Hey guys it's Diego, OrangeSamuraiD here with a judge report from Florida's first ever major One Piece Card Game event hosted by Pro-Play Games. This was a huge event with over 500 players in the main event and several side events going on through the weekend.
So I am originally a Yu-Gi-Oh! Player. I played from release all the way to Duelist Alliance. Always repping Gladiator beast through thick and thin. Later on I joined up Pokemon and played XY format until they announced that they'd keep BW in expanded for longer so I just decided to stop because I didn't want to backtrack and buy all those BW cards for expanded. So One Piece is my first Bandai TCG and and I played since its inception by even going as far as buying the Japanese Starter Decks to play with friends alongside using translation sheets. For judging I helped judge some local stores with Super Pre-Release, judged Pro-Play Games' Deck Limited Battle Webcam event, judged a Half-K tournament at Versus Games and most recently judged Miami Treasure Cup.
Day 0: Friday – The Ride
So as you'd know I am from Central Florida so its about a 4 hour or so drive to Miami. Not the worst. My friends Daniel (also a judge), Alex, Matthew and Rojas carpooled and left around noon. While there we made a few stops, namely looking for Blisters at Targets. Rojas pulled some rare Yu-Gi-Oh Card named "The Bystial Lubellion" and its worth a pretty penny from what I hear. Also I had brought some Blisters my friend Lee had sold me a while ago that I wanted to open in Miami so on the ride to the hotel we opened a few blisters (posted the videos on my socials) and it was just all rares unfortunately. We get to the hotel, the DoubleTree which was conveniently within the convention center venue for Treasure Cup (Thanks PPG for the event room discount). We walked around the hotel for a bit and met up with Ben one of the judges for the event and chatted. We were starving so we ended up doing Hotpot/Kbbq.
After that we went back to the hotel and playtested the rest of the night.
Day 1: Saturday – The Main Event
Day started for us at 6:30am as both Daniel and I had to report to the venue at 7:30am. We got ready and were warmly greeted by the PPG staff, George Machado, PPG's CEO and our Head Judge Nate. We immediately started working and set up tables.
Once we finished we went downstairs to help direct people into either go upstairs to scan the QR code to enter the wait list for the main event or come to us to validate their check-in and give them their participation prizing. Pretty much that's what we did for a few hours until we went back upstairs and just walked around the floor answering any questions people might have. For the most part we just wanted people to be good with the sleeving situation as a lot of players weren't aware that in this game you cannot have clear sleeves at all. They must be fully opaque as in you are not able to see the card back through the sleeve. Another thing we look for was players leader cards. We allowed Top Loaders and mini-snaps but unfortunately those magnetic sleeves were deemed too big. Lastly was the biggest one looking out for "spicy" sleeves or other accessories like playmats and deck boxes. Don't get me wrong. I too can appreciate "spicy" accessories but let's keep that off of events where there's families and children present. It put us in a bad light and it could make or break a kid's ability to play this game because a parent might see that there's perverts out there using near-pornographic sleeves or other accessories in front of children.
Event started around 12:00PM or so and it was announced to be over 500 players big with a whole 9 rounds of Best of 1 swiss until there is a lone undefeated player and then tomorrow there would be a top cut playoff of top 16 Best of 3 matches.
We had a player meeting and went over some rules of the game along with End of Time Procedures. With that, Miami Treasure Cup was underway. We initially had some setbacks with the player Best Coast Pairings App and players were unable to input their match results but our judge team was there to help any player who had any issues and in the later rounds the problem went away. Most of the rounds went smooth sans a few issues with players having issues with End of Time as they claim they weren't aware of the rules. However, the rules were stated at the player meeting. 2 Turns each or 5 minutes of extra time, whichever happens first then if the game isn't over it goes to tiebreakers which were highest life, deck count, characters on board and who took life last before the game becomes null (which thankfully it never came to that). Other than that most common judge calls were for things like people forgetting to set their life and we had to come in and repair the game state. Everything was fairly organized and each judge had a respective section that we had to oversee. At one point I did become the stream judge for Round 8 which if I recall correctly was the Kid vs Law match (Law won). We were told to be on Twitch to read the chat so it was fun seeing familiar names from the Discord chatting up there.
Besides that there weren't many issues with the tournament itself but rather the venue. The Miami Airport Convention Center doesn't have the best reception. Had some friends on ZERO phone service and I on AT&T was sitting on like 1 bar of service. Another thing was that the venue at one point got extremely hot. Which I get, there's over 500 souls inhaling and exhaling. I was there last month for the Otakufest convention and the hall we were in was the hall they used for the rave and it was also very hot back then too. Neither of these things were on the TO. Thankfully the venue staff provided a refreshment area with plenty of water and cups that never ran out and introduced some fans to help with air circulation so that was a plus.
