Gatecrash Policy Changes – For Judges

Apologies for the delay. As you can see from the article on dailymtg, we wanted to make sure we took plenty of time to communicate the significant changes, which meant coordinating a bunch of articles, among other things.

There’s a couple of notable changes in this update, and then a few minor tweaks.

The big one is revisions to the Missed Trigger rules, reflecting what we’ve learned from having the last policy in place for the past 4 months. In general there’s a bunch more words, but a lot of the parts haven’t changed. The remedy (with a small addition for zone-change delayed triggers) is what you’re used to. The “rules” – you are not allowed to “miss” your triggers, and your opponent doesn’t have to remind you – are still the same, and the philosophy has only changed in that it emphasizes the benefit of not having to remind your opponent, not that you can make your opponent missed triggers through technical trickery.

So, what’s changed? We’ve spent a bunch of time rewriting the rules on when a trigger is actually missed. In short, triggers aren’t considered missed until they require you make a decision or they have visible impact on the game state. The actual rules aren’t nearly that short; they have lots of technical detail about what that actually means. Triggers are also assumed to have resolved until a player demonstrates that they haven’t. So, if you attack with a Knight of Infamy, we assume that it’s a 3/2 thanks to the Exalted until you do something like say “take 2”. At that point, you’ve given an active indication that you’ve missed that trigger. Similarly, if you play a Primeval Titan and then play a Sorcery or offer to go to Combat, you’ve clearly moved past the point where you could legally search. On the whole, there are 4 categories – triggered abilities that require choices on announcement, ones that require choices or doing something on resolution, ones that change game rules and ones that do invisible things. There are rules for each, but the hope is they’re sufficiently intuitive that learning them should feel pretty natural.

Is there a DVD commentary that walks you through the new rules in more details than you could possibly have asked for? Of course there is!

In other trigger news, there’s one more change. We’re going to bring the “you don’t need to help your opponent remember triggers” to Regular REL. This brings the actual “rules” into alignment at all levels. Of course, at Regular REL, we’re a lot more forgiving when triggers are missed. If it’s still meaningful, within a respectable time frame (a turn or so) and not too disruptive, I’ll let them resolve it. I think this matches how people play at Regular REL: “Oh hey, did you take 2 from Stab Wound during your upkeep?” followed by a life total change. So, realistically, the only thing that’ll be different for Regular is that the controller of the ability will need to realize it without help from their opponent.

The other notable change to the MIPG is that we’ve revamped the “very bad” section a bit. Most of it is structural; the only effective change is that things that were previously Hidden Information Violations or Manipulation of Game Materials have an additional requirement that the player knows that they’re breaking a rule (and you believe that they were unaware). This brings them entirely in line with Fraud, so we simply rolled all three of those up into a new infraction: Unsporting Conduct – Cheating. Cheating – Stalling also got renamed to Unsporting Conduct – Stalling, though that’s the only change there. Suddenly, the MIPG has one less section in it.

Note that Improper Determination of a Winner and Bribery are still automatic DQs, regardless of if the player knew they were breaking a rule or not.

Most of the other MIPG changes are cosmetic. Player Communication Violation got renamed to Communication Policy Violation. Nothing changes there, except hopefully the number of “that’s not PCV” pronouncements we need to make in the future (and before everyone emails me, yes, there’s still a reference to Player Communication Violation in there. We’ll get it fixed next time)

Likewise, most of the MTR changes are cosmetic. There’s a couple worth calling attention to, though.

We’ve removed the 3-minute requirement for shuffling and presenting. This doesn’t mean that we think players can take longer; most of the time, we believe that it should take less time, especially on mulligans! It didn’t make a lot of sense to have that one arbitrary time limit, and it’s logical to treat it like any other slow play if you think they’re taking longer than they should. (There’s still a reference to the 3-minute limit in Slow Play, but I’m torn whether we should remove it)

Finally, some of you may have seen this in action, but there may be more than one red shirt on the floor of GPs. In certain large tournaments, we’ll have “appeals judges”. They’re high-level judges, wearing the HJ uniform, and they’re empowered to be the final authority on appeals. So, if you get appealed at a GP, just find the nearest available redshirt to transport down to the planet and… um, just find the nearest available person in red to take the call.

