Things to know at my first GP?

A place to talk about standard, casual, limited and everything in between.

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Nope. I don't want to go to one.
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Nope. There are none near me.
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No but I wish I could/plan to one day!
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Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Rose_Nightshade » 30 Sep 2014, 11:53

So me and the boyfriend will be going to our very first GP (in Orlando, FL) this weekend, and I just absolutely KNOW there's things I probably should know that I just have no clue about right now, 'cause well that's always the way it goes, right? Hahaha

He's playing the main event, I'm just going to do side events. We both used to play MtG back in highschool, and got back into it late last year and started playing again around March of this year and have been obsessed since, so we're still mediocre players, and both know it. We're going to have fun, not with any delusions of him making day 2 or anything.

So, anyone have any advice/suggestions/comments/etc for people who are attending their first GP? :) Or even just share stories about your first GP experience? Whatever is cool.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby tamaness » 30 Sep 2014, 13:28

Bring a water bottle and snacks like apples or granola bars -- stuff that's not too heavy, travels well, and isn't terrible for you. Being hungry will put you on tilt, and you won't have a good time if you have to pay $7 for a crappy hot dog and $3 for a water bottle.

If you're going to get stuff signed by the artists, prepare it beforehand, and remember to tip the artist(s) or buy something from them -- a print, a playmat, an artist's proof or something like that. If GPs (and conventions!) aren't profitable, artists will stop coming to them.

If you're buying from/selling to vendors, take the time to shop around. Keep in mind that most cards by the artists present will be at a small premium over buying it online beforehand.

For constructed GP main events, it pays to type up your decklist beforehand and have it available, and the judge staff will love you for having a typed list. You can find a PDF of the DCI's official decklist sheet here (note: As GP Orlando is Sealed, you'll have to register a pool at the venue).
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Volafortis » 30 Sep 2014, 15:05

Also, bring a separate box to put any singles you buy in. I'd recommend having some sort of backpack with you, something that you can easily keep an eye on and can store anything of yours in, and you'll want it to be pretty durable and something that you need to actively work to get into, so it can't be "pickpocketed"

Also, plan a trip, if it's somewhere you don't go often. One nice non-Magic related perk to major Magic events is it gives you a reason to visit cool big cities, and they're a great opportunity to go sightseeing. If you find yourself out of contention for day 2, and aren't too interested in any of the side events until the next day, it's nice to be able to go get some fresh air and explore somewhere new.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby korvys » 30 Sep 2014, 15:06

I've never been, but I can offer a judges perspective on competitive events (This advice is mostly for main event players, but the side events are also competitive REL, I think).

Call a judge. For everything (game related). Not sure of a rules interaction? Call a judge. Need the wording of a card (maybe you think you opponent has it in hand)? Call a judge. Need to go to the bathroom during a round? Call a judge.

Do not try to fix any game mistakes yourself. If you fix things yourself, at best, you save a minute waiting for the judge. At worst, you make things much worse, and risk suspicion of cheating.

The judges are there to help. Use them.

Also, if you think your opponent is playing slow, call a judge early, not at the end of the round when it matters. If the person is doing it all weekend, the judges will want to know, and if it matters to your round, better to catch it early than at the end when playing faster isn't going to have as much of a difference.

Also, don't worry about warnings. You'll probably make some mistakes and be given warnings, but unless you do it a lot, it won't affect you.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby JackSlack » 30 Sep 2014, 15:16

I've never been and wouldn't want to play, but I admit the idea of Graham and Alex's "toil for foil" has appeal. I'd like to go for the surrounding stuff and maybe play some casual games if there's space for it.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Rose_Nightshade » 30 Sep 2014, 18:35

We sell in the artist alley of Megacon every year, so the crazy prices for subpar food, I guess I've just become used to at this point... heh. I usually just make sure to have something for breakfast, bring a snack in case I can't find something in the food court, then have a really good dinner to help. :3 Lack of food for a few hours doesn't tilt me too bad as long as I'm hydrated

We have the cards we want signed already in their own box :D Picked em out once we had our cube cards set aside from Theros block. And oh man, I totally want to get a play mat from one or two of the artists. I'm eager to see if any bring original paintings or anything like that with them.

