By Omeed Dariani
Saturday is usually the biggest day of Magic at Origins. The convention is in full swing, all the players have arrive and there is always a large event to greet them. This year, the event is the Amateur Championships. Several hundred people filled the ancillary Magic area to compete in an unprecedented event. Players prepared Standard decks to face one of the toughest metagames ever, knowing that the competition would be limited to players who have never acquired a Pro Player Point. One key to success in this unique situation is anticipating the level of the metagame, which is not a typical issue in professional tournaments, where it is assumed that all players will be excellent and have access to an unlimited card pool. Here, these assumptions are not practical.
Many players were happy to play in an environment where there were no Jon Finkels or Mike Longs who are expected to win. In fact, no one seems to be a favorite in this huge and mostly unknown field. Some amateur competitors, like Jim Ramsey, were pleased with the fact that a fresh face was guaranteed to win a major tournament, stressing that, even locally, most areas have a Pro Tour player or two, who are very difficult to beat.
Because of the amateur nature of the tournament, there were some interesting issues during registration. At one point, the judges' table was swamped with requests to review player decklists. So many players showed up that more tables were required and half of the tournament was moved outside the assigned area and over to another exhibit hall. This created some logistical problems and forced several judges to become traffic directors. It took longer than expected for all of the four hundred plus players to locate seating, delaying the tournaments a little but the organizational skills of the staff kept allowed for some smooth sailing after the initial problems.
The field is extremely diverse, more so than any recent Standard tournament. Deck archetypes vary from the popular Angry Hermit, Stompy, Bargain, Accelerated Blue, Replenish and Flores Black designs to older decks, like The Rock and His Millions, Trinity Green, Nether Spirit/Contamination, Ponza and Rebel Weenie. We'll have more developments as the field develops.