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US National Open Qualifiers

Origins 1999 ("Meatgrinders")

Dominick Riesland

I had the honor of judging most of the "Last Chance" Qualifiers for the US National tournament. Mike Guptil ran a very smooth operation, ensuring that events began promptly and with as few interruptions as humanly possible. In addition, the willingness to delegate the Head Judging duties to various Level 2 judges was a nice touch, as those who were given this responsibility (including myself) were able to have the experience of being the person who made all the decisions while having the experience of a Level 4 to call on if necessary.

Most of my time was spent floor judging, and most of the calls involved the differences between 5E and 6E rules, and administering the extra turn rules when time ran out. I did take some time out in the afternoon, at the request of two players who traveled with me, to confirm the Waylay interpretation I had made before we left. After chasing down both Jeff Donais and Beth Moursund, and confirming with each of them that I had interpreted the card correctly, both players played a variation of Waylay White in the later qualifiers.

The weirdest part was late in the final event when I was called to the table because one of these players had launched Waylay during the "Abuse of Instants Step" (official name: End Step). After I had ruled on it, the opponent wanted an appeal to the head judge. Out of habit, I walked back to the scoring table to locate the head judge only to be reminded that I *was* the head judge for the event! Problem solved.

On a side note, the player who played the Waylay was trying what in chess parlance is known as a swindle. This is not something that would fall under the Penalty Guidelines for unsporting conduct, but rather a technical term for a play made by a person in an otherwise lost position that allows him or her to recover if the opponent fails to respond properly. In this case, the response involved knowing what to block and what creatures to save, and was handled well.

I found this experience to be enjoyable, and a fitting prelude to judging Nationals the next day.

Dominick Riesland,
Almost Official Milwaukee M:tG Rules Guru
Judge Advocate Team HKMC
Inventor of the Chicken Track

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