Event Date: July 9,2016
Format: Modern Constructed
Player Count: 459 (10 Rounds)
Head Judge: Dominic Yu Ping Kun (L2)
Floor Judges: Wella Ladera (L2), Ron Joson (L2), DJ Paculio (L1), Raffy Sarto (L1), Arrian Ordonez (L1), Myself (L1), Vince Balean (L1), Martin Laureta (L1), Mark Chua (L1)
The venue was prepared the night before the event by Neutral Grounds staff. Seating was prepared for 450 players. This was more than enough for the 330 who were pre-registered.
It was unfortunate that it rained heavily overnight. There were leaks in the ceiling of the venue which were not known to the team. When the judges arrived in the morning, the floor and some tables were wet. On-site registration proceeded and the number of registrants exceeded 450. As a result, judges went to Neutral Grounds to get more tables.
I find that the judge team in collaboration with Neutral Grounds staff responded well to the challenges that morning. Judges immediately worked together to re-position tables away from the slippery areas. Quick thinking by a new Level 1 Judge (Mark Chua) helped speed up the on-site registration process by requesting smaller bills to be pulled from the shop’s register for the registration team to quickly provide change to players.
While judges are not tournament organizers, nothing should stop us from going the extra mile to improve the quality of experience for players at the tournament.
I was called by NAP to a table where AP controlled Chalice of the Void with 1 charge counter on it. AP cast Cranial Plating and NAP responded by casting Spell Snare. According to NAP, he cast Spell Snare and AP said “ok” and as such, AP already failed to trigger Chalice of the Void’s ability. AP gave a different version of the story saying he never said “ok” and he did not allow the Spell Snare to resolve. The point of contention here is whether AP demonstrated awareness of the trigger the first time it would affect the game in a visible fashion.
Seeing as there were conflicting stories, I consulted the head judge who informed me that the point of no return for AP is at the point where Cranial Plating goes to the graveyard. I returned to the table and asked each player individually what happened after NAP cast Spell Snare. AP said that NAP construed that he “ok’d” the Spell Snare because he put his Cranial Plating in his graveyard but, without taking any further game actions, he told NAP that his Cranial Plating should resolve due to Chalice’s trigger. I ruled in favor of NAP.
Avoid asking yes/no questions to players. Always ask open ended questions so players don’t get a hint what kind of answer you are looking for.
If I asked AP “did your Cranial Plating touch the graveyard”, how do you think he would have responded? What else could I have asked here?
I was called by Mark Chua to assist at a table where AP controlled a 1/1 Delver of Secrets and NAP controlled a 2/3 Tarmogoyf. AP said that he had attacked with the Delver and NAP blocked with the Tarmogoyf. Combat damage was over and AP cast Kolaghan’s Command dealing two damage to the Tarmogoyf and asking NAP to discard a card. Both graveyards only contained land and creature cards at that point. NAP was asking me if Tarmogoyf would die. Suddenly NAP discarded a Liliana of the Veil and AP stopped him saying that he meant to return his Delver of Secrets to his hand with the Kolaghan’s Command. I distinctly remembered NAP saying that the mode on Kolaghan’s Command was “Target Opponent Discards a Card”. However, at that point, NAP’s girlfriend who was watching said that AP said “Return creature” when he cast the Kolaghan’s command. After hearing his girlfriend, NAP eventually agreed that AP said “return target creature”. I looked to Mark and asked what he heard. He said he forgot. I thought we should not consider the game state when making a ruling? How do you think this case can be resolved without considering the game state?
(i) In the middle of confusion, stick with what makes sense.
(ii) Learning how to process information provided by bystanders might be a good topic for the next SEA Judge Conference.
AP casting Kolaghan’s Command to deal 2 damage to Tarmogoyf and to make NAP discard a card followed by him asking me whether Tarmogoyf dies does not make sense. The next time state-based actions would be checked, graveyards would already contain a creature, instant, land + whatever card type NAP would choose to discard.
Round 6 and 8
Kate was mistakenly dropped from the tournament. Pairings had already been posted for the round and players were at their tables. After investigating, it was found that Kate’s opponent marked the wrong DROP line on their result slip. The head judge deferred the decision on what to do to the scorekeeper who said that he would wait it out until such point that it can be determined that the opponent of any player with the same point total as Kate was absent for the round. Kate was eventually paired against one such player. A similar problem occurred to 2 players in Round 8 wherein players had to be manually unpaired in order to accommodate those who were mistakenly dropped. The scorekeeper explained that normally he would have given Kate and other mistakenly dropped players a match loss to expedite the tournament. However, he felt that they should not be penalized for a problem they did not cause. What can we do to prevent similar problems? Should players always be reminded that the match winner should be the one to submit the result slip so we can identify who caused the problem?
The tournament was held with special considerations for disabled players who were given a fixed table. However, several extensions was granted to one of the special tables despite the efforts of judges to redirect players paired against a disabled player to the latter’s table.
Giving disabled players a fixed table is good customer service. Making the disabled player wait in limbo for several minutes wondering whether he/she has an opponent and making players wait for a longer period after end-of-round is called is bad customer service.
How can we improve the quality of care we provide to the disabled members of the Magic Community?
While there were times when I felt that adding 2 to 3 more judges would have helped give players a better tournament experience, running a big tournament with a small judge team is fulfilling at the end of the day. It is in times like this when one can appreciate the value generated by having judges work in teams. A small group of 10 judges staffing a 459 player event such as this truly shows how a team can be greater than the sum of its parts.
(Editor’s note: Please leave your feedback and comments on the JudgeApps forums too!)