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Nemesis Prerelease & Extended-Denver, CO

Scott Marshall

Tourney Report Particulars:
Events: day 1 of the Nemesis prerelease and an unusual Extended tourney
Judge: Scott Marshall, level 1
February 5th, 2000 at Enchanted Grounds (Denver CO)

We had 120 players signed up by 9am, so we started the first "pod", which I ran. Josh Napper (lvl 2) was Head Judge (excellent as usual), and Matt Mechem (lvl 0? 1?) worked the second "pod", also doing a great job. We had help from Ralph (sorry, missed the last name) and the TO (Eric Smith) and his family (Cindy and Erica).

We ran seven rounds of Swiss with no "finals"; the Top 14 got 5 Nemesis packs each, two packs were given to the lowest-rated player that stuck it out for all 7 rounds. Also, the winners in rounds 3 and 5 got a pack. While some of the more serious players dislike this prize distribution, it's proven to be very popular among 95% of the players. This is a prerelease, and we want it to be fun!

Deck Registration and Construction went smoothly; we elected to skip the deck swap on Saturday (but it was done on Sunday!) to keep things moving along. We had an Extended event scheduled that evening, and many people that wanted to play in both events, so we made the effort to keep things moving along.

My notes show that we got round 1 going at 11:08, then the next rounds at 12:20, 1:35, 3:10 (after a 30 minute lunch break), 4:15, 5:25 and 6:35. The other pod stayed almost exactly one hour behind, also running quite smoothly.

I expected lots of questions on fading, so I explained the mechanic before deck construction began, and again one other time. I tried to come up with one important rules/game "lesson" during each pre-round announcement, but I ran out pretty quickly.

Lesson For Next Time: write ideas down ahead of time.

Other things I did mention: giving your opponent a fair chance to react to each step/action. There were one or two questions when the defender reacted to declaration of attackers with something he didn't get a chance to do at the beginning of the combat phase. (We all do this; skip the "I'm entering combat now" and go right to "Smack you for 6!"...)

I also expected questions on Laccolith's ability, but didn't get any. A few players noticed how good the Laccolith Rig is - on the opponent's creature! The second pod did need a ruling when someone put the Rig on their opponent's Laccolith creature. Interestingly, neither player wanted to direct the damage to the Laccolith - they both enjoyed the flexibility.

I had only three "incidents" worthy of mention. We did a deck check on a player when it was reported he'd played Cho-Arrim Bruiser twice. Since that's a Masques rare, it looked suspicious. As it turns out, he only had the one - plus the new Rebel that lets you put a Rebel back in your library. What really happened is the observer saw him play a Bruiser & saw it removed, but didn't see the recursion.

The second incident: a player cast Animate Land, targeting an Island that he'd played on a prior turn. He then announced that Island as an attacker. The defending player was adamant that the Island got Summoning Sickness because it became a creature that turn. He also claimed that a judge agreed with him, before I was called over. (What judge? It's only me, boys'n'girls; Matt and Josh were busy elsewhere...) I tried to explain that any permanent that you control at the beginning of your turn will not have summoning sickness, even if it's changed into a creature. I tried several different ways of stating it. He'd have none of it, and often didn't let me finish a sentence.

I had to resort to the "higher authority" approach; I said something like "I am the judge for this group, and my ruling is that the land can attack. If you'd like, I can ask the head judge to hear your appeal?" Josh arrived, I got called to another table, but as I left I could hear the guy arguing with Josh, too. Some people just don't want to hear "bad news".

The third "incident" was actually an odd trend of people playing the wrong opponent. In the 2nd round there were a few no-shows - not unusual in these events. Three players got confused about table numbering, and instead of A & B playing and C getting the no-show, A & C played and B got the no-show. The Warnings began...

In the next round, without the excuse of no-shows, two players got crossed up diagonally and we had to issue two draws and four Warnings. Before the next round started, I asked each player to confirm the table number, and ask their opponent what table they think they're at. Problem Solved? Nope, we had yet another mix-up, but in the 6th or 7th round, and again due to no-shows.

Lesson For Next Time: start each of the first few rounds (at least) by reminding people to verify their opponent and table numbers.

(As a player, I not only note what table number I'm at, but also the opponents name; then when they sit down and we introduce ourselves, I *know* if one of us isn't supposed to be there.)

