Madrid was the first of Bazaar of Moxen’s new Tournament Series for 2016. The series consists of six three day events across Western Europe throughout the year culminating in a qualifier only event. Madrid (Feb), Annecy (May), Strasbourg (July), London (tbd), Paris (Sept) and Brussels (Nov) are the BOM events. The planned schedule for each event will be last chance qualifiers on Friday, Standard and Legacy on Saturday and then Modern and Sealed on Sunday, with side events, Old School, Vintage and Cube going on throughout the weekend. Focusing on Legacy, the six events have a prize pool of €5000 each (in BOM Points) and the qualify only event €10,000 (again in BOM Points)
Julian Knab has done an indepth review of this years three EU tournament series to help you decide which series to attend.
Travel, Location and Amenities
The event was held in the Marriott Hotel very near the airport. This obviously made it easy to fly into Madrid and not have to travel far, especially helpful if you had late flights on Friday and Sunday booked. I suspect it was worse if you wanted to arrive by car as the parking didn’t seem ample. Also going into the city to visit Madrid proper would have taken a while and if you wanted to eat anywhere other than the hotel or stay somewhere else you may have had issues.
The hotel itself was very nice, with great rooms, a very large buffet breakfast and two bars. The price seemed reasonable as well with a twin room for two nights with breakfast and taxes coming to €210.
There were also four vendors at the event. Magic Bazaar, Cartapapa, Arcana and a fourth one I forget.
Things started on time on Saturday morning and I had a walk around for the first two rounds thanks to my byes. There were 136 players in Legacy and only what looked to be about 40 for Standard. I think even though future weekends will have larger turnouts the difference in size between Legacy/Modern events and Standard/Sealed events will continue, and so, if prize money is your only concern, seriously consider playing the smaller event each day
Due to the size of the turnout I don’t think the Vintage or Old School events fired and the BOM Annecy trial on Sunday only had 10 people! I am certain however if you are planning on going to Annecy for Vintage and Old School that you will have lots of people to play against as there has always been a great turnout for those events. There were 214 players for Vintage at BOM 9 in 2014.
The play space was large with enough distance between the comfy chairs. There was also some bottled water provided which was welcome. The organisation at BOM events has been very good in the past and it was here. They have always been happy to try and sort out problems and I think their long experience at event management bodes well for the future of this series. Hopefully BOM will find a venue for the London event soon.
The Legacy event went well for me, finishing second in the standings at the end of the swiss. The round I played on the feature match table was an example of BOMs attention to detail. Plenty of space, lots and lots of dice and tokens, and clearly labeled play areas combined with a judge for each match really made it comfortable to be on camera. Losing in the quarter final I finished in 5th-8th places for 1000 BOM points which equates to about €200 and 450 mana points. These mana points qualify you for the end of year event and you need 1000. One apparently gets 50 for registering for the main event so I think I am on 500, but have yet to confirm this.
Here we can see you the BOM points are distributed, remembering that 5 points = 1€ (ish)
Considering that the entry for the tournament is €40 you have to come in the top 16 to make it worthwhile. This might not be a problem for a tournament with fewer than 150 participants but it could be depending on future event size. Another issue is that the players from 25th – 45th all finished on 15 points but prizes only went down to 32nd. I won’t argue the merit of distributing prizes based on final points total vs swiss standings but people should be aware of the importance of tie breakers in this system. BOM also need more than one person manning the Prize Wall at the peak times after a big event ends, it was a bit of a scrum with 100 people all trying to see what they could get with their points.
The standard of competition seemed pretty good. I think as the prizes are not amazing, unless you are hoping to play all 6 locations and qualify for the finals, players are there because they love legacy. I found all of my opponents very friendly as well.
On Sunday there were 106 players for Modern and 46 for Sealed. The organisation was just as good as the day before and I sat down to 7 rounds with G/R Eldrazi. I went 5-2 with this deck to come in 22nd and get my entry fee back. The deck was utterly boring to pilot, my build was not great and this was the second time I had played Modern in about a year. But Eldrazi was (and only time will tell if it still is) incredibly broken, every game felt like I was playing a Legacy deck.
‘I talked to a few judges and they were super friendly. Oh and one guy misread the situation and tried to dismember a Reality Smasher with Mimics trigger on stack BUT he actually said okay to the Mimic trigger already
And he got very angry and the judges had to calm him down. The judges were good. Not holding back but staying firm and fair
I also talked to a few of the judges and they were generally eager to talk about magic even though I didn’t know any of them
Really made me feel good about coming, even though I scrubbed out R6.’
My roommate for the event Lauri Achte
The judging staff at the event seem really well coordinated with the BOM organisers and I certainly agree with Lauri on their quality. I also had an interesting judge call. Against Miracles in round 5 (I think) we got to the third game with 5 mins on the clock. There were already some judges around the table as we had had two calls already. My opponent asks the judge if we need to bother playing the last game with only five mins left! After being told to get on with the game my opponent changes some sideboard cards and we start. His turn one Scalding Tarn, think, tank, pass the turn takes a while and I get visibly impatient. He certainly can not win in five mins (now two), but I can. We get to turns and the game ends in a draw. After the game the head judge interviews me about the match and asks my general feelings about the time my opp took to do his actions, ‘Do you think he needed to board in game three?’ and things like that. I told the judge I didn’t know his deck so couldn’t really comment on his sideboarding decisions, and didn’t really think that he was intentionally slow playing. I found out later that they had done an investigation into slow play as the judges around had obviously thought something was going on. My opponent didn’t get disqualified but I think this story goes to show that the judging staff BOM have are proactive and very competent.
Overall I think that BOM Madrid was great. My friends who went and did not win any prizes enjoyed themselves which is probably the best proof of a good, well run event. We magic players always gripe about prize support, but the fact there are three companies putting on large, international and competitive Legacy tournaments throughout this year should be cause for celebration and I hope that you can get out to one of them and show your support.
Look forward to seeing you in Annecy !