This seems a bit light…

At a Constructed GP, Chris calls you over to his table. He has five stacks of cards sitting in front of him and indicates to you that upon mulliganing away his initial seven card hand prior to starting game 1, he pile shuffled, only to discover that he only has 59 cards in his main deck. After confirming that his count is accurate and that the missing card is not in with his sideboard, he notes that Paul, his opponent from the previous round, had identical sleeves and that he may have his missing card. After locating Paul (who is in turn 5 of his first game of this match), you are able to determine that he does indeed have an extra card in his deck. You then return to the original table with the card, where Chris confirms (before seeing the card you have in hand) the identity of the card he is missing.

What infraction(s), if any, will you be awarding to each of Paul and Chris, and what are the appropriate penalties and fixes?

Judges, feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!

View Answer
Thanks to everyone for the discussion – let’s see how this all played out…

With the Head Judge’s permission, Chris would receive a Warning for a downgraded Deck/Decklist Problem (D/DP). While Chris has presented an illegal deck and made a mulligan decision with that deck, he has called this error on himself and has not had any opportunity to gain any advantage from the situation. Two things are important to notice here – first, as per the Magic Tournament Rules, “The game is considered to have begun once all players have completed their mulligans”. This is how we are establishing the “has not had any opportunity to gain any advantage from the situation” – had mulligans been completed and this issue been discovered any time after that, such as while performing some sort of search / tutor effect, the downgrade clause would no longer apply. Second, we are not forcing any mulligans on Chris – this is not a Improper Draw at Start of Game – he was in the middle of resolving his own mulligan when he discovered a D/DL Problem – we apply those fixes to this situation (find the missing card) and carry on from that point – Chris would continue with his mulligan to 6 cards.

Paul will receive a Game Loss for his D/DL Problem. As noted previously, he had very obviously started his game and had not called the error on himself, so neither of the prerequisites for the downgrade clause can be applied here. As opposed to when a larger number of D/DL Problems are discovered (during beginning of round deck checks), both players in Paul’s match are allowed to sideboard before game 2, as a (partial) game of Magic has actually been played.