The Jackie Lee DQ

Normally, judges are discouraged from commenting on DQs for a few reasons. It can affect an ongoing investigation, and we don’t have a lot of interest in escalating what may be a he-said-she-said situation. In this situation, though, the investigation has concluded, and we can talk about it based entirely on what Jackie wrote in her article. This makes it a good opportunity for education, especially since there’s some confusion and misinterpretation in the comments (and a little in the article, which is understandable).

First, some disclaimers. I was at the event. I was present for some parts of the investigation and consulted before the decision was made. I was not there for large chunks of it because, inevitably, every player in the room decided it was time to appeal and I was pulled away to do appeal triage.

The DQ is much simpler than people think. We have an infraction – Fraud – that basically boils down to “you broke a rule, and you knew you were breaking it”. The rule in this case, and the only relevant rule, is MTR 2.14:

If a player notices a discrepancy in a recorded or announced life total, he or she is expected to point it out as soon as the discrepancy is noticed. Failure to do so will be considered a Cheating – Fraud penalty.

This rule is very simple. It doesn’t care about why the life totals are different. It doesn’t care who the difference favors. It doesn’t care whether or not you know the underlying cause. It just asks that when you see there’s a discrepancy in life totals, which are part of the game state, you point it out, either to your opponent or by calling a judge. Not doing so is akin to not calling attention to the fact that no, that creature you just put in the graveyard doesn’t have lethal damage on it.

Everything else that has come up is simply extra data that doesn’t factor into the ruling. Confusion over application of the new trigger rules or whether the opponent had indicated awareness of the trigger were not relevant to the situation. What the opponent did or didn’t say had no impact (once it was determined that they had not been aware of the discrepancy), because the question was not whether or not the trigger had been missed.

Finally, I’d like to thank Jackie and everyone involved in the DQ and the aftermath for handling it with grace and calm. DQing someone is never pleasant – contrary to what some people say, it’s not something that we like to do. She did everything correctly; she was honest and forthright during the investigation, took the result well and has chosen to embrace it as a teachable moment for the community. I certainly bear no ill will towards her. She did something wrong and was penalized for it, but that’s the end of it. Good luck to her in the Community Cup.

An FAQ on some of the other issues raised in the article and its comments

Why was Jackie not suspended?

Suspension is very unusual for a first-time DQ offense. In a situation like this, where the player is honest during the investigation and it’s clearly not something that was planned in advance, it’s highly unlikely to happen.

The rules are changing too often

That’s not a question, but it’s true. While I wish it were otherwise, we’re dealing with a game that radically changes 4 times a year. We try to write the rules to accommodate this – they’ll usually protect people who are less likely to be informed, and we try to follow the grandma test (“would your grandma think this was OK”) to make it intuitive.

The life total rule got added six months ago, giving it the same requirements as the rest of the game state. We’re making extra efforts to communicate the changes. This blog, for example, and the link from it during the last rules change announcements. I expect these efforts to continue and would love to hear other suggestions.

Doesn’t the opponent get penalized for not verbalizing the change?

Setting aside what actually happened, if a player unintentionally fails to verbalize a life total change, they’ve committed a Tournament Error (a violation of the MTR). Since it does not fall under any of the infractions listed under Tournament Error, it isn’t an infraction, per se. The judge is expected to remind the person of the rule and hopefully it won’t come up again.

If they’re intentionally not verbalizing so as to avoid calling attention to it and know they’re supposed to, we’re right back into Fraud.

Why don’t we require verbal acknowledgement of triggers? Why aren’t the rules for “demonstrate awareness” more defined?

Ultimately, there has to be some judgement here. Some games of Magic are played perfectly clearly with minimal verbal communication. If I attack with a Geist of St Traft and put an Angel token into play tapped and attacking, is it really realistic to claim a) that you failed to announce the trigger going on the stack and b) you made no verbal announcement?

Magic is an imperfect game played by imperfect people. We don’t want prison-rules being used here, and writing definitive rules allows for exploitation that no sane person would think was reasonable. On the whole, feedback from both players and judges has been that the new policy is a huge improvement.

So, did he miss the trigger?

It’s impossible to tell without an investigation, and with more serious questions here that’s not something that ended up being pursued. This is also one of these situations where two players may be telling the truth and not have stories match up. The opponent may have believed they said something; it’s quite possible it was a mumble that Jackie didn’t hear.

