Date: August 22-23, 2015
Venue: Alphaland Southgate Tower, Makati City. Philippines
Organizer: Regran Toys and Collectibles
Last year, Philippines made a record breaking attendance in WMCQ I 2014 with 424 players; beating even USA’s 411 players. One year later and here we are again with Philippines having an overwhelming attendance of 475 players for WMCQ I. I wasn’t fortunate enough to judge any WMCQ last year so I’ll do my share and my best for all three this year.
I was already anticipating an attendance of around 300+ and thought that this year might not be as many as last year since the promo card this year isn’t as popular. But I was proven wrong. After pre-registration closed (there was no on-site registration), the final tally was 475 registered players! Joel has already formed an 8 man team (including him) beforehand, but requested for 2 more judges since it will be a long 10 rounds ahead of us. It looks daunting but Joel believes that this “awesome” 10 man team will be enough.
On the day, after helping out the staff in doing final adjustments for the venue, Joel gathered all of us judges to give us a final brainstorm and overview on our roles, tasks, and how to make this 10 rounds finish in a timely manner. And then the players slowly started arriving.
Early round rumble
Managing 475 players isn’t an easy task, but that doesn’t mean we can’t handle it. The first problem we had was the venue can only hold up to 444 players, meaning we had no choice but to place the remaining 15 tables in a nearby fast-food place to accommodate them. This caused a bit of confusion since some who were arriving late weren’t able to listen to Joel’s announcement during the player meeting. The TO had a sound system installed but it wasn’t enough to reach the tables in the end of the venue. So it was up to us to disseminate the info to the confused players, late players, and to those who weren’t listening. Nevertheless, with the help of everybody, things were starting to settle down.
After the decklists were collected, we started sorting them. But the sorting was short lived and had to wait, all judges were needed to make the first few rounds go smoothly. Distribution of match slips, answering judge calls, and informing some players about the fast-food place extension. So when things were settling down a bit, we went back to our paper mountain and continued to sort. An easy sorting turned troublesome due to some players being late, or not hearing the announcement in the player meeting to write down their table number on the upper right. Despite that, we just did what we had to do. Sort the ones with table numbers based on table numbers, and sort the ones without alphabetically. It’s my first time to be assigned in a deck check team for an event that had more than 250 players, but my team (who have been judging longer than me) is more than willing to give me some tips, especially on how to hasten doing deck checks. This is one of the things I really like about the judge community, sharing what you know.
Thinking with a full Tank
The first three rounds of the event passed by like a blink of an eye, maybe it’s because all of us had our hands full. But as time passed by, we were slowly getting more efficient in what we do; it’s like a well-oiled machine reaching its top speed. This is the first time I worked for this TO and, I must say, they are generous. Our lunch was food from the fast-food place where we placed some of the players. They made sure that all the judges were well hydrated and fed. It’s like the food doesn’t stop. After a couple of hours after lunch, they had snacks delivered. Then after round 7, there was another round of snacks! Lastly, after the event was done we had a staff and judge dinner! Talk about working on a full stomach. These people know how hard we judges work, and these simple things are really great. Full stomach makes us think better and work more efficiently; in turn it makes the tournament run smoother and enables us to give better player experience.
During the 10 rounds, we had some logistic problems but we slowly solved them as the rounds went by. The tables were too packed together making judge calls a bit harder to get to. After round 4, the amount of players who dropped was enough so that we didn’t need to place some in the fast-food place anymore. After round 6, the area was rearranged a bit so that it would give the remaining players more space. This also opened up some space for side events to fire. The change in floor plan may have caused some players a bit of confusion, but nevertheless they knew it was for the better especially when playing with more arm space. It also enabled us to walk around the floor easier and to get to judge calls a lot quicker than we can during the earlier rounds. Overall, they did a good job of making the later rounds more spacious and comfortable for the remaining fatigued players.
One thing I learned the hard way that day was that we really need to invest on good footwear. Like what my partner always says “Invest in good footwear, it carries all your weight.” It didn’t sink in to me that much until I felt my legs starting to hurt sometime during round 6 or 7. My subpar loafers combined with hard mall floor tiles weren’t really a good combination. I never thought my loafers would be a problem since it was good enough for small events and when I used it in GP Manila; what I didn’t notice was most convention halls, like the one used for GP Manila, have carpeted floors making things easier. So I found myself doing a lot more sitting during the later rounds when doing floor rounds after deck checks.
The first of three.
Day one of WMCQ I have ended. It was a long day but it was a good one. Day two, Top 8, would be held in the TO’s store and Joel didn’t require most of us to go. He said that they can already handle it. (Thanks Joel, I need to rest my legs now.)
We received feedback from players that they really liked that the tourney started on time (10am), and doing a “no onsite registration” has a big part on it. Despite the venue being cramped, it is nice that most of the players understood that 475 players is a lot of people.
Things I picked up from this tourney:
(1) Good comfortable footwear is an absolute must. It is not every day that we get to judge on a carpeted floor.
(2) Learning to adapt to the needs of the players. People tend to remember the last things they experienced, so make those last thoughts nice.
(3) There is always room for improvement. Even if you are already good at something, always have an open ear to what other people are trying to say or teach you. You’ll never know when or where you’ll learn something new.
I want to give a big thank you to all the judges and staff during this tourney. I had fun hope you guys had fun too.
And to you readers, thanks for taking your time to read this. Until my next adventure!