GP Florence Appeals Judge report

I usually say that Team Sealed events are pretty relaxed because there are two to four judges at each table: players’ teammates! Looking back, Florence made me lie and proved to be hectic. Here’s the interesting stuff!



Looking at Extra Cards


Let’s start with lying again, since this situation actually comes from a PPTQ!


AP commits Looking at Extra Cards by seeing the second card while drawing (sticky sleeves) in his draw step. My Floor Judge does the perfect ruling, identifying the infraction and checking graveyards and battlefield to determine the random portion of the deck. Then he calls me:

“Err, there are three Dig Through Time in the graveyard and 2 Temple of Deceit on the battlefield. Plaers are uncertain about where the scried cards went so that’s up to 17 known cards. When I counted the deck, there were 19 cards left in the deck. If I make the player draw the top card, I need to shuffle the extra-looked-at card amongst… itself!”


I went there, double-checked, made sure these two Polluted Delta have been sacrificed before the first Dig Through time and confirmed this was the procedure. Players were a bit confused since, intuitively, they felt that AP had taken advantage from his mistake by getting to know a card he didn’t know beforehand.

Player’s feeling is flawless logic. AP had indeed never seen that card before and he gained an advantage because humans likely won’t (or actually can’t) track everything. However, the MIPG doesn’t make rulings based on human beings. That’s actually what he tries to avoid (and why you shouldn’t deviate 😉 ): In a perfect world, AP would have known exactly which card was there, because he knows his decklist by heart and is able to track down everything he cast, played, discarded and placed to the bottom of his deck. Here, the ruling just saved him from making the maths. That’s an advantage admittedly, but not that severe.


If you have doubts, think about the following:

  • How else would you fix the situation?
  • Would it make a difference if it was the first card put on the bottom by the first Dig Through time rather than the last “unknown” card?




Some (more) card counting


If you’re reading this blog on a regular basis, you’re probably sighing “again?”

Yes, again, but this one brought something I had never met before, so it may be worth it! And these cases are really interesting!



The situation


NAP calls a judge because he believes AP didn’t discard for her Monastery Siege.

The Floor Judge counts the cards and determines that AP has an extra card she can’t account for. He therefore involves a L3 judge to confirm the Game Loss.


The L3 does the right thing: He doesn’t just confirm but gets involve to make sure that nothing was missed and the GL is due.

As a L3, confirming a GL requires more than just saying yes or no, it requires double checking everything was correctly taken into account. A Game Loss is a severe penalty that deserves much closer attention!


The L3 proceeds to count cards once again and reach the same conclusion, hence confirming the Game Loss, which is (unsurprinsingly) appealed.



The investigation


When I reach the table, I talk to the players to see what they believe is happening: NAP doesn’t believe AP has discarded for her Monastery Siege. He doesn’t really understand why a Game Loss has been called. AP doesn’t believe she has drawn an extra card.

I first wanted to run a quick Cheating check:

  • Life totals
    AP is at 20 and NAP at 2.
  • Battlefield (mostly creatures)
    NAP seems dead on board and no player was mana-screwed or mana-flooded

This didn’t really led me into thinking AP may have intentionally drawn an extra card, as she did not seem to need it. Note that it didn’t even involve players. It was just a matter of assessing potentiality of a cheat


I then checked the battlefield more closely and noticed the presence of two Monastery Siege, one on each side. I asked judges how they managed to count cards despite the Monastery Siege. They tell me players agreed on which turn they were cast and they could take all the extra draws into account, which is a fair answer players confirm.

However, with beneficial triggers being possibly missed without anyone needing to draw attention upon them, ruling a Game Loss here seems very harsh. What if NAP had missed one of his triggers? The card count would be different by one card as well. The only way to assess the reality of the Game Loss is then to check vs the turn count, which was in this situation impossible because of how far in the game was.





In the end, I chose to rule that NAP likely missed one of his triggers and there was no DEC, overturning the Game Loss into “no infraction”.




Confusion or Lying?


The situation


AP is at 18 and attacks with two 2/2 creatures. NAP has no blocks and drops down to 1. AP then casts Vulturous Aven, exploits one if his 2/2s and passes the turn.

NAP has two cards in hand, untaps, draws a third card and casts Dragonlord Silumgar to take control of the 2/3 flyer and passes the turn.

AP untaps, casts Reach of Shadows targeting Silumgar, gets the 2/3 back and attacks for the win.

NAP calls the judge because AP tried to attack with both creatures while the Aven doesn’t have haste.

The Floor Judge rules GRV, issues a Warning to AP and asks him to declare a legal set of attackers.

NAP’s teammate appeals the ruling.



The investigation


When I ask NAP’s teammate why he did appeal the ruling, he told me that, in his opinion, AP had lied to the judge.

Such a statement directly implies I will need to assess words and acts, therefore it’s important that I can get stories that are true and therefore I need to separate players to make sure no story can be built based on the opponent’s, or even teammate’s.


