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I know I'm a little late for Festivus, but the holiday has grown so much over the last twenty years and there aren't any other important holidays during December, so it's really taken over the entire month. I still have my undecorated aluminum (very high strength to weight ratio) pole up and I think I'll keep it there for a while to keep me in the spirit of the season. [That must've been some doll…—Ed.]
Like many of you, I spent my Festivus in the company of friends and family, performing feats of strength and most importantly, airing all my grievances from the past year.
Frankly, the people I love do a lot of things that upset me and it's important to get all the animus out in the open. How else are they going to learn?
But that got me thinking: my loved ones aren't the only people that seem to make it their life mission to annoy me. Nearly everyone in the Magic community (that includes you) runs afoul of my entirely rational and objective sensibilities. I know the player base skews young and maybe a lot of you haven't had enough worldly experience to realize the error of your ways, but that's all going to change today.
For your convenience, I've arranged my grievances into categories. Don't say I've never done anything for you.
We all see the trash that players leave around tournament tables and the disaster that is the convention center bathroom at the end of a long day, but there are plenty of other things that players do to make tournaments less enjoyable for all of us. Here are the three that I find most annoying:
Push your chairs in. Magic tournaments are an exercise in efficiently packing hundreds to thousands of players into a convention hall, making sure they have space to play, judges have space to walk through the aisles, and side events can be fired quickly. Tournament organizers go to great lengths to utilize the space they rent as well as possible. Unfortunately, players go to great lengths to undermine these efforts.
Have you noticed that no matter how much space there is between tables, it's impossible to walk through the aisles to find your next table? Every round is an arduous journey through throngs of other players, but the main obstacle is the mountain range of chairs that seem to be littered randomly throughout the aisles, blocking everyone's path.
These chairs didn't begin like that. When you walk in in the morning, you'll find them neatly tucked underneath the tables, leaving oceans of space in which the players and judges can move freely. But as the players sit down for round after round, they fail to carry out the most basic of courtesies, pushing in their chairs and returning them to their original state.
Instead they see fit to leave their poor chairs open and vulnerable to all manner of abuse from an annoyed public shoving and kicking them out of the way so they can make their way through. I for one will not stand for such chair abuse.
Honestly, it's a minor miracle that the unnecessary traffic jams that result from such inconsiderate behavior haven't caused someone serious injury by now. Every round we're wading through a land mine of potential tripping hazards solely due to the sloth and selfishness of the greater portion of our community. Push in your chairs, people, before someone gets hurt!
Mind the tablecloths. Not content with the wanton endangerment of our precious chairs, you all see fit to take the tablecloths and rip them away from their natural environment, lying still across the tables and protecting our cards and sleeves, instead leaving them strewn about in the most haphazard manner.
I don't even know how this happens. I guess if you're a Neanderthal and drag your things across the table instead of gently lifting them off like a civilized human, you can catch the tablecloth in the process, but who would do such a thing? And afterward, why wouldn't you recognize the damage done and restore the helpless tablecloth to its original, pristine condition? Such carelessness boggles the mind.
I have personally watched a writer for this very website, a colleague of mine, callously toss a tablecloth nearly off the table with a single swing of their backpack and try to walk away, completely oblivious. Now, since this is a community-wide issue, I won't call out this person by name (though her initials are Jadine Klomparens), but I as a prominent member of the Magic community we have to hold ourselves to the highest standards of decorum, so I was particularly disappointed by such selfish behavior. It's deplorable. Egregious. Unfathomable.
Keep your hands down. It happens every round. The judge says "Welcome to Round X. You have 50 minutes. You may begin." Immediately, a dozen or so hands shoot up of players with no opponent across for them, shouting "Judge!" at the top of their lungs so that they may be ensured of their Game 1 victory as quickly as possible.
What happens afterward? Judges go to each such person and give them the same spiel:
"You have won Game 1. Call a judge over when your opponent arrives or when the clock hits 50 minutes, whichever comes first."
Everyone with their hand raised knows this spiel. We've all been fortunate enough to hear it at least once over the years. So what was the point in calling a judge over in the first place? All you're doing is wasting time so you can loudly announce to the room just how lucky you are. Maybe you're worried that your opponent can just claim they arrived on time if you don't call the judge over first, but in what world would that work?
In most cases players don't call a judge often enough. They are there to help us all and ensure the tournament runs smoothly and they're very good at that. But this common call is simply a waste of time. I've noticed judges have started announcing to players before the round starts that they don't need to call a judge immediately for a no-show, and I can't wait until this bit of behavior becomes a relic of the past.
Slow decks like Miracles or Lantern are often lambasted for the issues their pilots have completing matches in the allotted time. But I've often espoused the idea slow decks don't get draws, but slow players. And I'm not referring the Jim Davises and Brad Nelsons that like to enter the tank and take 50 laps, but players whose mechanical operations are unacceptably slow.
The following are a few things that I see players do frequently that add completely unnecessary time to their games and drive me up a wall.