This time, we stayed longer in the US.
A Grand Prix, a conference and a Pro Tour in the same city, how to make an efficient use of a single travel.
Two weekends in Atlanta, two events, two articles.
Pro Tour operations: Coverage
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.
In our last article, we spoke about Logistics, and today is time to speak about Coverage, which is an activity characteristic of the Pro Tour.
Enjoy the tour behind the judge scenes 😉
Pro Tour Coverage team
Last update: PT Atlanta, November 2018
The Coverage team is usually of five people, so to have a good rotation among the FOUR following different positions, with an extra judge available to cover additional needs.
Position 1: match of camera
As it’s the match that is broadcasted live, one judge should stay at that table at all times.
If a new label (or any object) is needed, judges at the judge coverage table should promptly assist, to avoid that the game progresses without a judge watching.
Position 2: other matches
One judge is usually sufficient for all the other matches, though a second one is welcome.
It is recommended to keep track of game counts, to provide accurate information to the head judge or to the coverage staff (the spotter also takes track of it).
If one player wants to go to the bathroom, another judge from the judge coverage table should go with them, and the judge watching the remaining matches should remain in the area.
Position 3: live video
The biggest monitor is the live video of the matches, with the live commentary.
Players may play cards that require choices (Cavern of Souls, Meddling Mage).
For a better view, it’s appropriate that the names of the chosen cards are printed on labels.
A machine is available to print labels; extra batteries and an extra cartridge should be available.
The use of the machine is very simple; one button to switch it on/off, a keyboard to write the desired name, a button to print, a level to cut the label.
Scissors should be available to reduce the length of the label.
The label machine can be easily operated by the judge at the live monitor, whose hands are free, or by the judge at the computer.
The featured matches have a different timing than the regular matches; as there is a studio commentary, the matches wait the “go” from the spotter, who says loudly when they may begin. At the same moment, one of the judges at the judge coverage table should start the clock.
The clock counts up after it reaches zero.
To operate the clock during the day, only two buttons are used: “Start/Stop” and “Repeat”.
Position 4: computer
The computer is connected to twitch.tv (Judge account, password protected) and the public chat should be monitored.
The chat is moderated both automatically and manually, by staff members.
Judges should write on the chat only if there are questions from users about rules and game situations.
Note that the twitch video has a delay of 10 seconds compared to the real game.
One of the windows on the computer is the Wizards YouTube channel (link to be asked onsite), which can be used to review actions from the past.
The video is not public, as it gets published some days later.
One of the windows on the computer is the main page to access the decklists (for team tournament, it is recommended to have one page per format).
Other recommended windows are MTR, IPG, Comprehensive Rules, Gatherer
Preparation of decklists, tokens and labels
Once feature matches are announced (listen for the table numbers and the names), the judge at the computer should search the decklists and identify the necessary tokens (example: Kari Zev on the decklist requires one Ravagan token) and labels (example: Cavern of Souls require a few Human labels).
Tokens and emblems should be given to the judge at the table, who needs to keep them in hand or in a pocket until the moment they are needed (to avoid revealing information to the opponent).
Note: on Sunday, each player receives the decklist of the opponent beforehand, so tokens, emblems and labels can be put on the table before the match (the order of the matches is known).
Note the three cards on the left; they are white cards with labels:
“Spells”: for storm count or for special cards like the Arclight Phoenix.
“Instants and sorcery cards in the graveyard”: for the Enigma Drake
“Instants and sorcery cards in the graveyard and in exile”: for the Crackling Drake
Labels are kept in a deckbox; it is recommended to sort them by format, to find them more quickly and to put away those which aren’t needed.
A judge should go with the player to the bathroom, following a path to avoid accessing information about games in progress. In addition to the screen at the coverage judge station, there might be other visible screens (spectators in the tournament room, commentator studios).
If it’s necessary to walk behind the judge coverage table, the twitch video should be removed (Win+M) and the live video should be covered.
Time to go back home
This time, we will go back home, for another series of tournaments (GP Warsaw, GP Shizuoka, GP Liverpool), which will end with my favorite event of the year, the World Magic Cup (https://magic.wizards.com/en/events/premierplay/2018WMC), which will take place in one of my favorite cities, Barcelona, in the country that speaks one of my favorite languages, Spanish.