July 10, 1999
The tournament was a relatively small showing for the Houston crowd bringing in only 77 players. Two Judges and a few other people were on hand to run this event. In an effort to keep the integrity of the decks that are registered by the players getting them back, I tried an idea I have been wanting to use. Roughly 11 or 12 players should get their own deck back ( 15% of 77), so I began verifying the "total cards" as players brought their cards back up. Basically out of every 7 bags, I would pull one and set it aside. During this time, I was verifying the deck "totals" with 2 of the helpers. Considerable time was saved and registration warnings were issued when the cards were misrecorded.
A situation came up regarding the extra 6 turns. I walked up and one player believed that both had their 3 turns each, the other still said he was due to play turn number 6, and could win using Pestilence. Both were able to agree that the player claiming to have not yet played turn 6 was the one playing the even turns. At this point, that player is correct or the other player has just completed his 7th turn, which might in itself be some form of procedural violation, but it is not listed. The situation was a "failure to agree on reality" but the word of a spectator would play a role in the decision to allow a just outcome to occur. Both agreed this spectator witnessed the whole event transpire and I also remember seeing him standing there when I called time and informed each table of the additional 6 turns. He claimed to not know either player and was keeping track of the turns. He stated they were on turn 5, so the player with Pestilence had not yet had his 3rd turn. The decision was made to allow consider the reality of the Pestilence player greater credit and he won the third game and the match. I strongly believe that listening to spectators, when you have belief that they are not biased, should play an important role in making an informed decision.
Deck checks in the early rounds proved quite devastating. One player received a match loss because the decklist was missing all of the land in his splash color giving an illegal decklist. It was adjusted to represent what he had at the time of the deck check. Another player received a match loss due to an unrecorded artifact causing his deck list to contain only 39 cards. After the match loss, I adjusted each of these player s'decklists to reflect what was being played (and intended based on my judgement). In one round a player drew a card that didn't belong in his deck and he brought it to my attention. He believed that it belonged to someone he had just played. I found the player and showed him the card in question, and asked if it belonged in his deck. He said if it isn't in there then it should be. Both received a game loss, and this wasn't even due to deck checking, but merely the honesty and understanding of the players in question. It really does make it easier when the players understand the importance of precision.