That being said, writing down a life total change is a pretty good sign. I need to write a post in more detail about it at some point, but one of the heuristics I’m finding useful in making determinations like this is to ask the other player “did you really think he’d forgotten the trigger”. If they have to fall back on technical parsing to justify their argument, it’s a bad sign.

Doesn’t this just incentivize players to lie to the judges?

Almost all of these types of infractions do. You can claim ignorance and hope that the judge believes you, and you might even get away with it on occasion. However, judges, especially at the PT level, are pretty good at figuring out when players are lying, and the odds of the punishment being more severe (in terms of post-DQ action) go up. Plus, on more than one occasion, a player has managed to turn what would have been a minor penalty into a DQ by lying about the situation.

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39 Responses to The Jackie Lee DQ

  1. Matt Sperling says:

    The extra circumstantial information might not have factored into the ruling but hopefully it would factor into any investigation that took place and it absolutely factors into public perception of how scrupulous a player she is. Hence, Jackie was right to discuss it in her article at length. I thought both her article and this one provided good commentary.

    Regarding the rules changing so much, it feels like things are brainstormed, discussed, and vetted internally (within the judging and rules communities) and then pushed into production (published as rules). The key missing step is testing. What testing environment are these rules changes living in before they go live? Once upon a time they wanted to change the mulligan rules to Paris mulligan so they ran a few tournaments with the new rules, observed, solicited feedback, and only eventually made it a universal change.

    • telliott says:

      I would love to be able to do more real testing, but it’s not practical. Unlike something like the mulligan rule, where you can gather the data almost immediately, how often does this stuff come up? Over the past two weekends, I’ve been around something like 15,000 matches of Magic. This situation came up once. It’s not a controllable experiment. “OK, now screw up your trigger” isn’t going to give useful results. We spend a lot of time with judges, players and WotC staff trying to figure out how players are going to be impacted by new mechanics, rules and policies, and where it might go wrong. We have a pretty good handle on most of it. But there are infinite ways for things to go wrong, so there’s always going to be a reactive element.

      I think if there’s a flaw here, it’s not in the rules per se – aside from a couple of grammar tweaks, I think the rules in place are pretty good – it’s in how we communicate them. That’s a challenge, and it’s one we’re working on.

  2. PV says:

    Hey Toby! First of all, thanks for making a post about this – it’s awesome when you talk to us and help us understand why you took the courses you took. I have two questions:

    First, how does the new trigger policy follow the “grandma rule”? I’m sure most grandmas wouldn’t think it intuitive that my Jace won’t trigger unless I specifically say “Jace triggers”, or that my Noble Hierarch is actually attacking for zero unless I say it’s one. I think the problem is not that rules change too often, is that, in this case, they have taken a 180 degrees turn – all our lives, we were supposed to keep the game state correct, and if you didn’t, then you were cheating. Now all of a sudden you’re encouraged to keep the game state wrong – if they miss stab wound, I shouldn’t tell them. If they don’t say the life change, though, but write it down, then I’m supposed to tell them? That seems like two conflicting thoughts, even if they aren’t – either I am responsible or I am not, seems weird that I couldn’t care less about one thing but am DQed for not caring about another when they’re so similar. I’m not saying the rule is wrong or even inconsistent, but I think this new triggers rule sends a message to players that will actively move them to a direction that is not what the Judge system wants, and Jackie misunderstanding her role in rule 2.14 is a consequence of the triggers rule change and will happen again.

    Second, now that life totals are public and part of the game state, what happens when an action is taken based on a wrong life total? If I Wrath of God away a creature that should have just received lethal damage and it is immediately pointed out that it should have died in combat, then we rewind and I get to take WoG back to hand, correct? What if I Bolt my opponent assuming he is at 3 and then it’s realized that I wrote down the life total from the attack wrong and then it turns out he is at four, do I also get to take that back?

    Thank you!
    -PV

    • Fozefy says:

      PV,

      I completely agree with your first statement. This is why I feel sorry for Jackie and find all of the people calling her a giant cheater somewhat repulsive. I feel like she misinterpreted a rule (which isn’t obvious) and got punished for it. The punishment is correct, but the hate from the community is uncalled for.

      As per your second point, I don’t see how why you’d get to take either of those back. In either case, once its actually finished resolving I think the point is moot. If however you realize it while the spell is still on the stack, that might be debatable. I think in either case you won’t get to take anything back, the only possibility is whether or not you (well more importantly, the judge), believes your opponent was trying to cheat you. If that’s not the case, then I don’t know why it would make sense being able to take things back. I’d be interested to hear if anyone else disagrees with me. With that all said, this is the reason why I always confirm life totals before sending burn at the face! Though, its also enjoyable watching your opponent squirm while they are agreeing to being at 3 vs your deck with lightning bolts.

