As Round three was beginning, players who used their MaxPoints to skip the first two rounds finally entered the competition. So the real question is: what were they doing all morning yesterday? Well, they certainly weren't on the tournament floor! Most of them appeared to be out for lunch, or just sleeping in. There were rumors that Alex Vansant used his time off to get massage. I did manage to find repeated YCS winner Jeff Jones, and sat down with him for a quick interview.
I sat down with Jeff during Round 2 to ask him about the bye system, how he got here, and what he's playing for the weekend. He felt that skipping two rounds allowed him "more time to prepare" for the day. It also let him scope out the competition and get a sense of what decks and tech cards were being played. While deck lists were already locked in for the bye players, that sort of information can still give a player a huge advantage, which means that extra MaxPoints can be leveraged into both direct and indirect bonuses.
Of course, more time to sleep in is also nice! I asked Jeff how he managed to get enough MaxPoints to get a Round 2 bye—it's no small feat. His method of collecting points was unexpected, but no less valid: friends who couldn't attend the event this weekend gave him their points in the run-up to the event.
After Round 8 I talked with YCS Toronto winner and ARGCS star Patrick Hoban. Unlike Jeff, Hoban arrived in Indianapolis with only seven MaxPoints, but one of his friends spotted him enough points to score the two-round bye. I asked him what his opinion was on the bye feature in the tournament, and he had to take a moment to consider it, having not given it much thought previously.
Ultimately he felt it didn't make much difference to him either way. Hoban stated that he was a fan of longer tournaments, and preferred a higher number of rounds. Despite only having sixty-six entrants this weekend, there are a full eleven rounds of Swiss being played. More rounds means longer events, but it can also help protect competitive players by creating a system of averaged outs: risky decks have more opportunities to fail, while reliable decks have more opportunities to compensate for a bad-luck blowout. Longer tournaments ensure that only the most consistent duelists and strategies make it to the Top 16.
So what were Jeff Jones and Patrick Hoban playing? Jones was running his 50-card Shaddoll Artifact build again this weekend, and noted that this time he was playing De-Fusion in his Main Deck. We saw it in action during our Round 3 Feature Match, where he was able to use De-Fusion to Summon Artifact Moralltach from his graveyard on his opponent's turn. As for Hoban, he was playing Lightsworn Shaddoll. He remarked that he'd recently decided not to play Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress in response to the popularity of Shaddoll Artifact decks. Lyla's often a liability, as it can end up backfiring if used to destroy a set Artifact Sanctum or Sinister Shadow Games.
Both competitors have made it to Day 2, and are now competing this morning for a spot in the Top 16! We'll keep you updated on their progress in these final Swiss rounds.