Before we dive into the document update, an important announcement about how we handle morph at Competitive REL:
In the past, we’ve applied a Game Loss for not revealing morphs at the end of the game, and have said if you lost the game, the Game Loss applied to the next game. That was to show we were serious about revealing morphs. Philosophically, though, that was a little odd; we normally confine (non-USC) Game Losses to the game in which they occurred. But, cheating with a non-morph is a terrible plan. It’s easily discovered if the creature is bounced or killed, and if you manage to get to the end of the game and sweep it away, you lose anyway. Since you can’t win, there’s no incentive to try it.
So the new official way to handle a morph Game Loss is to always apply it to the game in which the failure to reveal occurred. You still issue it, even if the Game Loss itself may be irrelevant. Players are still required to reveal their morphs and intentionally not doing so may be Cheating. Sweeping them up should still result in an investigation (and I strongly recommend a public “so, what was it?” as part of that).
Speaking of Game Losses, the offsetting Game Loss idea that was introduced in Deck/Decklist Problems has now been extended to apply to all situations where a judge is issuing two Game Loss penalties at the same time. One situation that may arise is both players failing to reveal their morphs. In this situation, both players lose the game, but those game losses offset.
The most visible change in the new IPG is the introduction of section 1.4, devoted to the art of backing games up. We’re expanding some of the philosophy and guidelines, and putting it into a single location for easy reference. It also highlights the dangers of backing up through potential shuffles, something that’s likely to be relevant in the upcoming Standard format. Moving backup details into section 1.4 lets us pull the repeated text out of Game Rule Violations and Communication Policy Violations, and the remedies for those infractions are much easier to read now. Note that now you consider applying partial remedies before a backup when a Game Rule Violation is committed.
Drawing Extra Cards gets a couple of tweaks. Originally, it required that no Game Play Error had been committed, but that was a bit broad. It could be argued that Looking at Extra Cards was always committed before Drawing Extra Cards. That was obviously not the intent, but it’s easily cleaned up by requiring a Game Rule Violation instead of a Game Play Error. That has the nice side effect of avoiding those situations where a player misses an unrelated trigger then draws extra cards. Also, if the drawn card goes into an empty hand and is discovered then, that is now grounds for a downgrade, as the error is relatively easy to fix with limited disruption. Improper Drawing at Start of Game gets a bit of cleanup too, and only worries about situations where too many cards are drawn; too few fits nicely into Game Rule Violation.
The final change of note involves the partial fix for objects in the wrong zone. Before, the players had a turn to discover the error. Now, the fix doesn’t have a time frame. The judge may move the card into the correct zone if they believe that doing so would not be too disruptive to the overall flow of the game. So, if it looks like it hasn’t been relevant, just move it, but, if the players have been making decisions based on the card being where it is, that’s the kind of situation where you should leave the game state alone.
The remaining changes are grammar or structure (Tardiness, for example, has been rejiggered to match the section headers a bit better, but there’s no new text there). The IPG is a complicated document and anything we can do to make it easier to read is welcome. Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions for this.