    • telliott says:

      I said we try to follow the “grandma rule”, not that it always works! There are lots of other factors in play. The difference here is that we hold you responsible for keeping the physical game state (which includes life totals) consistent, not pointing out things that might affect the game state until someone acknowledges that they do. Obviously I’m glossing over a lot here, but that’s some of the philosophy. Hopefully this unfortunate incident will help spread the word on this and keep it from happening again.

      As to what happens when an action is taken, the reason these policies (announcing and calling attention) exist is to try to keep the situations you describe to a minimum, because they’re awful and can easily persist well past a point at which anything is reasonably doable. “I wouldn’t have cracked that fetchland last turn if I’d realized I was at 4, not 5!” has been a problem forever. If there’s an actual PCV here (player says the wrong life total), we’ll handle it like a GRV. If there isn’t, the judge will have to use their discretion, but odds are the action stands, especially if the discrepancy happened a while ago. I wish I had a better solution, honestly, but the most we can do is try to preempt life-total problems as much as possible.

      • Tomás Kroth says:

        I’m sorry, but this rule changes states just one simple thing to all Magic players, “Be a Jerk”… Before the changes both players were responsible for maintaining the game in a correct state, now I’ve got to be wishing for my opponent to make something wrong, decide if I’m going to be favored by that mistake and be a total jerk following what’s best for me and not for a correct game state. Sincerely, this is terrible for the game. The argument that PV pointed out about Exalted, is a clear definition of how wrong this rule is, and how it depends on my ability to convince a judge…

        In the above situation, if I attack with my 1/1 Exalted without announcing triggers and my opponent blocks with his 1/2, we would call a judge and the one that convinces the judge would be favored, it seems so wrong that game states fall to this, who is better at speaking…

  3. Sean says:

    You’ve got two clear problems. First, there’s a conflict in the MTR and the IPG, and it makes the root cause being a Missed Trigger actually relevant. It’s in the IPG under “Failure to Maintain Game State.” Of which Life Totals are a part. It says:

    “Not pointing out an opponent’s missed trigger is never Failure to Maintain Game State or Fraud.”

    Which is pretty strong wording. It would seem to protect a player who is keeping quiet about a trigger from being DQd by exactly this type of thing.

    I see that you run past this by claiming that the life total rules in the MTR doesn’t care what the root cause is, but if the root cause cares what the end-result penalty can be, you’ve got a conflict in the rules.

    The IPG also says, under the definition of Fraud:

    “However, ignoring opponent’s missed triggers is not Fraud.”

    According to the IPG, you have to determine if it’s a missed trigger before you can proceed to call any infraction fraud. If I’m reading this right, you are saying something different from the official rules.

    Second issue, related to triggers, is that the definition for missing them is different from what you described in Missed Triggers 2.

    “Definition
    A triggered ability triggers, but the player controlling the ability doesn’t demonstrate awareness of the trigger’s existence and/or forgets to announce its effect. If a triggered ability has been partially or incorrectly resolved, instead treat it as a Game Play Error — Game Rule Violation.”

    The construct “and/or” actually means that players are required to announce all their triggers’ effects. Its dictionary definition is that it is the “inclusive or” so the whole statement ([A missed trigger occurs when a] triggered ability triggers but…) is true if either clause is true, or both clauses are true.

    What you’re looking for here is simply “and.” Worded with “and,” it would work exactly as you described it in that post. A player would have to both forget to announce AND fail to acknowledge for the trigger to be missed. Both clauses have meaning if one is true and the other isn’t: A player who doesn’t forget to announce but doesn’t show awareness of the trigger means they are intentionally not announcing it. That’s not a missed trigger, that’s cheating. A player who shows awareness of the trigger but doesn’t announce it means he actually communicated it to his opponent. A player who both shows awareness and doesn’t forget to announce the trigger is clearly not missing a trigger. Only in the case that it isn’t announced AND isn’t acknowledge in any other way, are you calling it a missed trigger. The truth values you want for that definition come from the conjunction “and” rather than “and/or.”

