On the Rookie of the Year Race and the World Championship

Given the recent events that have taken place, I wanted to express my personal views and opinions on the Rookie of the Year situation. This will not be an article talking about the incidents that took place, but rather about the aftermath that could happen—depending on what the DCI decides in the near future. This is my story.
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Rookie of the Year is a title only a rare few are able to have on their resumes. When I was finally able to qualify for the PT, I told myself to make sure to show everyone that I deserved to be there. I just so happened to end up qualifying for the first PT of the year, and thus had a very good shot at making ROTY myself. Rookie of the Year was not only something I wanted to attain for pride reasons. Starting this year, the title also rewards a slot at the Player Championship. The honor alone is a big deal, but with an entry to a major tournament, it’s worth so much more than it has been in the past.

I put in a lot of time for my first PT. So much, in fact, that it was taking a toll on me and my personal life. I wanted to give it my all and see where I could stand when it was all said and done. I ended up being featured in an article because I was winning so much and there happened to be a few of us rookies there. I ended my first PT in 11th place and had a great lead in the ROTY race. Fast forward to my third PT, in Atlanta, where I didn’t day two and was left with no invite for the last PT. I had come so far, and there was still hope to win the race, but I knew I needed to get to the last PT to even stand a chance. I had grinded hard the whole year and I wouldn’t go down without a fight. I ended up winning a PTQ and was featured in another article on the Mothership. This was my last chance at one last dance. All I needed to do to win the race was actually top eight or win the PT. I know that many think that is a tall order, but I was planning to give it my all like always, and after already making top 16 at a PT, a top eight was definitely not that far-fetched.

I ended up only in the top 50 of the last PT to end the season two points short of being a Gold Pro, as well as losing the ROTY race. I came to terms that I lost the race, but was content that I gave it my all and still had what most considered a great year. It felt good knowing that while I may have lost the rookie race in my eligible year, I would have won in almost any other past year (except for the year Hayne won a PT and thus won the rookie year very easily).

This past weekend I was attending the TCG Player 50K Championship in Indianapolis when someone mentioned that I could actually be the true Rookie of the Year. I won’t go into the details of what is going on, as that’s not the point of this article. This does, however, lead us to the main issue I want to discuss here.

If in the event that the current Rookie of the Year loses the ability to compete due to a suspension, there is nothing stating what happens to the title. Does the title get passed down to the next person? If it does, does that person now become the candidate who competes in the Player Championship? If you haven’t guessed by now, I am the next person in line to become Rookie of the Year.

I went to Twitter to see if there was any information out there, as this matters not only to me, but many other pros and individuals in the community. I found a thread where Helene Bergeot stated that in the event of the ROTY becoming suspended, the Player’s Championship slot would pass down to the next at-large pro in the standings. This made no sense to me at all. Why would that be the case when the spot was specifically made for the ROTY?

Clearly, the logical thing that I assumed would happen is not correct. I assumed that if the rookie slot is left vacant, it would get passed down to the person next in line. All the benefits would then also be passed down as its part of being the ROTY. How can it make sense to have a specific spot in a tournament and then not fill that spot when there is the ability to do so? It would be one thing if there was no one else in the category, since then you would have no other choice but to fill the spot with a fair applicant, like the next at-large pro.

This is a very unique situation. This is one instance that has never came up in the history of the game. There is no precedent to this situation, and thus I think that there needs to be one set. If the spot is designated for a rookie, first assign the next eligible person who is in the standings the ROTY title, and then use said rookie in the designated rookie place at the Player’s Championship. Simple enough, right? I guess not, and so here I am making sure that I at least get a chance to say something and once again give it my all. I have never gone down in anything in my life without a fight—and I do not plan to start now.

fighttothedeathI have worked hard and honestly to get to where I have in the world of Magic. I am not a savant at the game. I didn’t catch a hot streak out of no where to end up where I am at. I spent many weekends grinding PTQs, adjusting my hours at work to allow me to test, doing everything in my power to get better and better at this game. It means a lot to me. I had to put in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to get to where I am today. When I read that I could be, in fact, cheated out of something that I would have otherwise earned, I was devastated. I was even more distraught when I became aware that even if I did get the title that I have earned, I would still in fact not reap the benefits of receiving it in the first place.

I just want something to be done. Even if this is all for nothing, in the event that the DCI concludes that there is nothing worth penalizing, I think there still needs to be language in Organized Play policies stating what would happen in the event that this situation ever arises again. I hope that WOTC does the right thing this time around, but even if they find a reason not to, I hope that anyone in a similar situation in the future can at least not have to endure the roller coaster of emotions that I have had to so far.

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15 comments on On the Rookie of the Year Race and the World Championship

  1. Perry Stewart says:

    #ray4rookie

  2. chad says:

    #ray4rookie

  3. BMendoza says:

    #ray4rookie

  4. Jason Alt says:

    #ray4rookie

  5. Bearcat Josh says:

    My issue with your argument is the fact that you didn’t win ROTY. Nothing will change that fact. In sports, where ROTY is an achievement, if the player who received the award was somehow later deemed ineligible, the award is vacated. It is not given to second place. Why? Because second place isn’t winning. You can also look to recent events to see what happens when this occurs on an individual tournament level. Did SCG bump up everyone’s awards and recognition because first place cheated? Nope, they donated his winnings. Why? Cause second place did not win. I understand your point entirely, and I would probably feel the same way. But, in the end, you didn’t win.

    1. Ben says:

      So what you’re saying is, we should all resort to cheating to win, and hope to not get caught? At the Olympic games and at world championships, as far as I know, if the winner is caught doping or otherwise cheating, second place gets bumped up to Gold. Why wouldn’t we be doing this here? Clearly, he was the best non-cheating Rookie of the Year (if the DCI suspends Jared).

      1. Bearcat Josh says:

        At no point did I say “cheat to win.” The at-large spots were created for this exact purpose. In a short competition, like the Olympics, we can say the silver medalist would’ve won the 100 meters if the gold medalist was not there. In a long term points race, we will never get a full grasp of who would be impacted had the winner never competed. Jared had played hundreds of matches. This didn’t just affect Ray, but every person in every event. Who’s to say that the points race would look the same? 3rd place was two points behind Ray, could he have earned 3 points more if Jared had not been permitted to compete? Nobody knows. It only makes sense to give the invite to the at-large person.

    2. feyeuaiouj says:

      >>My issue with your argument is the fact that you didn’t win ROTY. Nothing will change that fact. In sports, where ROTY is an achievement, if the player who received the award was somehow later deemed ineligible, the award is vacated. It is not given to second place.

      The hell? Yes it absolutely is awarded to the next person if they decide the person they were going to give it to is ineligible.

      >>You can also look to recent events to see what happens when this occurs on an individual tournament level.

      You probably shouldn’t, though, because its completely asinine and not in any way connected to the first issue. They don’t replace the prizes in an individual tournament because there is no way to determine what would have happened because those players are directly competing against each other head-to-head. Something like ROY is an accumulation of points. There is no “who would have played who if someone wasn’t cheating”, you just say “this guy doesn’t count as a rookie, who had the next most points.”

      You’re taking a problem with a simple solution and trying to find ways to make it not work. It’s the most mindbogglingly bad way to solve a problem you can possibly have.

    3. Mark Howard says:

      Looks like the end wasn’t the end. Congratulations to the true rookie of the year, and author of this article. I’m glad for the sense of fairness that this guy was wrong.

  6. Aaron Nicastri says:

    Hey Raymond,

    Firstly I want to say congratulations on being part of a race and my condolences to you for missing out on the title

    I’m one of the few that had the opportunity and luck to be a rookie of the year…..you do get called a rookie until you have a bigger achievement, so its not all glamour

    In my opinion a suspension does not change who won in a previous year unless they were suspended for activity within the time they won the title.

    I know they use to pass down national team slots in the manner you have described. Maybe by presenting situations in which this has happened before you may be able to get the response you want. My thoughts are that it is an unlikely outcome

    1. Anonymous says:

      Ray, this is awesome. I think your job now is to get them to put in place a rule for when this happens

  7. Jonathan says:

    Congratulations Raymond!!! True justice has been served!

  8. Frank says:

    Congratulations on being Rookie of the Year! Great job and all the best in the future.

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