Hello there. Welcome to my tournament report. I’m going to focus on the negative parts of the event. That’s not to say nothing went well but I just think they were the more interesting parts. I also don’t think anything went particularly great although about a quarter of the players thanked me for a well ran event on the way out, which is always a good feeling.
Yesterday I was the head judge for a SCG Super IQ at Stomping Grounds Games & Hobbies in Hatboro, PA. I got to the store around 10:30, about a half hour before the event was supposed to begin. This is later than I usually like to get to an event as a player or judge but the store runs so many events and with my floor judge, Brett, being a store employee who typically judges their IQs I knew everything would be set up smoothly. The only thing that I really needed to point out when I got there was that a player had contacted me earlier in the week to get fixed seating due to a recent knee surgery. A very easy request to fulfill though, I’m not sure why WER doesn’t have a fixed seating option.
With 40 people registered I decided to tack the player meeting onto Round 1. Right after I put up pairings another person wanted to sign up. I wasn’t sure how the store typically handled people showing up late so I asked them what they wanted to do. The employees said it was my choice as the head judge. I decided to add the player in with no penalty since I hadn’t technically started the player meeting. Instead I had WER randomly select from the now 41 players, gave that person a bye and paired the newcomer against his opponent. I told the affected players of the change but chose to explain the reasoning after doing my beginning of event announcements so the round could get underway. The players ended up using the full time extension I had to issue them while the new player got his decklist filled out. In retrospect I’m glad I paired that player for the round rather than giving him a match loss. I do however think I should have issued him a Game Loss for tardiness since he had to fill out his list after registering still. I was trying to keep with the light atmosphere that the store always has but I think I was too lenient. I did make sure to educate the player about always allowing extra travel time for traffic and that the best practice is to call in advance if you think you’ll be late.
The employees helped get the decklists sorted and counted which is always appreciated. There was a decklist missing a name but we were able to figure out who it belonged to very easily as they filled out the box that asks for initials. Most of the lists were fine but I want to focus on one of our targeted deck checks that stood out. The list was originally counted as containing 61 cards which while legal is unusual so we just wanted to check. When counting the deck, we counted only 75 cards and this meant something was off. When checking the deck, it was determined that he had a land in his deck that was not listed. This complicated matters more. Things just were not lining up. So I took the list and recounted it. Turns out the list was originally counted wrong. We issued the appropriate penalties, fixed the list, and apologized for taking so long. This was the longest deck check I’ve ever had. I learned going forward whenever I’m the head judge, I’m always going to double check any lists that we’re targeting before grabbing the decks. This was also the first event I’ve used the judge core decklist counter. That thing is great and I would recommend it to any judges not already using it.
Round Three I had to give a Game Loss for tardiness. This is usually not a big deal, however this time it was. At the beginning of the day I had announced tardiness at zero and ten as is fairly common. When I am ready to start the round I always give time for any players looking at pairings still to find their seats and sit down. Once nobody was standing anymore I started the round and noticed there was a missing player. I thought it odd that a player who was 2-0 wouldn’t show up to their round so I looked around. I noticed the player was standing outside smoking. At smaller events where the play area can’t be seen from where people smoke I like to pop my head out and let them know pairings are up but I don’t think that’s necessary at this location. One of the employees went to let him know that the round was up when we noticed him though. When he came in I explained to him that he would be receiving a game loss and why. He was not pleased. He tried to argue with it by pointing out we were only a minute into the round. I told him I waited for players to sit down and gave an adequate amount of time before starting the round. The player seemed to have misunderstood what I meant and thought that I was waiting for specific players to sit down. He angrily asked why I could wait for them but not him. His opponent and I both corrected him on the fact that’s not what I said. He pointed at one of the employees and said that the employee had allowed him to go to 7-11 to buy cigarettes, the employee did not agree with his story. The player then asked if I could go check with the other judges. I reminded him that I was the head judge and said my ruling was going to stay. He started to argue again but I got him to stop and play his round. After the round was done he complained to Brett about me and the ruling and was still not happy despite Brett explaining the same things I did. After his conversation with Brett the player went back outside. I waited a little bit but went out after him and asked if he would mind if we talked for a second. He said that he couldn’t see anything good coming of it but I insisted. I guess one could have accused me of harassing the player at this point but my intentions were good. I just let him know that I understand he was not happy with the ruling and offered to give him the proper channels to go through to complain about it if he so desired. (It felt really weird offering somebody a place to bad mouth me.) The player assured me he already had found out where to go. When I was walking away he reminded me twice that all he wanted was fair treatment and equality for all the players and that that’s what I was getting paid to do. I assured him that’s what I always did. That was the last interaction I had with him for the day. I heard him say something that piqued my interest but I figured it hadn’t gone anywhere as he was sitting by two judges playing in the event and was fairly certain one of them would have said something to me if what he said had actually been inappropriate. The comments were about a Lounging Kibler mat.
