How to host a Magic tournament at home
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Are you looking to get your friends, local playgroup or maybe even strangers together to play a home tournament of Magic: The Gathering but don't really know where to start? Fear not! This blog post is here to help you.
Playing casual "kitchen table Magic" is one of the most fun ways to play, but sometimes to really get the most out of the game, you need the thrill of competition. There doesn't have to be anything more on the line than the glory of placing first, but knowing that each game, each draw and each spell cast actually makes a real difference is great!
The easiest way to find this sensation is to host an MTG tournament at home! It can be daunting if you're not familiar with how to sort pairings, how to count score and which tie breakers to use - but really, with the right tools it's a breeze!
What format will you be playing?
This is probably the first thing you have to decide. The format that will be played can dictate how many people you need as a minimum (draft) but also who's able to join. If, for example, you really want to play a Legacy tournament, a lot of players that don't have a finished Legacy deck will not be able to join or will have a really bad time with the competition.
Of course, the best part about hosting your own tournament is that you can set the rules yourself. Maybe you want to play 3 rounds of draft and then a Top-8 with Standard? Or why not decide to play Pauper? Or come up with something of your own (Ravnica only, anyone?)!
Once you have decided which format to play, make sure you clearly state this in your invitation so that everyone shows up with format legal decks.
Create your event and let people know!
Without opponents, there's not going to be a tournament to speak of. Time to get your invitation out there!
Now that you have your event created, with the correct location, date and time, format and a good description it's time to invite players. If your playgroup are already on MTGevent.com, simply invite them to your tournament by typing their email address in the players field. If not, go ahead and share the event link with them. They'll be able to check out your event, create an account and join!
Playing limited (draft or sealed)? Make sure you have the cards!
If you're playing draft or sealed, I highly recommend that you yourself purchase all the boosters (and maybe also lands) needed for your tournament and then charge a fee equal to the cost per player. For draft, that's 3 boosters for each player and for sealed you need 6 for each player. That means a display (36 boosters) can provide a draft for 12 players or a sealed for 6 players.
Of course, you could ask each attending player to bring the required boosters themselves, but from my experience it's much easier to provide them at the tournament. This will save all other players a trip to their local game store and probably also save everyone money as boosters are almost always cheaper in bulk.
I would also suggest that you provide basic lands for everyone, for the same reasons as above. If you don't have a bunch of basics lying around, get a Land Station and split the cost between each player. If you're planning on running more tournaments in the future, ask everyone to return basics and let them know it will bring down the fee next time.
Prepare the game room
In order for everyone to have a pleasant experience at your tournament, there's a few things you should think prepare before players show up.
The most obvious is that you need to sort out seating for everyone. A long square table is usually your best bet: a kitchen table, your desk, maybe even a coffee-table if needed! If possible, try to put all tables in the same room to really boost the tournament ambiance! Also make sure to clear all tables and get enough chairs.
If you're hosting a draft, this is the time to decide how many pods you're going to run. Ideally, keep the pod sizes as close to 8 as possible but have them be even in size. It's also good to try to have an even number of players in each pod as that will remove the need for byes. When you've decided on the number and sizes of pods, arrange seating to draft in those pods.
Other things that are great to think about are lighting, air-flow, temperature etc. Basically just creating a pleasant environment for the group.
If you're running a really big tournament, you might want to consider a few things to make navigation during the tournament easier. Table numbers are great for this purpose. MTGevent.com will assign a table number to each match, and by putting numbers on your tables players can easily find their next opponent and get started quicker.
Welcoming and starting the tournament
When everyone has arrived (or the starting time has passed) it's a good idea to gather everyone around for a brief introduction. Introduce yourself to those who don't know you and let everyone know the premise of the day. For example, go over things like:
Which format you're playing
The number of rounds you're playing today
If you're planning any break
The maximum round time
How players report scores
If you're doing a cut-off to a Top X
This way, everyone will be on the same page before you start the tournament.
When you have everyones attention, this is a good opportunity to make sure that everyone is registered and ready to go. Once that is confirmed, go ahead and start the tournament by either pairing the first round or randomizing seatings for draft.
Anyone in the tournament with an MTGevent.com account will be able to see the pairings on their own mobile phone. This will make locating your pod or opponent much easier for everyone!
Running the tournament
Running the tournament should be a breeze if you use MTGevent.com. Remember to activate the round time countdown and then direct all of your attention to your own game. When you're done, have everyone else report their scores to you and easily complete each match in the round. Then simply pair the next round and keep playing!
Why use MTGevent.com for your home tournaments
MTGevent.com is specifically designed for people like you that like to host Magic tournaments for their friends and playgroup. MTGevent.com makes it easy to create events, invite friends and lets you easily manage pairings, scoring, tie breakers and all that nitty gritty!
Of course, MTGevent.com is completely free to use!
Sign up for an account here and get started with your first event right now!