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Urza's Destiny Prerelease - Eugene, OR

Ken Horton

Saturday dawned bright and early as I am on site by 7:00 AM. I wander into the tournament area with my thermos of coffee and what do I see? The setup is completely wrong! Once again, the banquet staff have managed to mess up my requested layout. The turn over in those positions is horrendous. I don't think I have dealt with the same person twice. Fortunately, one of the banquet guys came in early and between the two of us, we manage to re-work the setup enough so that it will work for the event.

With the layout dealt with, the rest of my staff starts to trickle and we get the venue ready to go in time for 8:00 AM registration. Registration proceeds smoothly until the 9:30 AM cutoff at which time we post a master player list from DCI Reporter so that the players can verify their names and DCI numbers. After a few tweaks and entering some latecomers, we run a pairing in order to seat people for announcements and hand out the initial materials to 154 brave souls.

The way I handle deck registration for the expansion pre-releases is a little different. I have the players register the tournament packs first and then swap and re-seat. Then we hand out the Destiny boosters and those are the cards they use to build decks. This way we can catch people sneaking in Saga product but we don't disappoint people when they bust open a nice foil and would normally have to lose it.

Announcements, registration, and build proceed smoothly. No matter how many times you explain how to use the check lists you always get a dozen or so players that mark the wrong columns or come up to turn in their deck lists and forget to mark down their starting deck. Round 1 starts at 11:20 pretty much on-time for a 10:00 AM pre-release.

Destiny has some interesting game mechanics, but we manage to work through all of the rules implications without too much trouble. One of the most common rulings I was asked was whether or not the Moa can put counters on itself. (Yes it, can.) Another common point of confusion were the creatures that read "...comes into play or goes to the graveyard do <foo>...". I had lots of people think this was some sort of modal choice that you had to make when you cast the creature. We also had lots of people asking questions about what order all of the various CIP and entering graveyard abilities resolve. They were pretty straight forward to resolve, but most of the casual players were not able to work through the timing implications by themselves.

After six rounds of Swiss, the main event finishes up around 6:30. Prizes were then awarded based on match record only. Undefeated players scooped up a box for their trouble.

Side events continued throughout the evening and consisted of lots of sealed, draft, and even a few standard. I run all of my side events 8-person, single elimination and have been doing so for a couple of years. That way you can use the nifty 8-player form that comes standard in the Organizer notebook these days. I first got the idea after attending PTLA #2 and noticed how WOTC ran their evening side events. I absconded a copy of the form they were using at the time and have been running my side events the same way ever since.

Here is another tip: computerized score keeping is the only way to go. I have been using some sort of computerized tournament software for the last 3 years, and I cannot imagine my life as a TO without it. The latest version of DCI Reporter has lots of functionality and works well. I know pretty much all of the large TO's are already using tournament software, but I'm sure some of the smaller organizers are not. Many judges are also organizers, so if you or the TO you work with are not using DCI Reporter, start using it as soon as possible. It is hands-down the best process improvement you can apply that will increase the quality of your events. Period.

Overall, another great pre-release with nothing but positive comments from the players. We were able to finish up all of the side events, clean up, and get seated at the pizza parlor by 11:00 PM for a well deserved dinner and refreshments. Many thanks to Bryon, Jeff, Aaron, Ian, Chris, and all of the volunteers that helped out.

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