Sealed Grand Prix Toronto | Face to Face July 21-23, 2017

Tobias Vyseri, Level 2, Maple Ridge, Canada

Tobias Vyseri, Level 2, Maple Ridge, Canada

GP Report – July 21-23, 2017
Face to Face Games Toronto
Role: Friday – Flex | Saturday – SOS | Sunday – Sides

Friday July 21st

Honestly, the entire weekend is a haze at this point, but I’m pretty sure I spent most of this day doing modern sides.

I volunteered for the early shift to help unpack the kit that failed to arrive the day earlier, we spent a little while packing bags, then moved to a different location and watched as the box the GP kit had been transported in didn’t fit into the loading bay. This caused us to have to wait while the truck found another place to unload. In the meantime we set up some banners, moved some boxes and after a while I went and registered some sealed pools.

I spent most of the day helping out sides and just being a Floor Judge for a gigantic Modern Open. Modern is a fun format 🙂

Saturday July 20th

I was on the SOS team, in layman’s terms, the miscellaneous team. For the first part of the day I was assigned to help a disabled player register his deck (he couldn’t speak or write proficiently). He communicated using text on a phone, and was actually super nice, and we got his deck registered pretty quickly (his pool was absolutely nuts), I also took some other calls and helped out the other zero-bye pre-registered pool people in my vicinity while he was deck building. Afterwards I kind of just blend into helping collect decklists.

For the majority of the first round I wandered around and cleared off pack wrappers and land, mostly as an excuse to be around the players without feeling idle (watching limited games is kind of… meh.) I took a few simple calls but it was pretty clear that main event turn out was kind of small and we were a little over-staffed. Soon enough my team lead found me and asked if I would like to be moved to sides. I was pretty happy with the re-assignment because I was feeling kind of useless on main event.

I started out helping with the a modern event and about 1 hour in I was told that I was going to be Head Judging the Legacy Showdown! I was so excited! Legacy is a super-cool format and I have very few opportunities to watch it! The tournament was projected to have 50 people but ended up having 75, it was being run at Comp. REL and I got 1 judgeling to help me out, who was super helpful, like actually kind of invaluable.

In R1 we needed to collect decklists, which, unfortunately, some people were told that that it weren’t required during event registration. I was a little nervous but we ended up settling on giving them time extensions up to 10 minutes and allowing them to fill out decklists. One player in particular had already drawn his hand and was uncertain what cards his deck contained in particular. At that point an L3 in the vicinity drifted by and I was able to defer the solution to him as I went to address a call, whatever the solution was, when I returned the player seemed dissatisfied, I let him know we would chat at the end of the round. When I talked to him I just kind of listened as he complained about what I perceived was a briskness and lack of empathy from the L3 that handled the call. All I really told him was to look over his decklist and ensure it was correct, and that I wouldn’t penalize him for any inconsistencies his deck & decklist may have had in round 1. I didn’t feel like I actually did anything tangible but the player seemed relieved, so I think I did something right.

In the chaos of seating players and collecting/dealing with decklists in addition to calls & calls from the nearby modern event I totally neglected to distribute the 6 pack+ Progenitus entry prizes. A number of people asked about this and I decided that it was unlikely that people were going to drop before second round and that we would be distributing prizes at the top of R2. There were a lot of other strange problems, some people weren’t entered properly, we needed to retrieve decklists, these simple things were taken care of by my trusty L1, he was positively fantastic! The event would have literally collapsed without him.

At the beginning of R2 I began handing out prizes, I got interrupted several times for calls in the modern section as well as tardiness calls & legitimate calls in my own section. As a result of this about 3 players came to me claiming I had failed to give them prizes, this may or may not have been true, however I determined that the best course of action was to assume they were telling the truth and just give them some prizes.

During the event I got called to answer a Chains of Mephistopheles question that was rather strange, which I answered with more competence than I thought I would be able to. I also untangled a rather weird Chain Lightening situation, and answered a The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale question pretty concisely. Overall I felt pretty pleased with my rules knowledge, considering it was a format I had very little experience with. Twice we had problems with marked cards (delvers in semi-transparent sleeves) the first time I felt my investigation was super short, I was busy and kind of just issued the warning and gave him his 10 minutes to change sleeves.

The second time the events were winding down a little and I had more time to ask some questions, the player said it was a friends deck and his first time playing it, it seemed legitimate enough and because I had the time I helped him re-sleeve when he acquired adequate sleeves from the vendor.

