Aardvark is playing in a Standard Competitive REL tournament. He’s playing a red-black aggro deck. On his decklist is written 4x Temple of Malady. A start of round deck check reveals he’s playing 4x Temple of Malice. The decklist is otherwise legal.
What do you do? What are the relevant infractions, penalties, and fixes, if possible?
Judges, feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!Answer
As was the general consensus, we cannot downgrade the penalty for this infraction. The direction we have on downgrading this infraction is as follows:
Ambiguous or unclear names on a decklist may allow a player to manipulate the contents of his or her deck up until the point at which they are discovered. The Head Judge may downgrade the penalty for an ambiguous name or obvious clerical error if they believe that the error could not be used to gain an advantage in the tournament.
We do not have an ambiguous name (“Temple of Malady” can be exactly one card), nor do we have an obvious clerical error. The distinction here is between “probable” versus “obvious” – yes, he is probably playing Temple of Malice, but we cannot tell that from the decklist alone. We would need to confirm that by doing a deck check; which in Toby Elliott’s blog post he eloquently points out that it is not obvious if you feel the need to do so. Please note that the inclusion of Nightveil Specter should not sway your interpretation of ambiguity or obviousness.
Regarding the fix, please remember that in situations such as this, we fix the decklist to reflect the deck, and not the other way around. We do not force the player to play the Temples of Malady; we do not make choices for the player. René Oberweger really hit this nail on the head, well done.