Interesting read. As usual, your work and thoughts are fun to digest.
Thank you. After publishing it, I realize this article looks more daunting than I envisioned. I wrote this as a short essay, with an emphasis on clear ideas logically presented, but even 7 pages single-spaced is longer than the average Magic article, I suppose. I say all of that to say that I hope that it doesn't require too much "digestion." The key takeaways, I hope, are clearly stated and driven home.
There is another dimension in my mind around an evolving player-base brought about by: age/time availability; MTGO; the proliferation of proxy-friendly events; the rising costs of physical cards; and the viability of decks considered unpowered. It is interesting to see an influx of new players as a result. A downside here, is that there feels like there is more conflict within the community now. Maybe the conflict was always there, but it was invisible to me. Drama is not a mandatory skill for this game/format.
I think a source of conflict is, and has always been, different visions for what the format should look like, especially as expressed by B&R list management. That's probably endemic to the format. I've written about this for more than a decade. People who can't stand the existing format or iterations of the format gradually drift away. But if there is one take-away, it's my suggestion that the current state of affairs is preferred to many alternative realities, which I sketch out.
A possible side effect is that it feels like paper events are down from where they have been in the past, although, that may purely be geographically bound more so than anything else.
Without question. The presence of MTGO has certainly dimmed my appetite and interest in paper Magic. It's logistically more convenient and often more rewarding to compete against players anywhere in the world at any time.