So, this past Saturday, 23 May 2020, day who the hell knows of the Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place rules, we hosted our first ever on-line tournament. Leading up to it, I admittedly did not do nearly as much promotion or preparing as I have for our other in-person events, and this was partly due to not wanting a large event for our first time. Managing virtual tables and such for the nineteen mages who showed up was smoother than expected, but still fairly stressful. This was also the first time I ran an event while also playing in it, and I have to admit that doing so on-line made it easier than in person as I was able to update matches during my opponents’ turns and such so there was less of a rush between rounds. Anyhow, definitely learned a lot of things about doing things online.
- Use EventBrite for registration. It makes contacting attendees super easy, and I should have done this for this event, but I chose to use a google form instead. This allowed for easy deckpic uploads, but made emailing everyone more tedious.
- If you advertise the event in multiple places, make sure you have a way to notify all the attendees. I’d made a post in r/oldschoolmtg and didn’t follow up, resulting in one player not being able to participate, which is definitely bad feelings and reflects poorly on me as a TO. (sorry again!)
- There are so many platforms for communicating with the community but there’s not 100% overlap between them. Related to number 2 I guess, but yeah, finding a central, singular way to interact with all participants was tricky. More on this below.
- Once again, I failed to communicate how prizes would be awarded, and I’m not sure if anyone else was frustrated by this, but I was aware of it once I mentioned them in our general chat.
Anyhow, Saturday morning, I got setup about fifteen minutes before the ten am start time so I could check messages and make sure things were up and running. Toronto local Joel has been running his own jitsi server for a couple of weeks, which we’ve been using for pick up games so we decided to use it for the event. I admit to being a touch nervous about this, but I know that we can always fall back to whereby rooms if need be. Turns out that I had no real reason to be nervous as jitsi ran like a champ, although there were some small hiccups for some folks, but it appeared that a quick browser restart took care of that.
Ten am rolled around and we had just about all players accounted for, and I had two comments on this blog so I quickly emailed them the link to the jitsi hangout room. Pairings were up and ready to go by 10:15 and away we went.
Round One I was paired with fellow fun-loving deck builder Eric, on a sweet Suicide BWU build that took us to three games. I got lucky in one game and was able to sac my board to an unblocked Fallen Angel and damn that felt good. If I recall correctly, game one started with Eric dropping Swamp, Lotus, Juzam and proceeding to beat me down to 1 life, and I was able to stabilize and claw my way back for the win. I remember Game 2 being not even close, and Game 3 is a total blank to me.
Round Two I went up against Darrin Howard’s White Weenie list and although I don’t remember much of the matchup, I do know that I went two and zero in it and that we had fun chatting. I absolutely loved the mix of Unlimited and Beta basics, as well as that signed Mox <3. White Weenie, and white in general, will forever be my favorites in Magic as that’s where I got my start, so those cards are the most nostalgic for me personally.
At this point we took and thirty or so minute break to grab some food and whatnot before diving into round three. I scarfed down some leftover tofu scrambles and homemade sourdough bread and then got back to business. I was up against Jesse Fish and had no clue what to expect. Three games went by and his Clay Status Disco deck got the W. Let me tell you, this deck is sweet. Take a look at it! Also, huge props for running Ice Age Icy Manipulator. I don’t care what anyone says, I bet for the vast majority of Magic Players, this was the Icy they spent the most time tapping in their early days.
I faced off against Patrick McElligot’s Dead Guy Ale brew in Round Four and wow did it make us both work. Game one was a blowout in my favor with a couple of quick threats and him scooping so as to get to his sideboard and a more even game after that. I sadly hadn’t seen much of his deck, so I brought in some Dervishes and that was about it. (Note, I may be mixing up that scoop with Jesse, and I sadly did not take notes) Game two went back and forth quite a lot before he managed a solid victory and made up for Game one. Onto the last game and we both played pretty well but iirc he missed a chance for a lethal Bolt at one point, but did Balance the bejeezus out of us at some time during our match. I narrowly took a win, making be two and two for the day.
At this point, we were a bit stumped on how to proceed. We’d initially said that we’d play for rounds and then cut to Top 8, but we soon realized that the Top 8 was not clean in that there were multiple mages with 2-2-0 records, some of whom would make Top 8 and others wouldn’t. After some back and forth amongst all of us, we decided to just play the Top 8 as is and call it at that. I also said that Semis would be best of 5, and had no idea what that actually meant, so had that explained to me (games 1 and 2 are played with no sideboarding) which was pretty cool. Since I wasn’t in the top, I just hung out in our general chat to talk with the other losers. (meant as a self deprecating joke)
Also at this point, I gave out prizes. The easiest way to do this was to use a random integer generator and map those to names, so that’s what we did and ended up giving out two altered Elves of Deep Shadow, 4 white border Mishra’s Factories, an original Titania’s Song, a full art altered Swords to Plowshares, a Kird Ape, and a full art altered Revised Scrubland. Overall, folks seemed really happy to get this wide range of prizes. Huge thanks to Eric and Tom who donated these, and by proxy, Cam from Discord for doing his charity raffles earlier in the Covid Pandemic which is where most of these prizes came from. My apologies again for not more clearly communicating how prizing would happen, but it’s generally a safe bet with me as a TO that if there are big cards they will not be awarded for placement but some other, less competitive reason. You’ve been warned.
Top 8 seemed to go pretty smoothly and only one of the two matches in the semifinals opted to actually do 3 of 5, while the other pair agreed to just do the usual best of 3 for time considerations. When it came down to the finals, it was Atog vs Fallen Angel in a tough race to see who could sacrifice the most cards to sate their critters’ appetites. In the end, Toronto’s own Joel Bowers fed his Atogs some feasts to lead him to a 2-0 victory. Vest on, Joel.
As always, this was a charity event, but in order to keep the overhead low for myself, instead of choosing a charity, I asked all participants to submit a screenshot of their donation of $10+ to a charity of their choice. In total, $335 was donated to various organizations plus a tree was donated to treedom.net. Thank you all for your generosity!
Overall, I think that it ran fairly smoothly and I’m generally happy with it all, aside from some of my own mistakes I’ve mentioned here. Hoping other TOs can learn from my mistakes here. Also, Boreal B&R seemed pretty fun, although I don’t feel like anyone really tried to break it. Definitely looking forward to playing it more though.
And now some deck pics in no particular order, which I’m sure is what y’all are really after.
And the standings were as follows: