Today Oct. 30, 2014 Magic: The Gathering player Jared Boettcher was stripped of his Rookie of the Year award and suspended from competing in DCI sanctioned Magic: The Gathering tournaments for four years in an announcement by Wizards of the Coast. This stemmed from public uproar over the way Boettcher shuffled his opponent’s deck, allegedly seeing the bottom cards and moving them to the top in a recent StarCityGames.com event (see the attached video and slideshow for example). According to Wizards of the Coast’s director of organized play Helene Bergeot, “This was not an isolated incident, but rather took place at multiple tournaments during the 2013–2014 season.” In an interview with yeahstub.com, Boettcher denies all allegations of intentionally cheating.
How long have you been cheating in Magic: The Gathering events?
“First off, I’m going to stand by the fact that I’m not cheating and that I’m appealing this heavily. Original allegations were sent in by local judges, two to three videos, as well as one decided to publicly smear me on Facebook threads. I contacted multiple people to get them taken down, and talked with the head of DCI Investigations about the original claims. I was cleared on those and I thought it might be over. The next morning Mascioli found out about it among others, and it reignited, obviously stronger than ever before. So now based on the supposedly 12 videos they were under review and I was doing my job to find counter evidence, which I was able to find a great deal (though apparently not enough).
I will be fighting this very hard, as it’s more than a hobby it’s my career. I’d never cheat at something like this, it’s not worth it. Basically embezzling money from a company I own, and I wouldn’t do that. Also the videos only show it happening sometimes, and if I thought I could cheat on camera…Wouldn’t I just do it all the time and be unbeatable? There’s a lot of things that logically don’t add up, but I don’t know what else to do but to fight it. It’s been a really really tough time on me.”
The spotlight on you originated from a video on the way you shuffle. Have you changed your technique since?
“I haven’t had an event to play in to change my shuffle, as I declined to go to eternal weekend due to being sick. I was not aware my shuffle was condemning till it was literally too late, or I would of changed it before then.”
You mention this is your career, do you own a store or do you just mean from the money made winning tournaments?
“I don’t own a store. I make my living grinding Magic events and buying / selling cards then budgeting based off all that.”
Do you play casually too? Will the suspension stop you from playing with your personal friends or will you be selling your collection?
“I don’t normally play casually, if I sell my collection it’ll probably just be to invest in Vintage. Most of those tournaments aren’t sanctioned (due to proxies) and it’s a good investment anyways.“
Will you be turning to Magic Online to get your competitive fix or away from the game as a whole?
“Probably not going to play a lot of Magic Online, as I never did while I played normally. Hopefully I win my appeal and don’t have to worry about that.”
What game will fill the void?
“Hearthstone, and maybe this thing called the outside (I heard it can be scary sometimes though) will probably fill most of the void, though this is leaving a pretty big void so I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing as of yet.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“I would just like to stand by the fact that I will still claim and believe, I never cheated. And that it’s a lot to take in right now and keep my head straight, but all those who still support me and have messaged me, it means a lot and I’d like to thank you all.”
Regardless of whether the cheating was intentional or not, one lesson we can all learn is to be more careful of how we shuffle both our own and opponent’s decks.
Readers: What are your thoughts? Please share your opinions with us in the comments down below or via Twitter. Don’t forget to include the hashtag #ShuffleGate.
For more information about the game, visit www.MagicTheGathering.com.