Yorke on Games #34 – Iconic Masters: The Baller’s League

Tired of digging through the bulk rare bins, trying to edge out nickels and dimes of expected value over the house? Sick of sifting through piles of discarded commons and uncommons left on tables after drafts, hoping to fill holes in your collection? It’s time you took care of yourself. It’s time you joined the high rollers in the Iconic Masters sealed league, and treated yourself to guaranteed value.

Iconic Masters is a curated set of cards from throughout Magic’s history, meant to be played together in a limited environment. It is a conscientiously blended product, like a fine cognac, and ought to be experienced and savored, rather than merely collected. Face to Face Montreal’s upcoming IMA sealed league gives players over a month to use their cards in a relaxed fashion—to play what, who, where, when, and how they want—while vying for high-stakes prizes.

For just over the price of 6 boosters (your starting sealed pool), Face to Face Games is adding 2x Iconic Masters boosters per player to the prize pool, plus offering a Top 8 draft consisting of Eternal Masters (pack 1), Modern Masters 2017 (pack 2), and Iconic Masters (pack 3). This is outstanding support: the Top 8 are in for some very special experiences and prizes. And, even if you don’t Top 8: worst case scenario, you got good use out of your cards, and probably have some very nice stuff in your starting pool to put in your binder or trade in for store credit.

To make Top 8, you only need to survive elimination by not taking 11 match losses, and be one of the last eight players standing. To help you do this, after each loss you may add a pack from any expansion from Magic’s history to your league pool: there are no restrictions (outside of Un-set packs and From the Vault packs being off the menu). This is the first league where the standard-legal restriction on punishment packs has been lifted. Will this lead to unparalleled creativity and fun, or a degenerate arms race? Let’s find out!

If you’re like me, you’re already looking forward to ripping a full set of Mana Drains and going off in the league, so be sure to check out the ruleset below for all the details.

Hope to see you bright and early on November 17th for the IMA Baller’s League launch event!

The Fine Print: Iconic Masters Sealed League Full Ruleset

  • Player registration. The start date for the Iconic Masters sealed league is 11am, Friday, November 17th, 2017 at Face To Face Games Montreal. The registration fee is $80, which includes prizes and the six packs of the starting card pool, payable at the store counter. No matches played before that date will count towards the final results. New players may join the league until November 26th (outstanding matches must be played by 5pm Sunday, Dec 3rd).
  • Deck construction. Upon joining the league, players will open 6 boosters of Iconic Masters to make their league card pool. Only cards in this pool, and basic lands, are legal for league play. No trading of league cards is allowed for the duration of the league. Players will construct a 60-card deck from their league pool. The maximum number of copies of any card in a league deck is 4 (not including basic lands). Card pools will be registered on a checklist, which will then need to be checked and signed by another league player before being deposited at the league drop-off box at the counter of Face To Face Games. If at any time a player is discovered to be using cards from outside their league pools in their league matches, they will be considered eliminated from the league and forfeit any prizes they would have earned.
  • Playing matches. Players are required to play a minimum of 3 matches per week, and are allowed a maximum of 3 additional matches above that number, but may never play more matches than the maximum allowed. This means that in Week 1, players can play between 3-6 matches; in Week 2, 6-9 matches; Week 3, 9-12 matches, and so on. Players are not permitted to play against the same opponent more than once per league week (even in multiplayer matches). Players who fail to reach the minimum number of matches per week will be penalized with automatic match losses for any missing matches (without punishment packs), starting at the end of Week 2. Players who break the rules by exceeding their maximum number of matches per week, or who play against the same opponent more than once in a week, will either be issued additional match losses or disqualified at the TO’s discretion. If a player is disqualified for overplaying matches or opponents, that player will be considered eliminated from the league and forfeit any prizes they would have earned. Similarly, bad sportspersonship or other abusive play will not be tolerated in the course of playing league matches, and a player engaging in such behavior will either be issued a warning, match loss, or disqualification, depending on the severity of the behavior. The loser of each match may add a ‘punishment pack’ to their league card pool: that is, the loser may open an unopened booster pack in the presence of the winner, which the winner records on a match report slip, and add those cards to their league pool. Before the loser’s next match, they may use these new cards to improve their deck. The maximum number of punishment packs that can be added to any player’s league pool is 10. Any 8-15 card Magic expansion pack can be added, with the exception of silver-bordered sets (e.g., Unglued) and sets with non-randomized contents (e.g., the From the Vault series). Individual cards must be legal for use in the Vintage format (e.g., no conspiracies).
  • Reporting matches. Winners must complete match report slips (available at the Face to Face store counter), indicating the winning and losing players’ names, the date, the match result (e.g.: 2-1 / 2-0), and the cards contained in the punishment pack opened by the loser, as witnessed by the winner. Misreporting on a match slip will result in a warning; subsequent misreports will result in additional match losses. Match report slips must be put in the league drop-off box at the store before the 5pm deadline on the Sunday of each week to count toward the current week’s minimum play requirement. Records of all league match results for each week of play will be published after via Facebook, along with current player standings.
  • Player elimination. When a players loses their 11th match, they are eliminated from the tournament (a match report slip must still be filled in by the winner, indicating the loser’s elimination) and can play no further matches. Players who do not play their minimum number of matches will automatically take losses (without punishment packs) until they reach that minimum: these auto-losses will count towards a player’s total number of match losses.
  • Optional formats. Optional formats (such as ‘Planechase’, ‘Two-Headed Giant’, ‘Star Format’, and ‘Best-of-Five Games’ and more) are supported for league matches, if agreed upon by all players in advance and use only cards from the players’ league pools. Players must indicate on their match report slip if they decide to play an optional format. Multiplayer matches require multiple slips because they result in multiple losses and thus multiple punishment packs being opened: a 5-player ‘Star’ game, for example, would count as 4 matches being played (the winning player would claim 4 match wins, and the other players would take 1 loss each).
  • Top 8. League winners are determined by elimination. At the end of any week of league play, if eight or fewer players remain in the tournament, we will move to the league finals event. In the event of multiple players being eliminated during the same week, resulting in less than 8 total players remaining, tie-breakers for Top 8 positions among players eliminated that week will be decided first by [A] total # of matches won, then in case of a tie, [B] total # of perfect 2-0 wins, and if these numbers are still a tie, [C] total # of matches played. The finals are typically on the Sunday morning following the last week of league play, though an alternate date may be arranged by the TO. In the finals, the Top 8 players will retire their league decks and receive a free draft. No seeding will occur; seating and pairings will be randomized. Players will build a new 40-card deck from their draft pool and play 3 best-of-three Swiss rounds to determine their ultimate ranking in the tournament. Each league finals match win will count for 3 points, and each pre-finals match win will count as 1 point towards determining final rankings for league players. Players unable to attend the finals can pick up their draft sets at the store at a later time; however they will be given auto-losses in their finals matches.
  • Final prizes. The Iconic Masters sealed league sponsor, Face To Face Games Montreal, has offered a prize pool of 2x IMA boosters for each player + 24 EMA/MM3/IMA packs for the league finals draft. These will be distributed among the Top 8 players based on performance.