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Mercadian Masques Prerelease-Denver, CO

Chris Otwell

Dates: 1999 September 25 and 26.

Turnout Day 1: 205 total (2 pods: Pod 1 = 120 players. Pod 2 = 85 players) Turnout Day 2: 104 total (1 pod: Pod 1 = 104 players.)

Tournament Organizer: Eric L. Smith.

Head Judge for Entire Event, Day 1: Steve Boeff, Level 2 Assistant Head Judge - Day 1, Pod 1: Sam Gutierrez, Level 2 Assistant Head Judge - Day 1, Pod 2: Christopher E. Otwell, Level 2

Head Judge for Entire Event, Day 2: Christopher E. Otwell, Level 2
Assistant Head Judge - Day 2: Michael Leeman, Level 3 (Also administering Judge Tests)

Other floor Judges, Both Days: James R. "Bob" Goodfriend, Level 0 - Passed Judge Test on Sunday
Sean P. Smith, Level 0 - Passed Judge Test on Sunday
Scott Marshall, Level 0 - Did not take Judge Test

The Denver Prerelease Prizes Break Down Structure:
A booster pack for each person that is 2-0.
A booster pack for the winners of round 3 and round 5.
5 booster packs for the top X finishers of the pod. **
5 booster packs to the last place person that completes in all swiss rounds.

The X players are determined on the allowed prizes for each POD. In this Prerelease, 5 Boxes per pod was allotted for prize support. The weekend consisted of 3 pods total. Basically, if we have 100 boosters left over after round 5, the top 19 will each get 5 boosters, and the last place finisher will receive 5 boosters.

Day 1:

The standard large Saturday turnout was upon us. I arrive at the approximately 9:00 a.m., when the first pod was starting. Got the specifics on the layout/concept from Steve, as well as what my Judging Assistants will be only 1 Person. I usually like having 2 Judges working under me in a given pod, but 1 will work. Anyway, since my assistant is Bob, my regular assistant Judge in Colorado Springs, I know that some good synergy will be established making this pod easier to handle, by only the 2 of us.

Steve's job is probably the easiest of all, since he primarily works on observing myself and Sam to make sure that we are talking, keeping to the same sheet of music, and are running our pod as if we were the head judge of the event. Basically, Sam and I run the pods as if we are the Head Judge of the single pod that we are assigned to. Sam's running pod #1, and got started with the deck registration at 9:00 a.m.

9:45 a.m. - I finish the preparation of my tournament area for the incoming crowds. I learned that my pod will consist of a little under 100 people. Ok, great. Gave Bob the usual assignment of miscellaneous tasks to be performed.

10:00 a.m. - Post the seating arrangement for the players for deck registrations (45 minutes). Gathered the players together. Give the pre-deck registration speech. Defer any questions about deck building till later, when the announcement specifically for that will be made. At the half way point in deck registration, I take a quick poll of hands in who is still doing this, in order to get people to concentrate on the registration process, and not reading the new cards prematurely. As usual, deck registration stills bleed into overtime, partially due to the 5 late comers that Eric Smith, the TO allowed into the event.

11:15 a.m. - Gave the pre-deck building speech. It was decided that the deck to be registered is to be used for play as well, notified the players. Get the deck building process underway (30 minutes). Interesting enough, I had more misunderstandings/questions of the 5 land swap process, than I did of any other non-play related question.

12:00 p.m. - Get first round of Pod 2 underway. Everything goes pretty smoothly, with very little rules questions being asked. I got to walk around reading the cards and looking at pictures as best I can. Saw a lot of interesting things. Gave the Lunch break after round 2. Handed out the booster prizes as results were reported. Everything goes smoothly. Had 2 people complain about the lack of time to complete a single match. I ended up with 7 or 8 matches that should have been scored as "0-0-0", but since DCI Reporter does not accept this. The scorekeeper (Eric Smith's Wife) entered them in as "0-0-1" for me. Rounds go on as the 50 minute turns, with usually 10 minutes between for finishing of extra turns, calculating of results, and posting pairings. Tournament ends at 8:00 p.m. I get 5 people to thank me for doing a good job on running a smooth event. I saw no problems with the way it was run. Enough prize support exists for the top 11 to get 5 booster packs for a prize.

The only 2 problems that happened:

1) An 8-year-old kid did not register this deck onto the deck sheet before the first match. It was noticed by his opponent looking at his decklist right after they finished playing. So, I had Bob go over with the kid and help him register the deck that he was playing. Bob also gave his the brief lecture on what the deck list is about and how to register the deck and why. No warning was written up for it.

2) With about 5 minutes left in deck building, a player noticed that he forgot to open one of the booster packs for registration and building. So I went with him, and helped him fix his problem and change the deck as needed before the 5 minutes were up. I have to say this is the first time that I've heard of this happening at a Prerelease event before. I gave his a brief verbal lecture on this. No warning was written up for it.

Most frequently asked rules questions of the day:

1) How does trample work?

2) What does an unblocked creature with trample do when affected by Trap Runner's ability?

Day 2:

The usual Sunday crowd was upon us, generally it's ? of the total Saturday population. I run this as one pod, with 2 assistant judges: Sean and Bob. Mike Leeman, our local Level 3, was in attendance to make sure that I was not doing anything glaringly wrong while running the event, and to administer Judge testing for Bob and Sean. Mike left after the 4th round, telling that I was doing fine and that he didn't think I would need him any longer. Both Sean and Bob passed the Judge Tests as well.

9:45 a.m. - The tournament space was prepared with the decklists, starters, boosters, prerelease cards, etc... Started to gather people and get the seating information posted. Gave Sean and Bob the miscellaneous jobs to take care of.

10:15 a.m. - I got the people seated. Gave the usual speech. Decks were registered, a lot quicker than yesterday. Only 1 person arrived late to the event. Decks were built shortly afterwards.

11:45 a.m. - Round 1 of the event started. After round 2, we break for 30 minutes for lunch. Everything runs pretty smoothly, though it seemed that more matches were running over into the 6 extra turns than the first day. Event finishes at 7:45 p.m. Enough Prize Support existed/remained for the top 19 to get 5 booster packs for a prize. Throughout the first 2 rounds of the event, I also did some informal "interesting rules trivia" with Sean and Bob before they took the test, in order to help them future understand some of the 6th edition rules.

The 2 most difficult questions asked during the event:

1) Can I bounce the depletion counter lands to my hand, after using the last counter off the land? Sean ruled on the question originally, and said yes. I overruled Sean. Only time in the event, either day, that I overruled any of my judges.

2) If "Player A" has a Nightwind Glider (2/1 Flying; Protection from Black) attacking. After declaration of blockers, Player "B" (Opponent) makes him unblockable with Trap Runner. "Player A" responds by using the Distorting Lens (artifact for changing colors of a card) on the Trap Runner. I ruled that the effect of the Trap Runner would be countered by the protection from black ability.

In general, this is one of the most beautiful artwork based sets in magic.

Overall, I was happy with how well the weekend went. No major problems. Players were very cooperative and followed my instructions pretty well. Steve Boeff and Mike Leeman congratulated me for doing a good job.

Christopher E. Otwell
DCI Level 2 Judge

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