My boyfriend got the VIP package for himself for the main event, so his decklist should already be filled out for him, I believe was part of that? I'm not 100% sure but I know he's been over that info himself, so not to worried there, though oh man if it was me I'd be sweating about it. I like checklists but I'd be worried I'd flub mine >.>;;;

Oh good idea on the separate box for any singles we buy, Volafortis, thank you! We were planning to bring a small box for cards we accrue, but I didn't really think about singles. I guess I could just toss them in the box with the rest of the cards though? And I want to try and pick up a new binder while there, so I could shove them in there as well.

I'm nervous about what bag to bring, at first I was thinking backpack, but I don't think I'll need that much real estate and I feel it'd be harder to feel it's under my control under my chair, because I like to shift around alot when sit... so I'm thinking a big messenger bag that flaps over and then click-snaps shut. I can fit my trade binder and a deck box and other non-mtg essentials in that, so I think that may work best. I'm always paranoid about theft...

Yes yes yes, korvys, The slow play is something I'm worried about. I'm not a super fast player myself, and when I rush myself, I make mistakes. Is there any sort of rule of thumb for what is considered slow play that's to the point that it's detrimental? I never play slowly on purpose, of course.

Oh god I am honestly so terrified of getting a warning and just I KNOW I will. I get mini social anxiety attacks when I'm reprimanded about anything by anyone with any perceived power of authority... hah... ^.^;

@ JackSlack: I'm super excited to draft with strangers (We've only ever drafted with friends and at our LGS) and just to check out what's essentially a Magic convention for the first time.

One major question I just realized I have: Do I bring my own land for when I draft in the side events? Or is that supplied? I know I should bring a sealed box of sleeves at least. But I can't figure out if I should bring my own land or not.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Volafortis » 30 Sep 2014, 18:48

Nope, land is provided for you.

Actually, the last GP I went to was a few weeks before M15 came out, and we all got M15 lands, so that was kinda neat.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby korvys » 30 Sep 2014, 18:53

Slow play is by definition unintentional (if it's intentional, it's stalling, and that's a DQ). Don't worry about, it just try to play at a good pace. At worst you'll get a warning, and 2 extra turns if it goes to time.

My advice there is more about calling other people on it. You don't even have to mention it to your opponent, just speak to the judge away from the table, and ask if they can watch for slow play.

Increasing your own speed of play is one thing, but that takes time. I wanted to point out that people should be calling their opponent on it more often though, as it doesn't happen enough.

Frankly, people should just be calling the judge more often overall. There should be no stigma attached, and there kinda is.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby phlip » 30 Sep 2014, 19:01

Rose_Nightshade wrote:Lack of food for a few hours doesn't tilt me too bad as long as I'm hydrated

Hydration really is key. If you start getting dehydrated, you don't even necessarily notice at first, but it can have severe effects on your ability to play the game, but also just your health in general. Keep a water bottle with you, and when you get a chance between rounds or before the event starts take a scout around to see if you can find a place to refill it as necessary.

Rose_Nightshade wrote:Yes yes yes, korvys, The slow play is something I'm worried about. I'm not a super fast player myself, and when I rush myself, I make mistakes. Is there any sort of rule of thumb for what is considered slow play that's to the point that it's detrimental? I never play slowly on purpose, of course.

There isn't really a number that's put out there as a guideline, because people will rules-lawyer it... but a rough guideline is "if we keep playing at this pace, will we be able to finish 3 games before that timer hits 0?"... If you have a hard decision, by all means take time to think about it, but your opponent can't be sitting there for minutes at a time on a single decision, or spending a long time tanking on every single turn... the game needs to keep moving forward, and they do need to make a decision one way or another.

