Tournament Tuesday: Dark Confidant at Competitive REL

As expected, Modern Masters has created quite a stir, and we’re looking at GP Las Vegas in just a couple of weeks, where Modern Masters sealed will be the format. On top of that, there’s plenty of people drafting their MM boxes right now, and a lot of people looking to get into the format to see what all the fuss is about. One card you’re very likely to see a lot of in this format is Dark Confidant, Bob Maher’s invitational card. It can hurt you a ton, but in a properly built deck it’s just a great value engine. What we’re going to address today is what happens if you miss his fun little trigger at the Competitive Rules Enforcement Level (Or REL), which is the REL you’ll be seeing at events such as Grand Prix, Grand Prix Trials, Pro Tour Qualifiers, and the like.

As you may know, the rules on triggers have been tossed up a little bit in the past year or so, while the rules gurus try to tinker out a way that is intuitive as possible. It used to be that if you missed a trigger of any sort you just flat out missed it, and both you and your opponent were penalized. Nowadays, there’s only a penalty for ANYONE if the trigger is considered ‘generally detrimental’. Most anyone would agree that Bob’s trigger is something you WANT to happen most of the time, so it isn’t generally detrimental. What this means is that if you goof up and miss your trigger, you shouldn’t have to worry about a penalty for it (unless it starts happening a lot, but we’ll get to that in a moment).

The next notable difference due to policy change is WHEN the trigger is considered missed. It varies from trigger to trigger, but for Confidant’s, you have to acknowledge it pretty quickly since it changes the visible game state (life totals and cards in hand, notably). That means you’ve ‘missed’ it once you take an action that you couldn’t have taken until you move past it, like changing steps. Pretty much once you draw your card for the turn, it’s too late and you missed it. But what if your opponent would prefer you NOT miss it? For example, you’re down to 3 or 4 life and might get blasted by your own trigger. Well, your opponent can decide to put it onto the stack! A judge should be called for this to make sure everything goes down right, but whenever a trigger is missed, it’s up to the opponent to decide whether to put that trigger onto the bottom of the stack the moment it’s caught, or just not let it happen. So don’t be surprised if your opponent ‘allows’ you to have a Confidant trigger you missed if it might be bad for you. But you -cannot- ‘forget’ your trigger on purpose! It’s not an optional thing. It’s perfectly okay to space out and just rip a card from the top of your deck, people are human. But it’s not okay for you to intentionally ‘forget’ about your trigger because you’re getting low on life. That’s Cheating, and that’s bad!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez

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