This update contains the usual assortment of minor fixes and clarifications and no major policy revisions. There are two lines – one added, one deleted – that are worth highlighting:
* If two players receive Deck/Decklist penalties at the same time, they are still Game Losses (for tracking purposes), but those Game Losses don’t count towards the game score.
The most common scenario is when one player accidentally sweeps one of their opponent’s cards into their deck thanks to an Oblivion Ring or Pacifism, at which point on discovery the match ends. Not only is that bad from a gameplay perspective, it also provides a bit of a vector for a hard-to-discover cheat. If you win game 1, simply scoop up your opponent’s card and if nobody catches it in time, you’ll win the match.
It can also happen if a table gets deckchecked and both players have problems with their decklist. Making the players play a one-game (unsideboarded) match is no more or less punitive than a 3-game match, and, on the whole, we’d rather a full match be played there.
* The second change is, interestingly, simply the removal of one of the examples under cheating. Previously, 3-pile shuffling a deck you believed to be unrandomized was listed as an example of cheating, but it isn’t any more.
Vigilante justice is a bit of a contentious subject, and, on the whole, we don’t like players trying to take the law into their own hands. That’s why judges exist and why we require people to call attention to infractions in game, even if they fix it in a mutually agreeable way themselves without involving a judge.
However, this particular example is problematic for two reasons. First of all, a stacked deck is not something you can ever be sure about. Yeah, maybe your opponent didn’t shuffle as well as you might like at the table, but that doesn’t mean you know that there’s a problem. The deck might have started random. You can call a judge (and we’re always happy to help in these situations), but that sets a tone for the match, and if everything is fine, might seem a little frivolous. Secondly, the actions you’re taking are totally legal, unlike most vigilante action. If the deck is randomized, a three-pile shuffle is a totally acceptable way to randomize the deck. So, if you always three-pile your opponent’s deck, you end up in a weird situation where you might or might not be cheating based on what you thought of the opponent’s shuffling. That’s pretty weird, and the example was there to discourage this action while kind of handwaving over whether or not the infraction actually supported it.
After much debate, we came to the general conclusion that a defensive three-pile isn’t cheating, even if you suspect your opponent of shenanigans. We’d obviously prefer that you call a judge, but that’s up to you.