The new Limited Day 2 Grand Prix, part2: Running the draft

To read Part 1, click here.

Most players in a Day2 will have zero experience with a called draft before. Or even if they did, for instance in the top8 of a PPTQ, they will never have“mass drafted” before. In a word, they’re inexperienced and will need guidance.

Giving guidance is important so players do not feel lost, which participates a lot in the overall event smoothness and player experience. It’s also important so judges remain coordinated.



General announcements


The best is the enemy of the good. Don’t give too lengthy instructions and go to the point:

  • Explain your instruction scheme
  • Remind players they cannot look at their neighbour’s boosters.

You may add more. However, choose carefully what you feel is needed. Indeed, the longer instructions are, the less effective they prove to be.




Draft calling tips


Make sure to give enough time for players to properly shuffle and pass the booster to their neighbor. This is not a timed part (because it’s not a skill we test) and you need to give sufficient time for players to properly randomize and count the booster.


From the place you are calling, make sure you can see a table. This will help you determining if something is going wrong. Calling a draft requires some adjustment to your audience. Also, by seeing the Floor, you can know more easily if a table is running behind (see later)



Opening boosters


Before they draft their first card, instruct players to:

  • Count face-down there are 14 cards in the booster
    One card is upside-down. This is perfectly normal. Just ask players to put it back in the same orientation as the 13 others.
  • Check there are no ink markings on the back of the cards. Indeed, once the marking has been identified and one player knows which card it is, when the card will be picked, the player who noticed will immediately have a hint about the colors/archetype/etc. drafted by another player.
    The stamping process involves inking the card. Sometimes there are small marks on the back as the ink hadn’t entirely dried when cards were assembled back as a booster.
  • If there are markings, there are several solutions:
    1. Replace the booster
      This is the top option if the marking is discovered before any card was drafted
    2. Sleeve the entire booster
      This is the only option if the marking is discovered after at least one card was drafted.


Hold the draft until all these steps have been performed. Indeed, you want as many tables as possible to follow the general draft calling.



Frequently asked questions


Q: Judge, there’s one card upside-down

A: That’s normal. Put it face down and resume the procedure (count there are 14 cards and they aren’t marked)


Q: Judge, there are two identical cards in my booster

A: Now that foils aren’t replaced, there should not be two identical cards, unless one is foil. If there are two regular copies of a card and as long as the rarity distribution is fine, let’s go with it.


Q: Judge, there’s an Expedition in my booster

A: Foils not being removed from boosters anymore, players may also find expeditions, which they can legally play in their draft deck.



Never stop the draft


Once a booster is getting drafted (and unless there is a general issue), the draft must not stop.

At PTs, we are fixing about 3 tables each draft. With experienced players, that’s already a 6% ratio. This means that a higher percentage will need help during these GP D2. Think about what it would mean if each of these 6-10 issues required the draft to be stopped: It would be a mess and not enjoyable for anybody.


What you should do instead is:

  • Assess the situation.
  • Repair the situation if possible, or involve another judge to help, or the Head Judge to take over.
  • When the issue has been fixed, if the table is a booster behind, time the table individually.
  • Send a judge to indicate which pod is late.
  • Catch up during the review period.



Frequently asked questions


Q: Judge, one card is missing in this booster!

A: First, let’s eliminate that two cards are stuck together in the problematic booster, which may happen since the ink may be slightly sticky: After all players or none have picked, make all of them count the cards they have in their booster

Then, let’s eliminate the possibility a player double picked by making all players count the cards they have already drafted (They should have counted there are 14 cards at the beginning of the pack and should have called a judge if that was not the case)

If nobody double picked, check the floor, and under the tablecloth, especially if two pieces of tablecloth overlap.

If nothing worked, involve the Head Judge.


Q: Judge, this card is marked!

A: This can happen during the draft due to excessive manipulation. Sleeve the remaining cards in the booster.




Decklists and Deck Construction Seatings



Decklists by pod


Sorting Decklists can be a pain. That’s why the creation of the Index system strongly smoothened procedures. To learn more about the whole system, here are several articles:

I strongly recommend you to use that system!



Deck Construction Seatings


It has become standard. To use the same space for drafting and constructing decks. There are nevertheless two things to mention:

First, wait for trash to have been collected from the tables before distributing the Deck Construction Seatings, or it may be thrown away as well

Then, distribute two sheets per draft table (one for 4 players). Indeed, with only one paper, players need to stand up to be able to see the paper, which increases the traffic.

The more persons are moving at the same time, the more inertia there is. Therefore, anything that can lead to reducing traffic is good (providing it’s not too resource consuming). On top of it, it reduces chaos, enhancing players’ experience.


Kevin Desprez.