    That, unfortunately, isn’t the wording of the rules. Given that, Jackie’s article tells a story such that the opponent’s actions constituted a missed trigger according to an accurate reading of the rules, and the requirement that keeping quiet about an opponent’s missed triggers cannot be fraud, means that it’s quite relevant whether the opponent missed his trigger.

    All that is water under the bridge, of course. But I’d like to see clarifications in those two places in the rules. If you’re going to trump the missed trigger ruling in such a way, you’re de facto creating a new class of missed triggers which deal with life totals. And if you’re going to keep the “and/or” wording for the definition of missed triggers, you’re also creating a de facto requirement for players to announce every trigger.

    • telliott says:

      In your first part, I have to disagree. The not pointing out the trigger is not an issue. The not pointing out the difference in life totals is, even if you know the source.

      You’re probably correct that the grammar on and/or is slightly ambiguous, and we’ll look at fixing it. The meaning is pretty clear, though.

      • Sean says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        I’d be a little stronger with the “slightly ambiguous,” but I’m not the guy who wrote the rules! If the rules for the definition of a missed trigger were clarified, then the situation where recorded life totals are different being *dependent* on a missed trigger couldn’t actually come up.

        Then, there shouldn’t be a situation where a player writes down a life total from a triggered ability (acknowledge the trigger) and winds up with his opponent in an ambiguous spot where she thought she caught him missing a trigger and doesn’t want to bring it up.

        It would just clearly not be a missed trigger.

      • Stuart says:

        With respect, I don’t think you’re in a position to say whether the meaning is clear, since you already know what it’s supposed to say.

        Right now the IPG clearly states that an unannounced trigger is considered missed, even if the player demonstrates awareness. That’s a serious problem, and could easily cause players reading the IPG to make mistakes similar to Jackie’s.

        I know that when the change was first announced, I was very confused by the fact that the IPG plainly contradicted what you and other judges were saying about it.

      • Frank says:

        It IS an issue, because you have two separate rules saying two polar opposite things. One says that the action IS fraud, and the other says that it is NOT fraud. Unless there is an explicit statement somewhere that explicitly says Rule A always trumps Rule B, it is not reasonable whatsoever to punish a player because there was a conflict in the rules. DQ the rules for being inconsistent, not the player for following them to the letter.

      • Lyall says:

        Your reasoning is terrible here.

        Not pointing out the trigger IS an issue. The whole point (or so we were led to believe) of the new-new-new-new trigger rules was so that we as the players do not have to experience the feel-bad moments that stem from helping our opponents beat us when they do things wrong. This should include them hurting us. You are implying that it does not. So now, when my opponents are absentminded enough to forget to deal damage to me, I have to help them?

        I understand the need and desire for the life changes to be announced and maintained amongst all players. The key word here is ‘announced.’ From Jackie’s article – and what cause does she have to lie now? – her opponent NEVER announced the life change. Writing it down is NOT enough. Granted, I do believe she was in the wrong in this particular case. I know if I see my opponent writing down my life total, but they didn’t say anything I’m going to ask them what they’re doing and why. Sure this is pointing out what may have been a missed trigger, but it may also be preventing some cheating.

        Speaking of cheating, if a player is writing down life total changes, but not announcing them this seems incredibly shady. I think the zeal with which Jackie was DQed should have been shared with investigating why her opponent didn’t verbalize the life loss. Claiming that the reason for the life total discrepancy does not matter is foolish in the extreme. That is the core of this problem and something somewhere needs to be addressed to avoid problems like this arising in the future.

      • ND says:

        “Not pointing out an opponent’s missed trigger is never Failure to Maintain Game State or Fraud.”

        …I think, given that this sentence appears anywhere in the rules, the DQ was wrong. You should not have to know, in order to play competitive Magic, that when the rules say something isn’t Fraud, super-secretly it is.

        The above is not an ambiguous sentence. Making a distinction between someone being obligated to correct the opponent’s recording of the life totals, and not being obligated to correct missed triggers… is not a distinction, when you get a life loss trigger involved. These are the same thing, and the rules unambiguously say that it’s not Fraud.

      • telliott says:

        She was not penalized for not pointing out the trigger. She was penalized for allowing a life total mismatch on the two scorepads to persist after she was aware of it. You say that this is not a distinction, but it is, and it’s a very important one.

        To put it another way, one is a one-shot event, the other is a continuous process. We don’t care about the one-shot, but we do care about the continuous one.

