Tournament report: PPTQ Honolulu – Battlezone

This PPTQ was the last PPTQ for the Honolulu PT. The format was limited, with the Swiss rounds being sealed and a top-8 draft to decide the winner. I had the opportunity to be a floor judge at the event, assisting Alhadhrami and Olivier (both L2 judges in the UAE). The PPTQ started with a departure from the norm as Alhadhrami had to pull out as the head judge at the last minute, as he was under the weather. Olivier took on the role of the head judge and I became the sole floor judge at my first-ever limited competitive event!


We had a total of 18 players register for the tournament and as such the Swiss was set at 5 rounds. This event was a chance for me to show my interest in judging competitive magic and my interest in progressing to L2. Olivier began the event by sitting down with me on the side and going through everything that I should be aware of, in particular the specifics of a limited competitive event. These quick chats (that he does at the start of all events if a second judge is present), are always a great way to get a crash course-like reminder of our role at events.

The event, in terms of judge calls, was fairly mundane. We did have to give 4 game losses due to deck list/deck issues that was definitely the highest I’ve ever given at a competitive event. The process of sealed pool registration is def more complex than constructed so I guess this was to be expected.

There was one incident in particular where my decision was appealed and then overruled by the HJ. Essentially, during the draw phase, a player had accidentally drawn two cards and looked at them both. They had not been placed into his hand yet and the extra card was easily identifiable by both players. Essentially, he had drawn two, caught a glimpse of the second card and immediately placed them face down after realizing his mistake. Him and his opponent were in agreement on the order of the cards not having changed and that the bottom card was the extra card. I was called over immediately. While I correctly identified the infraction as Game Play Error – Looking at Extra Cards, my fix was to simply leave the extra card on the top of his library. His opponent appealed as he felt the library should be shuffled as well, so the extra card is randomized again. Olivier stepped in and after discussing the issue, agreed with that assessment. We had a chat after, and I explained my reasoning (which was basically that shuffling it away may in itself be the advantage if the card wasn’t helpful and the card was going to be drawn anyway the next turn so flow of events wouldn’t have changed too much) but after some discussion with Olivier and a quick refresher on the IPG philosophy for this Infraction, I see that I should have simply applied the recommended fix (shuffling the randomized portion of the deck) instead of overthinking it and wondering if that itself would give them an advantage.


There was another surprising judge call where I was asked if Legendary counts towards delirium and I had to do a quick explanation of card types, subtypes and supertypes.

Overall, I feel I learnt a lot about running a competitive REL limited tournament that I knew in theory but not in practice. I was happy with my handling of the judge calls and I feel the players enjoyed the event. My application of IPG philosophies needs some more study, which I will make a priority. I have a much better understanding of running a competitive draft now and of the timing needed to run those. While Olivier did the actual timing for the event, I was able to watch and learn (and in subsequent days, practice the timing myself). 

A well-run event by Battlezone that I was proud to be a part of! Big thanks to Olivier for going through everything and ensuring I had the opportunity to take all the judge calls and get some much needed practice in!