A redditor recently offered a Pro Tour participant over $38,000 USD to play the mediocre-at-best Magic card Séance at the upcoming Pro Tour. And the backstory makes the offer even weirder.
Last spring, Reddit user jobs141910 posted a request on Jobs4Bitcoins (immediately after creating the account) that left Magic players scratching their collective heads. He/she wanted someone to head over to the Channel Fireball headquarters in Santa Clara, CA, buy as many Séance cards as allowed, and destroy them. Payment included $10 for travel, $50 for the job itself, and reimbursement for the cards purchased, up to $1,000. At the time, the cards were worth $0.15 each, which would have led to around 6,660 cards destroyed depending on how the math is done.
Unfortunately, Channel Fireball didn’t allow bulk purchases. So jobs141910 had to regroup.
A new offer was made: he/she was willing to pay a minimum of $0.50 per destroyed Séance card as well as $10 for a video of the cards being burned. But it didn’t stop there; if over 100 cards were burned, the price went up to $1 per card.
Speculation as to the motives of the poster abounded, but users still tackled the project, and the anonymous job-requester paid out $1,200 within a week. Things got weirder when the same individual posted again with another $1,000 budget, offering $1 per card burned, no matter if it was 2 or 150, and $10 for video evidence. The post was updated with the budget until the entire $1,000 had been paid out.
Then, jobs141910 fell silent for several months, although the ripple effect was pretty interesting. Joseph Dunlap has a good overview of events over at Manaleak.
But the silence ended a few days ago.
Ramping Up Notoriety
There was a new posting on three separate sites, by the same user as before, looking for a player already qualified for the upcoming Pro Tour: Oath of the Gatewatch in Atlanta, Georgia, scheduled for February 5th through 7th. The job? Build and play a deck centered on Séance. The same card the user paid to have destroyed several months prior.
The payment amount (arguably) is what made the request go viral: 90.5 Bitcoins (about $38,000 USD) just for completing the job, with no requirement to actually place in the tournament. The pro player just had to build and pilot the deck until eliminated or the tournament was over.
A solid amount of pro players showed interest, and a few hours after posting Jobs141910 updated saying he would be choosing the player within a few days. Yet soon after, the offer was rescinded altogether with the following message: This offer has been removed at the request of an anonymous party due to legal concerns.
Prior to removing the offer, the poster stated that after speaking with professional players, it was pointed out that the amount wasn’t worth it to anyone who had a legitimate chance of winning the tournament due to the loss of sponsorships, payouts, pro points, and the guarantee of Platinum status at the 2016 World Championship. He/she mentioned this again in an interview with Inverse conducted after the offer was removed, but didn’t explicitly state that as the reason for canceling the posting.
So far, the user has paid several thousand dollars to have over 3,400 Séance cards destroyed. Stay tuned for any updates to the ‘saga’ surrounding Seance – it’s probably not over yet.