One weekend on the far east, and the next weekend in the Americas, this is the life of a Magic wanderer.
Home is where we always come back, where we feel comfortable and safe.
The world is where we look for challenges and discoveries.
There is no special recipe; find your balance between the time you spend at home and the time you discover the world.
Pro Tour operations: Logistics
This article is one of a series documents that describe judge teams’ activities at the Pro Tour.
The documents are a guide to judges, in the form of collection of specific tasks and recommended practices.
They get updated after each Pro Tour, with the help of L3 judges.
Today, we are going to speak about Logistics, and the next article will be about Coverage (my two favorites!).
Pro Tour Logistics team
Last update: PT Atlanta, November 2018
Arriving on Friday morning knowing that all the material is present, is available in good quantity and being aware of its location (or knowing that it’s clearly written on the boxes) is very important.
Having a fast distribution process in the morning is fundamental for a smooth (no delays for the start of the show) and relaxed (a staff that is confident and not in a hurry projects a better image to the participants) start.
Material to be checked on Thursday:
– Table numbers, pod numbers, rings
– Stamped boosters (sorted by pod) and replacement boosters
– Decklists (and markers)
– Basic lands
Information needed before Friday morning:
– Floor map with table numbers (and pod numbers)
– Confirmation that players are seated to pods and that Constructed decklists were sent online
– Confirmation that Limited decklists (piles of 8, with pod numbers) are prepared by the DC team
– Position of the “extra items” station to have extra pens/sleeves/scorepads easily accessible
– Position of the land stations
Table numbers and rings
Putting rings and table numbers on tables needs a short time, especially when the room is empty and judges (who are always eager to help) start arriving.
Arriving ten to fifteen minutes before the judge meeting allows to have all tables and pods numbers set up before doors are opened to the players.
Extra: this part of the preparation may also be done on Thursday.
Pod/build table numbers
Players are seated in pods for the draft, so the pod numbers are initially standing, while the build numbers are laying down; during booster two and three, table numbers are straightened, while pod numbers are laid down (and removed during build).
This system is fast, doesn’t create confusion (as there is only one set of numbers standing), requires a low manpower in moments when judges are busy for other tasks (watching and assisting players during the draft).
At the end of the numbers distribution, two judges (Logistics team) should check that all numbers (tables and pods) have been put on the tables and that only the pod numbers are standing. Table numbers should be laid down “with the correct orientation” (see photo and imagine walking between rows to put them up) to make it faster to straighten them.
Boosters on pods
The fastest way to get boosters onto pods is based on parallelizing the activities (to maximize the use of people, especially when there are many judges available) and on reducing the distances (to minimize the time lost in walking).
Boosters should be prepared by putting TWO 8-sets in each box (each box serves two pods); this activity should be done on Thursday. If not done on Thursday, doing it on Friday morning causes a slower process and a perception of a much slower process.
The most efficient and most clear use of resources is by having a few (two or three) judges bringing the boxes (480 players = 60 pods = 30 boxes) to the pods (one box every two pods) and the remaining judges (any number) take from the table one box and distributing the 16 sets on two pods in the appropriate way (clockwise, with all “1” in the same corner, to be determined onsite).
One judge should remain at the operation table and distribute the boxes to the other judges, so that they get brought to the correct pods and no areas get “forgotten”.
At the end of the booster distribution, two judges (Logistics team) should check that all pods have eight sets, and that the “1” set is in the correct position; a third judge (Logistics team) should check with the SK for pods with more or less than 8 players.
Extra sets should be given to the team leaders (4), to the head/appeal judges (3) and to the pod in the feature match area.
An extra pod with 8 sets should be prepared on the feature match stage; all boosters should be checked, in order to verify that they have the correct number of cards and the correct rarity levels.
Unused boosters on the covered pod (the pod among the other pods, which will be empty) can be removed at any moment during the draft.
Leftover and unused extra sets should be collected during booster three.
Decklists and pens
Decklists (with the pod number written in a corner) are often distributed during booster three; it’s fast and not too distracting for players.
Though, the recommendation is to put four of them below the regular table numbers during the general room preparation, as we have the manpower; a pile of face-down papers below the horizontal table numbers is not a distracting object for players and doesn’t make the tables less tidy.
It is also recommended to put eight pens with the eight decklists, or have all judges carry pens, as pens are the very first object that players need during deckbuilding or even before moving to the deckbuilding tables.
When players move from the draft pods to the deckbuilding tables, they need some items from us.
Planned order: pens, lands, sleeves, scorepad, tokens.
Objects should be prepared in advance, to be distributed faster.
If time allows it, pens and basic lands should be put on tables together with decklists.
The entire floor area can be divided in smaller areas, and it’s a good idea to prepare big boxes with the precise number of items (all items), so that they can be transported to the areas and distributed with the help of the judges assigned to each area; writing the table number ranges on the big boxes makes sure that all tables get served.
The Logistics team should not be assigned to a specific area during deckbuilding (if areas are assigned), members to the Logistic team should take care of the distribution of all items to all players.
Among the few possible systems to distribute all objects, here you have the “central table and waves” one:
– One judge stays at the product table and overviews the distribution of boxes with items
– The other judges of the Logistics team bring boxes to the assigned areas and get help from other judges to distribute items
– “waves”: pens to all players, then lands to all players, then sleeves to all players… this ensures that the items that need to be given first arrive earlier to all players
– judges in pairs (two judges take care of lands, two judges take care of sleeves…)
– the two judges start from different ends and continue until they meet OR, especially in case of a heavy box, one carries the box and the other distributes
– A product station, with extra pens, extra lands, extra sleeves, extra scorepad, extra tokens
Extra: sleeves should be given to each player, not in a pack or in a pile on the table; similar for basic lands: one 80-lands pack every 4 players, next to each table tent, easy to reach by each player.
Any leftover items should be brought to the “product station”, which will very likely be removed at the end of deckbuilding.
Just like for many other aspects of tournaments, cleaning the area we used (both the operation table and the draft/deckbuilding area) is fundamental.
Time to go back home
This time, we will remain in Atlanta, for the second article about Pro Tour operations.