  4. Cameron says:

    I think the key is that one part of the rules clearly incentivizes a high-level player for not bringing a judge into the situation, at least until later in the game. However, if they ended up on the wrong side of the fine line (which is how the judge involved reportedly phrased it to Ms. Lee), then they are punished at an outsized level for leaving it that long.

    I don’t think that the way the rules are now, Ms. Lee should be expected to ask, “Did you want to put the Stab Wound trigger on the stack,” because she is not responsible for her opponent’s triggers.

  5. Andrew Mertes says:

    “However, judges, especially at the PT level, are pretty good at figuring out when players are lying…”

    This is crap. The rules reward liars. It’s that simple. How can you possibly know if someone saw their opponent write something on their own paper or didn’t? You KNOW that Jackie’s opponent wasn’t just as “deceitful” by noticing she DIDN’T write down a change in life total? Not mentioning it could serve a tactical advantage for him.

    I don’t care so much about the specifics of this case, as far as I can tell everything was handled correctly, but what it means in general for everyone else. Level 5 Judges might have the experience required to wring the truth out of people, or have a great enough frequency of dealing with individuals to know who the shady ones are, but 99.999999999% of the people playing this game aren’t dealing with Level 5 Judges. Your rules aren’t just in the Pro Tour. It infuriates me to hear your defense of the current rulings to be that big time Judges will know if someone is lying. I can tell you the judges in my area certainly don’t have magically lie detecting hats (as much as most of them would like you to believe they are smarter than the average bear).

    You only punish honest people. Your rules are broken. They change so often that honest people can’t even keep track of which interaction is gamesmanship and which is a DQ. How is someone supposed to know that mandatory triggers are “okay” to miss but life totals are an ejection from the event? Do you honestly think people can intuitively understand why one is completely acceptable and one is a mortal sin? Pro Players couldn’t discern the difference, but someone’s grandma is supposed to? It’s an issue and deserves to be taken seriously.

    Frankly, this explanation makes me have far less faith in the DCI than I had before reading it. You either don’t know what you’re doing or you don’t give a damn about events lower than the PT.

  6. Alex B says:

    As a judge since 99 and a player of the game since Revised… I fully support this decision. Magic should not be a game of rules lawyering and ‘Gotcha.’ Of course remembering your triggers is part of skill, but announcing them in clear perfect English is something that just isn’t going to happen all the time. That’s why I like the new ‘demonstrate awareness’ philosophy.

  7. Josh says:

    I can see both sides of this argument. I understand that the reason the actions were taken the way they were was not because of just the life total discrepancy. They were taken because at the time not having a judge witness the match the life total discrepancy could be proven as a rules violation whereas the missed trigger is just a he-said-she-said. Yet what you are implying is that certain rules are of more importance than others. In this situation it is the only provable violation but what about the future. Does the life total ruling mean that opponents or yourself can play improperly and it not matter because now you have to bring it up and then they get to keep up with what they missed because you HAVE to point it out to keep the life totals in check. I agree that it sends mixed signals but I do agree by the situational ruling. My own question about something you said why is the trigger not an issue if the trigger caused the discrepancy in the first place. I don’t understand why the reason for a life discrepancy is never an issue.

  8. Jenni says:

    After reading Jackie’s article, I have to agree with the judges ruling – under the current rules she was in violation, and I commend her for handling the situation well and not trying to lie her way out of it.
    I do feel sorry for her though, since it seems that it was an honest mistake brought about confusion in the rules. This is a slightly odd interaction, and does not seem to come up much, and as far as how the rules should handle such a case are concerned I think the current model is fine.
    The problem this brought to my mind, really, is a matter of how well the rule changes, especially in cases like this where what appears to be a conflict in rules that are in fact unrelated (missed triggers vs life total updates), are being communicated to the players.
    Obviously, it’s a bit much to expect every player to understand every single rule – as a judge-in-training I know how hard it is to try to read through the comprehensive rules and try to follow how each update changes things.
    So, as far as realistic solutions go, I think the best hope for preventing things like this in the future, is to try to communicate in layman’s terms (as opposed to magic rules speak) these odd cases and potential misunderstandings preemptively – which I know this blog and others try to do. Of course, this assumes that the people who know the rules even realize there is some ambiguity. The case with Jackie is the first time I heard of this misinterpretation of the rules, and from some of the comments floating around about it, a lot of people were acting under the same assumptions she was!
    I’m not sure what more can be done. Tweaking the wording on a rule to try to make it more clear helps, but it assumes the player will know the rule’s text in the first place, In Jackies case I think clearer language regarding the missed trigger policy may have helped, since she is a serious player and likely keeps track of rule updates, but in a lot of cases I’ve found less serious players knowledge of the rules tends to be somewhat shallow, and changes to the language to make it clearer will probably not help these players avoid such mistakes when they first start playing at higher rule enforcement levels.

