Hi all, what I have for you this week is a different kind of pre-release report (as the title above says). This was my last tournament as the Tournament Organiser in Leeds and I haven’t been playing in my pre-releases because running one is exhausting enough already. Instead what I have for you here is an insight into the running of the event and some comments on Mirrodin Besieged in particular.
The journey first began back in October when Wizards announced their decision to stop all Magic events from running… sorry, all those events not run by a store – but this is what it felt like for many people. We weren’t a store but our local store was dabbling with a Friday Night Magic every other week and they had the capacity to run a pre-release. They very kindly allowed us to run their pre-release in the University Union in Leeds where there was a lot more room for players as the store’s own capacity is about 26 cramped gamers.
Having secured a sanctioned event we needed to order the product for it and a room to play in. The first is handled by a Hasbro distributor with an often-woeful database of the product you order and the second is organised through an extremely good member of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Society at Leeds University. We must state how many players we expect to receive the appropriate level of product and we speculated that we would have an attendance of roughly 50 given that the last two had 48 and 46 players respectively.
We were due to play in a room called Mine Bar in the Union building. This place used to serve lunch and drinks during the day but now is mostly used as a night club. Unfortunately for me this meant that I couldn’t actually see the room we would be playing in until we got there on the day – scary stuff.
Rich Hagon approached me a week or so before the event with the suggestion of hiring him as a gunslinger for the day. This isn’t an attraction I’ve used before but decided that as he’s such a great guy it would be cool to have him at my event one way or another. Since it was technically the store’s pre-release they took on all financial liabilities for the event which includes any and all profit but also the costs involved. Luckily they saw the value of a gunslinger who would also give a “deckbuilding masterclass” before the tournament started to aid the newer players and we were all set for the day.
The tournament itself ran fairly smoothly. My crew of 2 support judges (the excellent duo of John Ingham and Leon Corbett) and I arrived early to set up the room and register people. Experience really pays off here, as does having a good plan for things. The most important thing about Magic events is keeping it running so prioritising getting the players registered and into matches over things like picking up rubbish is a good idea, within reason. We had a record number of players at our event – 63 – way more than the 50 we had predicted! We had to borrow another box of boosters from our trader in order to give out enough sealed deck product & prizes and we walked away with no judge support for now, plus we couldn’t run drafts on the day. Apart from a printer and computer error delaying the start of round 2 (go go manual pairings) the day went without a hitch – making sure every result comes in is important as you want the next round to start as soon as humanly possible. Our 6 round event finished 15 minutes ahead of schedule and I got a lot of good feedback on the day – job done!
For Mirrodin Besieged in particular (as I’m sure everyone is aware) there were two factions which could be picked for the day, skewing your sealed pool towards one half or the other of the available cards in the set. How did each faction perform? Well,
should answer things. Without giving names, the factions performed as follows (32 Phyrexian players, 31 Mirran players):
- 18 Points – 1 Phyrexian
- 15 Points – 3 Phyrexian, 1 Mirran
- 13 Points – 3 Phyrexian
- 12 Points – 8 Phyrexian, 2 Mirran
- 10 Points – 2 Phyrexian, 1 Mirran
- 9 Points – 7 Phyrexian, 5 Mirran
- 7 Points – 4 Mirran
- 6 Points – 3 Phyrexian, 8 Mirran
- 5 Points – 1 Phyrexian
- 4 Points – 1 Phyrexian, 1 Mirran
- 3 Points – 3 Phyrexian, 7 Mirran
- 0 Points – 2 Mirran
While I think more of the players who are considered better sided with the Phyrexians, it seemed to be simply down to the card quality available in the more brutal of the factions. What the implications of this are for draft will be discussed by players for whom it is more relevant but I think Infect will be much less of an “am I the only one?” draft strategy from now on. Anyway, how did your pre-release go, was it as Phyrexian-dominated as mine? I’d love to hear about any cool stories from your weekend in the comments 😀