|Mirage Sealed (Origins '99)
I head-judged a 26-person Mirage sealed event on July 3, 1999 at the Origins gaming convention in Columbus, OH.
One of the main issues I was concerned about going into the tournament was how to deal with 6th edition rules questions. There was no 6th Ed.-compliant Oracle available for the Mirage-block cards, so I had to use my best judgement regarding how these older cards should be interpreted under the new rules. Also, the definition of "phasing" in the comprehensive rulebook didn't really help me understand how that ability should work under the modern rules. I was told to treat phasing as something which happens between the untap step and the upkeep step. While this is probably not the final definition which will be used officially, it worked well enough that there were no really sticky rules questions.
It is possible that the main reason why there were few rules questions involving 6th edition was that the players I saw never took advantage of some of the advantages of the new rules. For example, under 6th edition rules, Rainbow Efreet becomes an amazing card. However, even though at least two of the players had this card, never did I see someone have the Efreet deal damage and then phase out.
With 26 players, there was originally to be five rounds of Swiss. However, after the first two rounds, four players with winning records had dropped, and I decided to eliminate one of the Swiss rounds. This turned out to be the right decision, since more and more people dropped until, after round 4, there were only 11 players left. Playing a fifth round before cutting to the top 8 wouldn't have made much sense.
The top 8 decks contained many of the most powerful cards in this limited environment, including Empyrial Armor and Teeka's Dragon. Interestingly, Parapet was a card that I saw used very effectively in many decks. However, many cards, like Rainbow Efreet, which become almost broken in this environment under 6th edition rules, were not used to their best effect. I attribute this to most players' unfamiliarity with the new rules.