At the conclusion of 7 rounds, Greg Sparks had a perfect 7-0 record, and near-perfect 14-1 game record. (The second pod's winner, Bob Bonner, had a perfect 14-0 game record!) I think everyone had a great time, including myself. On to the Extended tourney...

To understand the significance of the night's Extended tourney - not to mention the odd name - I have to provide some background.

The Denver Magic scene is hot. We have outstanding participation; we have great stores to support the game; we have some great players; we have the incomparable Steve Boeff. Steve is a level 2 judge, and has been a TO for many years. Recently, he began an association with Enchanted Grounds with the express purpose of promoting Magic (and now Pokemon) throughout the region. Besides pouring hours into this effort, Steve has put up outstanding prizes, including various Moxen.

Denver also has an e-mail listbot, known forevermore as Smack-Talk Central. All in good fun, the smack has been flying off the keyboards with amazing alacrity.

Denver also has Team Capitalist Pigs, and one or another of the Pigs had won the last few Extended tourneys. This sparked a rather lively exchange of smack, with various Pigs making the boast that no one was gonna take their title. Steve Boeff decided this boast wasn't enough; he made it worthwhile. Steve offered up a near-mint Alpha Mox Sapphire as a prize to the first person to dethrone the Capitalist Pigs in any of his Extended events. Just so happens that the very next Extended event was Saturday night, after the prerelease.

Thus was born the inaugural "Smack Talk Mox Challenge"; I had the honor of judging.

We got started about 9pm, with 30 players signed up - including many new to EG's Extended scene. We did 5 rounds of Swiss with a Top 8. The first few rounds went fairly quickly, and early on I had false hopes of getting home by 2 or 3. The last couple rounds, however, the phenomenon of better players exercising caution slowed the pace a bit. The tournament ended about 3:30am Sunday!

Top 8, their seed and deck type, and results:

Bob Bonner #1 with G/W Jank vs Matt Johnson #8 with Necro/Donate ("Trix"); Matt won.

Charles Layne #5 with Stasis/Stroke vs Matt Mecham #4 with non-Hatred Black Weenie; Matt won. Yes, that's the same Matt that was judging the prerelease.

Patrick Miller #3 with "Pooh Burn" vs Josh Napper #6 with Tradewind/Geddon ("Josh Jank"); Josh won. Yes, that's the same Josh that was Head Judge for the prerelease.

Amber Price #7 with Green Control vs husband Sean Smith #2 with "Trix"; Sean won. Too bad 'bout the matchup, Sean & Amber! Ironically, these two were the only Capitalist Pigs to make the Top 8, out of the 5 that played. Amber had to beat teammate Jack Mirabile to make Top 8!

In the semifinals, Matt Mecham won vs. Matt Johnson, Josh Napper won vs. Sean Smith.

Now, it's approaching 3am and *everyone* is tired. Sean had already made a hasty exit, as he was judging Sunday's event with Steve Boeff. Josh and Matt are teammates (Team 5280), so they discussed splitting prizes & going home. Then Josh said (famous last words) "I dunno, Matt, I kinda like my chances with this matchup."

You can guess this part: CONGRATULATIONS to Matt Mecham, the proud owner of the Mox!

This tourney went very smoothly; I did 4 deck checks, 3 of 'em were perfect. One of the new players, in his first-ever sanctioned event, had a number of mistakes. He listed 2 each of three cards where he only had 1 each; he left one card off entirely; he only had 59 cards in his deck, and had no sideboard to use to "fix" the illegal deck. I hope that I was tactful and patient enough in my explanations of what he'd done, how we were going to address it (adding a basic land), and the need for the warning and game loss. I feel bad about discouraging a first-timer, but we've got to enforce the rules - in a friendly & instructive manner (I hope).

Unlike the prerelease, there were none of the "Judge! If I do this..." questions, and no contested rulings. One person was surprised about the Necro/Mana Vault interaction (do I smell errata in the oven?). There was much speculation about the need (?) to ban Necro in Extended. Most agreed that the Necro/Donate deck could become quite dominant, and this tourney upheld that: only two "Trix" decks were played, both made Top 4. In Sean's case, he had an unfortunate Consultation that might have cost him the match vs. Josh. Strong decks, indeed.

All in all, a very enjoyable weekend - I even played Sunday, on 4 hours sleep and arriving with 10 seconds to spare. My thanks to all the players who were so cooperative, to all the other judges and to the TOs for both events. Eric Smith and his family are great to work with; Steve Boeff, you are Legion.

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