Tournament Best practices
Efficiently redoing a decklist
If you end up in a situation where a player’s decklist is missing, here is the best course of action:
- Deck Check the player at the beginning of a round
- When the deck is fully sorted, take one (or more) picture(s) of it.
- Give the decks back.
- Ask the player to make sure the content of his sideboard is correct.
- Write the decklist, making it clear it was rewritten by a judge, and put your name on it in case someone would need to ask you something about it.
Integrity of a tournament matters. Time is also a sensitive issue. That’s what this procedure aims at doing: Making sure you have a copy of a player’s decklist without spending too much time obtaining it.
Once this is done, i.e. at least you have something against which to check that player’s deck later on when needed, you can investigate as to why they didn’t submit their decklist in time. Maybe they sent it by email and the TO didn’t receive or print it, maybe they gave it late to a judge and it was misplaced, etc.
No matter what the reason is and which infraction it may be, you first goal it to make sure you now have a decklist, so that the tournament’s integrity is not (further) compromised. Indeed, this procedure doesn’t prevent the player from receiving a Tardiness Penalty if appropriate.
Infinite Obliteration and naming a non-creature card
Infinite Obliteration and naming a non-creature card
It’s not uneasy to accidentally name, say, a Planeswalker for Infinite obliteration, except that it doesn’t work.
The infraction is a GRV and, as such, the goal is to evaluate how safely this can be backed up or not.
Note that it doesn’t fall under the “Meddling Mage” clause for forgetting to name a card since its scope is limited to permanents on the battlefield:
If a player made an illegal choice (including no choice where required) for a static ability generating a continuous effect still on the battlefield, that player makes a legal choice. A simple backup to clear problems generated by the illegal choice may be considered.
Overall, as long as the player who committed the mistake did not gain access to any hidden information, it is very likely safe to backup.
Indeed, the named card was chosen upon resolution of the spell, therefore NAP should not have revealed any extra information. On AP’s side, they did not have access to any other information than they had before casting the spell.
On the other hand, if NAP revealed their hand or library, then backing up is unreasonable
Indeed, it would give AP the huge advantage of being able to choose based on the content of NAP’s hand or library.
NAP may argue that AP took a closer look at the graveyard or remembered something (from personal notes for instance) meanwhile of course, but keep in mind that NAP was also responsible, as the card was named or at least until they allowed AP to look at their hand or library, to point out there was an error committed.
And, as usual, if you believe AP made the mistake on purpose or NAP allowed AP to name an illegal card because it serves his punctual interests, this may be Cheating and it needs to be investigated as such.
Having both DFCs and Checklist cards in a deck
As a reminder, the rules have been amended so that the consistency between DFCs and checklist card is now linked to each individual card. For instance, you can now have 4 Avacyn Archangel DFCs and 4 Duskwatch Recruiter checklists.
However, it does remain impossible to have a mix of a specific DFC and its checklist equivalent. If this happens, remove the DFCs from the deck (treating them as tokens). If the resulting deck is legal, great. If it’s not, then that’s DDLP.
Saying “trigger” while pointing out a specific permanent
AP resolves Collected Company, revealing Thalia’s Lieutenant and Reflector Mage. He clearly say “Trigger Trigger,” pointing at both permanents. He proceeds to putting the counters on his creatures, then blocks, at which point he realizes both players forgot about Reflector Mage’s ability. Is the trigger missed?
The trigger is NOT missed. Awareness was clearly demonstrated by pointing at both permanents generating a Triggered ability immediately. Not announcing the target for Reflector Mage therefore falls under GRV. Therefore, the judge needs to evaluate whether a back up to the point Reflector Mage’s ability is on the stack is possible. In this case, it was possible and we backed up to naming a target.
Had it not been possible, we would have let the situation stand as it is.
Opponent acknowledging a trigger
When damage resolves, NAP sends several of their creatures to the graveyard.
This is one of these situations where awareness of the trigger has been demonstrated by the opponent rather than the controller, which falls under:
If an opponent requires information about the precise timing of a triggered ability or needs details about a game object that may be affected by a resolved triggered ability, that player may need to acknowledge that ability’s existence before its controller does.
Therefore, sending creatures to the graveyard is a GRV that should be backed up if possible.
Backing up through Duskwatch recruiter’s ability
NAP casts Ultimate Price targeting Duskwatch recruiter, which is activated in response. After the card has been revealed, added to the hand and the other two cards have been put on the bottom, AP realizes Duskwatch Recruiter had hexproof due to Sigarda’s Heron’s Grace.
Despite it seems many things have happened, this situation is fairly easy to backup: You know with certainty which card was revealed to the recruiter’s ability and you can locate the other two (they’re on the bottom).
Since locating these three cards is doable, then reshuffling them into the library is not a problem. Cards were not replaced to the top of the library. Indeed, even if we know what they are, they were not previously known, therefore random, and we’re working towards making the top cards random gain.
Forgetting where a scried card went
In the aforementioned situation, players couldn’t entirely remember whether a card was scried-bottom or not (at the beginning of the game, after mulliganning). There were no fetchlands or any other indication the library had been shuffled.
Just in case, I left one card to the bottom and reshuffled the rest:
- If it was the scried-bottom card, then the situation is exactly what it should have been.
- If it was not, then it was already a random card and one of the core principles of Magic is that random is random.
The situation is slightly more complex if a scry just happened and there is reasonable doubt as to whether it stayed on top or not (Remember we try to avoid “free shuffles” as much as possible). Such situations should be handled case by case to evaluate whether rewinding is appropriate or not. I don’t feel comfortable giving general theoretical guidelines in such a situation.
Judges of Note
During an investigation, some elements matter more than other – They can be found here by the way. In Pittsburgh, your clear analysis of the suspicious situation coupled to the concise way you presented it to me made my life so much easier. It went even further as you could suggest questions to ask and point out discrepancies in the player’s story.