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Old 01-29-2009, 12:32 PM
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zbeg zbeg is offline
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Default Seattle area stores and TOs

These are based solely on my experiences playing around the area, so your mileage may vary. I figured I'd throw this into its own thread rather than on page 3 of the other thread because I'm narcissistic that way.

Berserk Games
Location: Greenwood neighborhood in Seattle
Days they run events: FNM only. I think they start at 6, and do so promptly.
Formats: Standard most of the time, I think they do draft once a month.
Space: It's a little crowded, but they have a signup list. You can call in advance to get your name on the list so you can play, because once they fill up, that's it. I used to think this was lame, but if they had many more players, there would simply be no place to play.
Players: Quite a bit on the young side, so if that's not the sort of thing you like, then it can be irritating. It's not particularly challenging, so getting prizes is pretty easy.
Prize support: Just ridiculous. I'm pretty sure if you walked in, fell down, bloodied your nose and dropped from the tournament, you would still get ten packs. If you like prizes and you don't mind younger players, this is the place to go.
Tournament organizer: Nothing notable. The tournaments are adequately run. Nothing stands out at all.

Comic Stop (Everett):
Location: Everett mall
Days they run events: FNM only. They start absurdly early, like 5pm or something insane.
Formats: I think it's always Standard.
Space: A little crowded, but not horrible.
Players: I haven't been there in a long time, but when I was going there, it wasn't a cakewalk.
Prize support: Average.
Tournament organizer: I can't remember the Everett guy's name, but he seemed nice enough.

Comic Stop (Lynnwood)
Location: Lynnwood, near the Alderwood Mall
Days they run events: Thursday at 6:00pm I think.
Formats: It's always Standard AFAIK. And I think it might be free. It used to be free.
Space: There's a good amount of space in the back. I don't recall being cramped or lacking elbow room.
Players: I really like the crowd that plays there. Generally pretty friendly and laid-back. Players there tend to play real decks and do so competently.
Prize support: When I went there, the tournaments were free, so there wasn't prize support. But I took a job in Tacoma last June so getting to Lynnwood for an event is essentially impossible for me. It's been a while.
Tournament organizer: George is a very nice guy, although he got in trouble a few months ago for running FNMs on Thursdays (complete with FNM foils as prizes, which is apparently a no-no) and playing in his own events under a fake name. It actually comes off as sketchier than it was, because I really believe George wanted his players to have the best experience, so he would have the "fake person" only when there was an odd number of people so they wouldn't have to get the bye. No, it wasn't the right thing to do, but I think his (misguided) intentions weren't particularly nefarious. He did get into trouble with the DCI, I think he lost his sanctioning for a bit, but now he has it again and as far as I know, everything's being run on the up-and-up.

First Pick Games
Location: Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle
Days they run events: Wednesday at 6:30pm, Friday at 7:00pm. They also run unsanctioned Standard on Mondays and occasionally do things on Saturdays as well.
Formats: Draft every Wednesday and Friday
Space: It's not terrible, but it can be a little difficult to get around when the room is full.
Players: Though it's not as insane as it was a few months ago, it's still easily the highest level of competition in Seattle. And the players there are generally really cool guys.
Prize support: Store credit only.
Tournament organizer: Genuinely caters to their customer base and the store seems more focused on having a good place to play rather than making a profit. That's great. My only complaint is that they can be a little disorganized. Sometimes my store credit hasn't been put into the system and I have to convince them that yes, I did win the last draft and should have $15 of credit. I'm 100% convinced this is not a ploy to cheat their customers; it's just sloppiness. Also, there was a problem getting their sanctioning in on time, so drafts there have been unsanctioned for the last couple of months. That said, this is still by far and away the best place to draft in the Puget Sound area.

