The Gray Merchants Pre Pro Tour Pro Tour Invitational Post Pre Pro Tour Pro Tour Invitational Write-Up.

An exercise in confusing headlines preceding hundreds of words you probably won’t read by Leo Byron.


Hello! This is the paragraph in which I introduce myself and attempt to woo you into continuing to read instead of skipping to the end, shrugging, and closing your Google Chrome tab. I presume if you’re still here that you’re expecting big things, but instead, I intend to let you down. Immediately. I’m even going to start a new paragraph now, just to make this introduction worse.

I’ve been playing the game (again) for a bit over a year and have never won anything bigger than my draft pod at an FNM. I have never even top 8’d an event. I have come close a couple of times and consider myself an honorary member of Dean Villanueva’s exclusive Top9Gaming club. Perhaps it was out of this that was born my desire to organize an event for merchants only. Perhaps I thought that by limiting the pool of players I would stand a better chance. Perhaps I was wrong. 2-5 wrong.

As it turns out, the quality of player among The Gray Merchants is quite good and we sport the likes of some rather successful players, as well as an awful lot of mono red players, the champion of whom is none other than Rupa Samanta – the namesake of “Rupa Red”, who would end up the victor of our first Gray Merchants Pre Pro Tour Pro Tour Invitational event.


Thanks Rupa

Thanks ObamaRupa.

In all seriousness, I got the idea to set up an event after seeing the design for the playmat and that our group size was closing in on 100 members. To add to this, I decided to try something a bit bolder and make it multi-format. I knew this would make things slightly more difficult, and aside from some sloppy housekeeping (score reporting/me not knowing how to use WER to input scores, etc) and time management, I feel things ran pretty smoothly. This was also articulated in some of your feedback and I’ll be looking to ensure that the administrative side of the tournament runs smoother in future events. We also didn’t have even draft pods and that was something that, while unavoidable, was a bit unfortunate.

I was thoroughly impressed by the generosity of everyone who donated as we had hundreds of dollars in prizes and promos to give away. I must stress to those who attended and those thinking of attending in future that I don’t believe this to be a sustainable model for our tournaments. We will still probably accept donations, however I’ll be looking at alternatives and how we can best deliver a prize structure that is both fair and rewarding. A majority of you were happy to pay a little extra, but there was also a strong message that it should also remain a cheap/affordable event and that’s in line with what I was expecting and what we will endeavor to provide in future.

In my eyes, the event was a success and from the data collected from the exit survey, we can see that those attending mostly agreed.



Seriously, I know this was you, Stephen Tang


Aside from someone going all the way to 11 and myself giving the event a 7, the average score was close to 9/10. That’s great! But it sets the bar high for what we intend to do going forward. To bolster this, 72% of you guys said you were very likely to attend another event and 69% of you wanted said event to be multi-format instead of single format.

But what formats were the most popular among merchants responding to the survey and what formats are merchants interested in playing in a tournament setting? In the words of one Wilfy Horig: ‘Team Formats are Gas’


Team Formats ARE gas!

And you are not alone in thinking so, Wilfy.


There’s clearly a large show of interest in a group of formats that I actually hadn’t [[anticipate]]d. So with an upcoming season of significantly less popular Sealed & Modern PPTQs, it shouldn’t be too difficult for us to find a weekend where we have a less accessible PPTQ, giving us an opportunity to hold our second event, entitled something along the lines of “The Gray Merchants Explicitly-Not-Modern Invitational Weekend Extravaganza!”.

Perhaps I’ll think of a shorter name for the event. I doubt it, but perhaps.

Until next time, Merchants;

Stay devoted.


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