    Sorry I rambled on for a bit there, just my thoughts resulting from the situation.

  9. Nerrzull says:

    I Have just few statements to add to all of this:
    1) Rules have developed to be nuclear physics. I remember happier days.
    2) You (judges and rules writers) should should ask yourselves ” Does my senile and old grandmother understand this rule?!” and “Are the rules intuitive to all players who bothered to read them, or the rules are becoming just another legal babble ?! “.
    3) How does the game benefit from continuous rule changes?
    4) Have I forgot what is to be “kitchen table player”? Because , in my opinion, rules should’ve been written for that enormous portion of Magic players.
    5) Big money has killed FUN of magic.

    Game has developed and rules with it. But to be honest I don’t believe it’s for the best.
    I love it and enjoy it. It will probably remain like that until I die. But favorite pastime has become financial burden. I remember times when standard (competitive) decks were cheap, rules were simple and intuitive, fun was guaranteed and new player were swarming around me and my comrades.

    You could teach new player to play in the matter of hours. Now … Not so sure.
    How do I advocate magic at this point of time. How do I return my old comrades at kitchen table at least, when they have to give at least 300$ for decent competitive deck and 10 days learning new (non intuitive) rules. And above all they have children, wife, car, mortgage and a dog.

    I think people at DCI and wizards should ask those questions out loud.

    Sorry if I was babbling, but that’s the state at kitchen table.

  10. James Glazier says:

    SCG Indy, I swing for lethal, and am then told exalted doesn’t happen Unless I declared it! Tough to swallow. Perhaps a summary of new rule changes at the player meeting? Ultimately I should’ve knew the rules so my bad.

  11. Joe says:

    What bothers me in the community discussion about this incident (including the comments here) is that people keep talking about “missed triggers” and whose responsibility it is to keep track of them and announce them. That, in my reading of this situation, has nothing to do with what happened.

    Jackie’s opponent changed the life totals consistent with the Stab Wound trigger. Each upkeep, he reduced her life by two, consistent with the card’s wording. Jackie also acknowledged the trigger, because she saw him write down the life total changes, knew the source of them (the Stab Wound trigger), but said nothing and did not similarly adjust her life total – assuming that if her opponent didn’t vocalize the change, she didn’t have to acknowledge it.

    The rules – and subsequent judge clarifications, including this one – make it seem very clear to me: a trigger is not missed if the players acknowledge it in some way. It doesn’t have to be spoken (“Stab Wound trigger deals two damage to you”) as long as it is acknowledged. Jackie’s opponent acknowledged it. Jackie acknowledged it. No trigger was missed.

    I’m not sure where the confusion is coming from, but I think the judge call was appropriate. I enjoyed reading Jackie’s take on the situation and I think she is handling it very well. The community, however, seems unnecessarily confused for some reason.

  12. Dennis says:

    It seems there needs to be an additional rule put into the Life Total Fraud issue.

    For example, when we handle Drawing Extra Cards, it is generally a game loss. However, we have an additional rule that when the Drawing Extra Cards is the result of a PCV or other GPE then we don’t adhere to the prescribed rule.

    It seems in the this case we DQed a good and respected player for following the heart of the rules – That life total changes should be verbalized and that she isn’t responsible for her opponent’s triggers. You acknowledge this wasn’t investigated because it wasn’t the primary issue. This is the problem.

    While we can argue about whether or not he missed them, if my proposed change was adopted we’d answer that question before jumping to Fraud. Generally in Magic we only hop to “Cheating” after a discussion of intent, I’m not sure how we can sensibly apply this rule without a contextual review of the situation. Cheating is always a contextual offense and this rule appears to ignore that.

    • JB says:

      “In this case we DQed a good and respected player for following the heart of the rules”

      Really? Man, I would HATE to play with the people you must play with.

      Seems to me that what she did was very much a rules-lawyer-ish exception to what the typical player, pro or beginner, would do in that situation. Which is of course to just record the life loss and maybe mention that the opponent should speak up.

