What is Eventlink?
This module will introduce Eventlink, the new scorekeeping program that Wizards of the Coast put out for local stores to use, including for online events. Eventlink is currently still in beta testing, so some features may change, but it is freely available to local game stores and is ready to scorekeep small online events from home. Unlike Wizards Event Reporter (WER), Eventlink is used in a browser on any device rather than being a piece of software that you have to install and update. Stores can access Eventlink at retailer.wizards.com, and they can easily add users as scorekeepers so that they can run events from their own Wizards account.
Why use Eventlink?
If you are working with a local store and running small events, Eventlink is a great choice for running the event. It doesn’t currently have some features that are important for larger events, like being able to go back and change incorrect results or manually update pairings, and you cannot access Eventlink without logging in to work with a store. Eventlink does its pairings and standings using the same algorithms and tiebreakers that are used for WER. That means output from Eventlink should be familiar and make sense to players in your event. Other 3rd party scorekeeping solutions may not use the same algorithms and could cause some confusion or frustration for players who are used to the WER system.
Another advantage of Eventlink is that it is connected with the MTG Companion App, which is currently also in beta. Using the app, players can register themselves for your event using a code you provide, and they can also get their pairings and enter their results through the app. Players without the app can still be entered in the event and report results directly to you, but this is a convenient feature that reduces the burden of scorekeeping the event.
Eventlink is also accessible from multiple devices through a browser. If you refresh the browser or open the page on another device, everything is just how you left it. That means if you have a computer issue, you can switch to your phone or another computer easily. You can also pass off an event to someone else with an account for that store to finish up without any problem, in case multiple people will help run a single event.
Finally, events scheduled and run through Eventlink will count towards a store’s status with Wizards of the Coast, however that is being tracked at the time of the event. That is helpful the the store maintaining status and getting cool perks for their players.
Getting Access to Eventlink
To get access to Eventlink from a TO, you need to get someone who already has an account associated with the store to log in and use the store settings to add your account by email address. Once that’s done, you should be able to use the same Wizards account you use for other Wizards websites to log in and access the store’s events.
Scheduling Events in Eventlink
To schedule your event in Eventlink, click “create new event”. Name the event anything you want (but hopefully something informative about what the event is), and select the appropriate format and structure of the event. You can also choose to schedule the event for a date and time in the future if it isn’t happening immediately. For “venue”, there isn’t an option for online events, but those are currently allowed, so just leave the default in that box. You can also include an entry fee if there is one, and you must include a description of the event. That could be as simple as “Arena Standard Event” or as complicated as a full explanation of the event and potential prizes. Any field without an asterisk is not required. Then just click create event and check to make sure the event appears correctly on your agenda. This can be a little bit buggy, so you may need to try again on a different browser if you experience issues with this step. You can open an event by clicking on it in the “month” calendar or “agenda” view.
When you open an event that hasn’t started yet, you’ll see a code. Players can enter that code in their MTG Companion app. That will add them to the expedited players list so that all you have to do to complete their registration is click on their name.
To register players without the companion app, you can add them by entering their Wizards account email address. (Right now, you cannot add players by their Arena ID or DCI number or any kind of local player database, but the capability to use other identifiers than email addresses might be added in the future.) If the player prefers not to give you their email address or if there are errors with that process, you can also add players as “guests” by entering their first and last name, although you will need to provide their Arena ID manually to their opponents so that they can play. Make sure you do not start the event until all players are added. You cannot add players once you have paired the first round as of the current version of eventlink, although that is likely to change as the program continues beta testing. Until that functionality is available, just be sure that all players are entered before you start the event.
Running the Event- Eventlink Side
Once you have your players registered and choose to start the event, the pairings will be automatically generated. Players with the companion app can see their pairings on the app. For all other players (and if anyone is experiencing difficulties with the app), you’ll need to post a copy of the pairings. For an in-person event, there is an option for printing pairings and match slips. For an online event, you’ll want to create an image or PDF of the pairings to share. To do that, you can print the pairings as a PDF. For small events, it is sometimes easier to just take a screenshot of the pairings and share that image, because they look reasonably nice in Eventlink. The pairings will have Arena IDs and names included, and you should give players 5-10 minutes to connect with their opponents if the event is online. Once your players are paired up, there is an integrated 50 minute timer. You don’t have to use that for any time limits, but you won’t be able to end the round until you start the timer, because the timer button turns into the “end round” button.
If you are doing online events, results slips aren’t a good solution. Players with the Companion app can enter their results on their app, and those results will automatically appear in Eventlink. If players enter a result by mistake, you can change it in eventlink by just re-entering the result. For players not using the app, you can enter results by just clicking on the match and then clicking the appropriate result. Hot keys work for this too, just like in WER. Just have your players report their results on the online platform you choose for the event, be it Facebook, Discord, or something else.
Once you have entered all results for the round, double check that they are correct. Eventlink does not let you go back and change results from previous rounds, so you don’t want to have any errors. Once you have checked the results, you can go to the next round in the options menu.
When the last round is over, make sure results from the last round are reflected in the standings before you end the event, because again, you won’t be able to go back and fix it once the event is ended. Once you end the event, the standings will be available to print or screenshot and share with your players.
Running an Online Event via Eventlink
Once you have players interested in your event, it helps a lot to get them to use the MTG Companion App, because it allows them to register, enter results, and see their pairings in the app. Encourage them to download it to make your job easier.
It is likely, however, that not every player will have the app. Even if they do, it helps to have a central place to post announcements and pairings. For an in person event, this is easy. For an event run online using Arena or Magic Online, you have to get a little creative. Discord or a Facebook group are good options for being able to post announcements everyone can see. Discord can be a bit easier, since you can message people you aren’t already friends with, but Facebook might make more sense if you have the same small group of players every event. You can use that centralized forum for announcements and postings during the event, to advertise future events, and to reach out to players who are having difficulties connecting to their match or need other assistance during the event. It can also serve as a social platform to bring the “Gathering” part of Magic into an event where in-person meet ups might not be possible.
Before the event begins, it is helpful to post some standard announcements about how online tournaments work, because the pairings themselves do not provide instructions for how to challenge opponents or ask for help. A good example of a start of event post might include a welcome to the event, a reminder of how to challenge opponents and submit results, any time limits or tournament-specific rules, and instructions about how to contact you or the event admin for help.
If your event is casual, like FNM or similar, you don’t need to require decklists. If it is a more competitive event that requires decklists, you’ll need a place for players to submit their decklists. A simple google form that puts lists in a sheet that can be made public or a google doc with PDFs of submitted decklists are reasonable options, or you can use a purpose-built website. If decklists are open for the event, make sure they are easily accessible so that players can see what decks their opponents are playing.
Eventlink is pretty intuitive to use, but things can occasionally go awry. If it seems like Eventlink is stuck or crashed, first try refreshing your browser. Eventlink persists through refreshing, and sometimes that solves the problem. If you still have issues, try a different browser or use your phone to access it. There are no update or software issues like those that occasionally proved problematic for WER and older scorekeeping software, so Eventlink is relatively stable.
At this point, you should have the tools you need to run an event for your local store in Eventlink. Small events are a great way for a local store to build a community and if run online, connect with customers who are not able to come in person. Eventlink makes that easy and is an exciting new tool to create great events and player experiences.