GP Utrecht Support Judge Report

GP Utrecht was my 100th GP as a tournament official (i.e. as everything but a player). It’s been a challenging week-end which I’d globally call a success and would like to thank all those who contributed to #MakeMagicHistory!

Three days spent to organize Side Events, fortunately cut with the “lighter” day where I acted as a Support Judge. The week-end was very interesting from many point of views. Let’s start with the rulings.



Cutting time


AP casts Telling time. He resolves the spell entirely and, while he’s thinking about his next play, notices that his opponent is cutting his deck.

The Floor Judge rules that nothing can be done to backup players appeal the ruling. I overturned this ruling, as there is indeed a way to cancel that action:

In such a situation, ask AP what he put on top and on the bottom. If he remembers and you find a sequence where the put-to-the-bottom card is right over the left-on-the-top one, then you know that this is true and this is how the game state was.

Counter-intuitively, the card that was left to the top is below the other, since when you cut, the top part of the library goes below the bottom part.

In this situation, there was only one combination that matched what the player said, so there was no ambiguity and I could simply cancel the cut.



Narcolepsy trigger


A Floor Judge comes to me for an Investigation for Lying to a judge


The situation

NAP controls a Narcolepsy enchanting one of AP’s permanents.

AP claims he said “Draw?”, to which NAP nodded. AP then drew and only then NAP pointed out his trigger.

NAP says that AP untapped and drew, giving him no time to point out his trigger


The Game State

AP is under huge pressure. He’s at 11, facing 5 points of fliers per turn and if his creature becomes tapped and he can’t cast another blocker, he will take minimum 6 next turn. Therefore, resolving or not this trigger means potentially surviving one more turn to AP.


The Investigation

In a case where the statements are so different, there’s likely somebody who is lying. The key here is to determine who with enough certainty

The Game state would indicate that AP is the one who has the most advantage to lie but, in fairness, I can easily conceive that NAP was so sure of what should happen that he didn’t remember he should clearly indicate his trigger.

In this situation, despite I spoke to both players separately, I could not find any element corroborating that one of them was lying. At that moment, I checked how long we were in this ruling and the Floor Judge told me 10 minutes.


The decision

Being 10 minutes in and considering I didn’t have the smallest clue about who was lying (if any, although I can’t exactly see how they could have a different interpretation of the same reality in such a case), I decided to make the ruling ignoring the communication issue. This left me with a fairly clear cut ruling that the trigger was reminded right after AP drew, which means that it was not yet missed since we don’t allow AP to rush through steps to make NAP miss his trigger.


Some post-thoughts

It’d be easy to believe that the ruling I made pretty much implies that I do believe NAP more than AP but you need to take into account that I chose to remove from the equation the communication disagreement because I have no way to know what happened and I do not want to disqualify a player when I have no single hint that he lied: In this case either could be lying, either have reasons to do so and I just cannot know.



Is this attacking?


The situation

NAP calls a judge because he believes one of AP’s tokens is not attacking. This was discovered when damage was assigned, when AP said “you go to 1” and NAP said “no, 2”.

AP counts the total again and says “no, 1”. NAP says “but you didn’t attack with your token”.


The Game State

AP controls three creatures and two 0/1 tokens and played Thrive on each of his creatures but one token.

He has symbolized his tokens using two 6-sided dice. One is on 1, the other is on 2, so as to clearly symbolize the +1/+1 counter.

All card-creatures are tapped and clearly attacking. Both die-tokens are on the same line.

NAP controls two creatures that are bigger than all of AP’s creatures


The intent

When such a situation happens, it always matters to evaluate whether it was reasonable for AP to hesitate attacking with his token.

In the current situation, AP’s goal is to put NAP down to 1, since AP’s current attack makes him lose two creatures without killing any on NAP’s side. (From a talk with AP, which is corroborated by the Game State)

Based on this, I could exclude that AP tried to sneak his token in the band of attackers later on. NAP only has one possible set of blockers to not die.

From NAP’s side, the extra life was important but based on the resulting board and content of the hand, it was not game decisive. I therefore excluded Cheating in this situation and could focus on the communication issue.


