Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Road to WPN (Part 26)

[This is part 26 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, Part 24, and Part 25]

October 14, 2011:Tonight's FNM (another Innistrad Sealed Deck event) was, unfortunately, as sparsely attended as last week's was. Only 5 players signed up, so I again joined in so there'd be an even number. Since we were under 8 I had to cancel the actual FNM and run the event as a casual one.

I found out one big strike against us is indeed Dream Wizards. As mentioned before, they are the "big fish" in our local gaming pond. They are at Advanced level in the WPN, allowing them to run two FNMs each week. As of this week, in response to the new Planeswalker Points system (mainly, I believe, although some expressed the opinion that this is perhaps to help market against us - I'm not quite that paranoid yet), they've changed their policy to make one of the two ALWAYS a Standard event, and will let it run extra long if they've got a large enough attendance (they used to run only 3 rounds, regardless of how many people show up). To quote their calendar description:
Weekly FNM Standard Format Tournament: • Best Chance to Rank up Planeswalker Points: 3X Multiplier • Participate in the proper Number of Swiss Rounds: • 9 - 16 players = 4 Rounds • 17 - 32 players = 5 Rounds
I can't really ask whatever store employee is running Beyond Comics to stay any later than they already are with a 3-round FNM (although since Standard doesn't have a deck-building time, I could probably squeeze in a 4th round now that I think about it).

Several people have commented that they would prefer to play a Standard FNM with us than with Dream Wizards, so I have decided that I will start alternating weeks with FNM. Every other week we'll do Standard, and on the "off" weeks we'll do Limited formats, other Constructed formats, Two-Headed Giant, etc. The big test will be October 28, as that's the next Standard FNM we have scheduled. I won't be able to start the new schedule until December, since November's FNMs are already scheduled, and you have to declare the format when you register the event.

October 21, 2011: What a difference a week makes! In all honesty I left Beyond Comics tonight feeling like I had just had the most fun running an event that I have had so far in my (granted, short) WPN career.

The evening started off with presents! I arrived at the store to find several boxes awaiting me. I started cracking them open and found that they represented two things. The first was a promo kit for the Innistrad Game Day on October 29, including a big advertising poster and the promos for the event:
My first Game Day promos :)
The second item (which was in two boxes) was a FNM promotional kit. WotC is really playing up the Innistrad/Halloween synergy and has pulled out all the stops with items to help promote FNM (especially the FNM on the Halloween weekend, next week's Oct 28 event). These included:
Big 3D promotional poster.

Planeswalker M&Ms. How freaking cool is THAT?!?!
 Quotes of the evening came from these M&Ms (I handed them out between Rounds 1 & 2):
  • "Should be dark chocolate."
  • "Hmmm....Tastes like Liliana...."
Garruk deck boxes.
 These deck boxes are really cool if you can figure out how to assemble them properly!
Liliana shopping bags. My boys will be using some for Trick-or-Treating!
Also included was a gigantic door-cling (like a window-cling, but MUCH larger) with the same Liliana art as the bag above. Yes, they are milking that Liliana art for all that it's worth. I can only hope Steve Argyle (the artist of the piece) gets royalties for every time it gets used!

So, anyway, when the event was ready to start I already felt like a kid in a candy store, excited to get going.

And then tonight's FNM (Innistrad Booster Draft) had 11 people at the start! SO much better than only 5!

There was no need for me to join in (I don't mind Byes if there's over 8 people, as I can play against whoever has a Bye if they're interested so they don't have to sit around bored for the round).

Of the 11 players, 6 had never played at Beyond Comics before. Of those, 4 were new to the DCI entirely, and needed to get cards. Always cool to have new faces.

After the Draft was over, one of the players dropped (he knew he had to leave early, he just wanted to sit in and draft some cards he was looking for), leaving us an even number of players for Round 1. Then after Round 1, someone else had to drop as he needed to get ready for the SCG Open tomorrow in Baltimore (more on that later). This left us with an odd number of players for Round 2. One of the DCI newcomers got the Bye, so I played a variety of my constructed decks against his drafted deck, as well as against a constructed one he had brought along. As he described it, he was here to learn (he had never seen any Innistrad cards before tonight, which gave the Draft an extra degree of difficulty for him, I'm sure!).

Everyone stayed in for Round 3, so I got to play one of regulars who had gotten the Bye. He had a Zombie deck he wanted to playtest, which seemed a good match against my Humans deck. So we had an epic Humans vs. Zombies showdown.

Random extras from the evening:
  • A girl in her teens stopped in and asked if she could watch, as she's never seen Magic played and is interested. That was fine with all involved - unfortunately a Draft is not the most exciting thing to watch at the beginning (especially if you don't know what's going on) and she had to leave before Round 1 began. I gave her a copy of the Magic 2012 Rulebook, and hope she may be back in the future.
  • One of the oddest "small world" scenes I've seen in a while happened. A guy dropped into the store because one of the women he was with knew Johnny, the guy running the store this evening. While he was there he happened to look into the back room and recognized one of the players. He came back to say hi, and realized he knew a second one of the players. After chatting for a moment, he called the 2 ladies back (as they had met these two players before) and one of the ladies realized that ANOTHER of the players was her cousin! So amazingly random.
Anyway, as I said - I had an absolute blast.

Tomorrow we have a Modern Constructed event scheduled in the afternoon at Novel Places (this months "4th Saturday" event). I'm a little nervous because:
  1. It's a relatively untried format (and therefore not as popular as it could be);
  2. Star City Games has their Open series in Baltimore this weekend, and many of our regulars will be heading up for that instead of coming to us.
I'm hoping we have enough folks who aren't interested in the big guys' tournament to run a decent event tomorrow, but we shall see...

October 22, 2011:Yeah, that didn't happen :(

Only three players showed up today, so I joined in to make it four. This meant, of course, that I had to cancel the sanctioned event and run a casual one. We played three Rounds, with each of us playing each other player at one point or another.

I don't really have a Modern deck, so I used my Blue/White Humans deck, which is Standard-legal.

To say it sucked would be an understatement.

I managed to win only one game all day with the deck. After losing in Round 1 and 2, I played my Mono et Mono deck against that opponent (as my matches were over much quicker than the other match each time). And even THAT deck just did not get the job done. I am just not cut out for the Modern world, I'm afraid. The decks I faced were just too nasty and fast.

Unless I get a sizable clamoring from my player base, I'm not sure we'll be running Modern again any time soon.



Michael Zhang said...

Well, it was a fun event regardless, even if there weren't many people there. I think SCG Baltimore drew a lot of the people who would otherwise come play Modern. It'd be great if you ran another Modern event sometime in January. Since Modern's becoming a PTQ format then, it's likely that a lot more people will have Modern decks ready to play by then.

You can definitely make your monored deck decently competitive in Modern if you adapt it a bit and make it more burn-oriented. You just need to take out Shock and some random creatures for cards like Lava Spike and Shard Volley. Eternal formats tend to be more powerful than Standard, so it does take a bit of adapting to be competitive there.

Don said...

@Mike: I'm glad you had fun. I hope I wasn't too much of a downer!

If enough people express interest, I'll definitely run Modern again. Even a Modern FNM if people want it!