GP LA Appeals Judge Report

Which one transforms first?


When two triggered abilities should be put on the stack at the same time, AP puts theirs first in the order of their choice, then NAP does the same. That’s fairly well-known. But what happens when two Triggered abilities are missed at the same time? Which one should go on the stack first?

I don’t think we ever had to actually think about it because, most of the time, we don’t care as players rarely want another player’s trigger to go on the stack. However, Duskwatch Recruiter, currently in contention for the title of 2016 Judge’s Best Friend, made it a potential thing. It’s reasonable that a player may make a different decision based on whether their Recruiter is Day or Night side.

We’ve come to the decisions that both abilities were supposed to go on the stack in APNAP order, hence

NAP decides whether AP’s triggered ability goes on the stack before AP decides whether NAP’s ability goes on top.



Failing to maintain the game state


The situation


  • AP attacks with three Ornithopters and two Signal Pest.
  • NAP, who is at 16, doesn’t block.
  • AP says: “You take 6+2” and removes 8 from NAP’s life totals, bringing him to 8.
  • NAP hears “You take 6” and removes 6 from his life totals, going down to 10.

They do not notice until AP’s next turn, during which he attacks with the same five creatures and NAP once again doesn’t animate his Inkmoth Nexus to block, saying “No blocks” instead. AP is confused and says “you take 8?” At which point NAP says that he’s at 2 and AP indicates that he’s dead.



The investigation


The series of questions to wonder is as such: First, was an infraction committed? If that’s the case, which one?

I asked AP why he said something potential confusing under the form of “6+2”. He said that Signal Pests were boosting his Ornithopters twice, hence 3*2=6, and they’d boost each other, hence 1*2=2. He was making the maths as he was announcing the damage to make sure he wouldn’t make a mistake in counting. This is very plausible. Also, he counted from left (Ornithopters) to right (Signal Pests), which makes sense considering how we read and write.

On his side, NAP indicates he only heard 6 and he wrote what was announced by AP. This raised one important question: Considering 6 isn’t any of the possible legal damage assignments (it’s either 0, 4 or 8 depending on how many triggers were missed), why did he write 6? Also, it’s interesting to note that losing 6 is much better for him than 8. Finally, why did he take 8 the turn after since that was the exact same set of attackers?

I investigated a little bit to determine whether NAP may have been aware that 6 wasn’t possible, asking about how triggers work, etc. But this led nowhere.



The ruling


I concluded that no infraction had been committed: I believe both players told the truth and therefore, they simply miscommunicated. As I stated in this article, backing up was not a satisfying solution. I had to make a decision instead, as I did during PT Fate Reforged 2015 (Handling life totals discrepancies).

In this situation, I believe AP did most of what we expect from him. He announced a number verbally, although it can be argued it was a formula and not the result and reported the correct amount on his sheet of paper. On NAP’s side, he heard a number, didn’t try to check anything and just wrote 10.

It felt to me that NAP had failed to do the minimum to maintain a clear game state. I therefore ruled he was at 8 and he’s now at zero. I did not allow him to animate Inkmoth Nexus to block since we were passed that point and no infraction justifying a backup has been identified.



Judges of note


Phillip Painter

Phillip Painter

It’s not so much your GP LA product prep that led us to a record start that makes me write this. No, what really made it exemplar is the interest you showed in (1) understanding from Wednesday evening the potential issues the process could have to face and (2) immediately thinking ahead as to how to prevent them next time.
Even further, after we detected last minute hiccups and even if we came over them, you didn’t say anything like “well, anyway we’ve rocked so who cares?” but instead kept on thinking as to how to make this work better next time.
I can only praise such an awesome mindset!


Kevin Desprez.