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Subject: Help / Grand Melee Tournament Advice - dealing with combo's rss

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Michael Becker
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Hi everyone,

After a long hiatus I have decided to try my hand at running a MTG tournament in my local area.

I have decided to host the event as a grand melee. The entry fee is 15.00 and 1 booster pack from any set.

We will be using the following deck construction rules:

100 card singleton
limit of 15 rare and/or mythic rare
banned list (using highlander)

Players will attack left and spells have a range of 1 to the left and right. Every time the player to your left is eliminated you get a random pack as an award (from the entry fee's).

Both of our local area judges are not available to support the event. I am not super familiar with the rules as I haven't played in a competitive tournament since Tempest era.

My biggest worry is unlimited combo's. What rules should I put in place to curb one combo from running the table? I would like a consistent approach to handle any scenario. I would also like extra turns to be limited to 1 per round maximum.

Also, should I put a rule into place to eliminate any combo elements immediately after they have "fired".

Thanks so much for your feedback and help,
Michael
 
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Jerry Martin
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You haven't played since Tempest? The rules are VERY different. There has been two MAJOR rules overhauls since then. You don't even say what format it might be. The only Grand Melee's I have been a part of have all been sealed limited games using 6 packs and create your best 40 card deck.

Trying to stop combos is going to be almost impossible. How are you going to define it? What if don't go infinite, but just for example make 100,000 1/1's. Then kill off an opponent each turn.

I would say you let the Highlander element sort it self out in preventing combos and let the other lie.

Also why $15? Plus a pack. The pack I understand, but 15 for a constructed event is a lot. Typically they are about $5.
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Michael Becker
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I have played lots of Magic since Tempest, but I haven't played a competitive event since then (pre-releases are not competitive imo).

The format is a grand melee event (rules for this are in the following post). Basically all players sit in a circle, attack left, spells have a range of 1 left and 1 right. Eliminating opponents gets you a victory point and a pack. Last person standing gets 3 victory points. Decks are 100 card constructed singleton (ie I believe this is typically known as Highlander these days) with a 15 card rare/mythic cap. I want people to put a bit of thought into their deck on this event. The more someone invests the more hyped they will be to participate.

Back in the day ('95/96) I ran a bunch of Grand Melee events and they were super fun.

The 15.00 entry fee is because we are not playing at a store and there is overhead for the venue. Also, at least 50% of all cash entry fee's are paid in prizes. I wanted to make the prize much more worthwhile than a promo card at a FNM. I have already secured two outside sponsors for additional non MTG related prizes.

I know they are on the banned list but what should I do if someone Time Vaults with Voltaic Key? What if someone goes bomberman combo infinite?

These items will break the fun of the event. Hence my reason to try to get positive ideas from that perspective.

Thanks,
mb
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Michael Becker
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Grand Melee Rules:

http://mtgsalvation.gamepedia.com/Grand_Melee

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rico
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You could prevent the player from interacting with other players with something like:
- When you eliminate a player, your range is 0 until your turn is over. (The cap on extra turns would also help here)
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Dan Regs
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As a certified judge, I personally wouldn't recommend you run this tournament type (multiplayer with prizes is a bit of a mess), but as you've obviously already done significant legwork to set up this tournament by securing venue space (and more I immagine), changing the format is probably out of the question.

I can tell you that what you are looking for does not exist. There is no comprehensive rule, tournament rule, or policy that prevents a player from "going off" and using some infinite combo to burn/mill/attack the entire grand melee - one player at a time.

So if you do introduce any artificial 'house rule' you should make sure that anyone who might attend is aware of it well ahead of time.

[edit] the link above contains the Comprehensive Rules about the Grand Melee format, so that's the best resource for you.

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Michael Becker
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The prizes for the event should be relatively clear cut.

1) If your left most opponent is eliminated you score 1 Victory Point and gain 1 pack.

2) Last person standing gets 3 VP's if the game ends before time.

3) If time is called before the game has ended all players remaining get 1 VP.

Most VP's gets first place. Second most VP's gets second place. If there is a tie for first and second they share the cash.

I am quite confident in managing the multiple active players via tokens. I understand the process for this quite well.

There has to be judges and event staff who have run a grand melee and / or multiplayer game where combo has made a mess of stuff. I would think any multiplayer game could have these same issues.

I have had a few suggestions regarding combo's.

1) ban all 2, 3, and 4 card combo's - not sure of the best way to propose this on our rule / event summary, however

2) If you eliminate an opponent your spell and attack range immediately goes to 0 for the remainder of the turn. If two opponents are eliminated from the same trigger or ability that is fine. This would prevent something running rampant.

3) any combo elements trigger once and then are removed to a zone called "Out of the Game". Any item in this zone can no longer be interacted with by any player for the remainder of the game.

Whatever is decided I will need some popular good supporting examples.

Splinter Twin + Pestermite:
Generates exactly one token? Splinter Twin and Pestermite go out of game.

