This week in Magic: Your first pPTQ!

pptq 1112015


Welcome to another edition of “This week in Magic.” For this week, we’re going to cover the upcoming pPTQ that will be hosted at the Battleground Games & Hobbies – Abington location on Sunday, January 11. With these major events opening up to local game stores, the idea is that many new players will be making their first appearances at a competitive REL event.


First of all, when I speak of “Competitive REL,” what I’m trying to say is that you’re not a FNM anymore. This is the big leagues and you better be on top of your game. There is no such thing as “Can I take that back?” You’ve got to live with the consequences of your actions. However, don’t let this scare you into never attending a competitive REL event. We all had to make our first appearances. That’s what friends are for, and, hopefully, this article will help you be ready and be confident at whatever event you attend.


Pencil and paper

When I attend an FNM, the most common way many people keep life is with dice. The is completely fine at an FNM, but if you go to the pPTQ on Sunday, I highly recommend bringing a pen and some paper to write on. There are many things that can go wrong, and keeping life total is something you want to make sure NEVER goes wrong. It’s happened to everyone. Don’t be afraid to confirm that both players are looking at the correct, current life totals. There is nothing worse than attacking all out and your opponent contesting that your life count is different from theirs when resolving damage.


Also, get in the habit of making a small note as to what caused the damage. There is no such thing as being too prepared. Unfortunately, there are people out there who try to shortcut things and this, sometimes, can lead to cheating. As long as you’re aware of what’s going on in the game, you’ll be fine.


Buy some new sleeves

My personal pet peeve is dirty sleeves. I’m looking at you Ken Briscoe. At these events, expect to spend money on some new sleeves. It’s one of the best precautions you can take to make sure you don’t get into trouble. Dirty sleeves can actually cause you to get called out for “marked sleeves.” Don’t take any chances.


“During a match, a player may request that a judge inspect an opponent’s card sleeves. The judge may disallow the card sleeves if he or she believes they are marked, worn, or otherwise in a condition or of a design that interferes with shuffling or game play. In the interest of efficiency, the judge may choose to delay any change of sleeves until the end of the match” (an excerpt from Rule 3.10).


In addition, I know a lot of you love your Bacon sleeves. However, when it comes to graphics or anything, I try to avoid them. A nice, plain, and solid colored sleeve will do you just fine.


Some additional good habits

Here are some additional personal things I like to do before every match. As soon as I sit down, I take my sideboard out, count it and make sure it’s all in there. Finding that you have a side board card in your main deck during the first game can lead some serious problems. In fact, I’ve actually begun doing this before and after every match. It only takes a minute or two and it’s worth it.


Shuffling has been a huge issue recently. For reference, here is the entire section on shuffling,


3.9 Card Shuffling
Decks must be randomized at the start of every game and whenever an instruction requires it. Randomization is defined as bringing the deck to a state where no player can have any information regarding the order or position of cards in any portion of the deck. Pile shuffling alone is not sufficiently random.


Once the deck is randomized, it must be presented to an opponent. By this action, players state that their decks are legal and randomized. The opponent may then shuffle it additionally. Cards and sleeves must not be in danger of being damaged during this process. If the opponent does not believe the player made a reasonable effort to randomize his or her deck, the opponent must notify a judge. Players may request to have a judge shuffle their cards rather than the opponent; this request will be honored only at a judge’s discretion.


If a player has had the opportunity to see any of the card faces of the deck being shuffled, the deck is no longer considered randomized and must be randomized again.


At Competitive and Professional REL tournaments, players are required to shuffle their opponents’ decks after their owners have shuffled them. The Head Judge can require this at Regular REL tournaments as well.”


My method of shuffling is taking my opponent’s deck and splitting it in half. I then take one half and shuffle them in between one another. I do this about three or four times. Finally, to avoid any thought I may have manipulated the deck via my shuffling, I’ll cut the deck into three piles; one on top of the other.


In the end, the important thing to remember is that these tournaments have judges for a reason. Even after all that, if my opponent feels something is wrong, they have every right to ask the judge to shuffle the deck.


This leads me to one final tidbit. Don’t be afraid to ask for a judge if you are not sure about anything. Communication is extremely important in this game. Calling for a judge for clarification is always the right thing to do. Just like in school, there is no stupid questions. Not only will you learn from the judge, but it will help with any future problems that may occur.


Wrapping it all up

Remember how I said to bring some pencil and paper? Well this is important because you’ll be required to fill out a deck list. That’s right. You’re required to fill out a form with your name, DCI number, and the contents of your main board and side board. This helps for reporting and to make sure there is nothing illegal in your deck.


The pPTQ this Sunday is Standard, so don’t show up with your Modern UR Delver deck.


It’s also important to get a good night’s rest. Being tired will only make it hard to think, and thinking is 90% of the battle. Also, eat a good breakfast. Not only is it the most important meal of the day, but it will help jump start your metabolism and get the energy flowing.


Finally, have fun. We are playing a card game after all. If you happen to lose, don’t get angry. Sit back and think about what went wrong. Talk about it with your friends. If you learn from your mistakes and improve upon them, you’re guaranteed to go a long way.


That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the pPTQ on Sunday. For more information click here for the Facebook event page. Don’t forget to like this article and share it on all the social medias.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!

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