OGW Release Day at Hareruya

Kentaro Guthrie, Level 2, Tokyo, Japan

Kentaro Guthrie, Level 2, Tokyo, Japan

I’d like to go over the somewhat hectic and exciting challenges of release day at Hareruya in Tokyo, and some of the lessons I learned today. While tournament attendance wasn’t record breaking, the volume of customers who came to pick up sealed product and crack it with their friends gave the room a frenzied feel. Judge calls were hard to hear over the chatter. Many new cards were read, then cast, then read again. Many triggers were missed.

As far as tournaments go, today was scheduled like any other Friday:

11am Standard/Modern/Legacy
2pm Standard/Modern/Legacy
5pm FNM Standard/Modern/Legacy/Vintage
7pm FNM Booster Draft
8pm FNM Standard/Modern/Legacy/Vintage

Judges on staff were:

Hiraku Mochizuki (L2) 10:00-20:00
Akihisa Tomikawa (L2) 14:30-23:30
Kentaro Guthrie (L1) 14:30-23:30
Takuya Kozawa (L0) 14:30-23:30

Player attendance was quite normal for a Friday, with the exception of Booster Draft which was no doubt buoyed by players wanting to play with the new cards, and also those who wanted extra Limited practice to prepare for Grand Prix Nagoya the following weekend.

Tournament attendance was as follows:

Standard – 103 Players Total
11am – 21 Players
2pm – 17 Players
5pm – 37 Players
8pm – 28 Players

Modern – 35 Players Total
2pm – 13 Players
5pm – 12 Players
8pm – 10 Players

Legacy – 16 Players Total
5pm – 4 Players
8pm – 12 Players

Vintage – 0 Players Total

Booster Draft – 41 Players Total
7pm – 41 Players

All of our weekday tournaments are 3 rounds Swiss with prizes pre-determined by record. Because we run constructed tournaments in 3 hour intervals, there is some pressure to make sure that things run smoothly and that each round finishes within 60 minutes including pairings and extra time.

Our first minor complication occurred around 7pm when Round 2 of 5pm Standard was finishing and registration was closing for FNM Booster Draft. We had slightly underestimated the number of drafters that would register, and also the amount of time that the new cards would add to the Standard rounds. I was still on my dinner break at the time, and consequently we were understaffed during this busy period. Ideally two judges would handle registration and firing the draft, while the other two could manage the floor and getting the 3rd and final round of constructed started. Unfortunately, with me on break and our newest judge covering the floor we were unable to keep on schedule. Standard Round 3 started late, and therefore caused a delayed start to our 8pm constructed tournaments. FNM Booster Draft started late, and we ended up firing Round 1 at 8:20 when we normally start it at around 8:05. Part of this may have come down to the actual draft taking longer due to the new cards, but regardless, the result was that we still had active drafters playing Round 3 after our store closing time of 11pm.

Lesson 1: Anticipate choke points, and potential busy periods where tournaments overlap and ensure that we are properly staffed. I could have split my break into two shorter breaks during downtime, or we could have started our entire break schedule earlier. Certain resources such as the printer and PA system also restricted our efficiency when trying to fire multiple events simultaneously. Due to the draft attendance we needed the PA to make Standard announcements and Booster Draft announcements at the same time and the result was a delay.

During Round 1 of 8pm Modern, I was called to a table where Neville had cast a Kolaghan’s Command targeting his opponent’s Abbot of Keral Keep and also targeting his own Tarmogoyf in his graveyard. Anson responded by casting Vapor Snag targeting his Abbot of Keral Keep. Vapor Snag resolved and Neville wanted to know if his Command would resolve and if he would get his Tarmogoyf back. After confirming the situation with both players, I explained that since Kolaghan’s Command still had a legal target then it would still resolve to the best of its ability and Neville’s Tarmogoyf would indeed be returned to his hand. I asked the players to continue their game when I noticed that neither player had marked any damage from Anson’s Vapor Snag. I stopped the match and inquired about this and then we discovered a life total discrepancy in addition to the missing point from the Vapor Snag. After the players reviewed the last few turns we were able to determine that 1 life from a fetchland had been missed, and life totals were corrected.

Lesson 2: Being called to a table is more than just an opportunity to resolve the current question or dispute, but also a chance to review the game state, life totals and more. Players can be distracted by whatever caused them to call a judge in the first place and can easily miss small events surrounding the main issue. Normally I would just focus on whatever the reason was that I had been called to the table but this was really an eye-opener for me. If we hadn’t caught the life total discrepancy then, it might have been much more difficult to resolve several turns later. I’ll be paying much closer attention to the details when I get called to tables in the future.

By this point in the evening, the most experienced judge for the day, Hiraku Mochizuki had gone home and there were three judges left on staff. Our newest judge in the Tournament Team is Takuya Kozawa who transferred over from the Customer Service Team. A busy release day meant that we were soon asked to let him go and pick in-store orders instead of helping to run tournaments. Down to two staff running Standard, Modern, Legacy and Draft. I soon got a judge call from the far side of the room, and it appeared that we had forgotten to hand out the result slips for the draft and various matches were finishing. No problem! I tell the tables to wait a moment and head back to the registration desk to pick up the slips that were already cut and waiting. On my way back to the desk I get a judge call from the Modern tournament. I stop and ask what’s happening, and there was a relatively complicated ruling question that I felt that I could answer it quickly. I spend about 30 seconds on the ruling and then realize that double-checking with an L2 would be fastest and call over Akihisa Tomikawa. As he approaches there’s another call from the draft, and I’m sure it’s just about the result slips again. I explain this to Akihisa but one of us needs to hand out slips, and I also need to explain my ruling to him. We decided that it would be best if he quickly handed out the slips and we leave the judge call for a minute or so. He was soon able to confirm my ruling, and I ended up giving a 4 minute time extension but it felt like an eternity.

Lesson 3: It is important for me to prioritize my tasks but once I have decided to take on a task, it’s vital to complete it before taking on something else. I made the error of thinking that the ruling call was more time-sensitive than the draft players who could simply wait a minute or two for their slips. I failed to realize that this would cascade into more calls from the draft and would stretch us too thin. I would have been much better off asking the Modern table to wait, or asking Akihisa to take the call while I finished handing out the match slips for Draft. I tried to do too much at the same time and ended up not really accomplishing either task. Frequently in this store we get pulled in different directions by players, and it can be tempting to try and do it all but that tends to just lower the quality of attention that each player gets. I need to focus on taking on one thing on at a time and doing it to the best of my ability.

That’s the conclusion of my first Tournament Report. I apologize if it was long and rambling. Thank you for taking the time to read it, and I welcome any comments or questions.

Editor’s note: Congratulations to Kentaro on getting Level 2 after this report was posted in the forums! Please leave your feedback and comments on the JudgeApps forums too!


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