Edison, NJ - 7/18, 1999
This is a judge report for the PTQ tournament held in Edison, NJ on July 18. We had 97 players which seems to be around average for this qualifier season (the turnout was in the mid-90's for the previous week's qualifier in NY). The tournament was a sealed deck event with seven rounds of swiss cutting to a top eight booster draft. The head judge for the festivities was Tony Parodi (level 3) and the event was run at level 4 rules enforcement.
In general the tournament ran smoothly. There were the standard issues that arise during deck registration at limited events with cards being misrecorded. In addition, it was discovered that two players had not turned in their deck registration sheets after the first round had started. These two players were deck checked and awarded match losses for the second round. Both players were reasonably new to the tournament scene and had simply forgotten to turn the sheets in despite numerous announcements to do so. Later in the day deck checks provided a third match loss when a deck was found with only 39 registered cards. This seems to be in keeping with the observation that the majority of warnings in limited events are due to problems with deck registration and serves to point out the importance of registering your cards correctly.
The majority of rules questions during the day concerned 6th edition combat timing rules. It seems as if players know that you can do "tricks" under 6E rules but don't have a firm grasp on exactly how to time them. Although I predict that the phrase "after combat damage is on the stack I...." will become more popular in 6E than "During your discard phase I....." was in 5E. Seriously, though, it is sometimes difficult to answer questions like these without inadvertently giving strategy advice to one or both of the players. I have found that simply stating the new combat stages clears up many of these problems. This sort of question also gave rise to the "quote of the day":
Player: "So I can't sacrifice the Phyrexian Ghoul to itself to have it deal 2 more points of combat damage."
Player: "Man, I thought 6E was supposed to be broken...."
The one serious non-timing issue that arose was a failure to agree on reality with regards to life totals. Player A was tracking life on dice and Player B was tracking life using paper and pencil. Player A attacked with a pegasus charger. The problem arose over life totals when A though B was on two life before combat and B maintained that he was on two life after combat. Player B had tracked his life total as 6,4,2 but neither player could remember how many times the charger had attacked. The players on either side of the game had no knowledge of the game and there were no spectators. Both players were given failure to agree on reality warnings and play was allowed to continue with B at two life after combat. This does bring up the issue of the "best" way to record life totals. I have always found that pen and paper seem to be the "most reliable" but it is also true that in a case like this one there is no good way to determine the reality of the situation. Other that that one issue, the remainder of the tournament and the top eight booster draft went well.