Competitive Scorekeeping with WER

Written by Dustin de Leeuw

Written by Dustin de Leeuw

So, your first PTQ as a scorekeeper is coming up soon; what can you expect, and what is expected from you? A brief introduction to scorekeeping at this level of play!

Let’s assume you have some prior experience with Wizards Event Reporter (WER), the software we use to run and report tournaments. Maybe you have done some FNMs or even a Prerelease with 60+ players, so you know the basic functionalities. However, a PTQ is run at Competitive Rules Enforcement Level, so different skills are required from players, judges, and you, the scorekeeper!

All basic functionalities of WER are comprehensively described in these articles by L3 Judge Eric Levine

However, if these articles contain a lot of new information for you, it might be wiser to gain some scorekeeping experience before burning your hands on a PTQ, as these are high-level events with little room for experimenting.

Prior to the event, check with the Tournament Organizer if he will provide all necessary tools for you; basic requirements are a computer (preferably a laptop) with internet connection, a printer, and enough paper. It’s the TO’s task to make sure you have everything you need, including a comfortable place to sit and do your job. A numeric keypad is something that will make your job a lot easier, so don’t be afraid to ask the TO to provide one or a laptop with one.

Most likely, the TO needs your help with the registration of all players. Check in advance at what time you are expected to be there and to be ready to start enrolling players.

Start up WER, select the appropriate tournament, and open it. Check that all details are correct, especially the date and format being played. Enter the Head Judge in the appropriate field, then add all other judges using the “More Judges” button. Ideally, the TO has their names and DCI numbers ready for you. It is important to enter all judges before you start the event, as adding judges during the event may cause troubles. A known bug in WER is that the Penalties tab will disappear; try opening and closing the “More Judges” screen and see if the penalties reappear. If not, remove the judge you just added, enter all his/her penalties under the name of the HJ, and add the judge after the event.

Now it is time to enroll all players! A PTQ draws players from a large area, so the local players database will most probably be of little help. The fastest way of enrolling players is by using their DCI number; if staffing allows it, it is handy to have a judge make sure all players in line have their DCI number and cash in their hands. Otherwise, make an announcement at regular intervals, so the line will keep moving and does not stall in front of your computer.

Registration is one of the most important tasks of the day, as it can be a delaying factor to the tournament. Players have a habit of showing up very late, causing you to enroll 50+ players in the last 15 minutes. Be prepared, and don’t be afraid to let a judge or the TO help you. Try and delegate as much tasks as possible; for example, while you do registration on the computer, let someone else handle the payments.

After all players have been registered, the Head Judge will ask you to print seatings. First start the tournament, and check with the HJ how many rounds you will have. Then you can go to the Rounds tab, select Seating instead of Matches, then select the Seating style of your choice; in most cases, the HJ will want to have Name Seating.

Currently, there is a bug in WER which will not let you print seatings, but this is the trick to work around it: Click Event tab, then Local Players tab, Event tab again, then go back to Rounds tab. Now select the drop down Print menu, and you can Print Seatings. Check with you HJ how many copies he wants, and hand them to the Judges responsible for posting them.

While the HJ holds his welcome speech, you prepare the first round: Select Matches in the Rounds tab. The default setting is table numbers by Random, but most likely the HJ will want you to change that to Table Numbers by Standing. For the first round it doesn’t really matter, but make sure to check it with the HJ before the end of round 1!
Create pairings, and print them; probably you will need the same number of copies as you needed for the seatings. You can select Print Pairings by Name from the Print menu, or you can use the keyboard shortcut F9. After that, print result slips. The easiest way is to select Print -> Print Result Entry Slips -> Cutting Machine, so the judges won’t have to sort them out later.

Because you will print the same number of pairings and result slips every round, you may find it easier to set up a Multi-Print: From the Print drop-down menu, select Multi-Print. Add Print Pairings by Table as many times as needed, then add Print Result Entry Slips (Cut Machine); make sure the slips are printed after all pairings!

WER has default settings for American Letter format, so if you live anywhere else, your papers will look horrible and your slips will be messed up completely. Luckily, in the last screen before actually printing whatever you selected, you can adjust paper margins; enter 8 for left, right and top, and enter 12 for bottom. Now your slips will fit neatly and will be easy to cut!

Starting from the second round, the Deck Check team will probably ask you for random tables; you can get random tables by going to the Round tab, then press the Random Table button; yup, sometimes things are that easy! Please, remember not to shout out these numbers, but let the Judges have a look at your screen, or write down the numbers. The HJ may have special requests about how to handle random tables for deck checks, so make sure to talk to him/her about this.

For the last three rounds, you will also have to print standings by rank; the keyboard shortcut for this is ALT-R. Print as many standings as you print pairings, and print those before printing result entry slips. Again, check with the HJ for which round(s) he wants standings. You can add Print Standings by Rank in the Multi-Print menu.

Now it’s time to talk about the actual scorekeeping! You are one of the most important people of the entire tournament, as the quality of the scorekeeper has a huge influence on the speed of the tournament. During the first ten minutes of each round, you have to be available to give random tables to Judges or maybe edit pairings. Then, there is a window of about 20 minutes in which you don’t have very much to do; this is a great time to take a short break, have a walk, get a drink, visit the toilet, or have some food. Scorekeeping is a very precise and sometimes stressful job, so be sure to take good care of yourself and take some rest! Of course, communicate clearly with the HJ and let him know when you are away from the computer; check with him when is an appropriate time to take a lunch break.

