Saturday, July 28, 2012

WPN Boy: M13 Musings

I need to publish my thoughts on the Return to Ravinca prerelease announcements, but chronologically-speaking I should cover events for Magic 2013 first, so here goes...

"Home Brew" Standard FNM

As has become our tradition, the last standard FNM before the new set is released is a "Home Brew" event, where participants are strongly encouraged to bring decks of their own devising, and not "net deck".

This was our second such event, and attendance was higher than the first. Unfortunately (as must be expected at such a thing) we did have one or two players show up who had not gotten the word, and had simply brought a regular Standard deck that you might see at a PTQ or what-have-you (one player was even using a preconstructed Event Deck!).

Regardless, players had as much fun at this one as they had at the last, and this will definitely continue to be a "thing"!

For those who are curious, I did have players submit deck lists this time so you could get a feel for what kinds of decks came out to play. Here's the top 8 (thanks to Tom Davis, AKA @wingmanmtg on Twitter, for getting these typed up at for me!):
  1. Jon Stollberg's "Mono White Good Stuff"
  2. YiOu (Mike) Zhang's "Infinipod"
  3. Jeff Lynch's "B/R Vampires"
  4. Azelin Benson's "Mono Red Goblin-Burn"
  5. Dan Strong's "Illusion Burn"
  6. Jonathan Sirianni's "Vamps"
  7. Rob Kuney's "Tez Control"
  8. My own "Mono et Mono (v. 3.0)"


Our events went pretty smoothly. As previously reported, I decided that it made no sense for the two stores I work with to compete against one another, so we ran two events at each store, one store on Saturday (Novel Places) and one on Sunday (Beyond Comics).

At Novel Places on Saturday we had 16 players at the morning event, and 21 at the afternoon one. It was an extremely hot day (the hottest of the summer up to that point), and the store is now located on the second floor of a very old building with not-so-great air conditioning. This led to somewhat uncomfortable players, and a very exhausted TO by the end of the day. Nonetheless, everyone had fun, and enjoyed the chance to get their hands on the Magic 2013 Core Set cards a week early!

Beyond Comics proved that a Sunday slot does not hurt their numbers, bringing in 24 players for the morning and 22 for the afternoon.

Now it could be that this is simply a matter of lots of players opening lots of packs in one place at one time - but it seemed to me that we had a LOT of mythics opened during these two days. I know I saw several copies of the new Ajani and Liliana, several Nicol Bolas appearances, and even a foil Thundermaw Hellkite!

My only real concern with these is I hope the relatively low attendance (compared to what we had at Avacyn Restored) will not hurt us as far as allocations are concerned for Return to Ravnica. I believe WotC/WPN takes into account several past performances, not just the last one. Plus they surely must realize that Core Sets simply don't have the draw that expansions do (especially since there was no splashy "gimmick" this time like the Helvault promotion for Avacyn Restored).

Launch Parties

I will just state here, on record, yet again, that I think it is a mistake to tie the launch party promos to FNM. I will not waste your time with all my reasons why (you can read them here and here if you missed it the first time).

That said, our Launch Parties went pretty well. We had 14 people at the FNM Launch Party at Beyond Comics. That's a small crowd for us these days, but it was a Core Set event, and a Sealed Deck event, so those are both strikes against attendance.

At Novel Places the next day we had 16 players show up for an M13 Draft "Launch Party". I had leftover promos from the FNM Launch Party, so I gave those out to the folks who attended here (we were told that we could use the FNM Launch Party Promos the rest of the weekend - they didn't say it had to be in the same store!). Two pods of 8 people each made for a nice Draft experience, I think.


Our M13 Launch League began on Wednesday, July 18. We have 12 players signed up for the first Cycle. I have learned a few things that I would do differently the next time around:
  • When you schedule your event(s) in the WER for the Launch League, make it for the last day of the Week instead of the first. That way when you go to actually report the event 6 days later it won't be invalidated by the WER. Oops. Hopefully my manual submission of the player list will be accepted at WPN.
  • Patrick was convinced to keep his store open later on Tuesdays as well, so we are encouraging League players to come out that night to get in matches, so that the Casual Magic Night on Wednesday isn't completely overrun by League matches.
  • We decided to let players buy their packs for the next Week after all their matches are done on Tuesday night (provided I'm there to finish tallying the results). That way they can get their decks modified in time to play matches on Wednesday (freeing up more Casual Magic time that night). The caveat is that once they buy their pack(s) they of course cannot play any further matches that count for that Week that is ending.
Week 2 (with the extra rule that essentially gives each player an additional Exalted trigger) had mixed results. Some folks really liked the extra rule. Some did not. Generally those that won because of it loved it, and those that lost because of it hated it. Funny thing, that. I will hold off on deciding if we will use the alternate rules for the second Cycle or not until we get a few more weeks in and see how the different Weeks' rules are taken by the group.

I still have absolutely no idea how to use the League poster that was included in the kit, so I created a spreadsheet to track results, and created a Wiki at PBWorks to allow all the players to check the rules, see the standings, contact each other to arrange matches, etc.

To sum up...

All in all the M13 experience has been going well for us. It is a Core Set, so the excitement is lower overall than it will be for Return to Ravnica (actually the excitement over that set, with zero cards spoiled so far, is already higher than excitement about M13), but players still come out, and still enjoy the events that we put on for them. Ultimately, that's what is most important.

[TO BE CONTINUED IN Reflections on Return to Ravnica]


NLi10 said...

So - you just did player lists and kept the results of the league separate?! Argh! I wish I'd thought of that - I tried to put in all the matches, it forced me to do rounds, which meant it took ages and I had to allocate byes. Then it didnt submit as it was 7 days after the league date. Cries. A proper league function would be appreciated - its a terrible amount of effort on the TO part to not get PWP or match results from.

If player lists work I'll probably just do that for the weeks. We've been having fun, but 3/8 league people joining in week 2 has caused serious game lag and everyone seems to be on different parts of the cycle.

Also allowing choice of intro pack or boosters has caused grumps on both sides as intro decks have power but result in less Planeswalkers etc. opened.

Don Wiggins said...

Yes - I just submitted the list of players as I would for a casual event. I did not use WER to run the matches. That would have been (as you found out) a bloody nightmare, I'm sure.

It takes a while to tabulate the results in the spreadsheet, but then I have something nice and sortable document for determining standings, and whether people are eligible for 1 or two boosters.

Here's a template of the sreadsheet. Feel free to use it if it helps at all!

The first tab is where I enter match results (wins/losses/ties). Formulas calculate the number of matches, win %, points. Then I sort by points (descending), win % (descending) and finally name (ascending) for rankings.

The other tabs are to keep track of who played who each Week, so we don't end up with someone playing each other more than once in a Week.

NLi10 said...

We didn't use the double booster rule - in hindsight this woul have worked well. We have a notebook - for 8 players this is fine (just) but any more and I may have given up. Will try out the spreadsheet so thanks!