Thoughts on PPTQs at the Closing of the Vancouver Season

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Last Sunday was the end of the inaugural PPTQ season, which makes now a good time to talk about how people felt about our experiences with the new structure. I played in two such tournaments during the season, winning the second PPTQ that I entered on Sunday. My experiences with both events were pretty similar, but there are some trends that I noticed on social media regarding PPTQs that are worth discussing.

People Want More Formats

There was a lot of groaning when people saw how few Modern and Sealed PPTQs there were scheduled this season. These complaints were really felt as the season progressed. The few Modern and Sealed PPTQs had high attendance and some even had to turn people away. Additionally, this might not be the norm but the PPTQ that I played on Sunday had a scant 21 players, which was much lower than the 40-50 playing in the one I attended earlier in the season.

There are more Modern and Sealed events scheduled this season and it will be interesting to see if the demand stays high with a greater supply.

Inconsistent Prize Structures are Irksome

I work alternating weekends, which means that I go to the PPTQs that line up on my off-weekend when I don't have other plans. That said, if I did have free reign over which I could attend the SCG IQ infused PPTQs strike me as easily the highest value of any tournament that I've seen in the area. An Invitational Invite, an RPTQ invite and some cash in your pocket is about as much as you could reasonably expect from a small tournament, and I would definitely pass up softer tournaments to play for these prizes.

The PPTQ that I won promised a box of Khans to first with a low turnout or a box of Modern Masters to first if 50 people came out to play. The Modern Masters box definitely would have been sweet, but the turnout was much lower and the box of Khans is on the lower side of prizes that I've seen. Many postings that I've seen show stores offering $200 to first place, which is definitely nice considering that most people will need to book a hotel and possibly take a day or two off work in order to attend an RPTQ.

This is not to say that I have ill-feelings towards my personal experience- the prize was totally fair considering the entry fee for the tournament coupled with the low attendance- but a higher entry fee and cash prizes would be more attractive to me.

It would be nice to see prizes for PPTQs mandated by WotC going forward, but with the events happening so often at so many different locations I could see this being difficult to execute.

Verdict: I Like Them

Last weekend I took 9th at the last real PTQ in Minnesota on Saturday and then won the PPTQ on Sunday. The two results feel rather similar thinking about them now. It would be ideal from my perspective to just have real PTQs every weekend, but this is just not possible.

What I think is great about the PPTQ structure is that as somebody who doesn't care about FNM and who isn't thrilled about spending his entire weekend on the road just to PTQ, I still get the opportunity to play for compelling stakes close to home every weekend that I'm free to battle. This is really awesome, and ultimately outweighs any complaints that I have about PPTQs.

What has your experience been with PPTQs? Love them? Hate them? Chime in in the comments!

Ryan Overturf

Ryan has been playing Magic since Legions and playing competitively since Lorwyn. While he fancies himself a Legacy specialist, you'll always find him with strong opinions on every constructed format.

View More By Ryan Overturf

Posted in Free, PTQ

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts on PPTQs at the Closing of the Vancouver Season

  1. I played 2 PPTQ closed one with final and other with top4, both the times I concede to my opponent because for me is really difficult to go to RPTQ.

    The experience is good, tournaments for 30-60 players are better than Day1 of GP (last PTQ were more or less 9 rounds) and I think there are possibilities for everyone to win a PPTQ.

    In my opinion there are only 2 problems:
    1- here in Spain (and also in Italy) there aren’t PPTQ Sealed and most of them were Modern, I think WOTC has to do something, for example forcing LS to organize a PPTQ for each format (4 seasons, for example: 1 T2, 1 Modern, 1 Sealed and 1 free choice)
    2- WOTC has to put some prizes for LS, if I win a PTQ I have to organize by myself a trip for a weekend and it cost more or less 200€ and it’s really really expensive if the prize for the PPTQ was only boosters.
    If WOTC helps LS with prizes probably they can put some money for the winner.

    In general I like the new way of organized tournament and I think that WOTC with suggestions and experience can improves the quality.

  2. PPTQs in Brazil. The price is very high and in our LGS our PPTQs had 20 people due to costs to play. I understand why the costs are high. We don’t have a level 2 judge in town. We need to pay him all travel expanses and the fee for them to be a judge.

    In Brazil, from what I heard from the LGS owner, the Level 2 judges created a pricing table for PPTQs. They have done “cartel” and no one can charge less than X. This X is not a small fee.

    So, this Saturday we are going to have a PPTQ in my city (Curitiba almost 3 million people live here and we don’t have a level 2 judge – and with changes in how to became one, we are no getting one sooner). The fee to enter will be $150. I have talked to a bunch of people that will not be playing in the PPTQ due to this entry fee.

    So this is the experience we are having with PPTQs. Few people showing up due to Costly entry fee.

    1. $150?! That’s absurd. I do know that some PPTQs in the states ended up having void results due to not having an L2 present…

      I’m sure that it wouldn’t be cheap for you to make it to an RPTQ if the prices are that inflated just to get a judge to you as well. That’s really, really terrible. I would definitely make an effort to contact WotC about this.

  3. Are cash prizes legal? I’ve never understood; does the store have to issue a W-2G with every cash payout? Is the store in any way liable if the player doesn’t report the income, and how are stores able to pay cash and have it not be considered gambling?

    1. You can definitely do cash prizes, but I know that you have to be careful about gambling laws. It’s perfectly legal to offer monetary prizes for skill-contests, but when the prize varies based on attendance you run into trouble.

      The tax issue is a whole different beast, and I’m certainly not qualified to answer that.

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