GP Shizuoka HJ Report

Rulings of note



Underpaying a spell


AP controls 7 lands. He casts a morph, then a Sultai Scavenger, tapping 2 Swamps and exiling 3 cards only (while the spell costs 5B).

As he passes the turn with two lands untapped, allowing him to activate Dazzling Ramparts, the opponent involves us.


After a small investigation (following the procedure described here), the Floor Judge noticed that AP is behind on the board, since he faces a 8/8 creature and an unblockable creature. He has a few creatures available but he can’t afford to not use the Ramparts. His board position would be a bit better with the 3/3 flyer. It felt suspicious enough to involve Riccardo.

Riccardo’s look at the game state revealed that the player does not need the 3/3 flyer to not die. He’d be better with it (of course) but is not dead without.


Since no judge was at the table when it happened, we had no additional elements to assess Cheating. The fact the mistake was not game decisive added to the lack of additional elements let Riccardo conclude to a mistake. He therefore issued a Warning for Game Rule Violation and backed the game prior to the casting of the Scavenger. The player elected to not cast it.

We added the mention “SUSPICIOUS” to the back of the result slip for the purpose of tracking the mistake better in the worldwide database.




Random determination?


A judge involved me for Improperly Determining a winner. He was at the table and the player did some signs that looked like Rock-Paper-Scissors.

My first reaction was: What about the other player? I was surprised when the judge told me he did nothing. Indeed, you don’t play Rock-Paper-Scissors one after the other (or you’d better go second :p )

After interviewing both players, I learnt from the opponent that they extensively discussed about conceding before this happened and that the suspect specifically said that it was forbidden to determine the winner randomly. That doesn’t prove much since a player can be very willing to break the rule knowingly.

I therefore needed to determine whether the player was aware of the presence of the judge. He told me that he clarified the extra turn count when time was called, hence they knew he was here. Also, he was standing very close to the table.


Since I couldn’t understand why a player who knows the rule and is aware a judge is next to him would play Rock/Paper/Scissors alone, I felt uncomfortable identifying Improper Determination of a Winner, which felt weird since the judge was a direct witness of the situation. Admittedly, the language barrier didn’t help understanding what the player wanted to do.


If the decision-making process in this situation is quite interesting, here is an even more useful tip:

Whenever two players start discussing about who should concede to the other, you’d better be proactive, interrupt them and remind them about what’s forbidden:

  • Bribery
  • Random determination
  • Checking top cards from the library

By being proactive, you reduce the potential for players to make a mistake because they didn’t know. Indeed, players might just not know, and as a judge it’s better to do prevention than repression on these kind of topics (of course, you don’t want to prevent a player from committing a GRV, that could be Outside Assistance)




Cards on laps


NAP calls a judge to indicate that AP has 16 cards while NAP has 13 only.

NAP was playing first and no players mulligan. From the formula I explained on, the Floor Judge calculated that NAP potentially had two extra cards. Since this was very shady, he involved me.


On the way to the table, I analyzed the elements and realized that, if I can see one extra card being drawn by accident, two was really weird. Of course, there’s always the possibility that NAP failed to draw. But twice? This seems unlikely. I concluded that I also felt something was very shady here.


At the table, I talked to both players: AP told me he indeed had extra cards and has no clue how this happened. His statements were short, concise. Also, no matter what the question was, he’d say he had no clue.

NAP told me that at some point, he felt there was something wrong with AP’s cards in hand. When he asked AP, the latter gave an answer while holding his cards in a weird way. When NAP asked for the card to be spread out, he discovered the issue.


It would be easy to draw a conclusion right away, but I wanted to exclude the case where NAP failed to draw, hence I decided to check against the turn count.

From NAP’s cards, I could determine he was on turn 7 (13 cards – 7 starting hand + 1 = turn 7). Since NAP had 6 lands, that was possible but not conclusive. I therefore looked at AP’s board and he had 7. For the sake of clarity, I asked AP if he had played a land already. He claimed he couldn’t remember. Nothing conclusive but some converging hints already: Both NAP’s card count and AP’s lands indicate this is turn 7.


