By Drew S.
In the last article, I explained what I work on to get everything ready for the prerelease and release. Now, I explain what I do during the big days.
First up is the prerelease. The prerelease always happens the weekend before the release. The prerelease is a chance for Magic players to play with the new cards before they are official on sale. For both prereleases, my day starts earlier than normal. I arrive at least an hour earlier than I normally do. That gives me the time I need to clean up from the previous day’s events (Friday Night Magic for Saturday’s prerelease or Saturday’s prerelease on Sunday.) Typically cleaning up involves taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom and tables, and vacuuming.
When I’m done cleaning up, I put up any extra decorations I have for the event. Frequently, I try to get balloons to place around the store. For the Return to Ravnica prerelease, I got combinations of balloons in the guild colors. I try to use the last bit of time before opening the store to set up the additional tables and chairs.
At 11am, I open the store. For most of the prerelease, there is a small crowd waiting to get in. As the players wait for the event to start, I work on registering everyone. All players need to have a Duelists’ Convocation International number (more commonly called a DCI number). Repeat players typically already have a DCI number. For newer players, I work on having them registered.
Once everyone is registered, the event is ready to start. To actually run the event, I use the Wizards Event Reporter. WER is Wizards Event Reporter: the event scheduling, running and reporting tool for the Wizards Play Network. The WER makes it easier to run Magic events. The software suggests how many rounds to run based on the number of players. Each round, the software determines the new round pairing using an algorithm I don’t fully understand. The WER also determines the player’s standings based on a large number of factors. For those interested, you can read the full manual on Magic tournament rules. The WER is what determines tiebreakers determines pairings. This is what the players should be mad at if they drop in standings at events.
After all of the rounds are played, I get to give out the prizes. That is my favorite part of the event. I try hard to make sure at least 1/2 of the players get to leave with what they would consider a good prize. Once in a while, I’m not able to do that. At the Gatecrash release event, we had almost twice the number of players that I was expecting. I was only able to give out prizes to a few of the players. I used that situation as a learning point and revamp how we give out prizes. Now, more players should receive prizes.
When the last player leaves our last event on Sunday, I’ve been at the store for about 12 hours. I will lock up the store and worry about cleaning it on Tuesday.
During the week leading up to the big release on Friday, I receive my shipment of cards. Before Friday, I will put all of the new items into our inventory. Then,I will spend several days re-pricing all of the current card binders. I like to have the most current card prices. When that’s done, I will open between 1 and 3 boxes of the new cards, organize them into common, uncommon, and rare/mythic, and them price out the cards. This way the cards are ready to be sold on the release day.
The release is always Friday. The event is ran similar to the prerelease events (I use the same procedure of registering and using the WER), but the release event will last longer than most of the other events. When the last player leaves, I will be at the store for about 13 hours.
The prerelease and release events are very time consuming for me. However, I enjoy running the events. For many of the players in the area, the prerelease or release event is the only time I get to see them. I bet you thought I was done with a new set of cards after the release. Not yet. I still have a few events to organize after the release. I’ll explain them in my next article.