-bashing is getting a bit boring, isn't it? I'm not saying p0s, Redeye or, least of all, ODEE convinced me that CGS is a good thing - they haven't, though Redeye and p0s make a far better job of trying. It's just that its all so stale now; there's nothing new, really. Worse, says the cynic in me, is that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Good or bad, CGS just saw their name and logo on the front page of this site again, as did thousands of other people. Articles like evan's, and i include my own here, have no detrimental effect other than to stir up anti-CGS feeling which doesn't really need to be stirred.

What they don't do is convince people who watch CGS to stop watching it. Does my debating with p0s stand any chance of convincing him of the evils of capitalist America, therefore tendering his resignation from the CGS? Will Redeye stop commentating on their matches because evan or myself post an article about them? Will ODEE be fired for having the debating skills of a London cabbie?

So here is what i suggest, and yes, I am fully aware of the irony of writing a blog like this* to suggest it: If you don't like CGS, ignore it. It won't go away because of it. I'm not calling for a boycott, because CGS doesn't need us. For every 1.6 fanboy that doesn't watch there is a PGR, DoA, FIFA or Source fanboy that will. Instead, just forget about it. Don't watch it, don't read about it, don't post about it. Save yourselves the hassle and forget it ever existed. CGS doesn't need you, you don't need CGS.

ESWC isn't going to go away because of it, their target audiences are entirely different. WCG won't die, NGL keeps going strong, and the Asian RTS leagues probably see CGS as small-fry. So please, I implore everyone to just ignore it. You won't see any more articles** from this writer about the CGS and I hope evan and the rest of the SK staff will follow suit.

*At least it's a blog and not a front page article!
**No promises about snide comments, however.
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