GP Kobe 2015 HJ Report

Anafenza, the Foremost


Anafenza did raise quite a few questions in Kobe:

First, Anafenza the Foresmost’s second ability doesn’t exile tokens, since it states “creature cards and tokens definitely are not cards.

Neither does she exile Magic Origins transformed Planeswalkers. Indeed, they are Planeswalkers as they leave the battlefield and, since Anafenza’s ability prevents cards from going to the graveyard, it needs to consider the card type in its previous zone.



Forgotten vs Missed Trigger


This is a recurring topic (see at least here for another situation) that’s always worth coming back to, even more since GP Kobe revealed another of these situations:


The situation

  • AP casts Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, which has a targeted triggered ability that exiles two permanents
  • A 3-5s period a time happens during which AP doesn’t make any movement nor indications.
    Both players agree on the time frame.
  • NAP casts Silumgar’s Scorn on Ulamog
  • AP very quickly says “Wait, I need to exile two permanents”
  • NAP calls the judge


Players’ interpretations

  • NAP claims AP was staring at him and this was clearly a priority pass.
    This implies that the triggered ability was missed since it has a target that needs to be announced before the priority is passed, cf .

IPG 2.1 — Missed Trigger — Definition
A triggered ability that requires its controller to choose targets (other than ‘target opponent’), modes, or other choices made when the ability is put onto the stack: The controller must announce those choices before they next pass priority.

  • On his side, AP claims he was still considering which permanents to exile. He agrees he was generally looking into NAP’s direction but disagrees he was “staring at him”.





First thing first, one of the two players may be lying. So as yo determine or exclude this, let’s evaluate the situation rationally:

  • It’s totally reasonable for NAP to believe that the 3-5s pause was equivalent to a priority pass.
  • AP’s statement is also reasonable: Indeed, taking a look at the game state, NAP controls five lands only:

There is therefore a real choice for AP to do: Since NAP has exactly two sources of white mana and two sources of black mana, which color should AP prevent NAP from accessing?


Based on the situation, both statements are completely plausible.

Even if AP’s statement is slightly more convenient than NAP’s, since he doesn’t really commit to a statement as to what he was doing but simply points out he didn’t do anything and remains fairly vague, considering both players stuck to their stories throughout the entire ruling, I could not conclude any player was Cheating.



The ruling


Once again, this is not about evaluating whether AP forgot his trigger for a moment, it is about whether he missed it, i.e. whether he took an actual action proving that he missed the opportunity to claim his trigger. Note that this trigger is easier to be missed than quite a few others, since it has a target and therefore, any action happening after the trigger triggered means the trigger was missed.


In this very situation, there were two elements to consider:

  • AP had said nothing.
  • When NAP acted, he quickly pointed out his trigger.
    Both players agreed on this.


Since AP had said nothing and NAP took the initiative to take an action without confirming anything with AP before, this falls into this category:

IPG 2.1 — Missed Trigger — Philosophy
“Players may not cause triggered abilities controlled by an opponent to be missed by taking game actions or otherwise prematurely advancing the game”.

Therefore, based on these elements, I ruled there was no actual proof the Trigger had been missed, so I backed up the Silumgar’s Scorn and gave AP the opportunity to choose target(s).



NAP’s feeling vs MT Philosophy


NAP felt he was completely screwed by the rules here:

  • If he says “resolves”, then the trigger will be missed but NAP has lost the opportunity to cast his Scorn and Ulamog will enter the battlefield.
  • If he casts his Scorn, then he gave AP extra information as to which permanents to remove.


This is a fair point. However, it is not taking the philosophy of MT into account, which reads “Triggered abilities are assumed to be remembered until otherwise indicated”. A player cannot assume his opponent missed the trigger. There needs to be a proof, even if this can admittedly be hard to bring up sometimes .


A pause, no matter how significant it is, is not a proof per se that a trigger was missed.


In this situation, the only option NAP had was to ask whether he had priority, although this was likely going to draw AP’s attention on the trigger.

Had NAP had a fetchland on the battlefield, he could have sacrificed it in response. Had it resolved, it would have proven the trigger was missed since NAP could resolve an ability.




Fetching the wrong land


The situation


Both players were playing very quickly because of they were running out of time. Here is the series of actions.

1 Windswept Heath > Forest ;
First-Tree Warden
2 Plains ; Activate Warden => 3/3 ; Atttack Land ;
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
3 Land
  • Plains
  • Siege Rhino < NAP casts Disdainful Stroke ;
  • NAP activates Jace eot, draw a card ;
  • Error spotted by Coverage before NAP discards for Jace


The Investigation


It may be true that the current availability of 5 fetchlands + 5 Tangolands makes it hard to not manage to assemble your mana base in Standard these days. Nevertheless, fetching a wrong land is always somehow shady and totally worth investigating.


First thing first, I really wanted to check AP’s hand: It only had black cards and no access to a black source, which makes the situation even more suspicious.

Nevertheless, the wrong land was fetched on turn 3 and not turn 4, when he actually needs the black mana, which boils down to two options: The move was totally premeditated and he intended to fetch the wrong land on turn 3 so that it wouldn’t go noticed or this is just a mistake.

  • Here’s the Evil genius side of the story: Play the Land, attack to divert NAP’s attention, sacrifice for the wrong land, then tap the two others to divert attention again, even more as AP is casting a colorless spell.
  • Here is the innocent version: AP anyway wants to play a land first. Then he attacks and sacrifices rapidly so as to save time to manage to finish this potentially slow match-up.

I quite can’t find a believable middle approach here.


In the end I decided I didn’t have enough compelling evidence for such a degree of premeditation, even less since both players were playing very fast and therefore decided against Cheating.



Back up or Leave-as-is?


I anyway needed to solve the situation: The infraction is totally a GRV, which leaves us with two options: Backup to the point of the mistake or leave as is. Making AP modify which land he searched is not supported by the IPG.


Backing up implies, in order, to:

  1. Put a random card from NAP’s hand back to top (Jace’s activation)
  2. Send both Disdainful Stroke and Siege Rhino back to their respective owner’s hands
  3. Put a random card from AP’s hand to the top of his library (AP’s turn#4 draw)
  4. Bounce a land from NAP’s battlefield
  5. Put another random card from NAP’s hand back to top (NAP’s turn#3 draw)
  6. Send Hangarback Walker back to AP’s hand
  7. Fetch the correct land


I can be at times fairly optimistic about backing up but this one really felt pushy to me.

You may think it’s a clear cut since there is a draw/fetchland interaction, but this is not only why I was worried: Indeed, NAP had revealed he has a Disdainful Stroke in hand, which could lead AP to playing around it, for instance by casting a spell costing 3 or less on turn 4, which would potentially greatly damage the game, as defined in this article about Back-ups.

I therefore chose to leave the game state as it is.


Kevin Desprez.