Mentoring is definitely one of the top 5 things (if not the best) I love about judging. Teaching, being taught, discussions, the learning process, all of this just fascinates me. And what’s best for mentoring than shadowing?
Shadowing is the practice where one observes another judge work, either when they are taking a call (the most common form of shadowing) or when they are dealing with any one of the diverse tasks a judge has in an event, such as talking with other judges or posting pairings. Shadowing is the very essence of mentoring. You observe because you want to see that person in action, either because you want to learn from them or learn about them. If you learn about someone you can discuss with them their approach, you can suggest improvements and, wait for it… you can write a magnificent review!
Enough about this, let’s go to some floor action!
I am Duskwatching you!
Players call a judge to their table and I went there to shadow. The situation is well known to all of us. Adam forgot to transform his Duskwatch Recruiter to Krallenhorde Howler during his upkeep. Adam then drew for the turn, activated Duskwatch Recruiter’s ability, cast a creature and passed the turn, then they realized the creature should have transformed. The players were unsure on what to do. The judge that took the call ruled it as Missed Trigger with no penalty and the fix would be to ask Adam’s opponent, Nathan, if he would want to put the ability on the stack or not. Nathan didn’t really like the ruling, arguing that Adam already got to activate Duskwatch Recruiter. The judge explained that rewinding was not applicable with this infraction and the fix was just putting the ability on the stack now or skipping the ability. Nathan decided not to put the ability on the stack and they moved on.
I then talked with the judge and I argue that both sides of Duskwatch Recruiter are good. In that line, if you miss its triggered ability, then you lost something good, therefore, the trigger ability is detrimental and should carry a warning. Also, if we issue a warning, we can enter it in the system and it may serve as future reference for a possible future investigation. That judge felt convinced by me and issued the warning.
Little did I know, later on that same day…
(Editor’s note: this story isn’t over yet! Remember to read the follow up below!)
Kalitas, the Traitor of all Rulings
Again, I got involved in this without being the judge called to the table. Shadowing ftw! Players explained that Nick controlled Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and killed a non-token creature controlled by Alan. Alan put the creature into the graveyard instead of the exile zone and Nick didn’t put a zombie into the battlefield. Then they start talking about how the trigger was missed (the very moment I started having a heart attack) and they explain that after this happened, Alan attacked and after the attack, Alan cast a creature. The judge that took the call ruled this to be a Game Rule Violation with a Warning for Nick and the fix would be back up the game to the point the creature was put into the graveyard.
1) Would you do this back up?
2) Do we have other options?
3) What you would have done if 2 turns have passed after the error?
After the judge issued his ruling, I told him it was a GRV for both players.
While the judge went back to the table to finalize the ruling, I went to talk with Kevin Desprez about Duskwatch Recruiter and I soon realized this was a bad idea, when the earlier judge came to me and asked me why both player committed a GRV infraction.
The reason is, for Alan because he put the creature in the wrong zone and for Nick because he controlled the ability that caused the error. And then I got some very wise words from Kevin
“If you want to shadow, do it properly, do it until the very end. That judge may need you to support their ruling or to discuss anything else. Remember, judge calls are time sensitive, discussions are not.”
After this, we went back to Duskwatch Recruiter, to discuss whether or not it was a detrimental missed trigger. Kevin’s answer was plain and simple –
“Since both sides are good, it is not to the player’s detriment to miss the transform ability. Furthermore, judges should not use the warning as an excuse not to investigate. Whenever you encounter a situation like this, you should analyse the board state and also ask the players a few questions to try to asset player’s intent.”
The Great Aurora
A player cast The Great Aurora. He has 2 lands in hand, a Swamp and a Foreboding Ruins. Can that player reveal the Swamp to the Foreboding Ruins so both lands come into play untapped?
Up Here, Please
Here’s the situation – I am watching a match that just finished and a player just started sideboarding. However, they are not doing it over the table. Instead, this player puts their deck and sideboard below the table – on his chair and legs while sideboarding. I immediately think to myself “this person must be bringing extra cards to the game” and I force myself to think of a reason why an honest player would do such a thing. The only thing that pops into my mind is that the player doesn’t want to give their opponent any information about their sideboarding.
Still suspicious, I kept analyzing the situation, instead of interrupting the player, I am watching to see if they pull a card out of somewhere to put in their deck. Nothing happens, I decide it’s not worth investigating any further. I intervene and ask the player to do their sideboard above the table. The player disagrees; he see no reason to it. I say it has a lot of potential for abuse. Furthermore, it could make his opponent feel uncomfortable. The player appealed. The judge in burgundy upheld my ruling, but without an official answer. After minutes looking up on the documents, we find MTR 3.12:
“Throughout the match, a draft and pregame procedures, players are responsible for keeping their cards above the level of the playing surface and for making reasonable efforts to prevent hidden information from being revealed.”
All in all it was a great event, full of discussions and interesting moments. I learned how to be a better mentor and I was able to teach a thing or two to other judges.
(Editor’s note: Please leave your feedback and comments on the JudgeApps forums too!)