Monday, October 5, 2015

WER: Sealed PPTQ Top 8s

This past weekend, my area hosted two Sealed Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers to celebrate the release of Battle for Zendikar, and I also got a few messages from judges asking about the best way to handle their top 8 brackets in WER. There are two things that make this a little complicated:

  • WER won't let you make pods for non-draft events, and these events are Sealed.
  • WER defaults to pairing the top 8 by seed, which isn't any good for Sealed PPTQs. Whoops.
Given the problems that draft pods can cause with WER, it might not be a bad thing that you can't create a pod for these events ;)

Let me back up a little bit. If you're not familiar with the format guidelines for Sealed PPTQs, the top 8 draft portion isn't paired the same way as the top 8 of a constructed PPTQ. Instead, players are seated randomly around the draft table and then paired according to where they sat. The play-draw rule still applies as it would for a seeded bracket, using standing after the Swiss rounds.

Here's the draft seating chart from the MTR:

And here's the draft bracket from the MTR:

Note that in this bracket, the first seed isn't necessarily playing against the eighth seed. They could be playing anyone.

Randomizing Seating

There are a bunch of ways to randomize seating. You can use the seating function in WER and uncheck the seating by name box. You could also use dice, Magic cards with different converted mana costs, or any other randomization method. You do not, however, want to generate top 8 pairings and use those to determine seating, because these aren't random; they're based on Swiss standings.

Creating Pairings

The bracket above reflects the appropriate pairings. Here are some tricks to remembering how it works when the bracket and seating chart aren't available:

  • In the first round, each player plays against the player sitting farthest away from them.
  • A player can't play someone sitting next to them until the final round. They also can't play anyone who would have played someone sitting next to them until the final round. This means they'll be playing someone who was sitting two seats away.
WER won't create the correct pairings for the quarterfinals or the semifinals because it defaults to the seeded bracket pairings. You'll have to manually update the pairings to reflect the randomized draft bracket by using the Edit Matches screen.

Be extra careful with the semifinal pairings. WER will default to pairings that are based on Swiss standings if it can, and they're probably not correct. I recommend writing out a bracket like the one from the MTR, filling it in with the players' names, and entering the WER matches for the entire top 8 when the tournament is finished.


  1. When performing a cut to Top 8, if you select "Random" instead of "Standing" it handles the correct seating for a draft Top 8. I can confirm this past weekend, as #1 seed faced #3 seed at my PPTQ in the quarters.

  2. I can't check right now since I don't have a WER running but last time I checked you could create random pairings after you made the cut-off in WER and seat the players according to these random pairings. That saves you from having to create all the Top8 matches by hand...