Genesis Games and Gizmos
Location: Redmond
Days they run events: FNM at 6:00 and Sunday at 2:00pm
Formats: FNM is always constructed. Sometimes they'll mix it up and do a 16K Extended event. Sundays are always limited, usually a draft of the current set but every month or so they'll do something off the wall like 2HG or Mirrodin block draft or something.
Space: Infinite. It's a spacious store with lots of elbow room.
Players: Generally pleasant. It's a mix of skill levels, but the top ends of both the draft and constructed nights can be pretty challenging.
Prize support: Option of store credit or packs. The prize support is really, really good.
Tournament organizer: Jeff Hoy really seems to work hard at becoming a better TO. He seems interested in making the correct ruling and will hunt around gatherer rulings and Saturday School to make sure he gets the rulings right. He's also a very nice guy and I really enjoy playing in his events.

Monster Gaming
Location: Burien
Days they run events: FNM at 6:30
Formats: Alternates between Standard and limited.
Space: Sam organized the store to be more efficient, and since then I've had plenty of room to stretch out and play Magic comfortably. It can be a little cold in the winter (the store is in a basement), so bring a sweater. Or a parka. OTOH, it's nice and cool in the summer.
Players: It really seems hit and miss. Some weeks it's like a ghost town and there are exactly eight people for an FNM. Other weeks there are 16-20 players. There are some younger players there, but some of the younger players really seem genuinely interested in "breaking out" of the crappy deck mold and are trying hard to improve their game. I feel like in a few years, they could be really strong players if they get a little bit of support. YMMV, but I find the obnoxiousness level of the people there quite low. The events aren't particularly challenging unless someone named Eng (or a cousin of an Eng) shows up.
Prize support: Average to solid.
Tournament organizer: Sam has been running that store for a while and he's so amazingly patient with the kids. He's a fan of the game and the guy's a saint. Even when I feel like the challenge of the events isn't great, I always feel generally okay about playing there because I like supporting Sam. I think his player base is dwindling, and I'm not sure why. It might just be a result of the economics of the world right now.

Shane's Big League Sports Cards
Location: Renton
Days they run events:FNM at either 6 or 6:30, I forget.
Formats: Alternates between Standard and limited.
Space: It's really cramped. There's not a lot of room to move around. At all.
Players: This seems to vary wildly. I hear Alan Comer plays at FNMs there from time to time. Other times you don't have to play against Hall of Famers. It just really seems to depend on the phase of the moon. In terms of pleasantness, it's fairly average.
Prize support: Store credit that they ask you use that night. They have singles and such, so if you're looking for things, you can get them usually. Or you can just pick up packs.
Tournament organizer: Events tend to finish fairly quickly. There's a giant clock that lets you know when the round's going to end. Shane's a super nice guy and he's another person who I always feel largely okay supporting. If you're into celebrity watching, various WotC employees will make cameo guest appearances from time to time, as Wizards is like three blocks away. Want Mike Turian to walk by just as you're making some horrible play mistake, causing him to shake his head? This is the place!

Uncle's Games
Location: Redmond Town Center
Days they run events: Every Thursday at 5:30pm
Formats: Draft three times a month, then Constructed the other week. The format varies and tends to mirror the current PTQ season.
Space: It's average to being on the spacious side.
Players: With the exception of one person (whom I want to set on fire for being the most annoying person in existence), I really really really like the people there. They're fun and extremely pleasant to play against. Some stores have players whom you simply don't mind; the difference is the people at Uncle's are people I actively like. The events there aren't particularly challenging, but I always seem to have a good experience when I go there regardless.
Prize support: Average. They do have packs of older stuff, so I'm loading up on RGD draft sets.
Tournament organizer: Hands down the best TO you'll find at that level of event. James Lee runs his events extremely well. He makes good rulings, does a great job explaining the rules (no matter how complex the situation is) in a way that is very clear to all parties, and he does a great job of marrying fairness with compassion. And he's also an extremely nice person *and* he's funny and entertaining. Getting to Redmond to fight traffic on a weekday at 5:30 is a bit of a pain for me, but if my Thursdays are free, I try to make it there mostly because he runs such great events. He's that good.

World of Collections:
Location: Edmonds
Days they run events: FNM and occasionally Saturdays I believe. I don't know what time their FNMs start.
Formats: Standard/limited for FNM.
Space: A little on the cramped side, but not terrible.
Players: I have to admit my experience here hasn't been great. The first time I went there, I got yelled at by two different players for "playing a netdeck." One player tried to bribe me for a concession. Not...good. The times I've played there has been a joke. I did a triple Lorwyn draft where I got a fifth pick Mulldrifter (one of four Mulldrifters that draft) and a ninth pick Briarhorn and a thirteenth pick Pestermite. It was one of those drafts. Weirdly enough, Gavin Verhey was in that draft as well (but not in my pod). It's like walking into a gym for a game of pickup basketball and seeing a bunch of people with bad hand-eye coordination who are dribbling off their feet...and Carmelo Anthony.

Did I mention I got yelled at for playing a netdeck?

Prize support: Horrible. They will work you over. It's really, really bad.
Tournament organizer: The best thing I can say is that they seem nice. And I once got a pretty good deal on a John Elway plaque. Aside from that...it's a mess. They were arbitrarily doing pairings (by hand, not using DCI reporter) until Eric Reasoner went there once and pointed out that this wasn't actually the sort of thing you do if you want to remain, you know, sanctioned. Even with DCI reporter, they don't do draft seatings. You just kind of sit down wherever you want in your pod. So when I went there for a draft, someone pointed out who the good players were and who you didn't want to sit next to. Sketchy much?

Small sample size:
Game On
Location: Puyallup
Days they run events: FNM
Formats: Standard/limited for FNM.
Space: Pretty spacious.
Players: Assuming there are any, they seemed fine. Well, Chris Dodson was there the last time I was there, and he steals things. So Chris Dodson excepted, they seemed fine.
Prize support: I don't remember.
Tournament organizer: Fine, I suppose. The reason why I'm putting this in the "small sample size" section is because I haven't been there in like two years. I hear most of the playerbase siphoned off to other places. They also are militant about closing on time, so even if there's an event going on, the place shuts down. This was almost a huge SNAFU with City Champs a couple of years ago, but some of us were able to convince Wizards to move it to Shane's.

House of Flying Monkeys
Location: Spanaway (just outside Tacoma, or maybe it's a suburb of Tacoma...I'm not sure)
Days they run events: FNM and Saturdays
Formats: Standard/limited for FNM, Extended and Legacy? Vintage? I think on Saturdays.
Space: A little small, but not horribly so.
Players: Seemed fine at the time, although I only went there once. The TO put my DCI# in wrong and now some douchebag down there is telling everyone that I committed DCI fraud. So there's the "after the event giant douchebag" factor. Though admittedly this has resulted in a fair bit of entertainment from my friends who enjoy asking me, "Whose DCI number are you playing under today?"
Prize support: Seemed okay. Or maybe a little better than okay.
Tournament organizer: Seemed nice enough, and seemed nice about trying to fix this wrong DCI number thing. I suppose you could fault him for making a typo on a DCI number, but that seems like an honest enough mistake. I'd consider going down there again, but it's a little out of my way unless I'm working late.

Miscellaneous TOs who don't have stores:
Cascade Games
Events they run: PTQs, upcoming Grand Prix: Seattle, Prereleases
Prize support: Not horrible, not great. I know renting out a room in the Seattle Center is expensive, so I don't expect a ton here.
Tournament organizer: I thought they were okay because I didn't have anything to compare them to. Then I played in PTQs in places other than Seattle. I quickly gained appreciation for the way Cascade Games runs their events. And they have a website they keep up to date, which is a bonus. And they judging tends to be pretty good at their events.

Anything involving Eric Reasoner and/or Tony Mayer
Events they run: Mox Standard events, Draft Extravaganza
Prize support: Pretty flippin' good. These guys aren't getting rich off their events, that's for sure.
Tournament organizer: If you want to support Seattle Magic, go to anything Eric and/or Tony put on. Seriously. Eric's one of the most selfless people around and seems way more motivated to do something good for the community than he is about turning a profit. Tony is equally selfless and deserves all the support you can throw at him. If you attend no other events ever, attend anything these two put on. Walk seven miles in the snow (like Robin Alberg and her brother did) if you have to. It's important. There's one coming up next month. Save the date. Go. Have a good time. You'll be helping your fellow Magic players when you do so. Oh, and the events are immaculately run and very well-judged.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:54 PM
Eelco1972 Eelco1972 is offline
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There is also an Uncle's Games at Crossroads Mall, Bellevue. They run FNM on Friday, alternating Standard and Drafts. The judge at those tournaments is Brian (forgot his lastname, sorry) and those tournaments are run very smoothly.
Uploading of the tournaments is usually done the same evening or the day after.

I like this initiative. Thanks ZBeg.
If i'm establishing myself a little better, i would like to be added to this list.

Thanks,

Eelco
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:41 PM
Aceman Aceman is offline
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Really good stuff.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:47 PM
ajr ajr is offline
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Wow, thanks for putting this together. Just a couple of comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by zbeg View Post
Berserk Games
Location: Greenwood neighborhood in Seattle
Days they run events: FNM only. I think they start at 6, and do so promptly.
I believe they actually start at 6:20, but it is prompt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zbeg View Post
First Pick Games
Location: Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle
Days they run events: Wednesday at 6:30pm, Friday at 7:00pm. They also run unsanctioned Standard on Mondays and occasionally do things on Saturdays as well.
Formats: Draft every Wednesday and Friday
Space: It's not terrible, but it can be a little difficult to get around when the room is full.
Players: Though it's not as insane as it was a few months ago, it's still easily the highest level of competition in Seattle. And the players there are generally really cool guys.
Prize support: Store credit only.
The unsanctioned standard on Mondays starts at 6:30, and pays out in packs, not credit. I think (but I'm not certain) prize support is two packs per player, with every player getting at least one pack and the rest heavily weighted towards the winner. Tends to have 6-8 players.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:06 PM
theotherwong theotherwong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eelco1972 View Post
There is also an Uncle's Games at Crossroads Mall, Bellevue. They run FNM on Friday, alternating Standard and Drafts. The judge at those tournaments is Brian (forgot his lastname, sorry) and those tournaments are run very smoothly.
Uploading of the tournaments is usually done the same evening or the day after.

I like this initiative. Thanks ZBeg.
If i'm establishing myself a little better, i would like to be added to this list.

Thanks,

Eelco
No offense to Brian, who is a fine TO, but business really seemed to drop after the first TO, Gabe left. He was really an awesome guy to be around, especially since he was there when i first started playing in Lorwyn.

Also Zaiem, how long did it take you up to type this all up?
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:09 PM
lol2hot4u lol2hot4u is offline
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A+ reviews on Shane (Shane's) and Sam (Monster). I love supporting both of those guys, they're both awesome.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:14 PM
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MattHague MattHague is offline
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Yeah I really can't say I'd recommend Gameon either. They probably aren't even running anything anymore anyway. I once watched Alex Hughes' opponent try to kill a silver knight with a pyroclasm here and the judge ruled that yes his knight was indeed dead because Pyroclasm is a "World effect."

Flying Monkeys was alright for a while, but then I'd show up and everyone not named Berg would suddenly decide they didn't want to play for whatever reason. I wasn't a douchebag or anything so I guess they just didn't want to play if they thought I was going to win anyway. Pretty defeatist if you ask me, I used to show up to FNM at the south hill Wotc store every week and lose to Troy or Nelson Eng. (I think those are the right Eng names, so damn many of them around here)
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:38 PM
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I assume this board has the capability of "sticky."

This thread definitely deserves it.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:43 PM
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FYI House of Flying Monkeys is closed.

I should do this for south of Seattle...
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:41 PM
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I think you're being unfair to Cascade's prize support. In the previous system when he could buy the product at the low premier TO rate, he offered great prizes on prereleases. The prizes were WAY better than for prereleases in other parts of t he country. He could have gotten away with less, but chose not to. I can only assume that the recent poor prizes are out of his control. Maybe that information isn't important for this topic, I'm not sure.

Anyways, this is a great post. If it could stay fairly up to date, it would provide a huge resource for the community.
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