Schrödinger’s Markings

You are the Team Lead of the Deck Checks team at a Super Sunday Series event at a Grand Prix. You perform a random beginning-of-round deck check on Andy at the beginning of round 7. You notice that throughout the event, Andy’s main deck has become quite warped from the way that he is shuffling, and the sideboard has 15 flat cards in it. If you put a sideboard card into his deck, it is quite easy to see where it is from the side. What do you do?

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

As in all other aspects of policy, we don’t particularly care how long Andy’s sideboard and main deck have looked like this. We don’t want to penalize players for actions they may or may not have taken in previous games. We also don’t want to start considering players to have committed infractions before they happen. We’re not Tom Cruise and none of us are in Minority Report.

We need to look into whether or not there is currently an infraction and what the appropriate penalty would be. TE–Marked Cards says “A player’s cards are marked or oriented in a way that could potentially give an advantage to that player.” I think we can all agree that the sideboard cards could offer an advantage to that player if they are used. We also assume that when a player makes a sideboard, they will use it in some manner.

The upgrade clause states “The Head Judge has the option to upgrade this penalty to a Game Loss if he or she believes that a player noticing the pattern of markings would clearly compromise the integrity of the game.” We here at the Knowledge Pool don’t agree that this criteria has been met. Since this was a beginning of round deck check, we thankfully caught this problem before the integrity of the game has been damaged and there is no need to upgrade this.

Therefore, this falls under Tournament Error–Marked Cards and comes with a Warning. Due to the nature of this problem, we have a few options available to us, and you should consult with the Head Judge exactly how they want to proceed. We have a couple options. We can instruct the player to replace their entire main deck. We can also instruct the player to warp their sideboard to match their main deck.

This won’t be a simple fix. However, this player has created the situation through their own actions. This is really no different from a player who ignores our announcement, sets his open drink on the table, then drenches his deck and wants us to fix his problem.