Light in the Darkness

At a Modern PPTQ Atari is playing against Nintendo. On her first turn Atari plays an Island and passes the turn. Nintendo plays a Darksteel Citadel and a Lantern of Insight and passes after both players have revealed their top cards. During Nintendo’s end step Atari casts Thought Scour targeting herself, it resolves and she puts the top 3 cards into her graveyard, then flips the next card on top of her library, and then begins to draw that card. As she is drawing, Nintendo realizes what has happened, stops her and calls a Judge.

What do you do?

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Atari receives a Warning for a Game Rule Violation. She has put an extra card into her graveyard with Thought Scour. As all the cards are revealed, almost drawing the top card is not an infraction.

Move the 3rd card put into the graveyard into Atari’s hand, make sure the card that Atari was about to draw is put back on top, and let the game continue.

Look Ma, No Hand!

Anya is playing against Natalie on day 1 of a Grand Prix. In game 2 of the match Anya activates her Cryptbreaker‘s first ability, discarding a card and saying “create a zombie.” She searches the Hour of Devastation Bundle box she is using for her deck box for a zombie token, and can’t find one immediately, so takes the contents out of the box and puts them on the table. She searches some more, finds the zombies, deploys them, then returns everything to the box. Returning to the game, Anya and Natalie both discover that Anya’s hand of 4 cards is missing. They call for a judge, and you find 19 cards in Anya’s deck box, separated in a group of 8 and a group of 11, divided by the tokens.

You investigate and confirm that Anya should have 4 cards in hand, based on the game state and number of turns passed.

What do you do?

Anya receives a Warning for Hidden Card Error. She put extra cards into her sideboard, and that action can’t be fixed using public information. Natalie will look at the 19 cards that were in Anya’s deck box and choose four to become Anya’s hand.

An expanded answer can be found here.

One Probe, Two Spells, Red Land, Blue Cards

During a Legacy Open run at Competitive REL, Amon casts Gitaxian Probe paying 2 life and targeting Nikki, who responds with Brainstorm. Amon casts Counterspell targeting the Brainstorm. Nikki responds by casting Daze, returning his Volcanic Island to his hand leaving his board empty. As Nikki is resolving Brainstorm, Amon says “Go,” so Nikki untaps and draws for his turn. At this point Amon realizes the Probe was never resolved and calls a judge. What do you do?

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Amon receives a Warning for Game Rule Violation, and Nikki a Warning for Failure to Maintain Game State. Back the game up to the point where Gitaxian Probe is the only object on the stack. When backing up Nikki’s draw step, choose a random card, Volcanic Island is not excluded as it could have been returned with Brainstorm.

“Meat and eggs. We eat!” – Borborygmos

Peyton and Penelope are playing in your PPTQ. During round 3 they finished their match early, and went and got lunch from the Chinese restaraunt next door. They returned to their table and ate their lunch. You just announced pairings for round 4, and notice that they left their to-go boxes at the table they were eating at, as well as empty drink bottles, and some spilled General Tso’s sauce. Players are moving to their seats, and the two players now paired at the table have arrived and point out the trash to you. What do you do?


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First, either clean up the boxes/bottles and wipe up the mess if possible, or find an appropriate alternate table for the two new players to sit, and ensure they receive their correct match slip. Then, when Peyton and Penelope have finished their match, talk to each of them and let them know that it’s not cool to leave their trash around so that someone else has to pick it up, and that it was disruptive to other players. Also let them know that they are receiving a Warning for Unsporting Conduct – Minor.

Strictly Surgical Sideboarding

During a deck check at a Modern PPTQ, you notice that Percy has an extra card in one of the sleeves of his sideboard. The sideboard contains two copies of Surgical Extraction, and the extra card is a third copy of Surgical Extraction. It is faced backwards behind another sideboard card. Other than that, his deck is legal. You return to the table and pull Percy aside, where he explains that he was given his 15th sideboard card last minute, and had nowhere else to put the card he was removing. He also mentions that during the pregame procedure, he showed his sideboard to his opponent and pointed out the doubled cards, even informing and showing his opponent that the reversed card is Surgical Extraction. Percy’s opponent, Olivia, confirms the story. What do you do?

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While Percy does have an extra card with his sideboard, which would normally be a Deck Problem, this is legal. The MTR requires players to present their sideboard, since this isn’t always done, we default to “whatever else is in the deck box.” By pointing out exactly which cards are his sideboard, Percy avoids a penalty here.

Thank Percy for following an obscure rule, and make sure he understands the consequences should he fail to present his sideboard. Even if he is going to explicitly point out his sideboard each match, he should still remove the extra card from the sleeve, leave it in his box and keep his sideboard outside of the box, to avoid confusion.

