Summer: holiday time for many people, often in exotic or tropical locations.
Summer: an opportunity to stay closer to home by travelling only to European events and spend more time with family.
Back from Pro Tour Minneapolis 2018, I enjoyed a summer in my old continent, with three GPs where I had three different roles.
Brussels: setup, floor judge, strike.
Prague: team leader.
Stockholm: appeals judge
Experiencing Grand Prix events can be done in several different ways, both inside the tournament room and outside.
Flexibility and desire of new adventures and challenges is, in my opinion, a fundamental trait.
When we enter the tournament room, “everything” is ready, meaning that it’s a room full of tables and chairs, colored banners, stages with staff, vendors in action, prize wall full of treasures… but the same room is actually empty on Thursday morning:
After a few hours of hard physical work of a dozen of people, the room has a quite different aspect and it’s ready to welcome thousands of Magic fans:
The opposite happens on Sunday; in the middle of the afternoon, when the main event is at its final stages and the side events are starting to wrap up, the same dozen of people sneak silently and stealthy between rows, start removing tablecloths and “compress” the Magic action area, transforming the tournament room from this
A policy situation: Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
As the name says, Teferi has been a very important card and I has been played by many expert players.
When it’s on your side of the table, it’s great.
When it’s on the opposite side of the table, you need to find a way to get rid of it.
When you are a judge and you see one or two Teferi on a table, you know that the match is not going to end quickly… have I already told you how much judges prefer aggro decks that make matches end before the 50 minutes? ^___^
Rules-wise, Teferi has an interesting ability, that has been discussed on many forums:
+1: Draw a card. At the beginning of the next end step, untap two lands.
This is a very simple ability, that gives you an extra card and that offers you two additional mana available in your opponent’s turn… if you remember to untap two of your lands.
What happens if you forget the delayed triggered ability?
Like all triggered abilities, judges determine if the ability is beneficial or detrimental.
This ability is clearly beneficial (Teferi is your hero, so he helps you), as it offers you the advantage of two extra untapped lands…
There is also a rule that handles the effects that say “Tap/Untap”, and the tricky part is that Teferi’s ability doesn’t target.
When an ability has targets, they need to be chosen when the ability is put on the stack.
When an ability has no targets, all the choices are done on resolution.
All seems good, except the “not well-known rule” that says that, if you have to untap a permanent, it must be tapped:
701.20 To untap a permanent, rotate it back to the upright position from a sideways position. *Only tapped permanents can be untapped*.
If you have all your land untapped, Teferi’s ability cannot apply to them, untapping them again. This means that Teferi would look at your opponent’s lands… and your Hero would offer his help to your opponents… betrayer!
It can’t be, it’s not in the character of Teferi!
But the rules clearly say that your untapped land cannot be affected by Teferi’s ability.
And, if you don’t resolve Teferi’s ability, you are committing an infraction.
Judges have been discussing how such situation should be solved, with two different approaches.
- Missed trigger. You forgot to resolve the delayed triggered ability, which is considered detrimental as it would untap two of your opponent’s lands. You receive a warning. Your opponent chooses if the ability is put on the stack. The ability is put on the stack and… you have the possibility to tap two lands in response and then untap them, which makes the ability not detrimental. Weird, it starts as detrimental, but at the end it’s not
- Game Rules Violation. You failed to resolve the delayed triggered ability correctly, you receive a warning, the game state returns to the moment the ability resolves and you have to choose to lands that can be legally untapped, which are your opponent’s. This solution seems more linear, except the fact that the reply to the question “Why didn’t you untap two lands?” would probably be “Because I forgot the ability”; which would make the infraction Missed Trigger.
This is one of the very few cases where a game error may be considered in two different categories, and you can see that the outcome in the game depends on which infraction is determined to be the correct one to consider.
Different judges have different opinions in cases like this, and the disputes get resolved by the person who has the responsibility of the policy document and the policy clarifications, Hall of fame judge and former L5 and Pro Tour head judge Toby Elliott, nicknamed a long time ago “Mr. Policy”, one of the symbols of current judging.
While I imagined Toby’s head with tendrils of smoke in the attempt to resolve the dilemma, somebody might have said “if only the card said *up to* two lands”…
Now, if you check in Gatherer, the online tool where we can find the official card pictures and (updated) texts, you find a different ability:
+1: Draw a card. At the beginning of the next end step, untap up to two lands.
“Up to” has been added, and Teferi is now a loyal Hero, willing to only help his master, never creating infractions, never helping the evil opponents!
Prague has the best escape rooms I’ve ever tried (and I did a hundred!). My current favorite is the “Haunted House”.
Cosplay is part of the Magic flavor, and 2018 had a very special guest, Karn, who was with us for his last GP in Stockholm.
You thought your train&metro station was big and complicated? Here is the map of the Stockholm central train&metro station!
Time to go back home
Another series of travel has ended, and it’s time to go back home, enjoy the prerelease of the new set Guilds of Ravnica, and get ready for new long flights.
Next adventure will be Grand Prix Nagoya, in the beautiful land of the rising sun.