Should You Play In Your Own Events?

Should You Play In Your Own Events?

October 21, 2015 | 2 min to read

"Should I play in my own events?"

It's a tough question. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no, and neither answer tells the whole story. The gray area is wide and rocky.

Two WPN store owners are uniquely qualified to navigate that terrain: Dusty Ochoa and Scott Lipp. Both are avid Magic players, Pro Tour competitors, and owners of successful game shops.

The Official Rules

WPN owners and organizers may play in most events, like Friday Night Magic and Prerelease.

They may not play in a Grand Prix Trial or Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier if they oversee that event in any capacity, and are encouraged to abstain from such events entirely.

If I Play, Does It Create a Good Atmosphere?

Scott Lipp's Pro Tour success began with Dragons of Tarkir, and since then he's largely chosen to steer clear of his own events. But he doesn't reject the idea categorically. He sees playing in his own events as a community-building effort.

 

The more you're dabbling into the community, the more it's naturally going to grow.

 

But even in pleasure, business always comes first. Before he joins an event, he'll ask himself, "If [I] play, does it create a good atmosphere?" If the answer is yes, like at their Saturday Legacy events—he's in. But if the answer is no, like at a typical Booster Draft—he sits out.

And when he does play, he finds ways to soften any possible tension. He'll play a less competitive deck or he'll forfeit prize eligibility. He'll even forfeit the match if a player seems uncomfortable.

An Opportunity to Set a Good Example

Dusty Ochoa finds similar ways to soften the tension. For example, when he joins a Prerelease, he'll offer special rewards to players who manage to take him down. But those occasions are rare.

When Dusty's store, Amazing Discoveries, began to take off, he found his love of Magic growing in new directions. Vending at a Grand Prix seemed more exciting than winning one. When he placed second at Pro Tour Dragon's Maze, he used the prize money to buy chairs for his play space.

With those new priorities in mind, he doesn't find it hard to stay on his side of the counter. But he doesn't want to demand the same reserve of his sixteen employees. "We want them playing the game and playing in events," he says.

Much like Scott, Dusty counts enthusiasm for Magic among a store owner's assets. Every opportunity his employees have to play is an opportunity to set a good example.

That attitude is infectious. Winning or losing, if you're having fun, [players] are going to respect you a lot more.

So, should you play in your own events? If you do choose to do it, use it as a tool to grow your store!

By Matt Neubert

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