  13. Raj says:

    Being missed here is that a player who may have been at his first major event may never play Magic again. Many of us play this game for more then just money and if what Jackie says is true that he is from a country with about 80 Magic players, could you imagine what this was suppose to mean for them? What it will mean instead?

    I think someone should contact him and tell him everything is okay and to feel free to continue to come to other events. I would hate to think the collective is short 1 player today because of semantics…

  14. tony says:

    i know ipg 2.1 isn’t why jackie was dq’d but a lot of people seem to be bringing it up that mtr 2.14 shouldn’t come into play because he missed his trigger. i believe people are getting too hung up on thinking the only way to not miss a trigger is to verbalize the existence of the trigger when the wording of the ipg says “demonstrate awareness of…” which allows for nonverbal communication. imho a player writing new life totals down on each of your upkeeps when stab wound is in play is a pretty clear sign, to me as a competitive player and new l1, they were aware of the trigger.

    • Sean says:

      The IPG says you miss a trigger if you

      1) don’t demonstrate awarenest

      and/or

      2) forget to announce it.

      That’s the problem. Toby Elliot says that you need to either announce it or demonstrate awareness or both to GET your trigger. The rules say if you fail to do one, or fail to do the other, or fail to do both, you miss your trigger.

      Mr. Elliott also says this is a “slight ambiguity” when it is actually a rather major contradiction to his intent.

      That’s why people are getting hung up on it being a missed trigger, and a strict reading of the rules matches up exactly with Jackie Lee’s demonstrated understanding of them.

      You are absolutely correct that writing down the life total demonstrates awareness of the trigger, but you’re not reading the whole rule.

      I, too, like the “demonstrates awareness” wording as well. I hate that it’s not actually doing anything in the rules.

    • Frank says:

      That’s not what the rule says.

      “Definition
      A triggered ability triggers, but the player controlling the ability doesn’t demonstrate awareness of the trigger’s existence and/or forgets to announce its effect. If a triggered ability has been partially or incorrectly resolved, instead treat it as a Game Play Error — Game Rule Violation.”

      It has to be ANNOUNCED. Writing it on your personal pad is not announcing it, it’s making a note to yourself. It doesn’t have to be verbalized, you are correct, but it does have to be clearly announced and in this case it wasn’t. Tapping the Stab Wound repeatedly would be an example of a non verbal way of announcing the trigger, but scribbling a number on your pad isn’t really an attempt to communicate anything to anyone but yourself. And because of the [ and/OR ], the grammar is actually such that demonstrating awareness but NOT announcing the trigger constitutes it being missed, even though the rule should just say [AND] to work in the intended manner.

      Because of this, you now have two different rules that say the exact opposite thing. How is it reasonable for a player to be expected to know which one takes priority? Flip a coin?

      • telliott says:

        We have two rules.

        One says you don’t have to help your opponent remember triggers.
        One says that you have to point out unsynchronized life totals.

        These are not saying the opposite thing. If your opponent is marking down an incorrect life total, you are expected to call a judge, even if you don’t like the reason you think he’s probably doing it.

        Basically, your argument boils down to “pointing out that the life totals don’t match is helping him remember triggers”, and that’s pretty hard to justify.

      • Sean says:

        Apparently there are only two levels of reply, so I’ll direct this to Toby’s response to the same comment.

        The missed trigger rule that says players aren’t required to remind their opponents is this (IPG, Missed triggers, Philosophy):

        “Therefore, players are not required to point out missed
        triggers that they do not control, though they may do so if they wish.”

        But, there’s one more rule not mentioned, which is where the problem becomes apparent:

        The one which protects that action from being called cheating is this (IPG, Cheating – Fraud, Definition):

        “However, ignoring opponent’s missed triggers is not Fraud.”

        Which is quite a bit stronger than simply, “[you] are not required to point out…”

        Ignoring something is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to refuse to take notice of”

        MTR 2.14 (the other referenced rule) says:

        “If a player notices a discrepancy in a recorded or announced life total, he or she is expected to point it out as soon
        as the discrepancy is noticed. Failure to do so will be considered a Cheating – Fraud penalty.”

        So the Cheating – Fraud penalty in the IPG explicitly allows a player to intentionally refuse to notice a missed trigger.

        If one rule doesn’t apply here, it would be the life total rule, since it has to invoke the rules for Cheating – Fraud in order to apply a penalty, and those rules say no difference needed to be noticed.

        But, in case you’re not convinced, we’ll fall back to the Missed Trigger penalty Philosophy section. The question then becomes: does mentioning the difference in life totals constitute reminding the opponent of a missed trigger?

