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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Dec 29 2008 10:19am
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This is the introduction.  It introduces my topic. 

Todays topic is Player Rune events, or PRE's.  The last PRE Primer I remember was back in May, when Alpha_Centari1 wrote an excellent primer for the MTGO Site.  It has a lot of good information.  This article isn't intended to replace or usurp that work, more to piggy-back off of it and add onto that fantastic article.  The basics to keep in mind are very elloquently summed up in his article:

  1. PREs offer tournament support for unique and interesting events.
  2. PREs are free to enter.
  3. Many PREs offer cool prizes.
  4. Some PREs don't require you to win any games to be eligible for prizes.
  5. PREs are FUN – you can meet great people and enjoy the game at the same time.

If those things interest you, keep reading!  But if you're not interested in free, fun Magic Online events, I'll direct you here.

What are PRE's?

PRE's are Player run events.  They are events that aren't tied to your official MTGO ratings, and aren't endorsed WotC in any way.  Events in a PRE vary wildly from format to format and there are usually a lot of formats to choose from, most of which are in formats that aren't supported by WotC (Meaning Classic, Extended, Standard, Block).

Most important place: WotC Message Boards.

How do PRE's work?

They're almost always run via the chat in the client and the WotC message board.  Usually the thread on the WotC board will have a room to join like "/join pez" or "/join pdc".  Once you join these rooms you will see other players and the Event Organizer will start explaining the system.  The Organizer will handle the match breakdowns, and handle the results and pairings for each round.  For the 1 on 1 games, most games are played in the Anything Goes room (which you can get to by clicking Menu->Play->Casual Play->Anything Goes.  For multiplayer games they are played in the Multiplayer Room (Menu->Play->Casual Play->Multiplayer).  If the tournament organizer has made any rules about table creation they will say it during the announcements at the start of the event.  Once the game is complete, both players need to report the game to the results room, which again, should be communicated during the announcements at the start of the events.  Usually it's the name of the event room and the text "_results".  But not always.  If you're confused, ask in the main room about what to do.  The Event Organizer is there to help you enjoy the event.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  There feels like a lot going on and a lot of clicking around.  And there kind of is.  Howver, after a couple of events you'll start to get a feel for the way things generally run.  

What PRE is right for me?

Format: PDC/Pauper

The grand royal poombah of PRE's is Pauper (aka PDC)  There are a number of different 'flavors' of Pauper, all of which fill different roles. 

Here's a quick breakdown of the common types of PDC:

Block Standard Extended Classic

The easiest to break into format of all of them.  The cost, even for a complete set of the Block cards right now, is very reasonable.  It's also the easiest to prepare for this format as there's relatively few cards to memorize.

A 4x set of Alara commons would run you 22.8 tickets.

The next easiest to enter, and a bit more diverse of decks since there are a bit more cards to choose from.  You have a more cards to think about but the benefit is that you can start to get away from Block-centric themes and focuses.

A 4x set of Standard Commons would cost 89.96 tickets

It will take a bit more involvement to enter this format.  The decks are more diverse than the previous two formats, but the cards are a bit more powerful.

A 4x set of Extended commons woud cost 211.32 tickets.

The biggest, baddest and most expensive Commons format online.  More cards doesn't really mean more deck options since each card is being compared against the best of the best online. 

4x Classic Common set would cost 760.04 tickets

PDC/Pauper has a thriving community, lots of decks to use and is just a lot of fun.  It also has an entire path of steps for budding players.  Starting at Block PDC you can evolve your collection and decks into Standard, into Extended and into Classic where you can also play in the PDC queues for official pack prizes!

Important Pauper Link: www.pdcmagic.com!

Format: Peasant

Next up is Peasant.  Peasant's rules are similar to Pauper but with a twist...it uses paper rarities for rarity decisions and allows up to 5 commons between the main deck and sideboard.  The list of cards can be found here.  That thread also houses the event information. 

Who should be interested?  Those that are interested in stepping beyond PDC or want to unleash a bit more power in their decks.  If you feel like you've hit the top of the PDC power curve and want a bit more, Peasant is a great next step.

Format: Classic

Classic - Even though there are a couple of official events each week, those are on the weekend and mostly handled by expensive, top-tier deck.  For those interested in the format but don't know if they're up to the level of the PE's, the Wednesday night Classic event is a great way to get your feet wet.  It's a single elimination instead of Swiss, which makes the event go quite a bit faster for most of the players.  The difference between Single Elimination and Swiss is that in Swiss, you're able to play each round regardless of whether you've won or lost.  In a single elimination tournament you are no longer in the event once you lose.  Most events are Swiss, but some, like the current Classic PRE is single elimination.

Who should be interested?  Anyone interested in the Classic format but is unable/unsure about attending the weekend events.

Format: Multiplayer

Multiplayer Extended FFA (Free For All) -  If you enjoy multiplayer magic, here's something for you.  Beware!  These are some cutthroat Multiplayer players.  This isn't like sitting around your kitchen table and goofing off.  Failure to bring a strong deck will be evident pretty fast. 

2HG Extended - 2HG stands for "Two Headed Giant".  A format where you and a partner share a life total that starts at 40.  You try to kill your opponents (who have the same setup).  Plan for anything and everything to be thrown your way with this format!  Build decks to assist your partner and decimate your enemies. 

