The Dragon's Den

Name: DeQuan Watson

    Many readers have gathered a lot of information about me through my writings.  For those of you that haven't though, this should tell you a little more. 

    I'm 23 years old and I own my own business. Well, more accurately I own a game store.  The Game Closet, my store is one of the premiere places to play in the Texas.  I play Magic on a pretty regular basis.  I help people build decks and teach the game to people multiple times a week.  Owning a store is neat, because it gives me another perspective to write my articles from.  I
can usually tell what the average player likes and can judge some of the
tendencies of the average player a little better.

    However, I know a decent bit about pro level play as well.  I myself have
played on the Pro Tour.  I have multiple Top 8 finishes at Pro Tour Qualifiers.  I also have made Day Two at two Grand Prix tournaments.  I was also invited to the Event horizons Invitational last year.  These are not
stellar achievements, but high enough to let you know I have my head on
straight when talking about the game. I also spend lots of time each week talking to, e-mailing, or chatting with top level players.  I get to see their perspective on a lot of things as well.  Between the two, I think I get a good sense of balance of the game.

    Most importantly, I still enjoy the game for the sake of the game itself.  I like the time, the competition, and the general interaction of players.  I plan to be playing it until it goes away...if it ever does.


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4.29.02 - Let's Do Some Reflecting

Well, I know it's been a while since my last article.  Let me start by giving you all my apologies and letting you all know that they will be much more frequent from here on out (at least for the near future).  I'm been trying to do some work promoting my store and setting up some events, o my time has been stretched real thin.

Anyway, I'm sure most of you are wondering how I felt about regionals.  First of all, let me say that I went 4-2.  Not a great record.  However, I would have been 5-0 minus an incident involving my sideboard.  As much as I want to dog the guy, he did go on to win the tournament and he really isn't a bad kid.  I was going to write a Regionals report, but what good is it going to be to you?  I'd rather just give some general ideas about how to fix Regionals to make them better tournaments.

I have proposed some similar ideas in the past, so just bear with me as I elaborate a little further.

"Regionals: The event that all long time players need to go to so they have something to complain about for the next 12 months." - DeQuan Watson

That's honestly how many older players felt, so I figured that I might as well be the first to quote it.  Anyway, on to my solutions:


I don't think the idea of having a stated number of invites per tournament is fair.  Some regions had less than 300 players while others in the Ohio Valley had to face an attendance of 600+.  This hardly seems fair that both groups are playing for the same number of invites.

The best solution to this would be to create some sort of sliding scale for invites.  Something like the following:

1-150 players = 8 invites
151-275 players = 10 invites
276-350players = 12 invites
351-425 players = 14 invites
426+ players = 16 invites

This scale may not be perfect, but I'm sure you guys can see what I'm getting at.  The problem with the current system is that you can get a loss and a draw in some areas and still just miss the cut for making the Top 8.  Also, not it's to the point that there no elimination rounds in most regions, because the tournaments are already too long.  Why not give away a few more invites, since we aren't going find out who the true regional champs are anyway.  What's worse is that several people that win the current coveted eight spots won't be attending regionals anyway.


Let me start by saying that Event Horizons and Aussiefox (organizers for the southern region) had great prize support.  There were trophies through 16 players and they gave product prizes to the top 48 players.  That should become the standard at the very least.  So many regions are setting record attendance with each passing year.  There is obviously a much larger amount of money going in and out of Regionals.  Why not give more of that money back to the players?

Admittedly, not many of the players gunning for a Nationals slot are going to care too much about the product.  However, Regionals is the first big, major tournament for a lot of players.  It's also one of the toughest tournaments every year.  Placing in the top 50 of Regionals these days is a decent feat.


This I can't stress enough.  The more I think about it, the more I think it's necessary.  Like I stated earlier, Regionals are getting way too large.  Attendance is just out of hand.  I'm not saying that organizers can run the events, but we need to be realistic.  Once you get over 400 players, which many regions did, the tournament gets insanely difficult.  More than one loss and you could potentially be on your way out of the tournament without a Nationals invite.  

Further more, the only other tournaments on the planet that have that kind of attendance or more are Pro Tour and Grand Prix events.  The big difference is that the PT and GP events are multiple day events.  Any given region can have just as many people at their event and it is being crammed into one day.  That's a bit of stress on both the players and the judging staff.

Also, the huge number of players, with no elimination rounds, and all being crammed into one day, leads to less use of metagaming.  Regionals is such a huge room full of random decks and casual players that metagaming has VERY limited use on the big day.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that metagaming is useless, because we all know that isn't true.  I'm just saying it has a much lower impact.  This just means that a lot of your preparation is useless.  This discourages some good players from attending the event.  This is bad.  Don't we want as many of the good players as possible to turn out for Regionals to make Nationals the event of the Nations best from each region?

OK, now that's over :)

Something I want to talk about is understanding the difference between what I like to call the "Alpha Male" of a playing group and a knowledgeable player.  Some players, whether they like it or not, are pushed in the "alpha" role of their group.  This could occur for any given reason.  You might write articles online. You might have taught the others how to play. You might have just been playing a long time.

Alpha guys are the ones that players from within a game group look to for information.  I see a lot of this owning a game store.  I can usually identify which player is the alpha.  I have to continually point out that a player just having the alpha status doesn't make them knowledgeable on the game.

For a player to be knowledgeable, the player has to first of all have a good understanding of the most current rules.  That's the biggest point.  Many players have been playing since Beta, but have no clue of what is going on with the state of the game in this day and age.

Also, a player's information is most likely only reliable for formats that they regularly participate in or keep up with.  If I am preparing for a tournament, or want some deck criticism, I won't go to one of our regulars that is mainly into casual play.  However, if I am curious as to what is a fun card for a particular deck I'm working on, I will most definitely go to the casual player for ideas.  Basically, all I'm telling you here is that the information offered to you is relative to the player.  Just be wary.

Here's another word to heed, don't take the information from your alpha as gospel.  No player is the end all be all of information.  That's what is so great about the game of Magic.  However, many players are great beacons of knowledge.  Learn to differentiate.  I'm not saying that every player needs to have credentials, but there needs to be some reason to listen to them.  Be it lots of net research, working at a game store, or even just solid tournament performance in the past.

I want to say that I've never really liked Rizzo's writing.  However, he was good for the game and he had some creative things to say.  However, I do have to say that I agree with Gary Wise's sentiments about Rizzo and Wakefield not being true icons or good examples for the game because they quit.  They were basically saying that it was impossible to balance Magic and life, so they needed to quit playing the game.  It's almost like turning a good example into a bad example.  However, I will say that Rizzo, just like Wakefield, have definitely made their mark on the Magic community through use of their internet writings.  I hope that Rizzo does well on his future endeavors, whatever they may be.

Last but not least, I want to cut a promo...everyone should attend our cash tournaments on Sundays! :)  $10 entry fee and cash to the top 4 !

Oh wait...there is one more thing.  I want to thank you all for voting for me in the Writer's War.  Hopefully when you read this I want be done yet.  So please visit our site often and keep voting.

Well, until next time,

DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn

Copyright 2001


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