*Update: Arena@Arena has been postponed due to conflicts with the holiday season, but the organisers hope to bring it back (bigger) in 2021!
With players hunkering down amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and local game stores forced to suspend in-store events such as Friday Night Magic, online, live stream platforms have taken over the forefront of Magic: the Gathering. Cockatrice and Spell Table have kept multiplayer Commander games alive, though minus the politicking. MTG Arena has also seen a big uptick in activity, as more players find it the most convenient to get their Standard fix.
The MTG Esports scene is still in its infancy stages, but the restrictions over paper MTG has brought new opportunities. A small group of community players are pooling their resources together for a 16-player Arena tournament. Dubbed as Arena@Arena, the entire event will be on live stream through multiple Facebook pages – a first for Singapore.
It’s a tall order, not just in the form of logistics, but raising demand in a crowded space.
“There is an abundance of choices – Magic, League of Legends, Dota 2, CounterStrike GO” when it comes to online games, said Fabian Lee of FBL Productions, which specialises in live-streaming events. “With so many segregated communities, it’s hard for event organisers to… fill their halls.”
Some are staying optimistic and that interest will pick up. “There is a lack of live broadcasting exposure for MTG paper or MTG Arena” in Singapore, said Arena@Arena organiser Eric Cheng, who is also the founder of MTG Arena Singapore Community Facebook group. “We are a 5G country and I believe we are ready to bring this game into light for every MTG player who shares the same passion in the region. I believe when stars align and everyone comes together, we can do wonders.”
To pull it off, Cheng has called on numerous spell casters to make it happen.
Setting the Scene for Arena@Arena
It’s easy to overlook the logistics needed to run such a live stream event. Sixteen interlinked computers for 16 players? Not so simple – a lot more hardware is needed for live streaming. Switchboards, capture cards, backup computers, video cameras, and microphones are just scratching the surface. Let’s break down the whole slew of support crew that needs to be present to run the operation.
Prize Sponsor: Local game store The Command Tower
Live Streaming Logistics: FBL Productions
Venue Host: Bountie Arena
Media Coverage: Writer/photographer from Tap & Sac
“For video, we still rely on tradition camcorders and switchers – Blackmagic ATEM Mini for example – and for audio we will link broadcast headsets into mixers, and then to the PC,” according to Lee of FBL.
Beyond the hardware to play the game, the other challenge is presenting it. “The 3 big LED screens and stage area is a big commitment for us as it requires a big budget to build up from scratch,” said Lijia Tan, a founder of both Command Tower and Bountie Arena. There are also substantial rental costs, as 3 units within a prime mall location can’t be cheap.
There is some good news: even though paper Magic tournaments are generally not allowed, Bountie Arena has secured special permission from the authorities to host a multiplayer live stream event, as long as social distancing measures are enforced.
Dec 17th, 2020, 7pm (UTC +8): Preliminaries, if more than 8 players
Dec 18th, 2020, 7pm (UTC +8) : Top 8 Playoffs
Bountie Arena, 1 Fusionopolis Way, #B1-06/07/08, Singapore 138632
Includes = 1 Bubble Tea (worth S$2.90), 1 ZNR Booster Pack (worth S$4), 10 hours computer use (worth S$20) at Bountie Arena, and 1 Lucky Draw chance
Format: Standard, Best-Of-Three matches
Preliminaries: 3 rounds Swiss
Top 8 Playoffs: Single-elimination
|1st||Commander Collection Green Non-Foil (worth S$110)|
|2nd||Commander Legends Booster Pack (worth S$7) and a Zendikar Rising Foil Promo Pack|
|3rd||Zendikar Rising Set Booster Pack (worth S$6.50) and a ZNR Promo Pack|
|4th||Bountie Arena Combo Meal (worth S$5.90)|
- Innistrad booster pack (worth $18)
- Zendikar Rising foil promo pack
- Zendikar Rising promo pack
- Khans of Tarkir booster pack (worth $7.50)
- Reliquary Tower promo x2
- Encroaching Wastes promo x2
Where to Watch Arena@Arena?
Rules & Conditions
The same deck (including sideboard) has to be used throughout the event.
At the beginning of Round 1, organisers will take snapshots of your deck list on Arena.
In the event of players watching their opponent’s stream of match play surfaces during and/or after the event for the purposes of gaining an unfair advantage (known as “stream sniping”), an investigation will be conducted and may result in a player’s forfeiture of prizes from the event.
When the players are playing on the featured table, live stream may be on-going, and they are discouraged from conceding abruptly and/or roping intentionally. Warning will be given for game fixing.
In the event of a disconnect, the organiser will review the progress of the match and decide if a restart of that round is required. In the case of intentional disconnect, a game match/round loss will be issued to the offending player.
During matches, players may not seek play advice from spectators and spectators may not give play advice to players. Reports of players receiving outside assistance will be investigated and penalties (up to and including disqualification) will be assigned.
Code of conduct:
Players should exhibit positive competitive ethics, at all times, play at their best, and enjoy the event.
Refunds are available for cancellations at least 1 working day before the event.
No refunds once a player has participated in Day 1, 17th Dec, 2020.