New Hampshire’s First Triple PPTQ Day

Tony Houst, Level 1, Manchester, New Hampshire, United States

Tony Houst, Level 1, Manchester, New Hampshire, United States

It’s been a bit since the event, so sorry for the delay, but I wanted to make sure my first tournament report was up to a level I would be satisfied with, and writing about essentially 3 events in 1 did not make it any easier. On April 16th Double Midnight Comics, Shield Comics, and Black Moon Games teamed together at the central location of the Holiday Inn in Concord, NH to provide a Triple PPTQ. This was the first collaboration like this between the 3 tournament organizers, and allowed for more people to experience the tournament and interact with stores that they may not have been as familiar with. This was also the first Multi-PPTQ event in New Hampshire, so this was a fairly large experiment.

The Formats were Standard at 10:00am with a turnout of 43 players; Shadows over Innistrad Sealed at 1:00 with a turnout of 50 players; and Standard at 3:00 with a turnout of 14 players. We had two head judges, 1 overseeing the standard events and active on the floor, and the other overseeing the sealed event and handling logistics and scorekeeping with the TO’s. We had 3 Floor Judges; our End of Round lead, a Judge Candidate, and Myself as the Paper Lead. The Judge candidate was assigned to shadow me on the floor.

This was the first time any of us had put on an event at the hotel, which initially set up 10 chairs per table, leaving not enough room for comfortable gameplay. One of the Head Judges and I arrived early enough that rearranging the chairs didn’t crunch our set up time too much. There was a PA system in the front corner where we set up the judge station and registration. The room was devoid of clocks, so one of the TO’s brought a projector for us to put the round clock up on, however we did have a few technical issues with the projector. Luckily, the judge candidate that was with us works in computer support and was able to make it all work, culminating in us having 3 different round clocks using google timer being projected against the wall so you could see it no matter what event you were in. It was very clunky to operate but it got the job done.

The first standard event had very few issues, the turnaround times were fairly quick and the judge calls were fairly straight forward. The most common call was concerning Reflector Mage and how it interacts with either Morphs or Double-Faced Cards, given that Shadows over Innistrad had just come out and how popular Bant company was, not too surprising. We have to give a game loss for marked cards due to non-opaque sleeves that we discovered during random deck checks.

The sealed event was incredibly popular, and despite the swap method being around for a few months by now, was still new to a good amount of people. Ben, the Head judge for this event, had me print out deck registration sheets on two different colors of paper to make it more clear who was supposed to open packs during the registration process. This PPTQ located in the center of the room, making it obvious how bad the acoustics were there. An entire table missed the start of round due to not hearing the Head Judge, to which I had to give time extensions for. This was Ben’s first PPTQ as a Head Judge, but his experience of putting on PPTQs as a tournament organizer showed in both the confidence of his instructions and organizing of the triple event at large.

The second standard event was mostly people from the 1st who did not make top 8, due to the first rounds happening at the same time. The rounds were quite fast, wrapping up before the sealed moved to top 8. The most notable thing about the event was an occurrence with player and fellow judge Rodney Bedell, that we referred to as “The Iron Deck.”

Rodney borrowed cards for his Bant Company Deck from a friend, and after it looked like they were both out of contention Rodney returned his cards to his friend, who then left after round 4. A short while after, the pairings for round 5 were posted and Rodney looked to still be in contention for top 4, but with no deck. He called over the Head Judge, Chris, at the start of the round, who informed him that he needed to present the registered deck to play, but it didn’t matter where the cards came from. He had 10 minutes til the game loss for tardiness, (due to not being able to present a legal deck) would be upgraded to a match loss. Rodney then scoured the vendors of the room and borrowed cards from other friends still at the tournament to present a legal deck with only a few seconds to spare. Although he did not go on to win the event it did provide for a very entertaining 10 minutes for us on the floor watching him hap-hazardly assemble his deck from scratch, and asking for his decklist about 7 minutes into the ordeal.

This was the first time I had dealt with multiple competitive events at the same time, and in addition to my role as paper lead I was being shadowed by the judge candidate. This allowed me to feel more comfortable in a leadership role while still being relatively new to competitive REL. Just going through the process of explaining how to act on the floor and present yourself to players help solidify why I do certain things during an event. I’m still getting a handle on the IPG and filling out warnings, but with each competitive event I do i feel like I’m making a substantial leap forward.

During first round of pairings, I had a little trouble balancing taking a player question and making sure the pairings got posted, so there was a few second delay, but after that I made sure to be on top of it and make getting the papers out a priority. Having multiple events running concurrently gave me a good deep dive into paper, balancing my time, and delegating when necessary (especially during breaks). There was never a lull once the second event got going, since there was always either a round ending, one starting, or a round in progress with

Ultimately the Triple PPTQ was a big experiment, and based on player reactions I’m sure this will be the first of many in the area. Having multiple head judges and team leads made it possible to cycle through breaks even when we had over 100 people playing magic in the room. Managing time in these events is crucial, and having a firm sense of roles helped us work well as a team. Overall I’d say the event was a success and most of the places for improvement for the next one are small logistical fixes, like a more defined layout of the judge area, scorekeeper area, and registration table. My biggest advice for trying an event like this out for your area is to do so with a team and an area you are familiar with, since balancing the events and the staff is going to shift by feel over the course of the day.

Thank you so much for reading and please let me know any feedback you have

– Tony

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