|BIG Booster Draft (Harrisburg, PA)
First, I should introduce myself. My name is Dave Taylor. I have been playing Magic for about 5 years now. After about two years of playing, I went to my first DCI-sanctioned tournament (Extended). I then started attending events held at my local shop every month. After about a year, the shop stopped holding events. After running my first DCI-sanctioned event as TO and head judge, the store owner asked me to run events at his store. With the upcoming Prophecy prerelease, I decided to attempt my Level 1 certification and, after passing the grueling exam, here I am.
On September 16, 2000, we held a BIG booster draft at our local store. A BIG booster draft is held by having the players draft in small pods, play within the pods for a few rounds, and then create new pods. The players play some more, and this process continues.
One thing that I've noticed in the tournaments that I've run so far is the sudden rush of registrations. There are always a few people who show up early enough so that I can enter them into DCI Reporter in the same order that they arrive, but then the onslaught occurs. Usually the 5th person to arrive will end up being the 25th person in the computer.
The popularity of booster draft has grown since its inception in 1995
25 people showed up for this tournament. This is a little bit smaller than I expected, but it worked out well. DCI Reporter created the pods, with the first pod having 7 people and the last 3 having 6 people each. We used Mercadian block boosters for the event and the draft went off with no problems.
To save paper, I had the players register only the cards they received (with no registration of the cards they intended to play). They were instructed to use the "Total" column for this first draft and the second draft would be placed in the "Used" column. I was surprised to see that only one player erred in writing in the "Used" column for the first draft. Registration went well and we were ready to begin.
Round 1 was mainly problem free. The only questions that came up were ones relating to tournament operation. One group of relatively new players didn't know that the matches were best-of-3 and another didn't know of the 5-turn rule after time expiration. Both were quickly resolved.
Rounds 2 and 3 were quick and question-free. One thing I've noticed is that Mercadian block limited events tend to be question-free. Of course, there are usually the "standard" basic questions, but complicated questions seem rare.
The second draft and rounds 4 through 6 also went well, but we noticed a problem that occurred with the tournament in general. It seems that the top-ranked players should have been placed into a 6-person draft for the second draft with the 7-person draft going to the lowest ranked pod. One player who had won three matches in the first pod containing relatively new players was able to receive a bye in the 7-person top-ranked draft. This allowed him to make Top 8, which, in my opinion, shouldn't be possible. Next time, I think creating the second-draft pods by hand in DCI Reporter instead of having it do so automatically should fix this.
It's quite interesting and funny to note that the only time a problem in a draft occurred (wrong number of cards in a pack passed around) it happened in the top-8.
All in all, the tournament went well. The players enjoyed themselves and we've already been requested to run another BIG booster draft. Though the Top 8 matches were not done until 11 hours, 30 minutes after the tournament began, I had a lot of fun running the tournament.
Anyway, I hope to test for Level 2 this weekend at the PA State Championships, so I hope to be writing to you as a Level 2 judge soon!