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You know when someone comes up with a really good idea and as soon as you hear it, you think to yourself: “Ooooh that’s a really good idea; I wish I had thought of that!”
When I was at the Premier Tournament Organizer conference in Paris in March I heard about something new that had been tried at GP Mexico City in January of this year that was huge success. It was one of those great ideas, and although I didn’t think of this good idea, but I’m sure going to use it.
Traditionally, the Sunday Super Series is one monolithic tournament on Sunday morning that drags on into the evening. But we have rethought the event: rather than having one large event we’ve chopped up the Super Series into a collection of eight qualifiers that will each produce a single champion, who will move on to the finals draft. Each qualifier will be a single elimination event run at competitive REL.
This opens up all kinds of interesting options! We no longer have to restrict the event by format: because the top 8 will be Shadow Over Innistrad draft, we can run the qualifiers as whatever format we like! In fact, our breakdown is something like this:
4 Standard qualifiers
2 Modern qualifiers
1 Legacy qualifier
1 Sealed qualifier
The other great thing is that we no longer need to run the event exclusively on Sunday. We are putting three qualifiers on Friday, two on Saturday and three on Sunday. This gives everyone a chance to play in a Sunday Super Series qualifier event. Show up on Friday with nothing to do? Play an SSS Qualifier. Scrub out of the main event on Saturday? Play an SSS Qualifier. Show up late on Sunday? Don’t worry, there is still a qualifier starting as late at noon on Sunday. The other cool thing is that everyone is welcome to try to qualify as many times as they want.
So when are these qualifier events?
Friday, 1pm – Standard Constructed
Friday, 3pm – Modern Constructed
Friday, 5pm – Legacy Constructed
Saturday, 3pm – Standard Constructed
Saturday, 4pm – Modern Constructed
Sunday, 10am – Standard Constructed
Sunday, 11am – Sealed Deck
Sunday, 12noon – Standard Constructed
This opens up some really interesting opportunities for competitive play at the GP. First off, you’ll notice three of the qualifiers are on Friday! This means there are three major events happening on Friday! Already have your byes? Come grind for the Super Series!
Next you’ll see two are later in the day on Saturday. These ones are timed specifically for the competitive players who are unfortunate enough to run bad and end up X-4 early on in the day. Still not done trying to win a plane ticket? Just jump into an SSS Qualifier and win your seat at the draft.
And of course, the last three will be on Sunday morning. This will help give the classic feel of the SSS where there is a huge tournament Sunday morning.
These events are single elimination. That seems pretty cutthroat at first, until you look at the history of the SSS. Lately, when run as one big event, these events are so huge you’re playing eight or nine rounds of Swiss in a system where X-2 doesn’t make top eight! Under the new system, one loss means you’re out, but the old system meant two losses and you were out. Now at least when you lose you know it’s done and you can play something else for the rest of the day, or even another SSS Qualifier to try again! Who remembers putting in a 9 hour day grinding the SSS only to see the final standings go up with you in 10th place. Sure you won a box, but the whole box tastes like sadness and defeat. I’ve always felt that single elimination was a system with more reasonable expectations.
We are excited about giving this a shot! It’s our first GP and only the second time this system will be tried world wide. Still rather play a super huge event on Sunday? Don’t worry, our Modern Face to Face Games Open will still be a huge event with 25,000 tix worth of prizes (for the entire side events schedule for Grand Prix Toronto, click here)! We hope this improves people’s desire to play the Sunday Super Series.
Now if this system catches on, I’ve got to wonder: how long before someone wins an SSS qualifier on Friday, plays the main event Saturday, wins the main event Sunday by 6pm, then jumps into the top 8 draft for the SSS and wins that too? Real life “double queueing” for plane tickets. Only time will tell!
See you at the Grand Prix!