Rulings of note
During game 3, AP draws an additional card. NAP tells him: I’ll call the judge, or do you want us to ID?
My investigation revealed that NAP knows very well that the penalty for DEC is a Game Loss, that the situation is, as he correctly analyzed, a crystal clear DEC and that he simply didn’t want to win a game that way, so he offered an ID.
Because IDing the match can only be detrimental to him re: his performance in the tournament as well as PWP, I could not identify an infraction here.
A deeply altered card
AP had a Plains that was entirely covered by a printed alternate art. I asked him to play a card that was positively genuine (the back was certainly the one of a real magic card), he had a Plains ready for replacement. Since that was in between rounds, I could identify no infraction hence no GL. Also, since that was a basic Plains, I didn’t feel he could be trying to take advantage of a “proxy” (unlike someone who’d play with a printed Tarmogoyf for instance).
Sorin and lifelink
NAP claims AP activated his Sorin first, then his Elspeth, then cast Siege Rhino. Because Sorin’s ability affects the characteristics of permanents, only permanents on the battlefield at that moment benefit from the bonus.
Based on that sequence, NAP made the maths and calculated that an all-in attack would kill his opponent since neither the tokens nor the Rhino actually had lifelink. AP makes his blocks and when combat damage resolved, indicated he gains life. NAP disagrees, explains to AP how it works and they call a judge.
NAP has a pretty consistent story that is very technical and demonstrates he knows how the interaction works.
AP claims he activated Elspeth before activating Sorin, claiming he knows how the interaction works, but which is inconsistent with him playing the Rhino afterwards.
This is a very close call. Lems ruled that blockers didn’t have lifelink and AP would die. I would have DQed AP for lying. A very VERY close call.
When two players disagree upon a sequence of actions, asking both of them SEPARATELY to explain how the rules technically work can be a good start to determine if a player doesn’t really understand what happened.
This doesn’t constitute a definite proof but that’s nevertheless a very good hint as to who might be lying. When you’re called for something very technical, it seems unlikely the player who calls you has setup everything and is premeditatedly lying to you.
“Combat?” and Missed Trigger
AP says “Combat” and puts his hands on his creatures. At that very moment, he realized he can put a token from his Goblin Rabblemaster. I ruled that the trigger was certainly forgotten but not missed.
Indeed, if the name of “Missed Trigger” has not changed, there is a reason: We don’t care if players forgot about it, we care whether when they remember, it’s still technically on time for them to benefit from it. In this case, since AP had not clearly (hints, but no proof) proceeded to declaring attackers, he still had the opportunity.
Looking at an opp’s deck
AP called the judge claiming NAP ostensibly moved his head so as to watch the face of AP’s cards while shuffling. He claims that when he called NAP attention to it, NAP immediately apologized. The apology felt shady to AP who chose to call a Judge.
NAP claims that the way he places his opp’s deck (on his left, card faces to the left) prevents him from seeing anything and he turned his head “by accident”. AP disagrees that cards were on the left, claiming they were right in front of NAP central and faces of the cards were in such a way NAP could see there.
No need to say that the situation is very fishy, even more as NAP was visibly extremely tense all along the investigation.
Nevertheless, I didn’t have much to support a DQ here, despite the fishiness, so I identified no infraction but let NAP know that I’d hold it against him if he was in an alike situation later on this week-end. I also informed him that I’d make sure this is added to his personal Warning Record for the purpose of tracking. To that purpose, I did enter in DCI-R a penalty for LEC, mentioning that it had not been officially issued but was entered for the purpose of tracking potentially concerning behaviours
CPV and backup
NAP asks: they’re 3/3s right? AP says: Yes! Then after blockers have been declared they realize tokens are 5/5.
A guilty pause
AP is at 11 and taps 2 painlands and 2 lands for a Siege Rhino. NAP doesn’t notice the painlands and says “you go to 14?” AP thinks for a moment then says: “yes, 14” and writes 14 on his scorepad.
Floor Judge Sergio Garcia immediately notices shadiness and bends over to read AP’s notepad. In response ( 😉 ), AP flips the top page over and writes life totals again on the next empty page. To some extent, this may have been legit as he was approaching the bottom of the page.
Lems led the investigation and concluded to opportunistic passive Cheating.
Judges of note
There are a few judges we feel have been Exemplar during the GP and we’d like to mention specifically here:
Louis was Logistics lead and I contacted him upfront to make sure the process would be as smooth as possible. His email questions were accurate, he came on site on Friday afternoon to polish things with Lems and I. He discovered on Friday some things had changed and adjusted on spot, then adjusted even more on Saturday morning upon very short notice. Also, he’s always been working with others rather than on his own.
His proactivity and preparation are definitely exemplar.
Maria is one of our most quiet leaders. You need to actively watch what she’s doing to catch how much she’s doing. When you’ve got the feeling she’s not doing what she should, you discover that she coordinated with somebody else, improving the original plan and making things even smoother. She’s also been very efficient when dealing with Pairings. Her team was one of the most coordinated I’ve seen and she was great at taking papers as they go out of the printer rather than waiting for the whole stack and work on splitting it later on.
If you wonder what Leadership by example is, now you know!
Cassidy was proactive at identifying judges who need mentors and asking for mentors. He then gave great advice on how to pair most of them, and even took care of a judge candidate who showed up without notice on Saturday morning and who wanted to follow a Main Event Judge.
The quality of his advice helped me buddying newer judges to mentors to enhance the global judge experience.
Sergio was watching a game for no specific reason, just because watching games is cool. He noticed a shady move by a player, investigated, involved the HJ. That ended up in a DQ. Read “a guilty pause” in Rulings of notes for the whole situation.
Paying close attention to games and to players’ behaviors is an essential component of judging. This kind of behaviour will never have led to a DQ for Cheating if Sergio hadn’t been actively watching that game, trying to understand what was going on.
From a player’s PoV, a GP Top8 is unlimited time and they can take quit e some time. However, pauses are pretty bad for the online audience. There is balance to find that usually relies on asking players to comply with timings we’re giving them.
Jeph made an outstanding speech to the Top8 players of the GP as he highlighted these concerns and pointed out we’ll make sure players have appropriate time to rest but that failure to respect the timings we’re giving them may result in Tardiness Penalties. One of the smoothest Top8s I’ve seen.
Peter was given a team of judges with very little notice and stepped up to lead them and prepare the tournament area so things would flow.
I’ll be honest, I’m certain we’ve missed many other Exemplar behaviours. Unfortunately, it’s hard for us to be exposed to all the great things you do, even if we’re doing our best to walk between tables.
Let’s see the half-full glass though: If you believe you’ve seen an exemplary judge, YOU can make sure he’s recognized as well: You simply need to make a note somewhere and nominate him in the first iteration of Exemplar Program that’s open to L2+ judges. That’s happening soon 😉