Location: Meadowlands Expo Ctr., New Jersey
Judge Staff: Damian Hiller, Carlos Ho HJs; ~130 Judges and Staff
My assignments: Stage (Sat), Sides (Sun)
New York, my tenth GP, was also my first time repeating a region. It was an excellent experience that gave me the chance to fix a number of the problems I ran into in Paris, and to show off a couple of the things I had worked on for my personal development. I also had a number of good discussions with our colleagues, and came up with a question I have been using to help challenge some of our newer candidates and judges since. Of course, an event with this size had a number of interesting rules cases, too.
One of the things I like best about the program is the chances we have to collaborate and deliberate on rulings during and after we deliver them. On Saturday, I got to have a good discussion about a hypothetical situation where a player fails to de-sideboard, and notices the problem in his opening hand, for the second time in the day. The first time in a day, the player would generally have this penalty downgraded to a warning, but the second or further times raise the question, even if the mistake was genuine, of whether the penalty should still be downgraded. Without a pattern to show Cheating, though, there’s no upgrade path, so it doesn’t look like it should be handled differently.
Sunday also brought good discussions, with a bunch of different events generating issues. Martha Lufkin and I got to challenge a newer judge with a player’s question in the Mother’s Day 2HG Sealed event, when AP cast Bound by Moonsilver enchanting NAP’s Accursed Witch. The players didn’t know how the Witch dying would be affected by Bound, and asked us for help with the transform sequence. Because the creature leaves the battlefield before the trigger is put on the stack, and has to change zones transformed, Bound doesn’t end up preventing the transformation ability.
Of course, finding out the causes of these errors is important for properly remedying them. During the main event on Saturday, I had two interesting investigations that required some good sleuthing to solve.
First, I had an issue with two players who had lost track of their turn count. I asked a few questions to be sure, but with no mulligans taken, no land drops missed, and AP having drawn one extra card off a Clue token, it was pretty clear that he had accidentally played a second land that turn, and was issued a Warning, after revoking the land and the spell he’d cast using its mana.
The second investigation was a little less straightforward: two players with a life total discrepancy, and AP thinking he’d attacked twice with his Dragonlord Ojutai, but NAP thinking it was the first time. Because it was later in the game, lands and hands were less helpful in solving this one, but what I ended up doing was peeking at the bottom of AP’s library. I pulled him aside, and asked him what the bottom four cards of his library were. He was able to name only the second card from the bottom, and didn’t have additional cards in his hand that would have indicated he’d used Ojutai’s trigger twice, so I concluded that he’d only done so once.
Finally, I want to make a quick mention of the two cards that seemed to cause the most trouble in the event: Duskwatch Recruiter and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.
The former is less of an issue, because even skipping its trigger doesn’t cause a penalty, but not all of the staff was clear on that at the beginning of the day on Saturday. Because of its unique utility and design, both faces of Duskwatch are situationally good, and we were instructed during round 2 not to treat either transform trigger as detrimental, and thus stopped giving penalties for missing it. Kalitas, however, is much more of a problem: its token-creating ability is not a trigger, and thus generates a lot of GRV penalties. Note that if you do have the situation where a creature is misplaced, both players receive a GRV – Kalitas’ controller for failing to resolve the ability, and the opponent for moving their creature to the wrong zone. I also took some questions about how he reacts to being put in a fight, and whether lifelink still works then.
Overall, I had a phenomenal event. I got to work with a great crew, and in (very near) a great city. I got a lot of material to share with candidates out of it, and I was really happy with my performance. Planning ahead for extra advance time really made a huge difference, especially with having to take a train from where I stayed to the venue.
Of course, I did promise some fun questions I had, so here they are. They are pretty basic, though, so let people chime in.
1) AP has a Kozilek’s Return in the graveyard, and controls Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. He casts another copy of Ulamog. How do you resolve the cast triggers and the interaction of Legendary permanents?
3) AP taps Corrupted Grafstone, a Foreboding Ruins, and a Plains to cast Olivia, Mobilized for War. His graveyard contains Archangel Avacyn, Pious Evangel, and a True-Faith Censer. NAP calls you to the table and asks if this is okay. What is the infraction, if any, and the fix?
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