Monk's Corner
by
Ray Powers

*Level III Judge

*WOTC Tournament Organizer for Arizona & San Diego


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11.03.04 

 

Champions in Limited Ė Artifacts, and my take on States

 

So, I wanted to finish up Champions limited here, but the reality is thereís not a lot to say about the artifact in Champions. They really fall under three categories: Always Pick Me, Iím Situational, and Never Pick Me.

 

So, to make it easy, Iíll just put them all in the three categories and let you take it from there.

 

Always Pick Me: Long-Forgotten Gohei, No-Dachi, Oathkeeper, Takenoís Daisho, Tatsumasa, the Dragonís Fang

 

Iím Situational: Generalís Kabuto, Hankyu, Jade Idol, Kusari-Gama, Nine-Ringed Bo, Orochi Hatchery, Senseiís Divining Top, Tenza, Godoís Maul

 

Never Pick Me:  Hair-String Koto, Honor-Worn Shaku, Imi Statue, Journeyerís Kite, Junkyo Bell, Kondaís Banner, Moonring Mirror, Reito Lantern, Shell of the Last Kappa, Uba Mask

 

There ya go. The only one I would really comment on the Generalís Kabuto, which can make a basically unkillable attacker or blocker, but quite often this doesnít swing games in one direction or another. But if you are drafting to win with fliers, and need something to hold the ground forces, this card is for you

 

Thanks for reading through my entire review of Champions. I enjoyed doing it, and hope you had as much fun reading it. But now, itís time to get back to my normal style of writing.

 

States.

 

So, there are events that really annoy me, and for the most part, you guys get to hear about them. States, believe it or not, is not one of those events. States just kind of makes me shake my head and chuckle, as if I am stuck in the middle of a Big Top Circus, and everything around me feels ludicrous and out of place, and I know someone is bound to hit me in the face with a pie at any moment, but itís so funny how none of it fits together that I canít help but laugh at the chaos of it.

 

Yep, thatís states in a nutshell for me, so when you read my review of states today, while it may seem that Iím ranting like a madman and mad as heck, Iím not, because the absurdity of it all quells my anger, churning it into a sad amusement as if Iím watching Clerks with the real ending, where itís funny in its characters frustration, but somebody dies in the end.

 

Everyone knows the main gripe of States, or Champs to use the correct term: that it doesnít lead into anything. Winning States gets you nothing but a nice plaque and some product, perhaps some bragging rights, but maybe not even that. Most pro players skip playing in states, so the bragging rights are kind of moot. This is the way Wizards wants it to be. They want this event to be an amateur event, and thatís fine by me, but the whole process seems to not point towards that.

 

Some of my peers offer free entry into premiere events they run for a year if you are the state champ. This includes PTQís, GPTís, and such. I admit I donít do this. While it would get me more attendance, I am trying to subscribe to the WoTC theory of this being an amateur event, and all that incentive does is bring the pro players out of the woodwork, making the event much less casual.

 

So, for such a casual event, why does the paperwork feel so contrary to it?

 

What do I mean? Well, as a Tournament Organizer, let me explain my side of running States.

 

First, thereís the normal product order for States, which is fine. I have to do this for every order, so no biggie. For some reason this year, however, the playmates and plaque came separate from the product order, so I had to track two shipments instead of one. No big deal, I guess.

 

Then I got the sheets requesting full info for the entire top eight. When I mean full info, Iím talking about name, address, phone number, e-mail, and date of birth. Most of the time you get this for the top one or two of a PTQ, because they need the info for Tax purposes, to send out an invite, or anything like this.

 

So for this event, where the top eight are not going to be shipped anything, I had to get all of their info. That seemed a little silly.

 

Follow this up with the sheets we received a week before the event. These sheets from BDM are to be handed out to the top eight for research for an article that basically ask questions about how much people play tested for states, what they play tested against, and what Champions cards they saw the most. (Several of my top eight players wrote down basic lands in answer to this question.) So, now the top eight is asked to fill out all of this data in addition to all of their living info, again, all for an event that doesnít even get them invited anywhere.  I, in my amusement, volunteered to type in the surveys my top eight filled in on site, so I was tasked with reading their handwriting and typing it in, but hey, thatís my fault, after all, I volunteered.

 

But the paperworkís not done yet! Now I have to send in the top eight deck lists to Wizards for research purposes. This one kind of amuses me. You build a format that is supposed to be for non-professional players, and then want to gather the information of all the top decks from this event for research. Does this really work? Youíre not getting the pro tour player, so the decks wonít be as tuned as a proís might, and the difference in cards may be crucial. If they want to see what cards casual players are playing, then wouldnít they want all deck lists? It just seems as if States is a very conflicted event in what Wizards wants it to be.

 

So, this time around, Wizards set up a cool new handy dandy web entry form for the deck lists. I have to admit I was kind of excited about this. I would have to type them I no matter what, so typing them directly in to the web site, where they could almost instantly be viewable by the players seemed pretty cool.

 

And it would have, if not when, on Monday, I got an e-mail from WoTC saying my deck lists were not entered, when I had checked with them to make sure I had entered the places right. Of course I had already completely done them on Sunday, and was a bit miffed about having to do them a second time. Somehow they got lost in sending, and silly me, I did not save a copy first.  So, Monday afternoon I typed them in a second tie, this time saving them in WordPad before I pasted into the web entry form, in case this happened again. Ironically, as I entered in the last deck list again and clicked send, I got an e-mail from Wizards saying they had gotten my deck lists after all, they had just saved in a different location, so I didnít need to bother typing them in again.

 

Right.

 

All in all, the event went blissfully fine. I had plenty of staff, and the event was slightly less than last year, so ran as smooth as silk. So, while it may sound incredibly frustrating and annoying, as I said earlier, it was really too much a comedy of the absurd to actually get angry about it.

 

Do I think that States needs to feed into anything? No. It would be nice, but hardly necessary. What States need to be is clearly defined. If itís a casual event, letís get some other cool casual prizes for it than just product. I like the playmates, but something different each year would be cool. Deck boxes, dice, and special promo cards, that sort of thing. Also, get rid of all the paperwork for it if itís casual. We donít need to get everyoneís info, and we donít need his or her deck lists. My peers should stop offering the free premiere entry to draw in the pros. Just make it like a prerelease in the level of fun, and stop treating it like a research project.

 

Thatís all for now. Tune in next week! As always, feel free to e-mail me at rayp at primenet dot com!

 

 

E-mail me at rayp-at-primenet.com.

 

 

 

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