When it comes to Magic: the Gathering Touraments, JSS (Junior Super Series) Tournaments are the ones to win. Unfortunately, for most everyone, joining in the JSS Tournaments and their Qualifiers isn’t possible because we’re overage. With that in mind, and while we’re on the subject of making money in Magic, I’d like to tell you the story of how I won a few JSS qulifiers at the age of 22.
The deal with JSS tournaments is that they are made for kids under the age of fifteen, and are a great way to get them interested in higher level tournaments once they pass that age. Mostly, the kids are there because their parent’s found out about the sizable scholarship opportunities available, and probably paid their kid’s entrance fee. Most of the competitors are not strong players, and often they’ll play decks made up of the first 60 cards they could grab from their commons box. This would be a goldmine for any experienced and strong player, but none of the kids seem to notice. Yet, despite the fact that I was never once qualified for this event while playing in Tournament games, I managed to win no less than four of these JSS Qualifiers during the time I played.
Here’s the deal: When you win JSS, you get four things. A nifty pin, which signifies your making the Top 8 of a Qualifier (only if a certain number of people play), a box of product, a small travel stipend or scholarship (Depending on the event), and an invitation to JSS Nationals if they win. Pretty good huh? So how do the really good players get their hands on this kind of prize?
I call it Sponsoring. Basically, what you do is you make good friends with one of the kids who is allowed to enter this tournament, and let them know about all the different stuff they’ll get for winning. Once you’ve excited their interest, they’ll tell their parents, and get the money to enter the tournament from them. You provide the deck they’ll be playing, give them a little basic strategy primer, and that’s it. The deck itself, even under dismal handling, should outperform the majority of your kid’s opponents, and if they’re any good at playing, you have a solid shot of winning. The deck you give out can be an optimized version, or it can just be a generic version, but it should be fairly simple to play, and not require a lot of the things that confuse inexperienced players (upkeep effects, stacking effects, etc.).
Make a deal with your kid before the tournament, be it for half a box, the whole box or whatever, for your loaning this deck to them. Unfortunately, you can’t get your hands on the cash, because that’s typically in Scholarship form, or given to the kid’s parents, but the box and any special bonus cards they may offer are up for grabs. For absolutely no investment, you have the opportunity to get free stuff, just as if you had played in the tournament all along, and all you have to do is be willing to part with a deck you weren’t using anyways for the afternoon. Just be sure when you get it back that all the cards are there, as those grubby kids can often try to snatch cards.
To increase your chances, let two or three of those kids borrow different decks and let ’em loose on the JSS Qualifiers. For the most part, the kids I’ve worked with have been thrilled to have the opportunity to play with good cards, and have enjoyed the experience of winning and playing in these events, and were more than happy to let go of their entire box when they won. One player I worked with got so good that he was added to our playtesting team eventually. This is a great way to make use of those extra decks your team has been making, especially since you won’t be playing against them in a tournament match.