Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Road to WPN (Part 25)

[This is part 25 in a series, and assumes that you've already read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 14.5, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23 and Part 24]

Astute readers will have noticed that I abandoned the "WPN Report Card" a few installments back. Truth be told, it became too big a headache to keep track of the "unique players" at each site. Before we made it to Core Level, it was relatively easy. Had the person ever played here before? Easy to answer. But now it becomes "have they played here since we made it to Core Level?" and that's somehow a good deal more difficult to determine. I kept track long enough to tell that unless something VERY wrong happens, we will have no trouble maintaining Core Level by running our regular events.

I have never really mentioned before what is involved in making it to the NEXT level in WPN (yes, there's more beyond Core!) because realistically I don't ever seeing us making it there at either store. But, in the interests of being complete for those not in the know, here's the details on Advanced Level...

At Advanced Level you get these extra benefits:
  • The ability to run extra events (like 2 FNMs each week instead of just one)
  • "Advanced Support Kits" (whatever those are)
  • More special events (such as Premium Tournaments, Grand Prix Trials, WPN Championship Qualifiers)
  • Extra From the Vault product
  • The ability to schedule events up to 7 days after they happened
To make it to Advanced Level you need to do the following within a 12-month period:
  • Report a minimum of 20 tournaments
  • Maintain a delinquency rate of less than 10%
  • Have a minimum of 100 unique people playing in your reported events
  • Run and report a single tournament with 32 players or more
  • Introduce 20 new players to WPN events
The first two are no problem. Even if you just run FNM for 5 months you've got the first one, and there's REALLY no excuse for having a delinquency rate over 10% (or over 0%, IMHO!). But given the difficulty we had getting to 30 unique players to make Core, I'm not sure how well we'd do at making 100. Also, unless we rent out some larger space, we'll never be able to run an event with 32+ players. The last one could actually be doable (although doing it once a year would be tough unless we got big and STAYED big).

So, realistically, I think we're at Core and will stay at Core and I'm okay with that!

October 7, 2011: Today's FNM was a rather odd affair overall.

First of all, we only had 5 participants, so I joined up to make it an even number so we wouldn't need to worry about Byes. This meant cancelling the scheduled FNM and scheduling a casual event instead, as we didn't meet the 8-player threshold.

I'm not completely sure what caused the problem, but I'm guessing there were two major factors:
  • The event was Innistrad Sealed Deck. This carries a $25 price tag, and a lot of folks have shelled out a lot of money on Innistrad lately (between Prereleases and Launch Parties and even buying whole boxes) so there's a drop in interest in spending $25 for an event right now. Unfortunately this is what I've scheduled for next week as well.
  • Dream Wizards (the "big fish" in our local pond) was running a Standard FNM (in addition to a Sealed Deck - THEY are at Advanced Level, and have the space, so they can run 2 FNMs). I think that was more attractive to folks.
I'm coming to the realization that despite my personal dislike of Standard events, I need to run more of them. The lower price tag (only $8, since players are only paying for the prize pool packs) is just more attractive on a regular basis.

But, back to the odd FNM. In an ideal distribution, after 3 rounds of Swiss we would have had 1 person undefeated (9 match points), 3 people who had won 2 rounds (6 match points) and 2 people who had won 1 round (3 match points). We had 12 packs in the prize pool. So I set up the prize allocation as:
  • 9 match points = 4 booster packs
  • 7 match points (2 wins & 1 draw) = 3 booster packs
  • 6 match points = 2 booster packs
This would, theoretically, leave me with 2 boosters to randomly distribute among those who got under 6 match points (which under ideal circumstances would have been just two players, so effectively you would have had 1 booster pack for earning 3 match points).

To say the match turn-out was not ideal would be an understatement.

In the first round, we had two matches play out as expected, but one ended in a draw. So instead of having match points of 3, 3, 3, 0, 0, 0 as expected, we instead had 3, 3, 1, 1, 0, 0.

That in and of itself wasn't too bad. But then in round two we had two of the matches end in draws (including the match between the two winners from round 1). As a result we were left with no-one undefeated at the end of two round instead of the theoretical 2 players we should have had (point distribution after round 2 was 4, 4, 4, 2, 1, 0 - for the record, I was the 0 at this point).

Round 3 went as one would expect, with three winners. But while the 4 pts vs 4 pts match ended up with someone getting 7 match points (and therefore in the prize range), the 4 pts vs 2 pts went to the 2 pt person, leaving neither of them in range, and the 1 pt vs 0 pt went to me (bringing me to 3 match points). But neither of us was in the running at this stage. Final point distribution was 7, 5, 4, 4, 3, 1. Only 1 of the 6 players ended up in the prize range, and he wasn't even at the top point level!

After giving him his 3 packs, we were left with 9 more in the pool. And I had always sworn that I would give out every pack in the prize pool (I don't want to end up with "the house always wins"!). So each of the remaining 5 players got 1 pack each, and the final 4 packs I distributed randomly among the 6 of us.

Like I said - VERY strange outcome!

October 8, 2011: Today's event went quite smoothly. It was another Innistrad Sealed Deck event, this time at Novel Places. This was the first of what will be our regular 2nd and 4th Saturday events. I want to establish a regular pattern for players who are looking for events on a Saturday (something that, outside of special events, is lacking in our area - see a need, fill a need!).

I was worried that we may not get our 8 players, as we only had 2 preregistered (and prepaid) and one person (Darren) who had told me they were likely to come out, even though he didn't think he could play more than 2 rounds. When I arrived, Patrick told me that he had had someone call and ask about the event (confirming the time), and a local guy (Ian) who has been buying some MTG product from Patrick told him that he'd try to make it as well. So we had 3 for sure, and 2 possibles at this point. Then Serg arrived (I figured I could count on him!) although without Vish (boo, Vish!). Then Craig called to say he was coming up (wasn't expecting him - BONUS!). Ian did indeed make it. And then the gentleman who had called earlier turned up, with a friend along for the ride. Suddenly we had 8. Awesome! No need to cancel and run a casual event, and no need for me to jump in to make the minimum.

Some sick pulls were made. We had a Liliana and a foil Snapcaster Mage (two of the most expensive cards in the set) and several other Mythics (including Olivia Voldaren, who is an absolute beast in a Limited environment).

Round 1 and two went as an ideal distribution would predict. Then Darren, as he had forewarned, needed to drop after round 2 so the only person who was at this point winless got a Bye. This put everyone into prize range (I give out booster packs for the highest levels, but use WPN promos even down to only 3 match points [1 match win]).

Five of the eight players had never played at Novel Places before, and 1 of these was completely new to organized play and needed a DCI card. So all-in-all it was a great event for us as far as maintaining Core Level status is concerned.


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