Owning Your Mistakes – SCG Open Somerset

Christopher Cahill, Level 2, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States

Christopher Cahill, Level 2, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States

This tournament report will cover the SCG Legacy Open at Somerset, NJ on November 28. I was a member of the Clock/EOR team on Saturday with Joe Hughto leading and Rob McKenzie as our head judge. I will provide a brief discussion of the tournament and my role in it on Saturday, followed by a lengthy story of one particular call that I think can be useful as a teaching tool for myself and others.

We had 5 teams for Saturday, all code-named for movies involving cops: Deck Checks (“Rush Hour”), Clock/End-Of-Round (“Time Cop”), Watch Magic/Sides (“Hot Fuzz”), Paper (“Police Academy”), and Coverage (“Turner and Hooch”). As I mentioned above, I was on the Clock/EOR team which means that our main responsibilities were to start and reset the round clock and manage the end of round procedure. Since our main duties only pop up at the beginning and end of the rounds, the rest of the round, we were responsible for floor coverage.

Throughout the day, responsibility for the clipboard for EOR was shared between most of the members of our team. Even with 27 judges on staff, we decided it was not feasible to break entire teams at once, so we instead had one-two members per team on break for rounds 3, 4 and 5. The main reason to not break entire teams is that without a dedicated SOS/Breaks team, we did not want to lose any one team’s function for an entire round. By scheduling breaks such that a couple members of each team are off each round, all of the major functions of each team can continue with the remaining members.

Legacy events seem to go one of two ways with regards to judge calls. Either there are very few, since many players are very familiar with their decks and the potential interactions, or there are many calls, as players have trouble navigating all the complexities that Legacy can bring. This event fell in the latter category. Even with all of the many judges on the floor, I was taking multiple calls per round. Most were oracle text, or simple interaction questions. A couple examples:

  • Dredge player asks: If I attack with Ichorid and my opponent blocks with Flickerwisp, will I still get a zombie from my Bridge from Below?
  • Answer: If multiple triggers from a source occur at the same time, the owner of the source chooses the order in which they go on the stack.
  • Answer: They can. While Thalia does increase the cost of Show and Tell to 4, Gaddock Teeg only is concerned with the converted mana cost which remains 3.

There was another interesting call that I was not directly involved in, but definitely stirred up some discussion. Alice plays a Cavern of Souls and names “Construct.” She then casts Metalworker. Norman looks at the card and says “It’s not a construct.” Alice says nothing. Norman casts Brainstorm, followed by Force of Will targeting Metalworker. Alice now points to the Cavern and says “It’s uncounterable.” At this point, Norman calls for a judge. The ruling at the table is that there is no infraction, and that all of the spells cast were legally cast, resulting in Force of Will failing to counter the Metalworker. After some discussion the next morning with Abe Corson, we were not sure the ruling was 100% correct, although the end result was. Norman has technically committed a Communication Policy Violation by stating that the Metalworker is not a Constuct. The IPG only allows for a backup for CPV in the event that one player acts on incorrect information given by another player. In this case, Norman is the only player who stated incorrect information and acted on it, so backing up is not an option.

Now, I will relay a story concerning a call where I made a very simple, yet hugely impactful, mistake. This particular call is what I consider to be one of the most important things that happened to me over the weekend for what it can teach both myself and others.

It’s round 9, quickly approaching the end of the round. I am watching a match somewhere in the middle of the remaining tables. The players finish game 2 and start playing game 3. I casually notice that each player has received a warning this round, as denoted by the red “W” next to each of their names. I step away for a moment to answer a spectator’s question, when a second spectator asks me to pause the match. As I do, the players realize that Adam has cast a Cursed Scroll for {1} while Nancy controls a Thalia. I explain that we have a Game Rule Violation, and ask if the player has received any other warnings for Game Rule Violation today. Adam responds that he just received one in this match, and that he had received one earlier in the day.

I ask the players to please wait a moment while I go check with our scorekeeper. I take their slip with me, after confirming Adam’s name, up to the scorekeeper who confirms that Adam has indeed received a GRV earlier in the day, so I head back to the table. On the way, I inform Rob McKenzie that I have an upgrade for third GRV so he’s aware in case of an appeal. Once I arrive back at the table I explain that the third GRV infraction upgrades to a Game Loss. The players are both jovial, and Adam extends his hand to Nancy, mentioning that he should have paid more attention and scoops up his cards. I hand the slip back to the players and ask them to fill it out mentioning that I will fill out my part of the paperwork afterwards so that they don’t have to wait around. They thank me and I take the slip once they are done.

I begin walking away from the table, and turn over the match slip to begin writing the penalty. Once I do, I do a quick double take, and flip the slip back to the front to confirm Adam’s name. I turn the slip over again with a sinking feeling. The penalty Adam received this round was Failure to Maintain Game State because he allowed Nancy to commit a GRV. Rob is standing nearby and I quickly tell him what I just discovered, trying to think if there is anyway we can salvage the situation. At this point, the slip has been signed and the players are packing their bags, and there is less than 30 seconds left in the round. We decide there is nothing we can do for the players at this point aside from apologizing.

I return to the table where Adam and Nancy are still chatting with each other and explain that I made a huge mistake. I should have not simply taken Adam at his word that he received a GRV this round, especially since most players don’t really understand all the different penalties that go into the IPG. It is our responsibility to make sure we get things right. We have a discussion about all the different penalties that exist and I explain how the process is supposed to work. I let him know that the situation was entirely my fault, and not his. I gave him a couple tips on how to overcome a similar situation that should hopefully not happen in the future and apologized one more time before we went our separate ways.

In summary, always make sure to double check available information, even if the player is convinced. I had multiple opportunities to turn the slip over and check what warning Adam had received this round and didn’t. Also, when (not if) you make a mistake, even if the player is unaware that you have made one, and even if you cannot do anything to correct it, let them know and apologize. Explain what should have happened. It is infinitely better to own your mistake and admit it to the player than to hide it and have them discover it later.

Thanks for reading!

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