In a 3rd round match of a Constructed PTQ Alan and Nick are ready for the first game of the match and draw their opening hands. After a short review both players decide to keep their opening hands.

Alan opens the game with a Swamp and casts Duress. While resolving the Duress Alan notices Nick already has 8 cards in his hand instead of the supposed 7 and calls a judge.

What would you do in this situation, what infraction and penalty has been commited and what, if any, would be your fix?

View Answer

The MIPG says the following:

Players committing this infraction draw extra cards (or too few cards) when they draw their hands, either initially or while resolving a mulligan.

Once any game actions have occurred, we have already passed that point. This means that we are out of ID@SoG’s range in our scenario!

Since it’s Competitive REL the Game Loss corresponding with the DEC-infraction leaves us without a specific fix for the situation because of the game ending at this point. If a situation like this would happen at a Regular REL event though, the correct fix would be to take one random card from the hand before the Duress resolves and put it on top of the player’s library. After this the Duress further resolves normally.

From Toby Elliott:
The IPG will be revised to make it clear that the distinction exists.Improper Drawing at Start of Game was originally there almost entirely to handle the case where a player mulliganned and drew 7. As the game had not started yet, it was possible to perform a fix that had no impact on the game, plus an additional disadvantage to discourage players from trying to get away with it. It also has the advantage of being easy to spot.

Later, it was pointed out that drawing on the first turn also met these criteria (slightly revised) – easy to spot, no legal game actions had been taken, and no information had been given. Of course the situation was slightly different, because we needed to handle an already-kept hand, so the cards went to different locations. That’s the sole reason for the “if the game has already begun” clause, and we’ll change that to something else to make it clear it only applies then.

In both situations, it’s almost always caught before the game begins, which is the key here. Once the game starts, there’s no real difference between this and drawing two cards off of Ponder on turn 1, and the philosophy reflects this. Otherwise we get into weird situations where on the fourth turn everyone realizes that the player drew 7 off the mulligan and shouldn’t have that last card remaining in hand. Figuring out a line beyond “game has started” is not something we want to get into.

From Scott Marshall:
According to the MTR, 2.3: “The game is considered to have begun once all players have completed their mulligans.” For the purposes of the Improper Draw at Start of Game (ID@SoG), we’ve acknowledged that – for all the reasons provided by Toby, and others – the philosophy of ID@SoG is still relevant in Example C (on the play, I draw for my turn – oops). We can’t draw the line between ID@SoG and Drawing Extra Cards (DEC) as “once the game has begun”. Instead – and yes, this needs clarification – we’re looking for game actions to indicate that it’s now DEC, no longer ID@SoG.