Format: Standard, Modern and Legacy
Head Judges: Paul Baranay (Standard), Joe Hughto (Legacy), and Dan Collins (Modern)
The staff included Mike Noss as an amazing Scorekeeper, and the rest of the staff list can be found here.
This is my first tournament report. The focus is on how we can improve an event through awareness of our actions. This will be structured in a way that shows my experience during the event followed with what I took away from the experience.
Observe TLs/HJ and event operations to improve my ability to handle events from a Logistics perspective.*
*My goals evolved throughout the weekend based on feedback received from colleagues, Thank you Ilan.
Players Meeting/Round 1:
During the players meeting we assisted the Deck Check Team in collecting decklists then returned to perform beginning of round procedure. This is where I had my first interaction that gave me insight on event logistics. During the player meeting Paul announced the tardiness policy to be 3/10 which differed from the 0(with a heart)/10 noted in the event details. There was also a vocal player that interrupted the head judge during the announcements.
I got back from collecting decklists and issued a Tardiness infraction in time to start handing out Match Slips. I take out my batch of slips which consist of the end set of tables. I got down towards the end of handing out slips and realize the extra tables had disappeared from where we had set them up. After a moment scanning the room I was able to locate them towards the top tables. These tables needed to be relocated to address a potential safety hazard. This didn’t directly affect us but would have some small impact to side events later in the day.
Not all problems are a problem, until they become a one. While this was a minor inconvenience it didn’t affect the event until sides events began. I think there were a number of solutions that can be considered. This seemed to be handled well for our event with minor impact. I learned that you should be actively aware of potential setbacks and consider what actions to take and be able to analyze if actions are even necessary. Be prepared to address feedback from players in a manner that satisfies their concerns without causing unnecessary disruption to the event.
Tardiness – Decklist preparedness:
During collection I had a player with a decklist that was not prepared. I was only about 50% through my row for collection. I informed the player that I will return after finishing collecting from my row and will need the decklist. On returning the decklist is still not ready. The player stated that his numbers appear to be off. I advised that I would return in a moment to collect the list after turning in collected lists to the Deck Check TL. I advised the TL of the delinquent decklist. I get the OK to assess the player with Tardiness for not having the list prepared. I return to the player and collect the list. I advised of the Infraction and Penalty and that I will meet at his table to advise him and his opponent at the start of the round. I take the delinquent list up to the Deck Check Team and follow-up to explain the infraction to the players in Round 1.
While I was tasked with handling decklist collection during the players meeting I had additional roles to return to promptly after completing the task. While I feel like giving the player the pass through to fix the list was an acceptable customer service action; I understand that it could have potentially delayed the entirety of the event. Had I been tasked with posting Round 1 pairings after collecting the lists this could have delayed the start of the round and at the very least caused confusion within the team to fill the role while I was handling the interaction with the player. In retrospect I could still provide the initial time to complete the list as it did not delay the collection. I would have then assessed the Infraction on return if the list was not prepared. This interaction has reinforced in me the necessity to be aware how our actions can affect the whole of the event. It is also important to remember that the players meeting announcement is not just for the players but also the event staff. You can obtain information (# of players, rounds, Tardiness policy, etc…) regarding the event that may be asked throughout the day or change policy of the event.
Awareness of Time Sensitive tasks:
For beginning of round procedure of Round 3, I was tasked with posting 1 of 3 pairings for the round. I managed my way through the crowd of players to post the pairings and then made my way back to assist with handing out match slips. Later in the rounds Ilan came up to me and brought to my attention an issue with my speed in posting the pairings and pace throughout the event. He reinforced the need to be swift when it comes to time sensitive tasks.
While it may seem like the delay doesn’t affect much, in reality this action occurring every round for the event would lead to a rather large delay. You can help keep the event running at a smooth pace by being aware of how your actions can affect the event. You should also be mindful of your colleagues and help them maintain this awareness as well. This helps the event run smooth and can make those long days a little shorter for you and the players.
* This evolved my goals to not only observe but actively analyzing my actions to help ensure a well-run event.