Who should be interested?  Anyone who loves Multiplayer Magic!  There can be a lot of fun in Multiplayer Magic, just don't expect what you're used to in paper being the norm for the online format.

How do I find them?

The best way to keep up on them is via the WotC Message Boards' Player Run Events Forum.  It will list them all.  The names in the thread titles aren't really helpful if you don't already know what they mean.  If you're confused about the terminology in one of the thread titles, click the links to read more about the format.  I also added some descriptions in the section above that should help you determine which event is right for you.

What are the rules?

The rules vary from event to event, so be sure to check the thread that you're interested in for the nitty-gritty details regarding the format.  Generally there are custom banned lists, custom restricted lists, custom event items and more.  The general overall rule is to have fun and be respectful.  Especially important is to take it easy on the event runner.  They're giving up their time to try and help the format that you all enjoy.  Hassling them is foolish and short-sighted in the extreme.  If you like the event enough to play a PRE you probably don't want to be scaring off the people that are organizing them.

Who can join them?

Anyone and everyone.  That's the beauty of these things.  They have no costs associated with them, just the time it takes to build the deck and the fun of playing in them.

How can I help?

Bring other players!  The more players the better.  The more players, the higher the likelihood that WotC may support your format with events or a filter.  That's what happened with PDC, it happened with Classic long ago, and could happen to your format if you can keep participation levels high.  And even if WotC doesn't pick up the format, more players means more fun and more decks to play against.  

Join the events.  This is probably tied for importance with the one listed above, but you need to attend these events to keep them running.  The first word of the event is the key to the success of the event: "Player".  With "players" the "player run events" will sputter and die.  

Donate if you wish to.  Some events are almost entirely supported by the players themselves via self-sponsoring events.  PDC ran this way for a long while, as did Classic.  Fortunately, sponsors have stepped up and started providing support via coupons, gift certificates and cards. 

Learn how to run an event.  After a while you may wish to increase your involvement in the event itself.  A great way to do this is learn how to run an event and take over the hosting duties from time to time.  This allows the hosts to avoid the burn-out that being a constant host can cause.  Many hands make lighter loads, and all that.

I've found one I like, what can I do to help it grow?

The biggest thing you can do to help a PRE you like is to bring more people.  This is made somewhat complicated thanks to the rule of "no advertising PRE's in the general chat" rule.  So how do you get the word out?  While playing, of course!  Get into the casual room, advertise the deck format, and talk with opponents who wish to play in the format.  Inform them that you're practicing for a FREE event in the format and ask them if they'd like more information about the event.  They may say 'no', and that's okay.  PRE's aren't for everyone, yet. 

This is the conclusion.  This concludes my topic.

Thank you all for reading this and I hope to see you in PRE's in the new year!


by JMason(Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 12/30/2008 - 03:29
JMason(Unregistered)'s picture

I would say that for the vast majority of common cards it is unneccessary to plan your purchasing. Almost all commons are always in stock 24 hours a day at the large bot chains for 2 or 3 hundredths of a tix, so I generally only buy a card at the moment when I need it for a particular deck. I don't even always buy a playset since I might never need them.

 The only times when I might vary this are for the money cards (say Armadillo Cloak) when I will search out the best deal possible on mtgo, ebay, the www or wherever. I also might buy a playset of the current set if I judge that it is generally made up of playables: I bought a playset of Alara, but only in the 3rd week after release when the price had dropped to something reasonable.

by hamtastic at Tue, 12/30/2008 - 06:32
hamtastic's picture

A good point!  That 760 tickets number was more of an interesting tidbit than a statement of necessity.  I've actually seen people wonder what a 4x Common set would cost... and now I know. :)

I'd say that building up a tournament worthy Classic Pauper collection is actually way less than that, probably a small percentage of that price actually.  Something closer to 10% (aka 76 tickets) would probably get you the cards to build almost any deck in the format.  In fact, 76 tix might even be a bit more than necessary as well.  I may have to do some number crunching when the decklists from events start to flow into the homepage, just to get a feel for what it would cost to build every deck in a top 8.  :D

awesome article hammy by Salgy at Mon, 12/29/2008 - 16:38
Salgy's picture

Great article hammy like always and just like hammy said bring your friends to the PREs or people you run into chat.  but becareful because some players don't like certain members because they belong in a certain clan and if they see you advertise for a event, that person is hosting they will bad mouth you or talk trash to you.  I'm not trying to discourage anyone from advertising but just advising, i dont want anyone advertising then all of a sudden being insulted.  But as someone who tries to play in as many PDC, Free for All, and 2-HG events i encourage all to come out and try the event out a couple of times.

Nice overview by paul7926 at Tue, 12/30/2008 - 01:26
paul7926's picture

A nice overview of whats about in the way of PRE's.

I have to comment on the relative costs that you put up for the PDC 4-off common sets.  Whilst I'm sure your data is 100% correct I felt it was a bit missleading.  For block, at 22.8T, you would probably be advised to get a full playset of everything anyway.  Other than the collectors out there I can never see getting a Classic playset of everything, at 760.04T.  Sure Classic is a bit more expensive but I'm sure that you could build four or even five of the Tier 1 decks for under 100T. 

I guess it depends on the individual.  If you love deck building then spend your 22T on all the cards in block and create away.  If you are happy net decking and just playing spend your 22T on the best classic deck in the style of your choice.  Either format is just as easy to get into in a competative way.

I just didn't want the 760T price tag on Classic to put people off.