Nobody Expects a Missed Inquisition

You are the Head Judge for a Modern PPTQ. On her first turn, Andrea plays a Swamp, then casts Inquisition of Kozilek. Naomi reveals her hand: three Plains, two Path to Exile, and two Thraben Inspector. Andrea writes down every card in Naomi’s hand, and when finished, says “pass the turn.” Naomi picks up her hand, draws a card for turn, plays a Plains, and casts Thraben Inspector. At this point, Andrea realizes she forgot to pick a card for Naomi to discard, and she calls for a judge.

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Andrea receives a Warning for Game Rules Violation, and Naomi a Warning for Failure to Maintain Game State. Plains and Thraben Inspector were both cards known to Andrea from the Inquisition of Kozilek’s effect, and nothing else has happened, so backing up is appropriate. To do so, return the Thraben Inspector and Plains back to Naomi’s hand. Then pull aside the card Naomi drew for turn, the only card not listed on Andrea’s list of Naomi’s hand, and put that card on top of Naomi’s library. Finally, we will put Inquisition of Kozilek back on the stack, and reveal Naomi’s hand again, to have Andrea select a card for Naomi to discard.

Sins of Our Past

You are a floor judge for Day 2 of a Modern Grand Prix. Adrian plays his second land, then casts Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Natalie lets Thalia resolve, and at the end of Adrian’s turn, casts Fatal Push, targeting Thalia, by tapping her only land. Adrian shrugs and moves Thalia to the graveyard. Natalie untaps, draws for turn, then Adrian points out that Natalie could not cast the Fatal Push due to Thalia’s cost increase. They call for a judge, and Adrian tells you that he received penalties for the same mistake twice yesterday.

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Natalie receives a Warning for a Game Rules Violation, and Adrian receives a Warning for Failure to Maintain Game State. Failure to Maintain is not upgraded after a third warning, and penalties also do not upgrade across days in a multi-day event. Let both players know this, and we should thank Adrian for being honest. The game should be backed-up to the point where Fatal Push was cast, including selecting a random card in Natalie’s hand, returning it to the top of her library, returning Fatal Push to her hand at the end of Adrian’s turn, and untapping the land.

Mismanaged Mimicry Memory

Albert and Nadege are playing in a standard PPTQ. They call you over to the table, and Nadege explains that Albert played Metallic Mimic on his previous turn, which was turn two. Nadege played a land on her turn and passed, and now Albert has played Depala, Pilot Exemplar and Nadege has let it resolve. Albert went to put a +1/+1 counter on his Depala, and when Nadege asked why, he pointed out the Mimic, and they both realized Albert forgot to name a creature type. What do you do?

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Albert receives a Warning for Game Rule Violation, and Nadege a Warning for Failure to Maintain Game State. Making a choice now for a forgotten static ability is one of the fixes available in GRV, so Albert will make a choice now. In addition to the choice, perform a simple backup, as Depala has finished resolving and won’t get a counter now. Back the game up to when Depala was on the stack, let Albert make his Mimic choice, and then give Nadege priority. Depala will resolve and get a counter if Nadege does nothing in response.

Wrapped Away

You are a floor judge watching Allie and Nemo play in a sealed PPTQ. Allie is attacking Nemo with her Labyrinth Guardian. Before the combat damage step, Nemo casts Final Reward targeting the Labyrinth Guardian and says, “Exile the Guardian before damage.” Allie moves her Labyrinth Guardian card on top of her other exiled cards and then looks at her hand, thinking about which creature to cast after combat. What do you do?

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Allie has committed a Game Play Error – Missed Trigger infraction for not remembering to sacrifice her Labyrinth Guardian before letting Nemo’s Final Reward resolve. Since Labyrinth Guardian’s triggered ability is considered generally detrimental, Allie will receive a warning for the infraction. Pause the game and indicate the missed trigger to the players. Nemo may choose to put the trigger on the stack now, but it won’t do anything as it resolves.

The Second Sting Hurts the Most

Alan and Nathan are playing in a Kaladesh/AEther Revolt Limited PPTQ. Alan casts a Foundry Hornet, then attacks with an Eager Construct that has a +1/+1 counter on it. Nathan controls his own Eager Construct, but chooses not to block with it. During his second main phase, Alan casts a second Foundry Hornet.

Alan looks at this hand for a few seconds, then says “Umm… I guess it’s… WAIT!” He then reads Foundry Hornet again. “Your Eager Construct dies.” Nathan calls you to the table and explains that the first trigger is missed, since it wasn’t mentioned during first main phase or combat. When you ask Alan, he tells you he forgot about Foundry Hornet’s trigger and didn’t realize until he played a second one.

Yes, we know that Kaladesh/AEther Revolt isn’t the current PPTQ format. You can ignore that when giving your answers.
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While Alan does appear to have forgotten one of his triggers, he has not missed the opportunity to acknowledge it, as the first time it is relevant to the game state is now. Treat the first Foundry Hornet trigger as resolved, and the second as still on the stack, Nathan can respond if he would like. Eager Construct will die when it resolves if nothing else happens. There is no infraction, as no triggers were missed.