That’s it! As always, there’s way too many people to thank, but here’s a partial list: Jurgen Baert, Carlos Ho, Kevin Desprez, Brian Schenck, Eric Shukan, Kim Warren, Jeremie Granat, David Lyford-Smith, Paul Smith, Gavin Duggan, and everyone who wrote in to point out that we still had a mention of lapsing in the document! The MIPG is truly a collaborative process between OP, R&D, the high-level judges and all of you, so thanks for all the emails and comments.

23 thoughts on “Gatecrash Policy Changes – For Judges

  1. Hello, im not a judge and i have a question: Wouldnt it make more sense to assume the opponent MISSED the trigger until he says otherwise? At the moment, should i understand it correctly, if a creature of my opponent attacks me with exalted i have to assume for my blocks that he remembered it, so it would be a disadvantage to block like he did forget it. I want to be able to try to block the 2/1 exalted guy with my 1/1 and if he forgot both die. At the moment i fear my opponent could say: ok, your 1/1 takes 3 mine doesnt die.
    In my suggestion i could say: ok, then ill block differently.

    1. That’s basically the previous version (with a backup twist in a very limited circumstance that gets really messy fast), and had all the problems people have been been unhappy with for the past 4 months.

      1. I disagree. In my opinion the main change was this: “You have until a trigger requires a decision or visibly affects the game to remember and demonstrate awareness of it” Thats a great idea i appreciate. I dont understand why you cant simply add this to the former ruling that the benefited player missed the trigger when he doesnt say sth. It fixes the famous pyreheart wolf and craterhoof problems too and seems more intuitiv to me. The problem with the recent change is that it favors the person who perhaps forgot the trigger? ill let convince me for sure but right now i dont know why this should be more messy?

  2. Hope this is the last change to Missed Triggers XD.

    Aside from that, thanks Toby for the detailed (and less technical) explanation of the new rulings and changes.

    Now waiting for the official IPG document.

  3. Can you elaborate on this line a bit?

    “the only effective change is that things that were previously Hidden Information Violations or Manipulation of Game Materials have an additional requirement that the player knows that they’re breaking a rule (and you believe that they were unaware)”

    Specifically, what the part in parentheses means? What are they unaware of?

    1. You have to believe them. If LSV claims he didn’t know he couldn’t mana weave, I’m still DQing him.

  4. I decided to trust you that my suggestions would lead to a lot of other problems, still i think my point was a problem but perhaps wont be a problem too often 🙂

  5. A couple of questions, some of which may be corner cases.

    If I am at 3, and I attack alone with my Knight of Glory, and my opponent controls a Boros Reckoner and declares a block, can I say that the Reckoner takes 2 (perhaps because I have a Dead Weight or something) so that I only take 2 damage?

    If m opponent attacks with a Pyreheart Wolf and 2 other creatures, can I block each one with one creature every time he attacks in the hopes that he forgets the trigger, so that he has to point out to me that these are illegal blocks due to his trigger?

    1. Your first question has always been, and remains, Cheating. That ones pretty easy to detect, too.

      Your second question is fine, though it’s likely to get tiring for everyone pretty fast.

  6. Related to Michael Beck’s questions –
    For the first question, is that still cheating at Reg REL, and if so, is the investigation process any different? I think it’s safe to say that you don’t expect players to make intelligent plays at Regular REL as much as in Competitive.

    For the second question, how does this interconnect with permanents that change how the rules of the game work? If I try to block with 2 creatures and my opponent has a Deuling Grounds out, I should get a GRV regardless of whether or not my opponent says anything (although they should at least call for a judge). If I try to block a Pyreheart Wolf with one attacker, I’m still violating game rules, but only if my opponent lets me know that I am? So do I get a GRV or a free takesies-backsies? If I try to block with one creature the same combat or the same game, does that change anything?