Result slips will start to come in; your first task is to enter the results in WER. It may sound obvious, but be very precise when entering the results, as mistakes are very inconvenient and may cause headaches when trying to fix them later on. The fastest way to enter results is by using the keyboard and the mouse at the same time: Click in the Table Number box, enter the number, then use the mouse to click the appropriate score. However, this might not work for all keyboards and all languages; in that case, you will have to scroll down to the correct table number, click the table, then click the result. Make sure to have the Outstanding Results box ticked!

Check result slips for two things: First of all, see if any player marked the drop box; if so, before entering the result, check the Drop box next to that player’s name, then enter the result. Second, check for any mark in the top left or top right corner of the result slip; most probably it will be a star, a “P” or a “W”. This indicates that a Judge gave out a penalty, which is written on the back of the slip and should be entered into WER later on.

If you have time during the round and no huge pile of results is waiting to be entered, you can enter the penalties right now. However, this has no priority whatsoever, as it can conveniently be done at the start of the next round as well. In that case, make sure to keep the slips with a penalty on them separate. Go to the Penalties tab, press the New button on the bottom of the screen, and enter everything that’s written on the back of the slip. Typically, what is written will look like this:

Judge (first name, last name) – Player (last name, first name) – InfractionPenaltyNotes.

Check the front of the slip to check the round in which the penalty was given, and check the name of the player if you can’t read the Judge’s handwriting. Select the penalty from the drop down menu; most of the times, the Judge will abbreviate the penalty.

Examples: L@EC means Looking at Extra Cards; DEC is Drawing Extra Cards; GRV is GPE – Game Rule Violation.

If you can’t determine which infraction is meant, check with the HJ or the Judge who issued the penalty. WER will automatically select the appropriate penalty for the infraction; if it deviates from what is written on the slip, be sure to check it with the Judge! Copy all notes that the Judge wrote down into the Notes field, then press save and you are done.

If a Disqualification is issued, make sure to drop the player from the event; if a double DQ is handed out, check in the Players tab that both players are actually removed from the event, as sometimes WER only drops one of them.

After round 2 has started, check all result entry slips from round 1 to see if you missed any penalties to be entered (look at the back of the slips, as sometimes a Judge writes down a penalty but forgets to mark in on the front of the slip). When you’re done, sort all slips in ascending table number order, wrap them together and keep them in a cool and dry place. Never throw them away, only do that after the event has been successfully uploaded. In case of emergency, you can use these slips to recreate the entire event, and you can check later on if you mis-entered a result or that the players wrote down a wrong outcome.
Of course, this pattern holds true for all upcoming rounds as well.

Your priority is to not delay the tournament; don’t let the result entry slips clog up, start well in time with entering results. After time in the round has been called, tell the HJ how many outstanding tables you have left; he may ask for specific tables to send Judges to. Even in this stressful part of the round, please don’t forget to check if a player wants to drop from the tournament. Be ready to come into action as soon as the last result comes in: Enter the result, them immediately create the next round, print pairings (and possibly standings), print result slips, and breathe in deeply: You survived another round!

Sometimes you make a mistake while entering results; for example, Anton beat Nick 2-1, but you accidentally entered the result as 1-2. Usually, shortly after pairings have been posted, both players will come to you or the HJ to report the error. Don’t panic, and immediately get the HJ involved (as you should do in every case where you make a change that affects the tournament). It is an option to correct the result and redo all pairings, but this will cost you at least five precious minutes. So, whenever possible, it is easier to fix the result and repair as few matches as possible.

Let’s assume that in this round, the pairings are A-X and N-Y; after you fixed the result of the previous match, you can alter current pairings to A-Y and N-X, but only if they didn’t play each other earlier this event. This can be quite complicated and dangerous stuff to do, as sometimes you have to break open several tables, but an experienced scorekeeper is capable of saving a lot of time this way!

At most PTQs, side events will be offered. If you expect a large number of them to fire, it may be advisable to run them on a different computer. If you only run some drafts, it can be done on the same computer. Make sure to drop all players who participate in a side event from the PTQ!

Once again, your priority is the main event. If a draft starts during the last few minutes of the round, ignore the draft and just continue entering results for the PTQ. Delaying the start of the draft will only cause eight players to wait, delaying the PTQ will possibly make 100+ players unhappy. Drop the players from the PTQ, but only enter the draft when you have time for it. When creating the draft, please double check the date for this event, as your side event will be invalidated when the date is incorrect.

A nice trick is to have random seatings available; you can generate them in advance using some dice, or via I have a list of several random seatings available to start up drafts quickly; a seating may look like 7-3-2-4-8-1-6-5. Just write these numbers next to the players’ names on the draft registration sheet and have the Judge start up the draft; you can create and sanction the event in WER later, in a more convenient moment. You can also ask if your TO has a sheet available with Single Elimination Trees, so the Judge will not have any interaction with the computer anymore until the entire draft has finished.

If results from a draft come in during the last minutes of the round, or when you are very busy entering results from the PTQ, let me repeat: Your priority is with the PTQ, not the draft. If cross-table pairings are used, an experienced Judge will be able to make the new pairings by hand, thus letting the draft players continue without delaying the PTQ.

After the Swiss portion of the PTQ is over, Print Standings by Rank again (shortcut: ALT-R) and hand them to the HJ. Then create and print Top 8 pairings; unless the HJ specifically asks for them, result entry slips are not needed anymore. Now enter the remaining penalties from last round.

Now, your job is done: In most cases, the HJ will enter the results from Top 8 himself, and you are free to go, or to enjoy watching Top 8 matches, play some Commander, or spend some time with your friends. Congratulations, you survived your first PTQ as a Scorekeeper!

If you have any additional tips or thoughts, please drop me an email so we can keep this document up to date. Enjoy your PTQ, thanks for reading!