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Classic Sealed - Hemel Hempstead, UK

Russell Bulmer

  • Date : Tuesday April 27th 1999 (report written April 29th 1999)
  • Location : Snooks, the Pub in the Pavilion - Hemel Hempstead, UK
  • Format : Sealed Deck - 1 Classic Edition Tournament Pack, 2 Classic Edition Boosters
  • Judges:
  • Head Judge & TO - Russell K Bulmer - DCI Level 3 Judge
  • Assistant Judge - Alice Coggins - DCI Level I Judge - European Sideboard Writer
  • Assistant Judge -Gideon Moss - DCI Level I Judge - WotC Customer Services


Hemel Games Club has been around ever since I first came to live and work in Hemel in the Fall of 1996.  It was where I first really got into Magic.  I started running tournaments there about 9 months ago.  The idea origionally was for the 10 local Magic players to have an event each week, and get prize support.  Thus our little group of Magic players would basically get some free cards!

However, as anyone who's been to our club will testify, that didn't last.  In fact, it didn't even last a month.  People love to play Magic, and when they can play in a tounament in the mid-week, they do, even if they have to travel an hour to get here and an hour back.  To allow for this, we don't start the events until 8pm, so people have time to get to club after work.  This does cause a problem in that the club meets in a public bar, and the closing time for bars in the UK is 11pm.  This forces us to run 45 minute rounds, which isn't great, but some Magic is better than none.

So, we now get between 24-32 people every week turning up and playing. We have a complete range of players, from those who've been to the Pro Tour right down to people playing their first tournaments. We run all sorts of events, normally Standard Constructed or Booster Draft, although we do also run other constructed formats and the odd special event, like a Team Sealed , which is always popular.

I normally get to club at about 7.30pm, set up my laptop and start taking bookings.  Often we have numerous events going on, either multiple drafts, or a main constructed event and additional drafts, and having the laptop and the DCI Reporter software is invaluable.  However, this evening, Gideon from WotC has come down with some special cards for us.  Tuesday the 27th was the date that Classic Edition was released in the UK, and it being a Tuesday, we wanted to play with the new cards. So we got in contact with WotC and they helped us arrange the event.

The event was run under Classic Edition rules, which many more people than I expected were aware off. Although people hand't been studying the rules as I had, most people were vaguely aware of the stack, and the new way combat damage worked.

I've been keeping up with the new Classic Edition rules for some time now, and have had a copy of the full rules for over a week, and have studied then pretty fully, and played quite a lot of games using them.  So I'm confident that I know the new rules.  I wouldn't have run the event under Classic Edition Rules if I wasn't confident that I knew them myself.

Tonight we had 26 players in the event, and thankfully nobody wanted to play anything other than the Classic event.  I must say I was glad about that, as I didn't fancy running events under 2 different sets of rules at the same time!


Round Procedure

The round procedure is very basic for this level of event. I do a draw on the computer, and then call out the pairings.  People can then start as soon as they find somewhere to sit and play.

A warning is given 5 or 10 minutes before the end of the round.

When players finish a match, they somehow have to get the result to me.  This is often done by shouting at me from a distance, or them comming up to where I sit with the computer and telling me.

Then as soon as all the results are in, the next round is drawn and started, trying not to waste any time if at all possible, given the tight time constraints.


The Main Event

As always at the club, I don't have to do much in the area of Judging for most of the event. I even had time to be interviewed by Alice (one of the Judges for those who aren't paying attention) for an artcle she's writing for the European Sideboard.

There were the odd rules questions, all about the new Classic Rules.  As I mentioned earlier, most people were at least aware that the rules were changing, and had read the rulebook and grasped the basics of the stack and combat damage.  Damage prevention was the cause of most questions, manly when it came to the permenant with the DP ability leaving play.  EG - If she disenchants my COP:Red, can I use it 4 times in response, once on each of her monsters?   Having previously read up on tthe rules, these questions weren't difficult to answer.

The only incident worth mentioning occured in the final round.  Two players sat down to play, and both of them put their sideboards on the table next to each other.  One player noticed that his opponent's sideboard was significantly larger than his was.  He started shouting about it and calling other players attenton to it.

I stepped in at this point and quitened things down a bit.  A looked through the larger sideboard and found it to contain a huge excess of land, more than he would have given his Tournament Pack (Starter) land and the 3 additional allowed.  I checked his deck and found there to be 6 extra forests over what he could possible have.  This had allowed him to go with a 2 color deck, rather than having to include somesort of splash color, or off color lands.

I spoke to the player about it, and found out that he didn't realise that you had a restricted land amount in Sealed Deck.  Despite having played in many tournaments, this had been his first Sealed Deck .  There was no reason to doubt this explanation, so I accepted it.

The penalty dictated by the DCI Penalty Guidelines state that at a Level One Rules Enforcement Event the appropriate penalty would be a Single Waning and Duel Loss.  However, I felt that the advantage gained was too large (6 illegal cards out of a 40 card deck, thus allowing him to play 2 colors etc) for simply a Duel Loss, and I gave him a Double Warning and Match Loss.

I then went through how land works in Sealed Deck Events with the player that had made the infraction.



I run these events as non-profit events.  Thus all the money I take in entry fees goes into prizes for the players.  We normally have about £100 pounds worth of cards to give away from the prize support from WotC and the prizes I add.

This week however, due to the pre-release contiditions we were running under, we had loads of prizes.  WotC had provided a great level of prize support, plus I'd made £4.50 per player.  So all that got put back into prizes, so there was a huge amount of product to be given away. Eveyone who played in the event got prizes because of this, which is always nice to do sometimes to give something to the new players.

Unfortunatly the prizes didn't go too smoothly.  I read out the results in reverse order... and didn't realise that I'd missed the winner of the event off the top of the screen...  So, I had to give out an extra £40 worth of prizes out of my own pocket, which I'll have to recoup over the comming weeks...  Typical isn't it?  The week I mess up the prizes is the week is will cost me £40 instead of about £10 for a normal week...


...and finally

So... Classic Edition is here.  What did the players complain about?  The new rules?  No.  The Portalization of the new set?  No.  The removal of all the good cards from the set?  No.  Actually the biggest complaint was the change of creature type for Birds of Paridise.  People liked Mana Birds .

What did the players praise?  The new simpler rules?  No.  The new 'Duplo' land?  No.  The good new cards rotated into the set?  No.  Actually they liked the fact that the Sex Monkey kept its original art work!

As always, players taking the changes really seriously :-)




/--------------------------------------------------------\ | Russell K Bulmer - DCI Level III Judge | | mailto:russell_bulmer@3com.com | \--------------------------------------------------------/ | DCI Sanctioned Magic Tournaments - Every Tuesday - 8pm | | Hemel Games Club - http://www.selune.demon.co.uk/hgc | \--------------------------------------------------------/

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