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Grand Prix Richmond: The Aftermath

Ben shares some of his observations and thoughts from Grand Prix Richmond, the largest Constructed Magic tournament of all time!

What do you do after you’ve run the largest Constructed Magic tournament of all time?

We’re going to Disney World (to run Grand Prix Orlando in October)!

But I’m jumping ahead of myself here. This past weekend StarCityGames.com hosted Grand Prix Richmond, the largest Constructed Magic tournament of all time! We had a whopping 4,304 players for the main event, and hundreds more attended to play in side events, meet the artists, trade, or just hang out with friends.

I had a lot of dialogue with the community leading up to Grand Prix Richmond. I was truly blessed to have so many people take so much from these articles; countless people came up to let me know that the articles helped them feel comfortable coming to their first Grand Prix!

So let me share some of my observations and thoughts from Grand Prix Richmond:

– I truly believe we had a record number of first-time Grand Prix attendees at this event. I hope that all of you who were attending a Grand Prix for the first time had a great experience and that you were treated well by the fellow attendees and staff of Grand Prix Richmond.

– Our staff did a fantastic job running this event. There were so many people involved in the process of planning and executing Grand Prix Richmond that I don’t want to name individuals because I’m sure I’m going to leave people out. Suffice it to say, a huge thanks to everyone who made this tournament such a success (including members of Daily MTG, SCGLive, our judge staff, our admin staff, and our booth staff).

– It was amazing to be able to be at the information booth with Pete (Hoefling, owner of StarCityGames.com) and get to help so many people get oriented at the event. In the past I’d usually headed up the sales booth (mainly on the buyer end) and didn’t have as many opportunities to interact with people. This weekend pretty much the only thing I did was speak with people. Heck, I even live blogged about the experience from the information desk!

– Final tally after the two days I was in Richmond: 28 hugs, 4 fist bumps, and a high five.

– I saw more decks (and binders and boxes full of cards) turned in to the lost and found this weekend than I’ve seen in, well, pretty much ever. A huge thumbs up to all of the honest people who did the right thing.

– I spoke to almost all of the vendors, and the general consensus was that this was the best event they’ve ever vended at. And many of these vendors are regulars on the Grand Prix circuit and also attend Gen Con each year.

– If you have any feedback (good or bad) about any StarCityGames.com staff members, I encourage you to email me directly at ben@starcitygames.com. We’ve already gotten a couple of emails, and if you had a particularly good experience with a certain staff member, I’d love to put a nice note on their HR page!

– The Chinese counterfeit cards are really fake looking in person. I had a fake and a real Batterskull on me and handed them both to hundreds of people. Out of these hundreds of people, 100% of them could spot the fake, and the vast majority (I’d say 95%+) spotted the fake in under two seconds. So it isn’t just me—everyone who came into contact with them noted how obvious they were to spot just by touching or by seeing the light reflect off them in person.

– Things we could have done better and will have worked out by the time Grand Prix Orlando rolls around:

    • Mini-Masters: Signing up and getting people to correct flights was a bit of a mess. We’ve already come up with a much better system for sitting our Mini-Masters next time, and I’m looking forward to making this a much more smooth process.
    • Player Check-In: When you’ve got 4200 people preregistered, it’s a bit of a drag to make them stand in line for an hour to check in for the Grand Prix just so they can collect their Registration Rewards. Again, we’ve already got a new system that we are ready to put in place for Grand Prix Orlando that will obviate the need for these lines!
    • The VIP Experience: Players who ended up in the Pink flight did not get as good a VIP experience as people in the White and Green flights due to the Pink flight being held in a separate ballroom. In addition to ensuring this problem doesn’t happen again, we also believe that we can offer a much greater value for the cost of a VIP experience. We have some amazing ideas for both Grand Prix Orlando and Grand Prix New Jersey, and man I wish these tournaments weren’t six months away because we are so excited about the things we have planned for these two events.

– In addition to sending me direct feedback about specific members of our SCG staff, I encourage you to post any constructive feedback (positive or negative) in the comments field of this article. We are going to strive to top Grand Prix Richmond with Grand Prix Orlando in October (check for flights now—it’s really cheap to fly to Orlando because of Disney and Universal) and Grand Prix New Jersey in November (Legacy!), and your feedback will help us do so.

Again, a huge thanks to everyone who helped make Grand Prix Richmond a success! I’ll be back next Thursday with my latest Building On My Budget (BOMB), when I jump back into Standard with a deck that will blow you away!