July 24, 1999 - Houston, Texas
The tournament was a relatively small showing for the Houston crowd bringing in only 26 teams (78 players). Three Judges and one other person was on hand to run this event. The deck registration went well, and 6 teams were given back their decks. We were able to check the decks of the teams getting back their cards as the decks came in and those teams received their cards a few minutes after all other teams were given back their cards. This equalized the time somewhat since the team receiving the cards is responsible for double checking the "total list". Since the teams were getting their own cards back, they had a good idea of what choices they had for deck building.
Deck checks through the rounds brought about a couple of game losses and a match loss. In all three cases, the loss did not affect the team result, because the other team members lost their matches. One of the players receiving a
game loss felt he was going to make it up to his team and came back and won his next two games, the first of which was without a sideboard, since that is why he received the loss (failure to desideboard). It is good when players take the penalty in stride, because they are less likely to make the same mistake in the future.
The team format was interesting to watch because each team would sit at the table and watch as their teammates would continue. In many cases it was one match per team and the "B" player was on the third game of the match, to determine the winner of the round. In one specific case, a player had "Pariah" on a "Wall of Junk" and the opponent played "Path of Peace" on the "Wall of Junk". The players did not say a word as they watched but I knew both sides were watching with intensity. As the opponent was about to place the "Path of Peace" in the graveyard, the owner of the "Wall of Junk" tapped his "Mother of Runes" and gave the "Wall of Junk" protection from white. It was quite humorous, because the players on the team playing the "Path of Peace" actually spoke up stating "We thought we were going to get away with that one" and the other team said "I sure am glad you saw that". After the moment had passed, play was about to continue and I was able to speak up since I was officially judging and stated "Since the Wall
of Junk has protection from White, the Pariah falls off". I believe that there was such focus on the earlier play that nobody remembered what protection did.
The tiebreakers for the final four had to be calculated by hand due to a bug in the DCI reporter for team events. I was able to calculate the opponent's match win percentages quickly and the Rochester Draft could begin. It was entertaining witnessing the enthusiasm of a team as initial cards of a pack were laid out. The draft went smoothly and there were no incidents during the matches to follow.