    Overall, though, the changes make sense and seem to be positive.

    1. It’s cheating at all levels to intentionally miss your triggers. The investigation process isn’t any different, though the inputs might be, given the skill levels of the players.

      As to the second question, since you don’t know definitively if the state of the game allows a legal single block at that time, you can try. Honestly, it’s probably wasting time. Once you have a definitive answer, you can’t continue to try to break the rule in the same combat.

  7. Why is Improperly Determining a Winner an auto-DQ even if the players didn’t know it was against the rules & we’re at Regular REL?
    It seems an extremely harsh way to treat an innocent mistake (rolling a dice when 1-1 at time, say). If the players are unaware, why can’t we explain & correct (have them play it out or mark the match as a draw) as we would normally at Regular, or issue a strong but less extreme penalty (mutual match loss?) so they remember the rule, but don’t have their entire evening ruined?
    (Note that I’m referring only to Regular, and only when both players are unaware of the rule.)

    1. Improperly Determining a Winner is something that WotC wants to remain firm on. It has implications beyond a single tournament.

      1. I would love to understand these implications, as that ruling has always struck me as harsh as well. A more detailed description (or an existing article) would be very helpful.

  8. It seems to me the best way to interpret these changes would be “Assume that each player is playing optimally in regards to triggers until they indicate otherwise.” Thus you should ALWAYS block the 3/2 Knight of Infamy with a 2/2 if your intent is to trade with it. Im personally thrilled that this puts a drastic kink in the rules lawyers who descended on missed triggers like a hawk on a mouse.

  9. I don’t see “Judging at Regular REL” updated yet.

    I am extremely disappointed to see the new missed trigger policy moved from Competitive to Regular REL. I think the fundamental philosophy that it is based upon is inappropriate at all levels, but even more inappropriate at Regular REL.

    I can, despite how completely nonsensical it is from a game rules perspective, grudgingly accept that at Competitive REL we need to make players responsible for their own mandatory triggers to make large Competitive tournament logistics work. However, the very definition of Regular REL is “focused on fun and social aspects, not enforcement”. The only thing more un-fun than losing a game due to a forgotten mandatory trigger is winning a game only because your opponent forgot their trigger. Regular is exactly where we, as judges, should be encouraging players to have fun with their cards as they work… not as they don’t work.

    I know the DCI has spent a great deal of effort trying to get missed triggers correct. However until there is acknowledgement that the fundamental philosophy (“remembering mandatory triggers is a skill”) is misguided, the policies that arise from it will continue to be similarly misguided.

    That being said, I think the new Competitive missed trigger policy is the best since the introduction of that philosophy into the IPG, and I look forward to seeing it in action.

    1. >The only thing more un-fun than losing a game due to a forgotten mandatory trigger
      >is winning a game only because your opponent forgot their trigger.

      This isn’t an opinion shared by a lot of people, including R&D. The other un-fun thing is having to point out over and over triggers that are going to kill you. Especially given that odds are the player missing it won’t even realize that something sad-for-them has happened (unless you rub it in at the end of the game, in which case there are deeper issues).

      Please note that the remedy at Regular hasn’t changed – they catch it later, they probably get the trigger. The only alteration is that your opponent doesn’t have to do the catching for you.

      > However until there is acknowledgement that the fundamental philosophy
      > (“remembering mandatory triggers is a skill”) is misguided

      I think that’s a fine philosophy. If you’re better at keeping track of the game, that should give you an advantage. Taking it to extremes is rather unhealthy, but this new policy reins that way in.

  10. I am thrilled that the Missed Trigger rules now dont assume your opponent is playing badly. They now assume your opponent knows what his/her cards do and are using them correctly until they show you otherwise.

    My opinion, this is exactly what they needed to be.

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