I also gave my first USC- Major. I was talking with one of the employees and a player was nearby. I said something to which the player responded with a slur. It starts with an F and ends with a T. I’ll let you fill in the rest. I asked why he said that to which he seemed a bit confused. I told him I was giving him a USC that would be applied to his next round, and not to use words like that at Magic tournaments. What I didn’t do which I should have was ask him to repeat himself. The player took the penalty very graciously but later was talking to the employee about it which is how we found out the employee and I both misheard him. When I was told what he actually said, I apologized as I felt pretty bad. The player didn’t seem to mind at all though and just thought the whole thing was funny as he would not actually use that word. Lesson learned, always ask the players to repeat what they said if there’s a chance of USC.
Other than that, nothing particularly noteworthy happened.
The top 8 went pretty quick which I always appreciate. Most top 8’s I’ve judged or played in also somehow seem more laid back than the rest of the event with the players joking around and this event was no exception. I probably messed with the winner, more than I should have but it was obvious to everyone involved that everything was in good fun at that point. Personally the top 8 is always my favorite part of tournaments because of that light mood. I’m not sure if everyone feels the same way.
There weren’t many interesting calls but here are the two that stick out. Does my “The Rack” work if my opponent has Leyline of Sanctity out? The rack is an odd card. It does work because the oracle text says choose an opponent. It does not target. I would have been wrong, it’s a good thing phones with oracle text exist.
The other interesting call was player A activated Mishra’s Bauble, when the turn passed both players agreed that player B had not given enough time during the upkeep to resolve the effect of A’s bauble but the B waited after grabbing his card a significant time to let A draw before continuing with play and then A realized he didn’t draw. My initial thought was it was a missed trigger. But something seemed off about the wording on the card to me so I went to talk to my floor judge as a sanity check, and checked the wording of missed triggers on the way. The floor judge convinced me it was part of the ability resolving and the ability had not been properly resolved. This sounded right to me at the time since it didn’t meet the definition of a triggered ability in 603.1 and this is how I ruled. This ruling was wrong. I should have trusted my gut; it didn’t meet the criteria in 603.1 but it did meet the criteria for delayed triggers mentioned in 603.7.
So lessons learned:
WER sucks (not new, just a reminder)
Stomping Grounds staff is great (again, just a reminder)
Always double check problem decklists before the check
Make sure you hear everything properly before issuing a penalty
You can’t make everyone happy, just do your best.
If a ruling feels incorrect, it probably is, double and triple check.
Talk to the TO about how prizes in the top 8 are going to be distributed. Personally at IQ’s I like giving the mat to the players when and if they lose their match. Most won’t use the mat anyway so it makes unnecessary clutter. It works though if the top 8 tables are separate from the tables used in the swiss and you can have them already set up with the mats, this could also be done while a photo is being taken of the top 8.
No matter how much you want to see your friend flip Emrakul to Dark Confidant, it won’t happen and he’ll win the event instead. Congrats man.
Editors Note: (Check out the original post and join the discussion here!)