Rose_Nightshade wrote:Oh god I am honestly so terrified of getting a warning and just I KNOW I will. I get mini social anxiety attacks when I'm reprimanded about anything by anyone with any perceived power of authority... hah... ^.^;

If it helps... they're called "warnings" for a reason... getting a warning isn't a concrete penalty, it won't affect your results at all, and will be completely forgotten once the event's over. It's only repeated warnings that get escalated to actual penalties, be that game-losses or whatever. There's no judgement behind it, the judge doesn't think you're a terrible person or whatever, it's just a reminder "you really need to be more careful about this thing".

Getting a warning doesn't mean you're a bad player... last GP I went to, I got a couple of warnings, and I like to think I'm a pretty good player (on the track to becoming a judge myself)... it's not a mark of shame, though I can understand why you might feel that way at first, with experience it becomes just a thing that happens.

All that said... you mentioned that you were planning to play in side events, not the main event... typically, only the main event (and the GPT grinder events on the Friday) are run at Competitive rules-enforcement... all the other side events are run at Regular, the same REL you're used to from your FNMs or whatnot. At Regular, all this official warning stuff isn't really a thing... Regular basically just has two penalties: cautions and disqualifications. If you aren't doing something so egregiously horrible that they need to kick you out of the event (cheating, bribery, hurling abuse at your opponent, that sort of thing) then all you'll get is a comment from the judge and then you'll move on, no official warning/game-loss/match-loss process.

Rose_Nightshade wrote:One major question I just realized I have: Do I bring my own land for when I draft in the side events? Or is that supplied? I know I should bring a sealed box of sleeves at least. But I can't figure out if I should bring my own land or not.

Land should be supplied for limited side events... you'll need to bring your own for constructed events, but hopefully you'd be on top of that. You'll need your own sleeves, but you can probably buy some from vendors at the venue if needs be.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Duckay » 30 Sep 2014, 19:13

Even if you think hunger won't put you on tilt, you're best off stashing something in your bag anyway. Even if it doesn't put you "on tilt", being hungry will make you make worse decisions, and it sucks when you plan to go get something to eat between rounds and then you end up in a match that grinds to time and you don't get time to grab some food.

Also, yes, don't worry about getting warnings. My first GP I got two warnings for the same offense (my sleeves were really sticky so I played the fun game of "draw a card and the card beneath it sticks to it then falls on the ground"). It's really not a big deal and 99% of the time, the judge isn't going to sound "stern" as he says it or anything like that, even. The idea of "I got a warning" sounds worse than it actually is. And it's important to keep a judge in the loop whenever anything goes even slightly awry.

Also, yeah, as phlip said, besides the grinders, the main event and the Super Sunday Series, pretty much everything will be at Regular REL, not competitive, anyway.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Rose_Nightshade » 30 Sep 2014, 20:33

All of that sounds very reassuring with what I was worrying about. Thank you. :) Good to know the side events are played at the FNM rules enforcement level, that makes me feel more comfortable that it's a situation closer to what I'm used to playing in.

And heck yeah I always carry snacks with me just in case. I only need them maybe like 1/3 of the time at conventions, but I always make sure to have them. And I always always have a water bottle with me. My parents like to make fun of me because by the end of a work day I usually end up bringing home 2 or 3 drinks I have accrued throughout the course of the day (water, usually a coffee of some kind, and then maybe a misc 3rd drink, usually a soda or something from lunch. LOL) so staying hydrated is never a problem for me, and I'm familiar with the locations of all the bathrooms and water fountains at the OCC where the event is being held because I've been there a bunch of times for Megacon. :)

What are grinders, Duckay??

Me and the boyfriend plan on playing in the Super Sunday Series most likely as well, so eep, I'll have to deal with the higher level of rules enforcement there, but hopefully I won't be as nervous as I know I'll be before I've played a few drafts that weekend. Heh...