To achieve this, I ask one player to leave the table and to go several meters away to have a discussion with the opponent. And vice-versa.

This also allows me to openly discuss strategy with the player while checking both players’ hands (paying attention to not reveal information of course)

In a team’s environment, this is trickier because I also needed to remove the teammates from the table: Five players (four of which being finished with their match) were hence moved away from the table.


AP states that he didn’t attack with both, but he thought he got the Aven back tapped because he attacked with all of his creatures the turn before. Because his number of creatures was still 2, it made sense to him.

NAP’s teammate states that AP got the Aven back untapped and clearly tapped both of his creatures with the same move and said “attack”.

NAP’s statement was not very interesting.


The first two statements seem mutually exclusive and it’s easy to conclude that one of them is blatantly wrong. However, before jumping to such a conclusion, I always try to check whether there is a potential reality that each player may have perceived differently.

In this case, what if AP got the Aven back untapped, tapped it because he believes it should be tapped and at more or less the same time, attacked for the win with the 2/2? After all, the attack is fairly easy to do so this is conceivable

Between what’s happening in AP’s mind and what NAP can perceive, there may be great differences.


A good way to assess whether somebody is lying is to wonder WHY they would be lying.
Barring mental disorders, people rarely lie for no reason.


In this situation, AP has five cards in hand, is in a favorable position on the board. Why would he lie?

When asked, NAP’s teammate indicates it’s in AP’s full interest to attack with two creatures because this kills NAP even if the latter has one removal. The point is fair.

When confronted to this, AP indicates that, obviously, NAP has two cards in hands. However, it’s fairly clear that NAP just drew Silumgar otherwise he’d have cast it before and, had NAP had something relevant in his hand, he’d have cast it before rather than drop to 1 life. Therefore, he believes NAP has two lands in hand, which is true.



The conclusion


I could find no reason why AP would lie. NAP’s teammate statements felt truthful enough to me that I exclude he might be lying (which I needed to keep in mind because getting AP DQed is NAP’s team only chance to win that match.

I chose to conclude no lying or Cheating was involved on either side.

I nevertheless issued a GRV Warning to AP because I felt his actions weren’t clear enough and it’s possible that he did act as if he was attacking with both. I felt this was appropriate for the purpose of tracking in case this would be a trend. I don’t expect to see one but better safe than sorry!




Misresolving a trigger


After AP drew a card on turn 6, NAP realizes he has been misresolving his Dragonscale General’s trigger during the last three turns, performing Bolster 1 rather than Bolster X.

This is not a MT but a GRV (the trigger certainly resolved, but incorrectly) and the question is whether to back up the game state until the point we resolve the trigger properly. It turned out the backup was easy because nothing could happen end of turn anyway since both players were full-tapped.

Nothing was done to fix the preceding triggers.


A more interesting question is: Was NAP aware of it and chose to stay silent? This would be cheating: A player is allowed to not point out his opponent’s triggers but must point out they’re incorrectly resolved.

The game state was certainly predicting NAP would lose, which can be a factor why NAP may prefer one counter rather than two (since two creatures attacked in the preceding turn at least).

Later in the discussion, NAP stated that the game was nice and he even reminded AP about his first Dragonscale General’s trigger.

I felt this was something important: Why would a player who reminded his opponent about a trigger while he can legally remain silent then choose to cheat by letting the opponent put the wrong number of counters? I can see a few situations (like a radically modified situation between both moments) but it didn’t seem to me this was the case here.

I therefore excluded cheating.




Missed Trigger or Out of Order Sequencing?


NAP casts Enhanced Awareness, draws three cards then puts a counter on his Myth realized. AP calls the judge for a Missed Trigger.

The Floor Judge rules that this is Out of Order sequencing. The ruling is appealed.


When I come to the table, I ask players to show me what happened:

  • NAP casts the spell
  • NAP draws one card
  • Then another
  • Then the third one
  • Then puts the counter

NAP’s teammate was fairly involved in the ruling, I therefore chose to talk to him alone, asking him who realized about the Myth’s trigger. He indicates that he realized at the time as his teammate, which felt weird, quite possibly a slight distortion of reality. I therefore asked the same question to NAP, still alone. NAP said his teammate told him “Myth” and he immediately realized. Again, I can see how these two different answers may come from the same batch of actions.


It seemed to me that NAP had forgotten and failed to demonstrate awareness of the trigger in time and therefore I overruled the Floor Judge to rule MT.



Status of the teammate in Team Trios


The following day, NAP came back to me and asked why his teammate can’t be considered like him for such a purpose. That’s an interesting question.

Throughout the week-end, we consistently ruled that a player was responsible for his actions and that his teammate’s words weren’t decisions, otherwise, for instance, as soon as a teammate would say “no blocks”, this would be binding to the team and the difference between a discussion between teammates and a decision would be very tiny.
There are pros and cons to this line, but we simply tried to be consistent here.

Kevin Desprez