With my new position in the DCI, I had the opportunity to visit another
country for their National Championship. This time was Israel. It's a
country with 6 millions citizens on the east side of the mediterranean sea.
One certified judge, one smiling scorekeeper, and one staff were on site
with me to run the tournament. No, let's look at it the other way : I
was with them. They were efficient and the tournament went well. Cards
for the booster draft were not stamped.
The tournament was held on 28 and 29th of June in Tel-Aviv downtown in
the Dizengoff Center, a pure shopping mall such as one you can find in
North America. It was an open event and 67 players showed up.
As on every open Nationals, there is a bye structure that was designed by
the DCI: Every returning player from the National team and the Top 25 from
the composite ranking receive 3 rounds byes. In practice, it seems that DCI
Reporter is not designed to award 3 byes in a Pod pairing system. Well, it
gives away byes properly, but it still assigned those players to a draft
pod (which is fine for a 1 or 2 rounds bye but not for a 3 rounds bye). So
when three players out of eight are not going to play the full draft, you
are sure that it's going to be a big problem in terms of pairing. In
addition, those guys may completly alter the draft since they know that
they will not play at all and give away good cards, counterdrafting or...
whatever you want. It's a bad(tm) thing.
So after a couple of doh-second, I choose to not award any bye on this
competition. This is a very good lesson I took. We always advise to run
some test with DCI Reporter before any event with a particular structure
(multi-format event, bye or...both). But maybe I felt experienced enough
to not go through tests before the event. This is a big mistake. Do what I
say, not what I do!!!
The only girl enrolled in the tournament left in the middle of the first
round when the army called her for an emergency. A 3 years mandatory duty
(20 months for girls) in the army have a very strong impact on the
organized play activity. Most of the long term players leave organized
play when they turn 18. And most of the time, they do not come back.
The average age of the field was incredibly low, more than 20% of the
players were under 13 (this is certainly another consequence of the army
situation). Imagine that we have created 17 new members out of 67
competitors on a National. Between young and unexperienced players in a
mall, the "metagame" (from a tournaments organizator point of view) is
not the same in Israel. Far from the regular clean and calm PT.
Let's fall again in the well-known statement. After the first draft, the
top table was made of experienced players. And the level of play on
those tables was a very good one. Once again, no matter where you are,
Magic is a good game played by good players.
Q: What if I sacrifice an Academy Rector that I've stolen from my opponent
with a Treachery?
A: Well, the controller of the triggered effect (that is to say the
controller of the Academy Rector, not the owner) will search for an
enchantment if he chooses to remove it from the graveyard.
It appears that the Israelian players community is not used to our
regular tournament administration such as entry slips or even decklists.
Imagine my surprise when I saw half of the field raising their hand as
soon as they've made their pick during the draft, ready to pass as soon
as everybody on the table is done. You know, like at home for the sunday
night draft... In such situation, I think that the only solution is to
forget the strict rules enforcement that should be used and go for a
more educational event. I will never kick out half of the field in a
tournament. Instead I went for a lot of discussions with top players,
trying to describe what is a professional environment, what to do and
And the Winner is...
Finally, after 12 rounds and a single elimination top 8, Uri Peleg
(member of the 98 National team) beat the returning National champion
Orr Bildner. Note that 3 members of the 99 Israeli team made top 4
We had a little judge certification session, and 6 people went
succesfully through the test and the interview. Judges are the key
element in a good implementation of organized play in any region.