Hello everyone and welcome back to a special edition of The Cardboard Witch. For those of you tuning in for informative articles about *playing* Magic this one might be a bit of a disappointment.
As some of you may recall back in September I became the "Magic the Gathering Tournament Coordinator" for both the downtown and North York Hairy T Locations. This has for the most part been a pretty easy task since someone else had set up the tournament schedule prior to my involvement and both stores have other organizers to run the actual tournaments if I'm not there. Over these past few months I've had the fortune of watching our tournament scene grow; especially the downtown store's draft nights which are now starting to exceed the space we have to run them in. Unfortunately despite this growth not everything is lollipops and gumdrops; attendance at our FNM event has been somewhat spotty, tournament start/finish times have been problematic and frankly "slow play/stalling" issues are ruining about 1/2 of our tournaments. After spending a couple weeks talking to players from both locations it's become apparent to me that in order to sustain our growing tournament scene we're going to have to make some minor changes in terms how we run events. As always these changes are designed to make playing at the Hairy T a better experience for *you* as the player; if you'd like to talk to me about ways to make tournaments better at our locations or alternately discuss your concerns with any existing Hairy T tournament policies please feel free to contact me directly. You can reach me through this blog, in person at the downtown store or my mailing me at email@example.com .
Playing tournament Magic is a pretty time consuming hobby in it's own right. Even if you don't practice all that much a single basic as bricks straight-swiss Standard tournament with 8 players takes about 3 hours to complete. For players who work, maintain active social lives or simply don't have more than a few hours to spare that means scheduling specific times to play Magic. In order to accommodate these players and frankly to keep our T.O.s and Judges sane it's important that our tournaments both start and end on time. The occasional emergency may delay an event by a few minutes but right now almost every event we run is being delayed by 10-30 minutes on average. This is unacceptable because it makes playing Magic at the Hairy T impossible for people on a schedule; about 3/4 of our customers and most of our event staff!
Starting January 1st 2011 we will no longer be waiting for additional players past the announced start time of the event. If we have 8 or more players the event will begin exactly at the scheduled time barring a significant emergency. If you are going to be late please call ahead to see if the tournament can be delayed for you but if you want to be 100% sure please arrive on time.
In order to make attending on time easier for players who already play in our tournaments the following changes have been made to our regular tournament schedule:
Saturday Economy Drafts at the Hairy T North will start at 1:30 PM. Registration opens at 1 PM; players are expected to arrive in time to register as drafters will be seated at 1:30 PM. To avoid confusion this change takes effect February 1st.
Sunday Standard events at the Hairy T North with start at 1:30 PM. Registration opens at 1 PM; players are expected to arrive in time to register as cards will be "on the table" at 1:30 PM. To avoid confusion this change takes effect February 1st.
Friday Night Magic events at the Hairy T North will start at 6:30 PM. Registration opens at 6 PM; players are expected to arrive in time to register as cards will be "on the table" at 6:30 PM. To avoid confusion this change takes effect February 1st.
All other Hairy T Magic events will continue to run at the time they are currently advertised although again stricter start times will be enforced for these events as well.
One of my favorite parts about playing Magic at The Hairy T is the "casual" and fun-orientated nature of the tournaments run there and the players who play in them. While the Magic itself may be fierce the players who attend our tournaments are typically friendly and polite. While I would never want to ruin the "casual" aspect of these events the truth is that from a rules enforcement perspective we've become a little *too* casual; particularly when it comes to round times, slow-play/stalling issues and "tabletalk" during drafts. It's important to be friendly/have a good time but it's also important to remember that Magic is a competitive card game with a time limit; players are obligated to play at a pace that allows the match to be completed within the allotted time.
Effective immediately: We will now be strictly enforcing 50 minute timed rounds in all of our Magic events at both locations. Once time has expired players will be giving a total of 5 turns to finish the game as per standard DCI Floor Rules. Games that can not be finished within these 5 turns will be declared a draw and affect the match results accordingly.
Effective immediately: We will now be strictly enforcing 30 minute "deck-build" times during all Hairy T Booster draft events. Players will be paired after 30 minutes and those who cannot present 40 card decks will receive a game loss (and 10 more minutes to build).
Effective immediately: Our judges at T.O.s at both locations have been asked to watch carefully for instances of Slow Play or Stalling infractions in our tournaments. Additionally players are actively encouraged to call for a judge when they believe these types of infractions may be occurring in their game. Stalling is cheating and Slow Play is a tournament error. Repeated Slow Play despite a judge's request to "play faster" is consider unsportsmanlike conduct and will cause a game loss.
Effective immediately: So called "tabletalk" will no longer be allowed during all Hairy T Booster draft events. Players may chat quietly and are encouraged to be friendly but it's completely unacceptable to discuss or reveal the cards in your pack and the picks you have made. Offenders will be warned and repeat offenders will be disqualified.
Spacial Issues at the Downtown Location:
As those of you who frequent the downtown Hairy T Location know the available playing space for us to hold drafts is unfortunately *very* limited. This makes it very difficult for us to hold larger drafts at this location despite our desire to accommodate as may customers as possible. In order to ensure the best possible drafting experience at the downtown location the following changes to our draft policy are necessary:
Effective immediately: There will be a 16 player "cap" on draft events held at the downtown Hairy T location. Registration for the drafts at this location will open a full hour before the event starts; players are encouraged to register early to ensure their place in the draft! This policy is effective only at the downtown location; the Hairy T North can seat roughly 40 drafters if necessary.
Effective immediately: Drafts at the downtown Hairy T location with 10 or more players will be split up into 2 even "pods" for the draft portion of this event. This both improves card quality in the draft and accounts for the fact that we don't have a table large enough for 10+ drafters. Only the "draft" portion of the tournament will be affected; pairings will be determined as normal and may occur "across pods".
Well folks there you have it; our best effort to improve your Magic experience at the Hairy T in 2011! Sorry for all the bold text but it makes it easier for people skimming to identify the major policy changes in this document at a glance. As previously mentioned if you'd like to discuss any of these changes with me please feel free to contact me through the blog, in person at the downtown Hairy T location or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . As always thanks for reading and for those of you that don't play in Toronto don't worry I'll be back to posting strategy/limited articles in a couple of days.