Tournament Report for WMCQ III PH (17 September 2016) – Head Judge Report

 Ian Mervin Go, Level 2, Quezon City, Philippines

Ian Mervin Go, Level 2, Quezon City, Philippines

Event: World Magic Cup Qualifiers #3 – Philippines
Date: September 17-18, 2016
Venue: Fishermall, Quezon City, Philippines
Organizer: Neutral Grounds Centris Walk
Players: 392
Rounds: 9 (Day 1) + Top 8 (Day 2)
(L2, Head Judge) Ian Mervin Go
(L1, Scorekeeper) DJonathan Paculio
(L2, Paper, EOR) Ron Edward Joson
(L2, Floor TL) John Reuben Ferrer
(L1, Floor) Wilfredo II Dizon
(L1, Floor) Joseph Engalla
(L3, Deck Check TL) Joel Bantiles
(L1, Deck Check) Glicerio Garcia
Additional volunteer help:
(L1) Felix Ramon Capule III

First time for Everything
This is my first time being a Head Judge for an event this big. And I must say it is both exciting and a bit anxiety-inducing. The thought of handling appeals, making round announcements, and giving a big player meeting speech made me feel excited. But apparently doing those are just a part of what being an HJ means, it also involves being on top of everything, making sure everybody is doing okay, and things are going smoothly.

Number Chaos
The problems started early. The tables needed to be rearranged to better accommodate the players. When the table numbers have been placed, four players per table, we noticed that the tables may not be enough to accommodate all the players so some tables were made to seat six people. But the table numbers were already set so they just placed extra table numbers in the middle of the last tables. This caused early confusion for most players. The only good side to this is that it is easier to remove the tables numbers as more players dropped than to rearrange everything again. To compensate, we just gave the players a few minutes to find their seats before we start the round time.
This is the main reason why I prefer no on-site registrations, as it causes logistical problems unless you are over-prepared, which we are not.

Go for the Throat
Another early problem is the lack of sound system. I apparently forgot to double check with the T.O. if the venue had a sound system and they in turn also forgot to double check. I was left no choice but to use a small megaphone to do my announcements, which helped a little I think. It was very difficult to do a proper announcement when you need to shout it as loud as you can as your attention is split between voice projection and announcement details. At the ended of the day I felt like I needed some ginger tea to help my throat, and the thing is I don’t even like ginger.
Lesson learned. Always double check on all the things needed for the event. Any problem will be amplified based on the size of the event, so it is best to be over-prepared than to suffer the consequences.

Role-y Pole-y
Initially (L1) Wilfredo Dizon, a.k.a. Boom , would be the one handling Paper and End of Round procedures but that was less than ideal since this would be his first handling these roles, so (L2) Ron Joson stepped up and took the role.
In this scenario it would have been ideal if I had someone to oversee and back up Boom, but I can’t due to being short staffed.
It is tempting to educate judges during big events but do remember that the event comes first.
This would also have been avoided if I didn’t forget to meet my team before the event started. There was so much going on that I forgot. Pre-event meetings are important, it makes sure that everybody knows their tasks and can do it well, that we are all on the same page, and if anybody needs any assistance. This is also the best time to tell your team details you want to happen like: back up permission, game loss / match loss permission, tardiness penalties, and to remind all to have fun!

Appeal, Appeal

The first round ended without any big problem, except for the TV timer that took a while to fix. So I just took note of my start time and end time for all the rounds.
On Round two I got my first appeal, yey! A problem of shortcuts and priority.
AP declared attackers, NAP declared blockers. Then AP said “combat damage”, then NAP said good. Next AP said before damage dealing “I would like to sacrifice Murderous Redcap to Viscera Seer to kill your blocker”. Then NAP said AP cannot do that since by the time he gains priority, his blocked Viscera Seer would be dead. Easy enough right? But this still took me too much time since I was intent on listening to the story of both sides. And AP was doing his best to persuade me to give him a favorable ruling.
Lesson learned for this is once you have all the facts down, put your foot down and give them your ruling. Giving too much time to them will make you unavailable for the others in need.

On Round Seven (L2) John Reuben , a.k.a. Ben , came up to me in a heated state about a question regarding Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Inkmoth Nexus. Ben told me what would happen if an animated Inkmoth Nexus attacked an opponent with a Melira, Sylvok Outcast in play. Simply put the Inkmoth Nexus will have infect (due to timestamp) and try to give the NAP poison counters, but can’t due to Melira, Sylvok Outcast saying her controller cannot get poison counters. So this would have been an easy one; but apparently Ben missed a key detail, Melira, Sylvok Outcast came into play after the Inkmoth Nexus was animated via Chord of Calling. This would then make the whole scenario different, this would have made the [cardInkmoth Nexus[/card] deal normal damage to the NAP. This ruling caused AP a game and made Ben felt bad. So I talked to Ben about it a little, then headed to the players’ table and apologized for the oversight on the ruling.

Ideally I should have just taken this as an appeal especially when I saw that Ben was a bit heated. I talked to him about this and it may seem like he gets a bit panicky when he gets tired. I told him to relax a bit and talked to him more about the incident after the tourney.
It is best to check on your team every now and then. Make sure they are doing good, well-hydrated, and still on the same page as with everybody else. If you think you need to talk to someone about something, note it down and be sure to do it on break or after the event.

Last for the Year
So the third World Magic Cup Qualifier for the Philippines has ended.
I did have a blast being an HJ for this event despite all mishaps, I just wished we were more prepared. It is tempting to micromanage your judges but you also need to have faith in them in doing their task well. If you think someone needs a little reminding or a pat on the back, do it. Running an event is a team effort, everybody should be well-hydrated, well-fed, and gets enough breaks.

So here is a recap on the things I learned:
(1) Triple check everything. You want to keep your problems minimal, and being well prepared makes thing a lot easier to manage.
(2) Meet your team before and after the event. Before, so that everybody knows what to do and that everybody is on the same page. After, so that you can give them praise for a job well done and if anybody has things to share. You can then meet them privately regarding things they need to improve on, if any.
(3) Players and the event is top priority. There will be more opportunities for judges to gain experience and learn things so make sure that getting some greenhorns will not affect the overall efficiency of the team.
(4) As Head Judge, you are tasked of making sure everything is going smoothly. If you think someone in your team needs assistance, ask them. Try to avoid stepping in unless you think it is really really really needed.
(5) Leadership is key. You should learn to delegate tasks and trust your team to do it efficiently.

I hope you guys learned something from this and hopefully this would help you be better prepared for your first big event Head Judge role.

I want to give a big thank you to all the judges and staff during this tourney. I had a blast and hope you guys did too.

And to you readers, thanks for taking your time to read this. Until my next adventure!

(Editor’s Note: Please leave your comments in the Judge Apps Forum as well!)

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