End of Round without Delinquent Matches list:
This was the first event I had a role during end of round procedure aside from being a judge to sit on a table. During the Legacy event there were rounds that we were not able to get a list of delinquent matches. During a round we ran into the scenario that I was unable to locate the judge in charge of End of Round. He was not up by the scorekeeper station and I was not able to locate him with a scan of the room. I started heading down the rows and found him. He was walking the tables noting the delinquent table numbers and any time extension. We discussed a bit how this was not an ideal solution as the Turnaround team were unaware of who was in charge of EOR and would be looking to them at the front for direction. From that point if we were unable to acquire a Delinquent matches list from the scorekeeper we had a process in place. The judge managing EOR would delegate a judge to walk through with a paper and clipboard. The judge would start a walk through noting delinquent table number, time extensions if any, what judge is sitting the table if applicable. This judge would return the list and from that point we had a fairly accurate delinquent matches list.
Be prepared to improvise and adapt to perform your tasks. It is great when we can get a delinquent list to work with however we still have a duty to ensure a timely EOR even when they are not available. You shouldn’t perform your tasks alone. Taking on team tasks by yourself can lead to confusion and affect how well the event goes. Be aware when delegating tasks is appropriate and develop a plan with your colleagues to execute the tasks in an efficient manner.
Additional Observations and Lessons Learned:
Having goals for an event is important. It can help direct your notes and focus during the event which allows you to improve/educate yourself as a judge. Paul Baranay chose to do something interesting for the event. He had us share our goals with the team at the beginning of the event. I feel like this is a great idea as it helps increase a judge’s ability to achieve their goals. The goal of a judge becomes a shared goal for each judge on the event. This helps creating a strong learning environment and bond between each other. Writing reviews are important in helping others improve, but sharing feedback during an event can be just as valuable as feedback received in reviews. This helps by making the judge aware of improvements that can be made in an environment that allows them to actively improve. If you have any love for the nerves in you hands use caution when high-fiving Krug.
Thank you for taking the time to review my experiences from this event. I hope this is an enjoyable read and that it is helpful to others in understanding what you can do to make your great events better. I look forward to feedback and discussion regarding my experiences.
***Bonus Rulings Section***
This is a listing of interesting albeit not overly difficult Questions that came up throughout the event.
- Norman states his Blood Moon was just destroyed and wanted to know what Alex’s Thespian’s Stage that copied Rishadan Port is now that the Blood Moon is gone. I informed him that it is still a Rishadan Port with the ability of Thespian Stage
- Andrew asks if Chalice of the Void with X=1 is able to be countered by Spell Snare. I advised that it is a legal target for Spell Snare.
- Alex asks if Thalia, Guardian of Thraben increases the cost of a fused Wear // Tear by 1 or 2. I inform that when Fused it is still only one spell and would only be increased by 1.
Judge!, Thanks… Judge!!!
There were a couple times through the Legacy event that were humorous due to a match having each player end up asking the same question to different judges.
- Stifle vs. LED
Adam playing Storm asks to step away from the table to ask a question. Adam inquires whether Stifle is able to counter the activation of Lion’s Eye Diamond. I inform Adam that this is not able to be countered by Stifle as the ability is a mana ability. A few minutes later AJ takes a call from the same table from Norman asking the same question.
- Nihil Spellbomb vs. Life from the Loam
Alex calls and steps aside to ask a question to AJ. I stand at the table while they are away. Neil asks if I can answer a question. He states he believes he is asking the same thing as Alex. He wants to know if he is able to use his Nihil Spellbomb after Alex chooses to use Dredge to replace his Draw. I inform him that Dredge is replacing the effect during its resolution. I advised that he would not be able to respond to the Dredge. Alex comes back and proceeds to cast Brainstorm and Neil uses Nihil Spellbomb in response.
We had a challenge for the day to observe games and watch for misplays. This was a great challenge setup by the Head Judges. This gave is additional reasons to be more attentive to matches which helps deter Slow Play, catch game errors and generate discussions of interactions between judges. Below was my submission for the misplay challenge.
Adam is playing Elves against Norman running Jeskai Control. Adam controls Quirion Ranger, Wirewood Symbiote, Elvish Visionary, Reclamation Sage, 3 lands that only produce green mana and Gaea’s Cradle. Adam has in hand Natural Order Green Sun’s Zenith, and 1 Abrupt Decay.
Norman Controls Izzet Staticaster, Containment Priest, Batterskull with no Germ token and several lands.Adam casts Green Sun’s Zenith with X=1 and gets Deathrite Shaman so he is able to follow-up the next turn and get rid of Containment Priest with Abrupt Decay then kill with a resolved Natural Order.
Norman allows the GSZ to resolve then informs Adam that his Deathrite Shaman is exiled. Adam looks at the board and sadly moves his creature to the exile.