Eugene, OR - July 10, 1999
Prelude: Tuesday...no product from WOTC. Wednesday...no product from WOTC. Thursday...I get on the phone to Event Properties looking for my product. Word is, the Dallas distribution center is so bogged down with Pokemon, they seem to have missed all of the premiere events for the weekend of July 10th. Great. Friday...the wonderful people in Event Properties (specifically Wade) ship me an emergency care package overnight so that I can at least run the event. Whew! Between the care package and borrowing product from a friend, I'm in good shape. Thanks again to Wade and John D. You were lifesavers.
The Report: Saturday morning arrives in Eugene and I find myself at the Ramada Inn at 7:00 AM unloading my car into the convention space. Thankfully, the rooms are setup approximately according to specifications (for a change), so I don't have to spend an hour changing the layout. I manage to get the room squared away just as my staff starts to arrive at about 7:45. Two of my judge candidates (aka "Judglings") show up and I sit them down to take the brand new version of the certification exam. The rest of us get ready for the initial registration rush.
Registration proceeds smoothly until 9:30 or so, at which point we lock things down and finish up data entry. We run a seating assignment and seat the players for announcements at around 9:45. Assigned seating during announcements is a really good idea. It keeps people relatively quiet, and they are ready to go when you start handing out materials. DCI Reporter has a nifty little feature that allows you to generate a seating report without having to run an actual pairing.
We get through the announcements and hand out checklists, pens, and product. Seventy-six players register their cards and then we kick them out of the room to do the old "shell game" on decks and to perform spot checks. We then re-seat players at their original positions for the build. For some reason, there were a lot of checklist problems for this few players. We even had 3 instances of people forgetting entire colors! Based on the players involved, I don't believe this was intentional. However, it did require us to either "fix" the deck list or to start over with another set of cards. I opted to "fix" the checklist. Normally, the list takes precedence; however, this sort of a mistake would place the receiving player at too much of a disadvantage. Therefore, we judge registered the missed cards. Once play starts, then there should be no exceptions. The check list controls all.
We start round 1 at 11:30 having used 90 minutes for deck registration, build, and spot checks. Right on schedule for a Limited event. The main event will be seven rounds of Swiss with a lunch break between rounds 1 and 2. The best way to handle breaks is to simply start the following round 30 minutes (or whatever) later than you normally would. This allows fast matches a nice long break, and long matches a reasonable one.
The rounds proceed smoothly. Most players are still fairly fuzzy on 6th Edition rules, so I am a bit more lenient on issuing warnings for technically perfect play. As long as there was no discernable intent and it was not disruptive to the game state, I issued notices instead of warnings. However, technical infractions that I could not write off due to 6th Edition confusion were handled normally.
Most people seemed to know about "stupid Waylay tricks", so this did not cause any confusion. We did have some confusion with regeneration. Most players did not under stand that its a replacement effect and can only be initiated when there is something to replace. There was also a fair amount of confusion over the term "deals damage". If you read the rule book under combat damage, it consistently refers to the term "deal" when it really means "assign". "Deal" comes into play when the damage pops off the stack and is actually dealt. This is when triggers such as Vampiric Embrace happen. I think that section of the rule book needs some clarification and some more examples.
We also ran a few side events as well as a Standard Mox tournament; first prize being a Mox Ruby. I don't normally like to run large side events, but I wanted another draw to help attendance due to this being a foreign qualifier. The Mox tourney only attracted 21 players...lower than what I had expected. It's a borderline payback for the hassle it takes to run multiple swiss tournaments at once. I don't know that I would do it again. I'm guessing that most of those 21 players would have played in a booster draft or something else if the Mox tourney didn't exist. However, it was worth the experiment.
I tried something different for prizes for the main event as well. Everyone who made the Top 8 received a full box of Destiny. In other words, no stratification of prizes based on final standing. All of the players that I talked to really liked the idea, so I will continue this in the future. Places 9 through 16 ended up receiving 1750 flag prizes.
We finish up the seven swiss rounds in the main event at about 7:30 and cut to the final 8. All of them vote to skip a dinner break and get on to the draft. So be it. The draft runs smoothly and they build and start the single elimination rounds. While the build is happening, I have to run off a spectator for giving deck building advice to a friend of his in the Top 8. As far as I could tell, it was not solicited by the player, so I did not penalize him. In the end, Philip Freneau defeats Eric Kim for the travel award and the slot. Radiant Archangels from Philip in both duels prove too much for Eric's Green/Black weenie deck. Congratulations to Philip and all of the other Top 8.
Thanks again to Bryon Quick, Bret Doser, Jeff Moore, Aaron, Derek, and Tom for all their help.