And oh man, so good to know that land will be supplied unless it's a constructed event. Do we have to give it back, or are you given it to keep? Or does that depend on the event?

We plan to stop at a comic shop the day before the GP to pick up fresh sleeves and some numbered dice, so we should have that bit covered. :)
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Duckay » 30 Sep 2014, 20:41

"Grinders" are a nickname for the last-minute events held on the Friday that grant additional byes in the main event. :)
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby phlip » 30 Sep 2014, 20:43

Rose_Nightshade wrote:What are grinders, Duckay??

The short answer is that there are ways to get awarded byes at the start of the GP main event... ranging from having a lot of planeswalker points in the last season, to being at various levels the pro player club. The exact details aren't too important, since you probably don't have any byes if you haven't been specifically trying for it (and you aren't playing in the main event anyway).

But one of the ways you can get byes is winning a special "Grand Prix Trial" event for your GP... these will get run in various places in the area in the leadup to the GP, and the winner of the event gets 2 byes at the GP. For people that don't manage to win (or even find) one in advance, they run them nonstop on the Friday of the GP, on demand (at GP Sydney, they ended up running 17 sealed GPTs, and a similar number of Standard ones). They're typically single-elimination, Competitive REL, and designed to churn through as many events as quickly as possible so the serious players can get their main-event byes.

Rose_Nightshade wrote:And oh man, so good to know that land will be supplied unless it's a constructed event. Do we have to give it back, or are you given it to keep? Or does that depend on the event?

Well, that's up to the tournament organiser... it's probably polite to return the land when you're done with it, but most likely the event will be far too large for them to enforce it...
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Rose_Nightshade » 30 Sep 2014, 20:49

Ohhhh. Cool, thanks for the info. :) Well I probably wouldn't be entering any of those, as I don't need to get any byes, so no need to worry about that!

I think we are going to try the Foiled Again event for the chance at getting some foil cards, depending on our mood.

On a slightly related note, I just finished painting my nails for the weekend 8D Black with sparkle coat, with Abzan and Sultai clan symbols on my index and thumb nails. YEAH favorite clans.

But seriously I can't stop drafting Abzan in simulations. Auuuggh. I'm concerned our card pool from all the drafting is going to be horribly skewed WBG and we will have barely any RU cards.... but I guess we shall see. Maybe I'll get forced into Temur or something or get a bomby rare/mythic in RU to make me go those colors.

Are the draft pods at GPs 8 people, or do they go 16? 8 is the standard number for a Swiss style draft, right?
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Rose_Nightshade » 30 Sep 2014, 20:52

Ah okay then I'll ask one of the judges before the event starts then if we're expected to return the land or not, I wouldn't want to walk off with it when I'm not supposed to.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Rose_Nightshade » 30 Sep 2014, 20:53

This is all super helpful and kind of everyone btw, thank you alot. You're helping me feel alot less nervous than I was :)
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Phosphatide » 30 Sep 2014, 21:34

On-demand draft pods are 8 people, and it's single elimination. If you scrub out, go ahead and jump right back in line to sign up for another if you're still feeling it.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby VectorZero » 01 Oct 2014, 22:15

Rose_Nightshade wrote:I think we are going to try the Foiled Again event for the chance at getting some foil cards, depending on our mood.

Careful with that. I won a FNM foil Merrow Reejerey from my first GP, and now I own a legacy Merfolk deck ;)
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby tamaness » 02 Oct 2014, 16:04

Rose_Nightshade wrote:Ah okay then I'll ask one of the judges before the event starts then if we're expected to return the land or not, I wouldn't want to walk off with it when I'm not supposed to.


Don't worry about it. Return the lands if you don't mind de-sleeving your deck, but nobody's going to bother you about walking off with the event's basics; the event will have been provided with more than enough lands to support the product they've got for limited events.
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Rose_Nightshade » 08 Oct 2014, 11:48

So the GP is over and done and oh my gosh was it a fantastic experience!

