|Tournament of Champions: Asia Pacific
Well... This is to be my 6th Grand Prix Style event, my 4th as Head Judge
(Australia, Kyoto, Taipei and now Singapore). I was really looking forward to
the TOC. The months of preparation and planning where all coming together, now
was see if we could dance. The forces of nature often play an interesting part
in how one travels, for me, living in Sydney, the weather is normally fine and
somewhere between 18 - 23 degrees C. Lets see, the last time it snowed in Sydney was
1826. Fog. The day my flight was due to leave, Fog. I cannot even remember the
last time it was foggy. Oh well, my flight is delayed about 3 hours. I met a
British backpacker, whose flight was delayed some 8 hours, so I guess I am
Anyway I get on my flight and arrive in Singapore about 2am. It's very quiet,
scary even, I come from a city that is almost constantly alive with atmosphere,
even at 3am Sydney still has a vibe that is matched by very few cities in the
world. I hope that sometime, some of you get to enjoy Sydney, it's a great
Just to fill in some people who may not know what the Tournament of Champions
is, it's a premiere event that features $US75, 000 in prize money. It is an
invitation only event, where only the best of the APAC Region may win
invitations. Players must place in the top 8 of their respective nationals, they
must be in the top 100 DCI rated players in APAC, or must have placed in the top
4 of last years APAC Championships. Judges and players from all over the region
come along to compete for the title of APAC Champion.
I will be running the event at Rules Enforcement 4, and will hopefully have
about 12-15 staff, I expect the turnout to be quite high. This is probably the
biggest event on the APAC Calendar, although this year, with the World
Championships in Tokyo, the APAC's have kind of taken second place. I guess you
can see how important this event is. It is a great honor for me to be Head Judge
for this event, this is by far the pinnacle of my Judging Career, for me, the
only thing that would could surpass this would be to Head Judge Worlds.
I meet up with the WOTC crew at Singapore Airport, and we cab it to the city.
I crash and burn, I hardly even remember getting into my room. I was so
The Morning After
Waking up fairly early we set out for the site, find its closed, and head on
into Chinatown for some shopping, its seems that Singapore is great for shopping
and eating. I have this very strange drink...I don't know what was in it, but it
One thing that I have learned from running events is that registration must
always be the night before, it just makes it so much easier to run on the
morning. You have more time before the event to make sure that your equipment
i.e. laptop, printer, video wall (yes I had a video wall for this event, it was
AWESOME) is working. You can input all the players and have the pairings up at
8:45 for the day to begin at 9.
Registration is always hectic, in Asia, language is such a huge problem.
Singapore, Aus/NZ and the Philippines mostly speak English, its great. However,
the rest of Asia, we are not so fortunate. So it is important to have
translators for all the countries at the booths if possible.
Remember too, that these are showcase events for WOTC, they promote the game,
the players and WOTC as a company, as DCI Certified judge, you are a
representative of WOTC and need to think about all parts of these huge events.
You may be the HJ, but you are also the cleaner, the result taker, a demo person
and a cameraman. Whatever it takes to make the event special in the eyes of the
public and the players.
Sally & Christy from the International Dept. at WOTC did a fantastic job
at organizing the event. It was awesome, Adrian (Singapore's DCI Rep) worked so
hard to make the event run smoothly. Months of time and preparation went into
this event, and I would like to say, for the record, that these people must be
some of the hardest working people at WOTC, from hotel rooms, to tablecloths,
nothing was out of place or amiss.
The APAC Championships brings the best players from all over the region to
it. It is played for 4 invitations to worlds and over 70,000 USD in cash. Day
one begin very quietly, with 121 players out of 220 invitations the turnout was
excellent. It could be said that the APAC is the best dollar per player event in
Day one is Standard, day two was Rochester draft.
Questions regarding Opalessence were common, as where a lot regarding the
6th edition rules. It seemed to me that not all the players were 100%
up on them. In discussions with Dean Alfar (of the Philippines) he said a lot of
players revert back to the old rules as soon the judges back is turned.
I was lucky enough to have about 20 judges for the event. Almost all the
regions Level 3's where in attendance. For the first time in an APAC, I used the
Senior Judge System, It worked so fantastically well, I will trying to use it at
all my major events. I just found myself freed up to deal with all the issues.
The junior judges where linked to a L3 and each L3 was assigned an area. The
L3's where then rotated between the floor, and deck checks.
Dean's deck checking team takes the prize though, when, after about 8 minutes
he comes up to me, and says that he has deck checked "two tables". So two games,
no two tables, four games, eight players, Dean Alfar you are a machine!
An interesting note for the day is that several players missrecorded the
result entry slips. I was amazed at how players keep doing this. You take the
form, fill it out, read and then the judge confirms the results with you.
Players still screw this up. I just don't know.
Another player was caught was marked sleeves, he had a pattern, and I felt
that this pattern could not be made with the card in the sleeve. I had no
witness to this effect, the cards that where marked where vital to his strategy,
I ejected him from the day. I confirmed this with Andrew Finch, who totally
agreed with my decision.
I have not been Head Judge with a tournament manager in attendance before,
the TM takes a certain load off the HJ, it certainly makes a big difference.
Have the Finch there meant that I had someone to confer with before handing out
major (ejection) penalties, and it was good to have his backup when it counts.
Rochester Draft. I must say that this is my favorite format to run. I enjoy
watching players build decks, play. Draft is awesome. This year APAC
Championships was also the first time that the cards have been stamped for an
event. Players and judges alike where very impressed by this, and I felt that we
cut down level of cheating like never before. I have run three GP's this years
and they all have been limited. I am no stranger to draft. The event ran very
smoothly, but again players filled in the result slip incorrectly. I must
congratulate the staff, not a single data entry error the entire weekend. Well
Done. At the end of the day, it was seven Japanese and one Australian (the
National Champion no less :) .
The finals were quite a site, some of the matches where displayed on the huge
video wall. Suntec City (where the event was held) is a huge shopping mall. The
amount of people that watched those finals was staggering. That mall must have
seen over 10,000 people through it. Magic and WOTC was everywhere. Portal Three
Kingdoms was everywhere. I would like to digress for a second here, Henry Stern
has done a great job with P3K, it is a great set, it has appeal to both
beginners with its interesting story line and to advanced players due to some of
the funky cards. I was went on my lunch break for the final day, I went to the
downstairs food court and there where so many kids and parents alike sitting
down and reading the rule book, playing with the new cards, most of them didn't
even know Magic or Portal. It was great!
The format for the APAC Finals was Standard Constructed, best of 5 modified
double elimination. Mori from Japan was the eventual Champion. During on the
games, Doecke from Australia seemed to make a mistake, it looks like he got the
6th Edition rules mixed up. He asked his opponent for a response,
when he really need to be the one adding something to the stake, that was he
intent, but not what he did. So the Japanese player allowed his drake to
resolve, its trigger and its target where added to the stack, unfortunately he
had no enchantment in his graveyard because of the way he initiated it. Oh well,
he won the match, but it caused some confusion for the table judge and me, as we
tried to work out exactly what he wanted to do.
That is about all, I had one more day in Singapore, and I headed out with the
WOTC crew for a day of sightseeing. I had dinner with some of the crew, and
ended up at the Tournament Center for some late night mtg. Mark Tedin had a
chance to draw on the wall, and he drew Urza and his Angel, its so cool. Anyway,
WOTC have told me that I will be Head Judging GP Sendai (Japan, September), GP
Fukuoka (Japan, October), and GP Manili (December, Phillipine) If you are around,
come up and say hi. See ya there.