A New Year, a New DailyMTG

Posted in News on January 11, 2016

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for DailyMTG.com, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

Ever since I took over the reins at DailyMTG just short of two years ago, I've made a few tweaks here and there to our content, but nothing earth-shattering. A new author here, a new column there, a new publish time everywhere.

But now that I've got my Wizard legs under me, changes are afoot—changes you'll start seeing today.

Why Change?

Change for change's sake doesn't do anyone any good, so there needs to be a purpose and a reason. Or several, if you're ambitious. For us, four things stood out as reasons to start playing with the formula.

  1. DailyMTG's format has remained largely unchanged for as long as I can remember. We've given it a new paint job, swapped authors, and tweaked a few columns, but—more or less—we've stuck with the tried-and-true regular columns and columnists format.
  2. Internet consumption habits have changed considerably since Daily launched nearly two decades ago. One of the lessons we learned when we moved the publish time to 8 a.m. PST was that everyone liked to read DailyMTG on their own schedule and in their own way—and those schedules and ways were different. Consumption habits were different even in the same time zones.
  3. The Magic community has grown and changed immensely over the years. That means there are many more options for great content from awesome content producers. We want to broaden the number of writers we use and the awesome content we can either produce or point people toward. We can't do that sticking to the same formula.
  4. We wanted to get away from the "silos" we had created for ourselves. My poster child for this is "Command Tower," but it goes for a lot of our column slots. I love Adam Styborski and "Command Tower," but if you weren't a Commander player, you were unlikely to read the article no matter what awesomeness Stybsy produced.

Does that mean we're doing away with content on things like Commander? Of course not. In fact, quite the opposite.

And Content for All

First, let me assure you that Making Magic and Latest Developments are staying exactly the same.

Additionally, Uncharted Realms is being renamed Official Magic Fiction, but is otherwise remaining exactly the same.

These regular offerings are so beloved, we'd be crazy to get rid of them.

Other columns, however, are going away, to be replaced with a more flexible schedule and content that doesn't have to fit into a pre-pressed mold. That allows us to bring additional focus to different ways to enjoy the game—from digital to the kitchen table to cosplay to grinding PTQs to judging and everything in between—from voices both familiar and new, while still covering Limited, Commander, tournament decks, and every other topic we've written about over the years.

Our goal, above all else, is to welcome people into the wider world of Magic and show them both new and familiar ways to experience the game.

New Faces, New Content

What does this new, more flexible approach do for us? The biggest change is that it lets us broaden our content and add new faces to the site without pushing anyone out. Over the next few weeks (including today!), you'll start seeing content from some new writers. This is the first batch of new faces, and there may be more to come here and there.

Left to right: Meghan Wolff, Gaby Spartz, Quinn Murphy, Kenji Egashira, Melissa DeTora, Maria Bartholdi, and Corbin Hosler.

This is likely the part of the update I'm most excited about. We've got Maria and Meghan telling stories and building decks, Kenji drafting like a madman and sharing videos with us, Corbin uncovering stories about the people of the Magic community, Quinn talking game design and deck building, and Gaby giving lessons on streaming and gaming. Melissa DeTora even makes the jump from Daily Decks to contributing writer, discussing Magic lifestyle and offering insight into the pro mindset.

For the first taste of new blood, check out Meghan Wolff's awesome Prerelease Stories piece today. I'm excited for more like this to come.

The Daily Magic Update

This new approach also allows us to play with our content release times. You can still (for the time being) expect to find updates to the site at 8 a.m. PST. But you'll also find new content at other times during the day that aren't so rigid.

The first offering we'll be, well, offering, is something we're calling The Daily Magic Update. As part of our goal to show people the wider world of Magic, this will be a midday (at least on the West Coast) update on what's going on in Magic. That includes links to articles on other websites, pointing to videos produced by great YouTube personalities like The Professor at Tolarian Community College and Wedge at The Mana Source, pointing to podcasts that catch our ear, and updating and explaining the latest conversations on social media.

Our hope is that readers will be introduced to some of the awesome content producers around the web who they may not have otherwise known existed. We may also include short news bits in there straight from Wizards (that's us!).

The Daily Magic Update will also be the home to deck of the day (what we used to call Daily Decks) as well as the Top 25. As shorter pieces with news hooks, they make sense living here for now.

By and large, think of The Daily Magic Update as "things you need to know about Magic today." Look for it later today!

What Stays the Same

Finally, your favorite columnists are all going to continue producing content for us, just not as same-Magic-channel, same-Magic-time columnists. Gavin Verhey, Bruce Richards, Marshall Sutcliffe, Adam Styborski, Jacob Van Lunen, Brian David-Marshall, Luis Scott-Vargas, Chas Andres, and Mike Rosenberg will all continue to produce content for us. That means one week (like this week!) Jacob might write a Limited column, or Stybs might write about a casual format, or Luis might share some Draft insights from the Pro Tour.

That flexibility also means we're doing away with Arcana as a regular column. It was a bit restrictive to have an Arcana every day, and, as a result, the content ranged from the awesomely sublime to some we could generously describe as "filler" (much of which I wrote!). We'll still be doing some of the cool behind-the-scenes stuff as irregular features, and of course we'll still announce new Magic sets on the site, but we'll be retiring the Arcana banner for now.

TL;DR

To summarize, here's what the new DailyMTG is going to look like for the foreseeable future

  • More content producers, more flexible content—we'll write about anything and everything without worrying about restrictive column slots.
  • A greater focus on the world of Magic at large.
  • Making Magic and Latest Developments remain the same. Uncharted Realms becomes Official Magic Fiction.
  • The Daily Magic Update will let you know the latest on what's happening in the world of Magic: The Gathering today.
  • The Top 25 and Daily Decks will move into The Daily Magic Update.
  • We're retiring Arcanas, but not some of the cool content we often stuck in them.
  • DailyMTG is evolving. Don't expect DailyMTG to look the same a year from now. Our goal is to deliver the best experience for people who love Magic everywhere. This is just step one.

Feedback

I'd love to hear feedback on our new approach on Twitter @blakepr. All I ask is that you give it some time, as we've got some cool stuff coming up that will demonstrate the awesomeness of what we're trying to do. Some things to look forward to include:

  • Gaby Spartz on how to stream.
  • Melissa DeTora peeking behind the process of building decks for Pro Tours.
  • Kenji Egashira introducing you to a new way to play Magic Online that we just can't talk about yet.
  • Inside looks at Magic pro teams.
  • "How to" looks at fighting against the Eldrazi, designing your own format, and preparing for rotations.
  • Luis Scott-Vargas penning puns. After all, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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