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Nemesis Prerelease-Tempe, AZ

Mike Bahr

Hi all.

Introducia: I'm Mike Bahr, a level 3 judge from Tempe, Arizona. I was one of three level 3's present at the Nemesis Pre-release, which was held at the Tempe Mission Palms hotel. Also present were Ray Powers and Matt Stenger, and a cadre of judgelings.

The tournament didn't offer any surprises as far as decks played, players emerging as better than expected, or all the things that go into a usual tourney report. There were, however, some prodecural notes that make a judge's report on the matter worth writing. (Otherwise, I won't waste your time. I judge several events per week, and I ain't gonna lie, most of them I do on auto-pilot.)

For the factual record, the winner was Jeremy Brower at 7-0-1, second to Steve Ward at 6-0-2. We actually had a player go 4-0-4 on the day and take SEVENTEENTH place. (Prizes went to 16th). So we gave him the big Nemesis poster since he had "the most challenging day". :)

Note #1: Central locations Good. One thing I heard over and over again at this event was that it was at a great location. Tempe Mission Palms is adjacent to Arizona State University, and is smack dab in the middle of the Phoenix metro area population-wise. When planning events of scale, I recommend always looking for something similarly central. Nobody has to go all that far to get there. I got a double dose of this philosophy the next day when I attended the local Renaissance Fair, which was held twenty miles east of town in the middle of nowhere, and gripes about distance were manifold.

Note #2: Give your judgelings lots of things to do. These guys will go idle in seconds if you let them. We found that the best thing to help us get more done, and to help them learn how to judge in appropriate environment, is to have them run all drafts. Now, many of you may say "Well, of course you do that." But it's not that simple... most of the time they come in handy when you're passing out decks and such for the main event, handling line operations, churning the cattle as it were, but we're finding that they're much more effective in a smaller judging situation. This ties into note #3.

Note #3: If you want people to come to your events, make sure your judges treat them well. One of our judgelings was called to a table with a player asking if his opponent's Laccolith Rig really is that powerful. (It is.) Specifically, if the opponent then gets to choose the damage dealing, etc, making it part Cessation and part Delirium. The judgeling in question replied, very irritably, "Look, it just works, alright? Now just play!" Our staff put that particular judge right onto a side event and we had to smooth things over with the unfortunate temper-blast-recipient. Now, all these things are not to make one think that judgelings are more a hindrance than a help. After all, they ARE great for fetching lunch. (OK, kidding.) A proper judgeling will be effective *and* personable, and those are the ones most likely to advance in the future; keep an eye on them.

Note #4: Make land distribution NOT be a bottleneck. This probably means putting some of your juniors on land distribution and really spreading out the process to accomodate some "bandwidth". This was our main mistake of the tournament as organizers... the rest of it was amazingly smooth.

Note #5: Watch players CAREFULLY when they play Pitch spells. I caught one player not paying life for his Snuff Out three times; his opponent didn't notice. The first time I was somewhat certain, but not enough to make a ruling. The second time I was certain, but I opted not to rule because his opponent was about to win game 1 that same turn regardless. The third time, I was certain and I warned him on it. The beauty of it was, I didn't have to hand out a game loss because the life margin made him lose game 2 the next turn. (I saw that this would happen based on the players' hands at the time.) Not too shabby. I love it when the game rules for us and we don't have to be the "bad guys", and yet fairness is still enforced. It's a rare thing. I guess it's like the old saying, "if they're already going to die, don't bother shooting them again, just save your ammo." Our "ammo" in this case is the authority we can command as judges when our track record shows that we only give out penalties when they are clearly necessary.

Note #6: No problems with the 5-turn rule. Time wasn't too bad overall. One problem we DID have was when two people who left without withdrawing, would be paired in the next round, nobody would know about it, and at the end of time and the 5 turns, we would still not be able to find them. (Obviously we start looking when time is called and there are four or five tables in extra turns.) That creates somewhat of a hold-up of the tournament.

Note #7: Few judge test requests these days locally. Wonder why. Perhaps a bad time, with school and all.

- Arizona Gamer Staff - http://www.arizonagamer.com - Tempe,AZ -
- Mike Bahr - DCI Level 3 Judge - Charles Donnell - E-Commerce -

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