During round 5 I handed out two game losses for tardiness, one player seemed really upset, I kind of did feel bad because he was only 5 minutes late and the acoustics in the hall were pretty bad, but I didn’t want other players to see me issue an infraction and then rescind it based on a player complaint. I believe that projects a fluidity to our rulings, and something exploitable to the players (if I saw a player complain enough to get a judge to change their mind I would do that literally every time a call didn’t go my way). I thought about it for a while and recalled I was at a GP, not a store, and that there was an appeal system I could make use of! I caught the player after he finished his first game and informed him about the appeals process, he of course, appealed and I dragged the appeal judge over who asked him a few questions before overturning my ruling, I was actually pretty happy about this, since while thinking about it, I kind of felt the ruling was a little unreasonable to begin with.

Near the end of the swiss rounds I overheard a few players expressing malcontent towards the prizing structure. It was pre-posted and set before the event began, but it seemed to be based on the projected attendance of 50 players, the additional 25 players then, seemed to be bereft from the prize structure. I addressed my players and asked them to elaborate (which is when I determined the aforementioned information.) I said I wasn’t making and promises, but that I would look into it. I found the TO and let him know about the complaints, and in an unexpected turn of events, he multiplied my prize support by 1.5x. Fantastic! My players were thrilled!

At that point, unfortunately, I was told that my shift was over, I checked around to see if they were taking on extra help for the evening but unfortunately they were not. So I had to leave my little legacy event, I’m used to working PPTQ’s so I’m kind of with the players for the entirety of the event, handing off the event felt really weird to me and left my day feeling unfinished in a way.

Sunday July 21st

The day started with me, my team lead and an L1 on the PTQ, the player cap was 250 players, so we were expecting something big, unfortunately though, we only got around 100, furthermore the event was set up to be run in 8 pods that would be like mini-tournaments to determine finalists for top 8, we couldn’t change the fact that the event was in pods, so everyone received a bye in round 1 and in round two we had many anemic looking 16 or 15 person pods. Because of the relative lack of players, I used this opportunity to teach the L1 some basic IPG elements, I ran through some test-scenerios with him and let him take most calls and stayed close and provided backup if needed, I feel like a few times I may have usurped his call because the players seemed to be getting a little restless. This was perhaps not correct. I recall going over improper drawing at start of game with him in during one of the dead times, and a round or so later he excitedly came up to me and told me about how he completely nailed an improper drawing at start of game ruling.

Around round 5 I was told to go on break, and while in the break room one of the sides managers mentioned that he was running a 200 player event alone, and would love some backup, I told him I’d see if my lead could let me go and help sides, when I came back my lead was on break so I asked his replacement if it was okay if I went to work sides for a little while, he seemed okay with it, so I did. I helped launch a team sealed and a modern open. I also answered a cute EDH call, a player was going to draw the game and wanted to know how prizes would work. I asked them what their prize structure was, they said that the winner got 40 tix, I looked flatly at them and said “well if you draw you all get 10 tix” They laughed and seemed to find this amiable so I broke up the two 20 tix vouchers that were sitting on their table. I floated between events for a while taking calls and I recall at some point a vintage tournament was announced. I got kind of excited and was going to go find out where it was so I could take calls on that when the side manager found me and told me I was going to be Head Judge for the vintage tournament! I was so excited!

It was a small thing, only 11 players, 5 of them dredge, it felt very cute, kind of like an FNM. I brought the pairings over to them when they were done each round and got kind of familiar with them. In the final round, some of the pairings were quite strange (some very dramatic pair downs) and the players were concerned, I consulted the scorekeeper, and since he had a few moments he offered to come explain what WER had done to my players (this kind of weirdness tends to happen in smaller tournaments) I thought it was very kind of him to do that for me, and I really appreciated it.

The next morning I went over to Face to Face for the waffle breakfast and got to hang out with some of my fellow judges, we did a really fun Amonkhet draft that I managed to get to the finals of! I played some super fun games of commander, we did three legendary Pokemon raids (I got a Lugia and an Articuno!) And overall we had a really good time.

Two of the L3s there spoke to me, and said nice things to me, which, well, it was like a “Senpai noticed me” moment (it’s always like that when someone better than me deigns to lower themselves to speaking with someone so objectively their inferior). I’m just a derpy baby judge from the middle of nowhere, the fact that L3’s are willing to talk to me at all was really awesome.

More importantly, they encouraged me to try out for more GP’s, and for someone who kind of feels like they suck at everything, that really meant a lot to me, I have so much fun judging, and love doing it, but I’m always worried I’ll break or destroy something and ruin a tournament for someone, to have the vote of confidence from people better than me is an incredible motivator.

Overall I’m so glad I went, and I’m really excited about what the future of judging might have in store for me, I want to work more events and be with more players and learn and improve at this fantastic thing that we call being a judge.

(Editor’s note: Please leave your feedback and comments on the JudgeApps forums too!)

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