I chose to believe that turn 7 was correct and moved on to focus on something else so as to address Cheating. A potential way to cheat is to start with cards outside of the library. This is much more discrete than trying to draw two cards at once: I therefore took AP’s deck to count the remaining cards in library so as to see if the deck was legal.

I grabbed the deck and while I was starting counting it, my attention got caught by a card falling on the ground. AP bent over, grabbed it and said “oh, you dropped a card from my library”. I looked at the card, it was a Fear of resistance… in other words, a very good card!

Again, that felt weird, since I’m convinced I didn’t drop it from the deck I had in my hand. Actually, I’m convinced I saw it falling from below the table, and it fell while the player was turning his body to face me a little bit more. This was just an impression, hence I asked the judges at the table whether I did drop the card or not and both confirmed that I did not.


I had gathered enough materials to make a decision. However, before making it, I sat with the player to give him a chance to explain to me how all of this could have happened. He tried to argue that probably two cards stuck together when he drew. I showed him that his sleeves were all but sticky. He didn’t argue.

In the end, he agreed that he had extra cards and he couldn’t account for them but denied that the Fear of Resistance fell from his laps and maintained that I made it fall while counting his deck. I replied that a judge saw the same thing as I did. He didn’t argue.


I disqualified him for Cheating. The player understood, asked me about the potential consequences, which I explained them to him (I could also have pointed to Eric Shukan’s article) and offered him to write a statement, which he denied. He then thanked me and left.







Judges of Note


Quite a few judges performed extremely well in Shizuoka. Here are a few of those who were outstanding.




Khanh the Thien

“Everything that can be done the day before should be done the day before.”


This is what Khanh told me when we debriefed on Sunday. And let me tell you this: This is pretty much the climax of the understanding of a tournament needs.

Khanh was Logistics lead for the first time and contacted me a week before the event to ask clarification on my expectations. I explained that we would need to start a 2000-player tournament with 35 judges, and therefore we would need to be greatly coordinated.

Since my plane was landing on Friday afternoon, I needed to make sure the essentials would be prepared even if it was delayed: Product, Decklists, Table numbers


He came up with a plan that worked very well, showed up on Friday to control that the room was numbered according to the plan the TO and I had discussed and the product was ready.

Overkill? Well, I should mention this allowed us to discover that part of the delivery was missing: We had no basic lands.

This is far from being trivial: In general, a player needs about 15 basic lands in addition to the 6 he opens in his boosters. Why so many? Well, in most monocolored sets, one color is better than another. In Shizuoka, Khans of Tarkir was our ally: The heavy multicolor aspect was likely to evenly divide the needs of Basic Lands. Also, I could pessimistically count that players would play 3 non-basic lands, but likely more. All in all, I felt that we’d need to provide about 10 basic lands per player. Which remains 22000 basic lands to find. A Land Station contains 400. We needed to find 55 of them.

Could have we done that in the morning? I don’t think so.


Let’s repeat it: Everything that can be done the day before should be done the day before.




Masaru Koide


Koide-san was Logistics Team Leader on Sunday. He elected to check the presence of the stamped product for drafts as early as Friday afternoon. He also set it away and sorted it. This didn’t reveal any issue, and also allowed us to find many tokens that players were happy to use!




Yoshitoki Sakai


Yoshi leading the Papers team on D2. His performance was great enough that he got the recommendation. Interestingly, after I told him he passed, he didn’t seem pleased. In his eyes, he didn’t do well enough. That’s the first time I recommend someone who felt he had failed 🙂




Jernej Lipovec


Jernej was shadowing another Level 2 going for the recommendation. The comprehensiveness and quality of his feedback was amongst the top I’ve ever received. His Team Leader did not manage to get the recommendation in Shizuoka, but I’m positive he will succeed next time thanks to Jernej’s awesome feedback.




QJ Wong


QJ is the judge who called me over for the Drawing Extra Cards situation that ended up in a DQ. His role was crucial as he was able to clearly state that the card on the ground didn’t fall from the deck I had in my hands, while this may have been a point of contention with the player.


Kevin Desprez.