Team Sealed GPs specifics (Also a GP Kyoto HJ Report)

Rulings-wise, Kyoto has not been the most exciting Grand Prix I’ve ever been. Actually, not a single ruling is worth mentioning here. However, it featured some unique challenges, which are worth exploring.



Team Sealed: A generally long event


A Team Sealed Event can be fairly long. Indeed, many steps vastly differ from its individual counterpart



Boosters Presentation


This competitive-REL procedure usually takes about 2-3 minutes per player, on a basis of one second per card and time to open the booster wraps. If it shouldn’t take in individual more than 5 minutes in total, the numbers can double and reach 10 minutes.

To reduce this, seat players in line and have each player present 4 boosters to the player in front of them, and vice-versa. This coordinated action will even save time.




Card Pool Registration


A Team Sealed Card Pool is made of 12 boosters rather than 6. It therefore theoretically requires twice as long to register. Technically, if players usually need 20 minutes in individual, that could go up to 40 minutes.

Of course, the presence of three teammates can help: Ask Player A to sort cards by set and color, then pass to B who alphabetizes so that C can register more efficiently.


Deck Construction


At the end of the 60 minutes allotted to Deck Construction, we only had a few decklists submitted.

With 700 teams in the venue, the pressure on judges to collect all decklists and make sure they were kept safe was huge. Indeed, each team’s “decklist” is actually made of 4 decklists: The Card Pool Master List (listed by another team) and the players’ decklists.

Collecting all these decklists is lengthy and it’s important to not post pairings until you are certain you have almost all decklists.



Three-headed Giant


In a Team Event, the only result that matter is to know which team, if any, won. Actual number of player matches won doesn’t matter since it does not affect tiebreakers. This means that as soon as a team has won two player matches, the team match is over.

While this can certainly shorten some team matches, there is a risk that, if the last player match is decisive, it becomes a Three-Headed Giant match that enhances Slow Play.

Even if a player is slow because his teammates are interrupting him before he can make a play, he is the one committing Slow Play and he needs to receive a Caution then a Warning. Being in a team event doesn’t change that.



Time efficiency and Customer service


All these little things add up for a longer than normal day. It is tempting to post Pairings as soon as possible at the end of the Deck Construction but it’s actually a poor idea (beyond the aforementioned one).

Indeed, in total, Seat All Players (15mn), Product distribution(10mn), Boosters Presentation(5mn), Card Pool Registration (20mn) and Deck Construction (60mn) add up to nearly two hours.


During these two hours, players were instructed to remain seated. They likely need a break before round 1. And if it may be better for their health to wait another hour for a cigarette… well at least they should have time to go to the bathroom.

Have you ever stayed seated for three almost consecutive hours? That’s an unpleasant feeling no? That’s why a 15-minute break between Deck construction and Round 1 Pairings is optimal: On top of giving your staff all chances to collect decklists, it gives players some time to rest.



Handling delays efficiently


Have you ever been in an airport and your flight is “delayed” but you don’t know how long? You can’t let your friends know, you have no clue if you can go grab a mere sandwich or get a real meal. But overall, you don’t know. And not knowing is what’s extremely frustrating.


This may seem unrelated to this report, but isn’t actually: Since players are expecting Round 1 Pairings to be posted soon and you made the correct decision if you decide to give them time to use the bathroom, you need to let them know.

When doing so, give a specific time at which Pairings will be posted and stick to it. This way, players know how long they have.




Handling a compromised Card Pool


Even if players are presenting their own cards to their opponents, it may happen that they mix part of one pool into the other. In such a case:

  • Count cards of each rarity in each pool
    1. Rare/Mythic
    2. Uncommon
    3. Common
    4. If appropriate: Double-Face Card
    5. If appropriate: Foil
  • Ask players who presented the Rares/Mythics and Foils. They should remember, especially if their financial value is high. If they can’t remember, treat Foils as commons and Rares/Mythics as such.
  • Determine how many cards of each rarity and in excess in one pool. Make sure that this matches the number of missing cards from the other pool.
  • Determine at random which cards need to be returned from one pool to the other


We want to make this as organic as possible, therefore any information that both players can agree on should be respected: If they both agree that a specific card was opened by a specific player, exclude the card from the random determination of which cards need to be replaced in the pool.


You should never replace the pools entirely since players could take this as an opportunity to “mulligan” a perceived bad pool.



The Cream of the crop


Quite a few judges performed extremely well in Kyoto.


Alfonso Bueno

Alfonso Bueno


Thanks for closely overviewing the furthest-from-the-stage part of the room during the Players’ Meeting as this was fairly remote from me and I knew it was strongly backed-up.

Later in the day, your constant energy to take appeals and investigations also freed me up to realize some things I hadn’t necessarily paid attention to during my previous events in Japan!




Emilien Wild

Emilien Wild


While we discovered some of the Day2 pools were compromised, you were the only to immediately go and look for replacement product while many other judges were waiting for direct instructions. Your sharp analysis of the situation and proactively really helped.

Merci !



Khanh Le Thien

Khanh Le Thien


You once again prepared the Goodies and Product distribution’s primary plan very well. After I made last-week modifications so as to try a new system, you quickly adjusted your plan in an efficient way.

When I arrived on site early afternoon on Friday, I realized the Floor Plan had been modified due to the venue screwing up setup. Khanh had already been working on adjusting the plan again.

Merci !


Riccardo Tessitori

Riccardo Tessitori


Offering to take care of the English product section on Saturday morning with very few judges was a relief as I was certain I could focus on the main part of the room. With very few judges and teams to seat, you matched the general pace of the Main Event without issues.

Later in the day, your constant will to take appeals and investigations freed me up to realize some things I hadn’t necessarily realized during my previous events in Japan.



Kevin Desprez