The new Limited Day 2 Grand Prix, part1: Preparation

As I’m preparing for GP Vancouver, I gradually realize how much this event will be challenging, at the light of the changes happening at Grand Prix from 2016 onwards.



Making Magic history every week!



A new cut


The biggest change is definitely the modification of the record required to make Day2: With a cut now at 18 points (against 21 previously), the size of the Main Event on Day2 will grow, not to say explode. On average, the number of players on Day2 used to be around 10-13% of Registered players and may now go up to 30%, if not more.

Note: The 10-13% figure has been determined from the analysis of previous GP data rather than a purely Mathematical reasoning that has too many unknown elements to be accurately modeled: Indeed, there is a variation because two main factors make it vary: (1) The number of byes players have and (2) the number of draws happening in the event

Side Note: 30% is what we are estimating will now happen based on the two aforementioned elements. It might be underestimated.



Increased attendance


On top of this, attendances at Grand Prix have been considerably increasing within the last year, up to the point Nagoya and Vancouver expect to hit 2500 players. Or at least this is what TOs are preparing for. Indeed, when it comes to organizing a GP, the actual attendance is not really a decisive factor. The only thing that matters is the attendance the TO prepares for so that every player lives the greatest Magic Experience possible.


Let’s put some figures down for more clarity: These events are looking at a 800-player Limited Day2. To put things into perspective, each of these is more than the combination of both Las Vegas GP MM15 Day 2s. We made Magic History there, but it looks like from now on, we will make Magic History every GP Day 2!

And here’s how I’d recommend to do so:



What can be done the day before should be done the day before


Until now, we’ve mostly be preparing Day2 on Sunday morning.

If this was an acceptable way to go when we had maximum 300 players, the extra challenges caused by the additional players don’t make this the safest option.

It’s not only that something may go wrong. It’s solely that the amount of time needed will increase and that you can’t solve iut by just throwing extra manpower. Indeed, the more manpower you have, the more coordinated it needs to be. And coordinating takes time.

Also, doing it on Sunday morning means that there’s a direct time pressure and this will prevent the teams to gather for a clean Team Briefing, which is an essential piece to get prepared and coordinated.



Check for presence and quantity of stamped product


  • Check the presence of stamped product on Friday.
    It goes without saying, but it’s sometimes forgotten in the madness of Grinders.
  • Check a few boosters at random and make sure they contain the correct number of cards.
    This sample check allows to detect any large screw-up in advance.
  • Check how many pods you can create:
    • 800 players is as many as 100 pods!
    • Each booster box contains roughly 15-16 draft sets
      Note that this number is based on my experience and packaging may have changed recently so don’t take it for granted and double check numbers



Assemble Draft Pods on Friday or Saturday.


Stamped product is stored by Seats when delivered, therefore they need to be assemble into pods to optimize distribution. This is a lengthy process that now needs to be anticipated. It can theoretically wait until Saturday, but honestly, the sooner, the better!

As a bonus, it will also allow you to double check how many pods you actually have.

In any way, I strongly recommend to assemble before Sunday morning for the reasons I brought up earlier.



Take advantage of Land Stations


One of the best ways to prepare the product for draft pods is to put two Draft set into a Land Station box. This makes it extremely easy to manipulate and transport as they can be brought to tables without risking tearing the bands of paper that create the boosters apart.

Later on, it can also be used by players to put the bands of paper they will remove to open their boosters.


Also, the Main Event area will be huge. If it may be possible to keep players off it for setting up Draft 1, there is reasonable doubt that it can happen for Draft 2. Having Draft sets stored in boxes allows giving boosters to players after they are seated at the table (unlike what we have been doing until now)


With all this prep done before, Teams will be able to gather on Sunday morning for a thorough briefing and coordinate with each other to ensure the Draft happens smoothly. How? That’s what you can see in the second part of this article: Running the Draft


Kevin Desprez.