GP Providence Head Judge Report

The “new” Missed Trigger policy is quite old now. I was under the impression based on the past events that it was fairly well understood by players. Grand Prix Providence proved me wrong.



Whisperwood Elemental + “Go”



AP casts Whisperwood Elemental and says Go. NAP untaps. AP intervenes to point out his trigger. Is he still in time to claim his trigger?

There is a combination of rules intervening here.


The first one is a shortcut from the MTR:

The statement “Go” (and equivalents such as “Your turn” and “Done”) offers to keep passing priority until an opponent has priority in the end step. Opponents are assumed to be acting then unless they specify otherwise.

“Until” means that NAP has priority at the first moment possible in the end step, which means that the trigger can theoretically be on the stack.


Nevertheless, AP did not announce his trigger explicitly. Does this mean he failed to demonstrate awareness?

No. Here’s an excerpt from the IPG, Philosophy of a Missed Trigger:

Triggered abilities are assumed to be remembered until otherwise indicated, and the impact on the game state may not be immediately apparent.

This means that there needs to be a proof that the trigger was missed, rather than requiring a proof that it wasn’t. As long as the trigger has a chance to exist, we consider that it exists.


Now, NAP untapped. Can this be considered a proof that the trigger was missed?

No. Here’s another excerpt from the IPG, in the Definition of a Missed Trigger:

Players may not cause triggered abilities controlled by an opponent to be missed by taking game actions or otherwise prematurely advancing the game. For example, if a player draws a card during his or her draw step without allowing an opponent to demonstrate awareness of a triggered ability, the controller still has an opportunity to fulfill the appropriate obligation by doing so at that point. The Out-of-Order Sequencing rules (MTR section 4.3) may also be applicable, especially as they relate to batches of actions or resolving items on the stack in an improper order.

By untapping, NAP prematurely advanced the Game State: He took the decision to go further without making sure AP was done.


Here is the line I’ve consistently applied in Providence:

NAP can legitimately try to advance the Game. However, if AP stops NAP right after NAP took an action that would cause the Trigger to be missed, then the trigger is not missed.

However, if NAP asks anything like “Can I untap?” and AP says “Yes”, then AP clearly allowed NAP to take his turn, which means he failed to demonstrate awareness of his trigger at a proper moment.


A single action taken by NAP doesn’t “prove” a trigger was Missed. NAP must either be allowed by AP to perform several actions or get an explicit confirmation they’re allowed to take an action past the point the trigger should have resolved. A “long pause” doesn’t prove anything.




Anger of the Gods and Jeskai Ascendancy



The situation

AP controls Jeskai Ascendancy as well as Monastery Mentor. He casts Anger of the Gods saying “Triggers” and pointing both permanents.

NAP nods and AP follows up with: Mentor will survive, token will die.

NAP takes all his creatures and exiles them, then AP says “And I loot”

NAP calls the judge, indicating he believes the loot trigger was missed.



The reasoning

There are many things involved here:

First, “Triggers” doesn’t acknowledge all triggers. This has always been the case and has been clarified even more in the last MIPG release.

The reason is a player needs to be aware of all his triggers individually. He can’t say “I acknowledge all the triggers that have triggered”, even though he has no clue what triggered.


This being said, in this situation, NAP is the one who took the initiative to exile his creatures, indicating Anger of the Gods has resolved. He argumented that he was tapped out and there has been a significant pause. Also, AP acknowledged that the token died.

This was a fair point, except that the statement AP made was closer to me to a future statement for the sake of clarity. There was no doubt the Mentor would be 4/4, since he indicated it would survive.


The ruling

In the end, following the precepts from the aforementioned Whisperwood elemental situation, I determined that the pause was not a significant priority pass, that NAP was the one advancing the Game State and that AP intervened on time to still get his trigger.

I told NAP that he should have asked “Resolves?” if he wanted to prove that AP forgot about the loot.




Handling Slow Play Warnings and Reminders


Perception of time vastly varies between a player involved in his game and a judge/spectator watching the game.

Therefore, most of the time, when a player’s pace slows down, quoting the IPG:

A comment of “I need you to play faster” is often appropriate and all that is needed


Please do not assign directly a Warning for Slow Play. We recommend to remind the player about his pace and, if he didn’t move in the next 10-15 seconds after your reminder, to issue the Warning after he’s made a decision.

Obviously, if at some point you needed to remind the player several times in a game, you may want to issue the Warning, mentioning that the global pace is too slow.


More on this in this great article by Matteo Callegari and George Fitzgerald.




The philosophy of shortcuts



Lightning Berserker’s dash and mana costs are identical.

AP casts the creature without saying anything then proceeds to attack. NAP calls the judge to ask how it was cast since nothing had been announced.

I asked to both players individually if it had been cast before, how it had been cast and what was the game state.

It turned out that it had been cast with dash the turn before and the game state wasn’t very different the turn before (a Siege Rhino entered the battlefield and was roasted).

I chose to make a reasoning relying on the shortcuts, saying that I could not see a reason the player would not dash his creature considering:

  • He tried to attack with it
  • He dashed it the turn before in a similar situation




Judge of Note


The best sentence I’ve heard all week-end comes from Will Anderson.

It’s an awesome piece of advice for all Team Leaders, Head Judges or anyone willing to start a mentoring discussion: The opportunities for mentoring having decreased recently, it’s important that discussions don’t focus on corner-cases but on broader educational topics.


Education is indeed a thing that the Judge Program needs to keep on developing. Education may happen online (this is what I am aiming at doing with these reports) but most of it happens at events. The reason is that most judges have a day job that reduces their availability to read tons of online articles, no matter how high quality they can be. While they’re judging, they’re at the same time more available and in a better mindset to learn more about judging.

Therefore, it’s important that whoever is in a position of leadership primarily educates or mentors others on more general topics.




Kevin Desprez