Jonathan Pechon

*Two "Top 8" Grand Prix Finishes

*Top 32 at Pro Tour Osaka



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Jonathan Pechon's
Therapy Sessions

05.13.04  The Judge's Elbow


Sorry about the missed week there, folks.  It was finals week and I had a touch of something that might have been the flu; anyone at Regionals that heard me trying to talk realized that there was something amiss.  It took a couple of weeks for me to completely kick the bug and get school wrapped up…so here we are!


First, let’s talk about Regionals.  Down here in Texas, as you might have seen in previous articles, we had record numbers of people show up to play.  The only perspective that I had was that of the judge, of working to make sure that the event went off as smoothly as possible.  I’m going to try to give all of you an idea of what you see from this side of the table.


Arriving at the site on Saturday morning, I look to see the huge line of people registering for the event, and Ben Drago and the rest of the judges just settling down to begin the judge’s meeting before the event.  We settled in and went over what our duties were going to be throughout the day.  As a team lead, I’m required to make sure that pairings go up promptly and in set locations; I’ve got a few people working with me to make sure that all takes place.


On that note, I’d like to thank Steven Livingston, Erik Ellison and Jim Shuman for doing such a great job with me throughout the day.  We obviously had help from the other guys there, but we ended up with a ton of things to accomplish from round to round, and they did a really good job making sure that they all got done smoothly.  I don’t think we had a single mishap of any consequence throughout the day.  From what I could see, it was a job well done, and I was happy to work with everyone that day.


Sooo…after a considerable amount of time, we’re finally able to get the entire field seated for the announcements and greetings.  In pretty short order, we get the first round of pairings up.  Our first round of complaints comes here…namely that the pairings for the first round were simply too slow in going up.  Thanks to Willa Zandi, we were able to get everyone into the system as quickly as we did; with 589 names and DCI numbers to find and enter, I think that a pretty impressive task was accomplished.  Complaints here seem unfounded in my eyes, simply due to the scale of the task.


Once announcements are completed, we put up the pairings…all 45 or so pages of them.  I make sure that each of my guys has a location assigned to put up their copy of the pairings in a specified location.  Due to the creation of choke points in the rooms and lack of traffic in certain locations, we made some slight adjustments to the location of the pairings during the day, but did the best we can to ensure some level of consistency of placement. 


After getting everyone seated for the round, my team had to make sure that the result slips were printed and handed out as quickly as possible (a lengthy task itself, considering the number of slips that needed to be printed and sorted).  The other judges went to work doing the deck-checks for each round, while still others worked to handle quick judge-calls that came up; most of us handing out slips ended up working calls as well, making the process stretch out a bit.  After getting all of the slips handed out, it’s time to make sure that all of the late arrivals receive their game-losses, and the no-shows are notated appropriately.  From then on, it’s judge-call after judge-call for the rest of the round.  Once time is called, we sit and make sure that matches are completed quickly and the results are promptly turned in.


Now…repeat this process eleven times over the day, you’ll get a pretty brief idea of what made up Regionals for those of us who worked as judges.  There were plenty of additional issues that made up the day, ranging from poor questions to badly worded questions to poor examples of sportsmanship from people of varying ages.  That’s pretty much the bread and butter of any event, but we don’t normally get that much of it in a day.


There were two additional complaints about the event from players.  The first was regarding the lack of a break for food.  My point of view on this…if you don’t know what you’re getting into at Regionals (16+ hours of gaming), then it’s possible you shouldn’t be there to begin with.  Whether you know this or not, you should probably work to make sure you have some form of arrangements made to eat during the day, whether you bring it with you or have someone who can get it for you.  I have zero sympathy for anyone who didn’t have some form of food to eat; I was provided food as a judge, and I still had snacks and drinks in my bag.  It’s part of being prepared for the day.


The other complaint was of an auction run between rounds of the event.  I’m not certain how long this took, but this is an event that occurs pretty regularly at events that this T.O. runs around the state.  For those that complain about this, I’ll just say this:  these wouldn’t happen if there wasn’t some level of support from players for these auctions at his tournaments.  They are something that both the players and the organizer enjoy; I really don’t feel like the amount of time spent here was not sufficient to provide for a meal break, and I don’t feel that it was so disruptive as to cause a problem.


Regionals was a whole lot of back-breaking work, dealing with people both friendly and cordial as well as several different degrees of unsavory, kinda like rank meat that’s been out in the sun for a while.  Were we paid adequately for the amount of work that we did?  From a monetary standpoint, probably not…but we all got to work on a really big event, helping to make sure that everyone was able to have a shot at Nationals.


Well, now that this is over with…what do we have coming up here in the near future?  Fifth Dawn is coming up pretty quickly, and boy…does it look bad.  I mean, so far we’ve seen tastes of a “combo” environment that DOESN’T DO ANYTHING.  Look at the Card of the Day for Wednesday and you’ll see what I mean.  I’m not impressed by anything that I’ve seen come out of this set yet, with the possible exception of Engineered Explosives as a method of dealing with Skullclamps.


This coming weekend, I’m going to be playing in a team PTQ here in Dallas; I’m hoping that I’ll have enough gravy from that to give a full report.  The PR will be another event that I’ll be working, so I’m sure that I’ll have a ton of interesting questions regarding wacky interactions of cards.


‘til next week…


-Jonathan Pechon

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