Wizards of the Coast
The Magic: The Gathering World Championship 2018 is happening this weekend, but one of the twenty-four players qualified for this high-level tournament refused to participate in the event.
Pro player Gerry Thompson took it to Reddit to explain why he refused to play at the World Championship. Gerry is protesting the state of professional Magic, and he highlighted six issues such as the lack of Pro Tour invites outside of North America, Wizards of the Coast's poor communication, "abysmal" event coverage, lack of restrictions against cheaters, and the lack of living wage and promotion for professional players.
Wizards of the Coast released a statement in response to Gerry's decision:
Early this morning, Gerry Thompson announced his intention to not participate in the Magic the Gathering World Championship. While we wish this were not the case, we respect his desire to make his voice heard. Many of his criticisms are aimed at areas we are actively working to improve. Pro player consultants are working directly with us to shape and mold the Pro Tour Club, two additional Pro Tours a year raises the overall prize pool, and commentators like Paul Cheon and Simon Goertzen are seasoned pros who provide engaging commentary. This weekend will celebrate the amazing competitors in Las Vegas and crown a 2017 to 2018 Pro Team Series Champion and a 2018 Magic the Gathering World Champion. There is still room to grow, and this is going to be a big year as we continue to improve pro Magic in 2019 and beyond.
Gerry's refusal to play is a bold sacrifice. There's the roughly $12,000 in cash equity he will lose. Pro Points are also valuable, and a win or a Top 4 could potentially help Gerry become part of Magic's Hall of Fame.
In terms of WOTC's response, it's hard to tell what they will do beyond their statement. Wizards of the Coast says that they are actively trying to improve many of the areas Gerry criticized but hopefully, they'll do it soon enough.