Absent Guide

You are the head judge of a Khans of Tarkir sealed PTQ. At the end of round 2, a player turns in an Abzan Guide in a matte black sleeve that he found on the floor. He has no idea whose it is, and there are a couple dozen players with matte black sleeves. When you announce the card has been found, nobody comes to claim it.

However, during round 5, you discover its owner, Jake. Jake confirms that the card is his, but he didn’t realize it was missing. That card is registered in the “played” column on Jake’s deck list. Jake is currently in game 2 of round 5 and his deck for the current game is 40 cards.

What do you do?

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

It’s time to bring this week’s discussion to a close. We have a pretty even split in our answers between a single Game Loss for a Deck/Deck List Problem and no infraction. Since we have an area on which we are focused, let’s dive into the relevant bits of the definition:

Originally posted by IPG 3.5:

A player commits one or more of the following errors involving deck contents or registration:

The contents of the presented deck and sideboard do not match the decklist registered.

Sideboards are considered to be a part of the deck for the purpose of this infraction. If sideboard cards are missing, make a note of this, but issue no penalty

When we discover that Jake does not have an Abzan Guide in his deck, we can say that the contents of the presented deck and sideboard do not match the decklist registered. However, if we keep reading, we see that if sideboard cards are missing, no penalty is issued. Because we are in game 2 of the match, the Abzan Guide is considered to be part of his sideboard along with all other cards that he opened and is not currently playing in his presented deck. This means that no penalty will be issued based on the current game.

However, we also have to contend with the issue of the previous games in which we know he was playing without Abzan Guide even though it was required to be there because he had marked it in his “played” column. This is easily resolved by looking at the language of the IPG: “the contents of the presented deck and sideboard do not match.“ Notably, this sentence doesn’t say ”did not.” A D/DLP for a mismatch between a deck and deck list can only be assigned based on the currently presented deck in a currently ongoing game. Currently, there is no infraction, so we issue no infraction.

Return Jake’s Abzan Guide to him. Remind him to check the play area carefully when he stands up. Issue the appropriate extension, and have the players play on.

If you are interested in finding out how the real version of this situation occurred and was investigated and resolved, read this tournament report.