Conflux Prereleases are right around the corner, and there are some exciting new changes! One of these changes is that Sealed Deck events no longer use tournament packs, but instead only booster packs. We're going to focus on the brave new world of booster pack Sealed Deck and what it means to you. This article is focused primarily on the impact to the organizer. In most cases, that's Mr. or Ms. Friendly Local Gaming Store Owner, but players can read, too - we won't bite!
So... no more tournament packs. This is good for you because most players like booster packs a lot more than tournament packs, and you don't have to purchase two separate products to run Sealed. However, there is one thing that was nice about those tournament packs for running Sealed events - the basic lands. Sure, each booster pack comes with a basic land now, but that means each player will get six lands in his or her Sealed pool, not thirty. This poses some issues for you: people need lands to play.
Many stores already have a supply of lands on hand to run Booster Drafts and Sealed Deck tournaments. This supply gets the occasional boost - players donate lands from time to time, you buy a collection and it has a 600-count box of land, and every Conflux Prerelease and Launch Party kit comes with a 400-count land sleeve. This will help, but what's a store owner to do?
We've got some time - let's start with building up a stockpile of land. There are a couple of ways to do this. You could just go out and buy it online - it's fast, easy, and probably cheaper than you think (1¢ a pop is not uncommon). However, there are better ways to do this.
You might ask your regular players if they have any extra lands that they'd give you. If you explain why you need it they'll probably be willing to chip in - most players have scads of basic lands they don't need from all the Sealed events they've played in. You could always find ways to make it worth their while too - store credit works best here, but not too much. This is a thank you, not a purchase.
When you sell product, offer some incentive to return the lands. I really like people to buy more stuff, or to come back later, so I tend to offer discounts on future events. It doesn't have to be much - say, a dollar off FNM this week if you give me the basics from that box you just bought. You could even make that a regular policy - bring, say, 100 lands to FNM, get a dollar off entry. This is another place where store credit shines.
We can put less effort into keeping up with our stash of lands if we can run tournaments without giving tons of lands away. First, put some thought into how you hand lands out. Do you have a limit on how many people can borrow? 25 basic lands is a reasonable cap - that should be enough to sideboard in an entire color!
You should also ask players to put all the basic lands they open in the center of the table. Be sure to collect these lands and throw them in with the rest of the lands. If you start doing this regularly and explain why you're doing it, pretty soon it will be just how things are done and you'll have few complaints.
Do people return lands when they're done playing? It's not like most players want tons of land - they just don't think about giving it back when they're done, so give them some reasons to. You might make them return lands before you hand out prizes. This works great in single-elimination events, because you can make the winner of each match responsible for collecting all the land.
Some stores use a land deposit - collect a dollar from every player that borrows lands, and return the dollar when they return the land. This also seems like a chance to generate additional sales; instead of collecting money up front, hand out coupons for discounts on future events or towards future purchases when land is returned.
You can try to get your players to solve the problem for you - "Bring your own lands, get a free soda." You can put together some kind of "Limited Event Survival Kit" - bundle some sleeves, a deckbox, and 15 of each basic land. You can spiff these kits up by including some Unhinged, Beta, Arena, foreign, or other premium lands - and it's a great way to sell off any pesky Islands you might have lying around. These sorts of kits work best when you pair them with an incentive to return the lands; just give the players that bring their own lands the incentive up front.
This won't make the land problems take care of themselves, but should go a long way towards making it easier to manage. Remember that cards wear out, so take a look at your land stash from time to time and make sure you're replacing things as they get worn. You should remind players that sleeves help a lot when they're playing with communal land, as that stuff tends to see a lot more mileage than whatever cards they've drafted tonight. And remember - you get a land in every booster you bust for singles. Throw that in there too!
* Purchase lands in bulk online
* Ask players to bring in lands—perhaps for store credit
* Offer a discount for bringing in lands
* Reasonably limit the amount of land players can take
* Pool lands that are opened for events
* Ask players to return lands after limited events—perhaps in exchange for their prizes
* Collect a deposit on lands
* Create and sell a reusable limited event kit that includes lands
* Collect the lands out of packs you open for singles
Rock the Conflux Prerelease!