As the day came to a close, a top 16 was declared and one of our locals Brandon Corpuz made it through so that was awesome. He's an amazing player. Unfortunate that some of the homies bubbled out or had to play each other through as the tournament progressed. Most notably my friend Fern Castellanos who got 20th and my The Worst Generation Podcast teammate Garrett Farrington who ended up 19th one of his two losses was Kyle Waple who also had an amazing run, made top 16 and blinded us with his 4 Manga Shanks and serial Luffy Leader in his deck.
Congrats to him making top cut btw I hope he can get the 4 Treasure Cup Choppers to use in his deck. After the tournament wrapped up, the judges helped distribute the prizing for the Top 128 with their Event Pack prizing and Top 64 with Treasure Cup Chopper prizing and then called it a day. Thankfully several Central Florida friends made that Top 64 cut. Jeff, Cameron, Hunter, Dae Han, Frankie, Jackson, Fern and Garrett so congrats to them on their prize cards.
Day 2: Sunday – Top 16 + Side Events
Same deal as Saturday, we got up at 6:30am to report to the venue at 7:30am. Top 16 players and onlookers started to trickle in as a group of judges were performing deck checks for the top 16 players. Not much action here until we started the top 16 matches.
I was in the Top 16 area for that round but as the hour passed by around 10am we started doing side events. 8 man pods for point prizing which could be used to redeem for valuable items like toys, plushies, tcg accessories, cards or even Super Pre-Release Starter Decks. This was a super interactive experience because people just kept signing up for the event so I was managing multiple pods at time along my other judge partners Fernando, Danny and Joel. While all that was going on Top 8, 4 and finals were taking place. Andrew Dovale ended up winning the main event going undefeated 13-0 through the whole event and won every Top Cut match 2-0. Incredible feat by an incredible player. I look forward to seeing more from him in this game.
After that a 3v3 team wars side event did launch but it was on the other side of the room and was still managing my pods so I didn't get to see much. At around 2pm or so we started to get ready for the biggest side event that started at 3pm. A 256 person side event for a Treasure Cup Chopper card. Ultimately the demand for the event became so big that we lifted the cap and the event ended up with over 280 players. An amount bigger than Treasure Cup Australia or Treasure Cup Las Vegas. So due to the new player count the tournament became an 8 round swiss tournament with no top cut and Top 4 would get a Chopper while Top 8 would get some Event Packs.
This event went a lot more smoother and quieter than the main event mainly due to the prizing. Only Top 4/8 get something so being x-2 is already pretty much being eliminated so there were a lot of drop outs every round. Not many big judge calls were made beside no-shows where we had to go and award the player their win but also drop the no-show or having us come to every table to help them out with the end of time procedure. Ultimately day 2 of the event went on for a whole lot longer because we had a whole 8 round event starting at 3pm while Day 1's main event was 9 rounds starting at roughly 12pm. As the event was winding down I got cut and I decided to walk around and hang out. I opened some blister packs with some new friends and got to watch my friend Sagar (Kid) vs David Rodriguez (Law) at table 1 of the final around of the Chopper Side Event. Unfortunately Sagar did not get the win but David Rodriguez had been insane all tournament long because I was watching his matches in the side event pods earlier in the day.
That Law deck was absolutely cracked. With that day 2 came to an end and so did Florida's first ever major One Piece Card Game Tournament. It was a phenomenal experience to be a part of this event. Even if I didn't play I would still wholeheartedly say I had an insane amount of fun being there, meeting all sorts of people. Whether they were brand new people I met for the first time, followers of the page, Facebook friends, YouTube friends or Discord friends. It was an absolute pleasure seeing all your faces in person and it made proud to see how big this One Piece community is. This game is still in its infancy and it's already pulling such incredible numbers and bringing all this attention to other TCG players.
I do want to give some shout outs to some special people I finally got to meet at the event. My friend Janak aka Johku of eccentric hats and custom card notoriety.
It was a pleasure finally meeting you brother and I hope to see you around in future events. All my Discord homies, Reis, Kite, RayRamz, Fake. Loved threatening to ban you on the discord <3 . My friends from Facebook who always support me: Ryan, Wynter, Eliott, Giancarlo and everyone else who came by to say hi to me. Each and every single one of you is the MVP and what makes this community great. Again, just like I tell everyone I'm just schmuck that loves One Piece and I just want to do everything I can to raise awareness for this game and have it be successful and this weekend proved that we're heading in that direction.
Lastly, special thanks to George Machado for giving me this opportunity to be a part of this incredible event as part of his judge staff. Nate for being a great head judge for the event and also thanks to my team members Daniel, Danny, Joel, Fernando and Ben for being amazing judges. It was a pleasure working with you all. Thank you all for reading if you made it this far and as I wrap up this Judge Tournament report I am getting ready for Treasure Cup Vegas hosted by Play!TCG inside the LVL UP Expo.
See you guys in Vegas!