The actions

When I came to the table, both dice were clearly on the same line. Therefore there is no visual hint that one was clearly declared as an attacker. It might be obvious in AP’s mind but AP might as well have forgotten to declare it as an attacker.

This being said, the fact AP clearly counted the power of one of the die as an attacker is a hint that it has likely attacked.


The decision

Despite I believe that AP clearly attacked with his token (in his mind), I chose to rule that he failed to clearly demonstrate it and the token was not declared as an attacker.

Even after a whole week, I’m still torn on this decision: On the one hand, there is all evidence that the token was attacking (as proven by the count of damage) and my denial is fairly technical. On the other hand, I feel it’s important to reward players who communicate as clearly as possible, or in this case, to not reward a player who was not as clear as he may have been.

I don’t believe that making the ruling that the token was attacking is horrible, far from it, but I’d certainly rather reward precise and clear play, which I didn’t feel was the case in this game state (6-sided dice, same line, no verbal communication of the set of attackers, etc.)


The ruling

When I delivered the ruling, I made sure to mention that I was aware it made total sense to attack with all creatures but that this wasn’t the core of the issue, which was “did the die physically attack?”

To that question, I had to point out that I could see no evidence and that the means chosen to represent the tokens were poor.

AP was visibly upset by the decision, but not unsporting.

The day after, he came to find me to let me know that he had no hard feelings against me or his opponent, but he was angry after himself for being sloppy.



Also, I’d like to praise all those who helped us doing a tremendous job during the week-end, at running 1348 On-Demand Events in 4 days, which is nearly as much as Vegas 😀

Kim Warren, the quality of your prep was awesome. You managed to keep everything centralized while asking many of us for input: Inclusive leadership isn’t easy and I think you nailed that one! Also, thanks for entirely trusting me when I made the decision to renumber part of the room and to give all players a 20-minute break. Trusting others to make great decisions is also what a core quality of a great GP HJing! 🙂
Guillaume Beuzelin, I really feel like you’ve reached a stellar step in terms of Sides management: Each and every challenging step through the week-end was (1) smoothened and (2) followed up with an improvement that made the next step easier.
Jurgen Baert, thanks for trusting Guillaume and I by letting us make decisions to make things work. Empowering others is what a leader needs to do!
Jason Howlettt, I don’t think I can thank you enough for stepping up during Thursday’s happy hour madness to optimize to prevent us from completely collapsing.
Julien R Wnt’r, you’ve changed so much in the last few years. You’ve managed to make your professionalism skyrocket while remaining the great guy I enjoy spending time with.
Jona Bemindt, in such a neverending GP, your night lead and input to make the room ready for the day after was flawless and made it so much easier for the morning shift!
Sergio Pérez Marcos, thanks for working ahead on time on a distribution Floor Plan and never giving up despite the few Floor Plan adjustments émoticône smile
Jara Karban, thanks for managing these 5 rows of players who got product later. Your perfect management led to avoiding 1400 players to waste their time by waiting to the last 100!
Patrick Ericsson, congrats on greatly improving on dealing with papers coming out of the printer. You suggested I should write an article on the matter. Can I suggest you write it so I can see whether I’m a good mentor?
Claire Dupré, Sophie Pagès, Martin Gölm, Gabor Heygi, Tobias Fjellander, when it comes to make things work fast and sharp, you’re just the best.
Mathieu André, Nejc Juritsch, Pierrick Nävis, Christian Marx, thanks for volunteering as late as Sunday evening to help us enter these few hundreds of Side Events in the computer!


The last but def. not the least props go to Gis and Jaap. Both of you guys have been so great at putting oil in the mechanics, anticipating what we were failing to notice because we were sometimes behind and trying hard to catch-up. Jaap, everytime I see you smiling, I remember that Judging/TOing needs to be fun and enjoyable. I’m unclear how you manage this, but that’s just unbelievable.

I’m sure there are many others who were exemplar during this GP, but I couldn’t observe them. Post yours or make sure to recognize them during the next Exemplar season, which has just started!