Posted by George, gamura collecitalius.
Innistrad: A Magic the GatheringTM Prerelease Story
Wizards of the Coast releases a new expansion for its flagship card game, Magic the GatheringTM, four times a year. While a release of a new set is always an exciting time, the large set released every fall is always a game changer. Among other things, these new sets introduce the storyline for the upcoming year and set the stage for the two sets that follow.
On September 30th, Innistrad will be released into the Magic environment. This new set is based on the classic horror genre where you find vampires (think the classic Dracula, not Twilight), werewolves, zombies, and spirits. In addition to a new story, this set has some of the best artwork I have seen in my time with the game, and introduces double-sided cards that show the transformation werewolves make under a full moon. I have been following the card spoilers online and what I have seen makes me really excited about the release of this set.
On September 24th, All Stars Collectibles hosted our local pre-release event. I have been working with the owner for some time as he has increased the number and size of his events. As we did with the release of Magic 2012 (the last set), we hosted a large tournament in the store’s community room. We had 80 players for the last event in June, and we planned to host even more players for this event.
The day of the event dawned, rainy and humid. Heading to the mall at 8 am for a tournament seemed a little crazy, but we expected a big turnout. The mall housekeeping crew had the room set up pretty much the way we wanted, and we set up the products for sale and the computers we needed to run the event. A minor computer glitch with my printer meant that I was running behind. All the while, the room was filling up with gamers ready to go. Once we got the computer issues worked out, we started letting players into the event. All said and done, we had 100 players, exactly! The previous prerelease had 80 players, so we were ecstatic about the turnout.
With 100 players, the event ended up having a full six rounds for all the players, with a single elimination event for the top 8 players. With 200 packs as prizes for the top 8 players, this was going to be a great event. Because this is my local store, I know many of the players personally; this made the event a lot of fun for me as I was pretty much pulling for everyone to win every round. As the results poured in, players came to me to show off their decks to and tell stories from their games. It was just as much fun for me to run the event as it is to play in one.
New sets also come with lots of new questions. Although I am not an officially sanctioned judge, running these events requires that I provide the rules guidance for the event. Luckily, we had support in the form of an “off duty” official judge who was playing in our event. Between the two of us, we managed to get through the event with no particular difficulty.
After six rounds, we were down to 8 players. These players included our judge and the dominant player in our store (ironically, both of these players were named Mike). Our local Mike ended up winning the day, with his sixth win in a row during the first event. As the first event was going through the top 8, I was busy starting a second event. If players didn’t have enough fun the first time, we were going to do it all again.
The second tournament was much smaller than the first one, with only 28 players. For many stores, this would be a great turnout and we were happy to have that many for the second event. Unsurprisingly, running the second event was a lot easier than the first and went just as smoothly. At 9 pm, the mall closed and we had to move back into the store. There were two more rounds, the top 8 players opted to split the prize, and we were done! After I packed up and got some dinner, I called it a day at just after midnight. All in all, a 16 hour day packed full of Magic.
The point of my story this time is that events like this are not that uncommon. No matter what game you play, there is likely something like this out there for you. If you live in the greater Philadelphia area, I urge you to check out All Stars Collectibles for Magic Events!
Do you have a favorite local store, or a great tournament story you want to tell? Please share it with us in the comments section!