(Metagame Archive) Look Out! Here Comes the Spider-Man!

By Brian-David Marshall

If you’ve read my last two columns here on Metagame.com, you’ve probably noticed my unsubtle plugs for the Web of Spider-Man Sneak Preview event that I’m organizing this weekend at Neutral Ground in New York City. There are going to be tournaments on each day, and it will be the very first opportunity players in North America have to play with the exciting new Web of Spider-Man set for the Vs. System TCG.

You have already seen previews for several cards here on Metagame.com, and the two-player Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock starter was released several months ago. Green Goblin, Goblin Glider, Sunfire, Mysterio, Jackal, and Rocket Racer—a personal favorite character from my childhood—have all been discussed, previewed, considered, and dissected here on Metagame.com and various Vs. System message boards.

The time for talk is at an end. This weekend is the time for action. There will be Sneak Preview tournaments all over North America, and players will have the chance to play Sealed Pack with the new Web of Spider-Man set before it goes on sale in most areas.

I’m going to walk you through what you can expect to happen if you decide to attend one of these events around the country.

First, find an event near you by consulting the following list of Sneak Preview tournaments that are taking place this weekend. Some organizers are running them on Saturday, some on Sunday, and some are running them on both Saturday and Sunday. There are even some Sneak Preview tournaments being held at midnight on Friday if you are the impatient, insomniac, or obsessive type.

Once you find out where the closest Sneak Preview tournament is to you, you need to figure out how to get there. If you are reading this, you know your way around the Internet and can figure that part out for yourself. MapQuest, train and bus schedules, and so on, can all help you find that information. Find out what time you need to arrive for the start of the event, and make sure you allow enough time to get yourself there. While most locations will be running small events throughout the day, there are a limited amount of extended-art Jetpacks given away exclusively at these tournaments on a first come, first serve basis.

Once you reach the tournament on time and sign up for a Sealed Pack tournament, you will be asked to fill out some paperwork. This will probably include giving the tournament organizer some information so they can contact you about future Vs. System tournaments. Some organizers only ask for email addresses, while others prefer print mailings and ask you to provide that information. You will also have to fill out some information for a free UDE Membership, and you cannot play in an official tournament without a UDE number. This is a PIN that will be associated with your name, and will help you track your record in tournaments. The rating you receive from playing in official UDE events can earn you invitations to future Pro Circuit events if it’s high enough and is also a great way to track your performance as a player.

Once you have filled out all this information, you will be entered into the MANTIS software program that UDE organizers use to run their tournaments. A player seating will be generated and posted. You will be directed to take a seat and will listen to some announcements from the judge and organizer about how the tournament is going to be run, what prizes will be given away, and give you the ground rules for the site you are playing in. Each player will receive five packs and a deck registration checklist. You will check off the contents of the packs and then turn the cards and the checklist back into the judge staff so that the decks can be randomly redistributed. When the cards are redistributed, the cards you receive will be the cards you paid for when you signed up for the tournament. Everyone is asked to register someone else’s cards so that there is little room for chicanery.

Now it’s time to build your deck. You have to hone seventy cards down to a deck with a minimum of thirty cards. You need to chisel away the extra cards and sculpt the best possible configuration. Keep an eye on how many characters you have at each recruit cost along your curve and try to stick to no more than two team affiliations if possible. Pay attention to characters that have loyalty and make sure you can support them. It does help you to play a subpar character if all the other characters with that affiliation in your card pool are more expensive than the character in question.

Once deck construction is complete, another seating will be posted for your first round of play. Each round will allow you one hour to play three games, and the player who wins two of those three games will win the round. If you win the first two games, the third game is not played. You will also be given a match result slip for you and your opponent to fill out after each round. Many tournament organizers will run these events with only Swiss rounds, which means that you can play every round regardless of your record in the event.

There will also be booster drafts throughout the day and additional flights of Sealed Pack based on demand, but just playing the game is not the only reason to attend a Sneak Preview tournament this weekend. Nothing makes a player better than seeing the best players in your area in action. These events are going to be a great chance for you to get to know your local Vs. System community of players. There will be abundant trading, networking, and playtesting opportunities at these tournaments, and many a long-lasting friendship has its origins in a TCG tournament.

If you have never played in a Vs. System tournament before this weekend, then a Sneak Preview tournament should be just the thing to get you started. If you are a tournament-savvy pro, then you can get a leg up on the new qualifier season by playing with the format that Sealed Pack Pro Circuit Qualifiers will soon use.

I will be running events at Neutral Ground in New York on Saturday and Sunday. The doors open each day at 10 am and the first flight of Sealed Pack will begin at 11 am. Try and be there . . . or at any of the events near where you’re located. Trust me—you’ll have a great time.

Click here for information on the Sneak Preview event near you.

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