Trisha Lynn wrote:Please? Tell us an interesting factoid about the early Community Cup. Also, I don't think I know who you are. Which one of James' team members were you?
I'm Walter, but I'm known as bubba0077 just about everyone online (certainly every Magic place). Magic-wise, I was known primarily for my efforts as a regular (and later moderator) in the WotC MTGO forum, as a core MTGO Beta tester, and for assisting the Adepts/ORCs unofficially in the help chat room online. Among other things, I maintained the FAQ and shuffler thread, and I codified the previously unwritten beta rules for competitive play. If you read the beta rules on the forum, a lot of my original language is still there.
Here's a few things about the first Community Cup. I might be able to think up more later, and I'll answer any direct questions.
1) The first team was made up of half community members and half "press". While a couple of the "press" wrote MTGO-centered articles and were well-known members of the community anyway, a couple others were mostly unknown and had never even played on MTGO before.
2) Many on the WotC team had never used MTGO either. This made everything interesting as people were often asking how to do stuff. As of my 2nd community cup (the 4th, with James), there were still a couple unfamiliar with MTGO, notably MaRo, who basically only plays on MTGO for the Cup.
3) While having a "ringer" pro-tour member has become standard (and the overall skill level of all community members has gone up in general with the transition to streamers), Randy Buehler was not originally a member of the first community team. One of our team members (one of the "press", John Baichtal) was unable to make it in time due to cancelled flights. Randy, having only recently left WotC, was able to fill in as a replacement.
4) The schedule the first year was grueling. Nearly everyone arrived late Weds night, with play over two sessions (morning and afternoon) Thurs and Fri, and then left Fri night or Sat. Other than some wind-down play Fri night, there wasn't a lot of extra time to hang out, see Seattle, etc.
5) The conference room where they set up the first year wasn't large enough to hold all of us at once, so a few people had to sit in a small adjacent room. For most of the contest only WotC players occupied in the side room, which kinda separated half the WotC team from the rest of us.
6) The environment playing the Cup is very different. Because of the nature and format of the event, help is not only allowed but encouraged, so after you were done with your match, you would go around watching and sometimes assisting other matches. So if you had the last match of a round, you had a bunch of people standing around your chair, maybe helping you out. And when something awesome or swingy happened, the whole room would react at once. Or sometimes a group of people would react to something and everyone still playing would be like "what happened?" An incredible amount of energy and fun.
7) The Community team was losing *badly* after the first day. With John arriving, we also now had 9 team members. These two factors combined resulted in the creation of MULTIBALL: A separate series of one-on-one matches, where the final record in each session would result in a multiplier for the team's score in that session. A 2-1 record meant 1.5x and a 3-0 meant 3x. This not only got the 9th member involved (vs. a 9th WotC member drafted to play), but provided an excellent excuse for a catch-up mechanism for the community team. The MULTIBALL format for the morning was Momir Vig (this is well before it was an official format). Eric Friborg (whom the cup is now named after) and myself (I think?) combined to go 2-1 and earn a 1.5x multiplier on a good base score, which helped but still left us quite a bit behind. The afternoon MULTIBALL session was tabbed to be a random sealed format (each match was a new sealed format, determined by rolling a d20). Since sealed is my specialty, I was tabbed to go for the community team, and luckily was placed against a WotC player who wasn't that great at Magic. I was able to go 3-0, and the 3x combined with a decent showing by the rest of the community team were able to put us over the top.
Wow, that wound up being more than I thought. Here's the coverage page: http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/magazi
Still happy to answer any questions, and I'll post more if I think of things.
Edit: Added spacing