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Mercadian Masques Prerelease-Paris, France

Antoine Lamy

Date of event : 25/09, 1999
Attendance : 93 players
Number of staff : one Level I (me), one Level II and two Level III judges.
Head judge : Cedric Nouveau, Level III

The Mercadian Masques preview that I judged the 25th of September was the second one in Paris. For the first time, our city managed to have two previews : one in a well-known place called Ostelen (174 players), and another one organised by Parkage, a fairly new game store in Paris.

The beginning of the tournament was maybe what was the less good. Firstly, we had a computer problem and had to replace it, which we did but that took quite a long time. Then, we had a problem because of the new version of DCI Reporter. In fact, the tournament was saved as a L5R tournament instead of a Magic one, which was of course a bit of a problem.

After some changes, it was all right.

People have entered the place at about ten, whereas they were supposed to be welcomed at 9 o'clock. No matter, they were not very angry, and we could check in all players without any problem.

After a little speech from the head judge, we gave the starters and the boosters to players, so that they can list them, and give them back. Although deck swap was required, no decklist has been required and no deckcheck has been made. We were in REL 2, but as the players behaved very well at the tournament, and that we didn't have any problem, we decided to proceed to deckcheck only if someone was suspected of cheating. Yes it was possible, because a preview had occured the day before in Paris. Despite that, we didn't notice any problem.

At the beginning of the tournament, as we had the first problems ("judge, my opponent has cast that although he doesn't have the mana to do it and wanted to put something else into play"), we decided to judge without giving too many warnings for unintentionnal mistakes, so that the atmosphere improves in the game area. In fact, it was an excellent decision, because after this, not only no players abusively used from calling judges, but also we didn't have to put ANY warning for the whole tournament. My decisions were appealed four times to the head judge, but not at any time there had been a judging mistake during all the event, which is VERY pleasant for players. That was the first time I hadn't to put any warning during a tournament. Even in little tournaments at REL 1, where 8 to 16 players play, I usually have to put three or four warnings at least. Here, there were 93 and we didn't have to put any.

All the judging staff did their best to make the place and the tournament pleasant.

As a sign of great fair-play, a well-known french Magic player, that was on table two, decided to drop the tournament after winning his sixth match, because he had an appointement. Although he had a very strong deck, and that he was sure to be in top 4, he went away. This shows how players are cool during a preview. The fact that the K-value for prereleases is low is, I think, a very good thing. It might be one of the most interesting tournament I have ever seen: players come here to have fun and discover new cards, not to win a place to a Pro-Tour with decks they have tested a thousand times after copying them from the net.

At the end, because the tournament had begun late, we were quite tired. The four players that were supposed to play top 4 decided to share the boosters instead of playing, so that we could go home before eleven, which was firstly very unusual, and secondly very kind of them.

When the tournament was over, a lot of people came to the judging table to thank us for this tournament : they said that it was the most pleasant tournament they had attended, and that they would certainly continue to play at prerelease tournaments. About three quarters of the players (and maybe a little more) stayed at the end to wait for the results and the giving of the prizes. This also happens quite rarely, and shows that players were really happy about the tournament.

The ONLY thing where, I think, an improvement could be done, is the organisation before the tournament. It is not really wrong that every single tournament from Wizards always begin later than it is supposed to, and I really think that testing materials before (especially computers) will make some problems disappear, and the people be even more "zen".

Drawing a conclusion, I would say that I really hope one only thing : that all tournaments from Magic could become like that. Of course, you can not ask that at a Grand Prix or a PTQ, but I think that if players could play more for fun than for competition when they play in small tournaments, the judging would become very, very pleasant. I remember what happened at the France Championship in Dijon (a pb between head judge and players about the ruling of a card in sixth rules), then I compare it to what happened here, and I can see that whether players have improved in their behaviour, or maybe Wizards have made the rules clearer (I'm thinking of the new Floor Rules) and more pleasant both for judges and for players. I think it is both, because of the general good work of judges.

I hope this report will be helpful and that it will give to players and judges the enthusiasm that we have had in Parkage for this preview.

Have a nice day

Antoine Lamy
Level I certified judge

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