Sanguine Bond + Exquisite Blood:
If the combo is used together once then both go "Out of Game".

Thoughts? I need to come up with a somewhat defined solution. I am surprised these matters haven't been further fleshed with the popularity of multiplayer commander style games, but maybe I am just looking in the wrong places.

Thanks,
mb
 
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Jerry Martin
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It is because Commander has other built in restrictions.

The biggest of these is the social contract. Acting like a dick gets you removed from the next game pretty quick.

Generally, Commander isn't a tournament game and if it is they are very spread out prizes.

The only Commander competitions I know to be popular are leagues that run week to week and they typically have a point system that discourages fast kills, mass land destruction and taking more than one turn.

This really doesn't work in your case because of one night only case.

Honestly, I don't see how you can prevent it. The only one that makes any sense at all is you have range zero when a neighbor dies.

That really doesn't stop the infinite creature combo though. But if people expect it there will be a lot more Wraths I imagine.

Personally, if I was running this I wouldn't worry about it. Either go with the zero range after a kill rule or do nothing at all. Trying to prevent combos in general is eventually going to lead to you having to make a judgement call that you really don't have any support for. If you have a bunch of people with highlander decks things are going to happen that even the players are not going to expect. Once they see they have a good thing going and then it gets ruled as a combo you are going to have some disgruntled players.

I can see what you are asking for here and I have participated in a few Grand Melee's but they are usually very casual or as I said before a limited format that would remove pretty much all of your worries.

Please post here afterwards to let us know how it went.

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Jerry Martin
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You really need to define combo. It seems like you are referring to infinite combos. The ability to have a group of cards that once activated can be activated unlimited times in order to kill every player playing the game. You suggest limiting all combos to one use.

I can think of a couple right off my head.

What do you do about Goblin Bombardment? Can I only sac one creature to it?
It would seem that normally I can sac more than one, but as soon as I have a method to make infinite creatures I can't?

What about storm? It works as long as it isn't lethal?

What if I make a 20/20 indestructible creature hex proof and unblockable? Is that a combo?

I know you don't want multiple turns in a row, but what about multiple attack phases?

I just think that though it seems easy to "stop" combos it really isn't since there are a lot of different ways to combo out. But all done in different ways that by neutering them you have to neuter a part of the game that in most cases is benign.
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Jerry Martin
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Just to make things clear I am not trying to make things hard on you. I am just imagining that I am a playing coming to your game and the concerns I would have if I did.
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Pete Lane
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Michael Becker wrote:

Thoughts? I need to come up with a somewhat defined solution. I am surprised these matters haven't been further fleshed with the popularity of multiplayer commander style games, but maybe I am just looking in the wrong places.



Jerry is right, Commander is far more of a social thing and if someone gets out of control then the other players focus their energies and squish it fairly quickly.

My thoughts on prizes... in large events like GPs where Commander shows up in side events, they have "bounties." Each player starts the game with a booster pack/prize as a bounty. Then when that person is eliminated, the person gives that prize to the person who knocked them out. I like your VP idea, but think it could be easier just to go with a bounty system since many players are already familiar with it.

My thoughts on combos... this is almost impossible since combos can happen almost accidentally. I know I've stumbles across interactions in my commander decks I honestly hadn't seen before that moment. Then you'll always get the jerk who's researching your rules JUST to find a way around them. "NOPE ACORDING TO YOUR RULES THAT YOU MADE THIS IS NOT A COMBO!!!" Make any format competitive and you get those people looking to exploit.

For me personally, I would just set a base rule... "If a combo that potentially "can go infinite" appears, that player can only trigger it 5 times and then stop and further turns may only use once per turn afterwards." This way people who enjoy combos can still have them in their decks, but it's clear that they won't be as effective. This way you won't have people saying "you won't let me do X combo I'll just find another one he hasn't thought of that does the same thing."

The only other option IMO is ban individual cards that create a potential for combos (like Sensei's Divining Top, storm effects, major draw spells like Sphinx's Rev, and all tutor effects like Demonic Tutor) so that multiple combos are eliminated at once without you having to research them all... killing engines not only discourages focusing on 3-4 turn kills but would also make it so that if the combo were to be found, it would be done organically and be less of a hassle. Yes it's possible to have my two card kill in my opening hand, but more often it will take a lot more work to get it to go off if I can't tutor or draw 5 cards a turn to find the pieces.
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Michael Becker
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for your advice and comments. I truly appreciate them.

I have made a few decisions on the event for better or worse. I am hoping things will pan out and I choose to stay optimistic and hopeful it will work out well and be fun for everyone involved.

If you want to look at my posts and information for the event it can be found at the following link.

If you have further criticism I would appreciate you post it on this forum instead of the linked forum.

http://forums.saskgames.com/index.php?topic=6353.0

Cheers,
Michael
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rico
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Sounds fun! Good job!!!
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