The largest TCG Regional in Pokémon history, both in terms of Masters and overall players, is in the books. Whether it’ll hold that title through the end of the year is still something to be seen, but with the number of new things this event tried out, I believe it was a truly evolutionary weekend in the history of the game.
We saw the first chapter in what’s hopefully an era of online decklist submission—and, by all accounts, it went pretty well! While the event had about 50 no-shows in Round 1, it should be noted that travel in New England was difficult Friday evening. A good number of players’ absences were directly attributable to travel issues of that sort. I didn’t personally utilize the system, but folks generally seemed to feel it went pretty well, which is always great. Hopefully it’s something we see more of in the future.
Card-wise, rumor has it Zoroark-GX is pretty good. Michael Pramawat took home his 7th career Regional with Lycanroc-GX/Zoroark-GX, and on the whole this weekend, it seemed that much of the room was Trading its way to the top. There were a few straggling Gardevoir and a surprisingly healthy fire contingent on Day 1, but largely, players seemed to move toward Fighting and other Zoroark concepts.
As I mentioned would be the case in my last article, I was unable to play in Memphis due to a Friday night conflict. But, I ended up making the trip anyway to set myself up favorably airline-wise for next year. To the surprise of more than a few—I’d guess I got at least 150 “Wait, what?”‘s this weekend—I ended up judging this weekend. It wasn’t quite my first time doing so, but it was the first-time-in-a-long-time, and a great experience.
Judging gets a lot of criticism in the game sometimes, and I’ve been previously criticized for being too easy on “poor” judging, but after this weekend, I’m only going to double down on everything I’ve previously said in defense of the institution. Corey, who I ended up directly under this weekend, discussed a judge’s day a few weeks ago, but I honestly don’t think it quite underscores the level of dedication doing this on a regular basis takes. I can’t give enough credit to the people who do this often. And, many thanks to Jimmy and his top staff for having me—it was a great time and learning experience.
I could probably write all day about some of the things I witnessed this weekend, though I somewhat preempted myself last time in that respect. In an effort to not bore you—and to avoid saying anything I shouldn’t!—I’m going to keep my thoughts on the weekend to one fairly simple point that sticks out to me above all else. It falls perfectly in line with last week’s article as an activity that has zero personal cost to perform and offers potentially infinite benefit.
I want to introduce some of you to a match slip, as I get the impression you may not be properly acquainted. This is the best example we have in the 6P system:
Now, this wasn’t the specific type of slip in use this weekend, but it’s going to help us get to the point of the matter here just as well as any other. Any match slip will have your name, Player ID, current record, table number, and some other useful information. In addition, there’ll be a place to mark Win or Tie, as appropriate. Most players know this and use it accordingly—though, it seems every round at every major event there’s one or two that don’t quite get the circling memo.
There’s one more detail, though, and on this slip it’s hiding neatly between “Tie” and “Win” for each player—a spot to mark the winner of each game as the match progresses! On this weekend’s slip, it was an even-more-conspicuous box that was just waiting to be adorned with a check mark, x, or whatever pen motion you most prefer.
For whatever reason, most players apparently don’t mark this. I suspect this is at least partially a social stigma—it could be made to imply that you don’t trust your opponent and feel he/she are up to something shady. I would suggest we get away from that concept and look at it as a necessary task as part of playing in the tournament.
There are a wealth of reasons to adopt this habit, but I’ll take the big two: first and foremost, it does make sure your opponent doesn’t try anything suspicious. We don’t want to assume anyone will do that, but the reality is that there’s probably somebody out there willing to claim that the Game 1 you just donked in never actually happened. This one is just common sense.
There’s another big one, though: slow play. I can’t tell you how many times I walked by a game this weekend and wanted to know whether play that seemed a touch on the slow side was a potential attempt to 1-0, someone trying to stall for a tie in a bad matchup, etc.—the reality of malicious slow play is that it’s going to make an effort to take advantage of a situation. When you make it harder for the only people that can actually help you with the issue to see what’s going on, you don’t do yourself any favors.
I’m not promising you’ll magically have judges helping you out either, and I suspect some would argue that situations should be considered mostly context-neutral in terms of pace. Could a judge ask “what game is this?” Sure, and I did on a few occasions, but this inherently identifies to a potential offender that a judge is watching. This is just a zero-cost move. Therefore, even the tangential idea that this could help you should be enough to convince you to begin the practice.
Plus, in the event you turn a slip in without circling the proper result, at least the game tally gives the people in charge some idea of what’s going on. More documented information is always better than less. Please, get on board.
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