        That’s answered with, “If your opponent is marking down an incorrect life total, you are expected to call a judge, even if you don’t like the reason you think he’s probably doing it.”

        Which is really hard to justify in itself, it says the previous question isn’t important. It’a actually the very crux of the issue, given that the ruling, “even if you don’t like the reason,” creates a requirement which the IPG says does not exist.

        The life total rule COULD supersede the “not required to point out missed triggers” rule. It could also supersede the “ignoring opponent’s missed triggers is not Fraud” but the current incarnation of the IPG doesn’t support those rulings very well.

        We need some clarity *in the rules* about MTR 2.14, not more explanation on why the ruling was made.

      • Frank says:

        I understand completely why it would make sense and subsequently why the judges feel that the occurrence should constitute fraud. I would even go as far as to say it would make sense that the rules worked like that. The problem is however that the exact wording of the rules does NOT work that way despite judges repeatedly ignoring the conflicting parts of the rules with the “justification” that they aren’t relevant and do not apply here, which I do not accept as valid. It’s not ethical to make judgments based on the supposed intention of the rules rather than the actual rules as written. The fact is that by the letter of the law she ended up in a situation where there were rules saying she was cheating and rules saying she was specifically not cheating. Should she have called a judge at the time? Perhaps, but then again it shouldn’t be necessary to have to rewrite the rules on the spot (and also her doing would likely have tipped off her opponent that he was making a mistake that she shouldn’t have to remind him of in any way).

        Given that we don’t expect players to be omniscient, the correct thing to do (or at least what I think the most correct thing that CAN be done) would be to acknowledge that the rules are incorrect as written and revise them (which would be as simple as changing an [and/or] to an [and]), and given that fact, an apology to Jackie for unfairly DQing her wouldn’t be out of the question either. Do I expect that this will happen? Quite honestly, I don’t think it will. It feels like at this point the staff have completely and overly committed themselves to their position before enough research was done and now it’d almost be too damaging to their reputation to go back and admit that there actually is valid justification against the decision to DQ, which is a shame really.

    • Dennis says:

      The problem is there is also a rule stating that all life total changes should be verbalized. While Toby correctly pointed out that there is no infraction associated with the rule, it creates a sticky situation when the person (potentially, as it wasn’t investigated) making the active mistakes is not the penalized party.

      In short, if missing a trigger causes you to lose the benefits, and the only thing you did to acknowledge the missed trigger was also against the rules (a non-verbal life total change) it seems like a pretty counterintuitive result.

      • telliott says:

        As I observe above, it’s possible, though unlikely, the trigger was missed (hard to say for sure without being there). And that’s the sort of thing you call a judge for to clean it up. It’s the allowing an ongoing game state problem to persist that is an issue here.

  15. Calvin says:

    I am a serious magic player and this is the sort of thing that makes me want to quit the game. No, I don’t mean Jackie’s disqualification or alleged cheat. I mean the immense amount of rules and hoards of people who take the game way too seriously.

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  17. Ben says:

    So the problem is that she didnt bring up the life total discrepancy. But the rules now state that if you dont want your opponents missed trigger to happen you are suposed to keep quiet. So if she brings up the life total discrepancy, she is allowing her opponent to “remember” his missed trigger and now she takes the damage. . . that is a real problem. It allows people to forget their life total affecting triggers, but as long as they remember before they write it down, they never have to announce it? This is just really stupid. . .

    • telliott says:

      The rules do not state “if you dont want your opponents missed trigger to happen you are suposed to keep quiet”. They state that you are not required to remind them. That doesn’t give you license to ignore things that don’t agree with what you want to happen.

      Plus, they are expected to give some indication. Nothing in this blog entry suggests otherwise. At the very least, if things had been dealt with at the time, the opponent would have been cautioned to be clearer about what they were doing. If he’d been found to be intentionally not announcing to try to sneak them past, he’d have been the one leaving the tournament.

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  19. annul says:

    doesn’t this now incentivize players to intentionally look away from the opponent’s notebook once they play a card with a triggered ability that affects the life totals? assume jackie lee decided to look up at the ceiling during her opponent’s upkeep. she can honestly tell the judge “i do not notice anything to do with his score sheet” and she is not DQed. or, what if someone else could honestly say “i saw my opponent writing, but i do not know what he wrote, and i never bothered to confirm.” that would be fine, right?

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