Build a Better FNM
On January 9th, 2015, 71 players turned out for Friday Night Magic at Pandemonium. Twenty-five were playing Standard, twenty-nine were playing Modern.
The other seventeen were blazing a trail toward a better FNM.
Right on Schedule
After FNM changed in early 2015—all formats, more promos, no minimum player requirement—Brandon Petitpren quickly diversified his offerings, adding programs for more casual players.
Like those seventeen—24% of an already formidably sized night of Magic.
A typical night looks like this:
New options for casual players doesn't mean fewer options for everyone else—Standard still fires promptly at six.
Brandon says adding casual play has even boosted his traditional tournaments—new players get a closer glimpse into that world, which sometimes proves irresistible.
In Pauper, players build decks entirely out of commons. At Pandemonium, it's a free-to-join, low-pressure entry to constructed Magic.
Players each build three decks, no two of which can share a color. Players switch decks over six weeks, playing three matches per week on up to three weekly league meetup nights.
On certain nights, decks are put into deckboxes, shuffled, and issued at random. The deck you get is the deck you play.
Pandemonium has built a terrific crowd around high-level play. That crowd is as strong as ever under the new paradigm.
"We still get mid 30s to mid 40s for Standard and Modern."
All Night: Commander League
Three FNM promos are earmarked for Commander league players.
A "cube" is a draft format custom-built out of cards from Magic's history.
Pandemonium has three, and they're available to any player who can find three friends to join in.
Brandon says it gives newer players a thrill to see classic, powerful cards in action, which is sometimes a starting point into new formats.
But even if it isn't, drawing a new player types is an end in itself.
"The crowd has definitely grown and diversified," says Brandon.
By Matt Neubert