I did horribly (I probably won less than 1/4 of all the games I played, LOL) but every single game was so much fun and all the people and judges were so very nice!

The only 'bad' experience I guess we had was not understanding ahead of time how long the sealed events (foiled again and Sunday super series) were to be played for. Sooooooo many rounds. LOL xD and then a judge not giving my boyfriend complete information on a play that would win a game, causing him to lose (but they gave him a pack to make up for/apologize? for their error, so I guess that's a wash even though he was annoyed)

And then in one draft I passed on a foil Dig though Time in favor of picking an Empty the Pits because I didn't know any better.... (I still regret it. Ugh. I need to study card prices before any GP I go to in the future)

Foiled again was favorite sealed event, because even if you lost you got a pack! :D (and, er, I lost EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. erk. Did I mention I love this game but I'm ATM a horrible player???)

But it was so so much fun and at the end there was a huge box of FREE commons and Uncommons and tokens so we went home with a BUNCH of cards, in fact we have the entire khans set now minus only about ten cards (all of the missing ones are mythics or rares)

The boyfriend won a bunch of packs, I pulled a Flooded strand and we got three of the Khans themselves and a couple more cards for our commander decks and I traded a unglued land for an altered art Chandra card that was super sweet. I played a bunch of drafts and always scrubbed out, LOL oh well though, the only way I can improve my play is to play a bunch and this helped. :)

Thank you guys for all the advice, just wanted to give an update on how it went. :D

So much fun and I'd definitely go again to one!
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Duckay » 08 Oct 2014, 16:01

The only 'bad' experience I guess we had was not understanding ahead of time how long the sealed events (foiled again and Sunday super series) were to be played for. Sooooooo many rounds. LOL xD and then a judge not giving my boyfriend complete information on a play that would win a game, causing him to lose (but they gave him a pack to make up for/apologize? for their error, so I guess that's a wash even though he was annoyed)


Can you provide more detail here? I assume there's a story here. I ask because I've heard people complain in the past about judges not answering questions thoroughly when the answer they were looking for was not something a judge could tell them (eg. just because something is a legal play doesn't mean the judge can tell you if it's an advisable play). I take it that's not what happened here since he was compensated, but I am curious?
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby Rose_Nightshade » 09 Oct 2014, 13:11

Sure I don't mind detailing what happened.

My boyfriend was starting game 3 and the round was supposed to be over. So he asked a judge what they should do. The judge said that whoever drew first blood would win (he had another 3rd game end of round match he played on another day where they were also allowed five turns to draw first blood because they still had a short time on the clock)

Essentially he was told whoever had the lower life total first would lose. That type of event, no draws were allowed because there was no way to do an even prize split in Foiled again.

However the judge failed to mention that you could ALSO win by being the first to GAIN life. (My boyfriend had specifically asked for clarification on 'what are the ways I can win the game in five turns?') So his opponent played a life-land and won. The judge didn't mention until AFTER that had just happened 'oh yeah lifegain will let you win in sudden death five turns as well' so essentially my boyfriend would have kept a hand with life gain lands in it had he been told that ahead of time but instead he mulled to find creatures to hit with. The judge gave him incomplete information on what actions would win the game in five turns when he had specifically asked for those circumstances.

So after much complaining and explaining what had happened - and they even got the head judge involved - they gave him an extra pack.

Overall my boyfriend was just disappointed in the judge not giving him all the information basically.

He didn't stay mad but he was really upset for awhile. Me, I'm just happy we got an extra pack even though he lost on a technicality because of lack of complete info informing a bad play decision on his part. LOL
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Re: Things to know at my first GP?

Postby tamaness » 10 Oct 2014, 07:41

yeah, the judge should have just said that the game was over on the first change of a life total. (MTR 2.5 if you'd like to read the rule.)

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