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Chicago PTQ - Houston, TX

Douglas Saadeh

This event was an Urza's Block constructed (Urza's Saga, Urza's Destiny, Urza's Legacy). Only 59 players showed up for this event. Since I was able to get deck lists in a timely manner, as opposed to the mad rush that occurs at a limited event, it was easier to get the deck lists alphabetized. Additionally, only one sheet per player is required for deck registration as opposed to two sheets in a limited format with all three sets. The tournament ran very smoothly, and since the decks were constructed there were not many draws due to the 50 minute time limit.

The most interesting part of the tournament for me was the way I did random deck checking during this event. Since I had the sheets fully alphabetized and deck checks are easier to perform with just one sheet and a 15 card sideboard, I chose to check both players when randomly selected. I liked the idea, because both had to go through the same scrutiny and risk of losing due to a mistake on their own part. This worked out quite well and didn't slow the tournament down, but I came to realize that waiting for each opponent to shuffle and present their decks would take longer than neccessary. I say this because two of the players got their decks back about 10 minutes into the round and wanted that much time added if needed. I pointed out to them that they spent about five minutes shuffling before presenting the decks to each other. I wait for the players to present their deck because I don't want them stating they forgot to unsideboard and would have remembered while shuffling. I have now decided that in the future I will perform deck checks as soon as they start shuffling and will announce in advance to the players at tournaments of this change, which saves the additional time spent shuffling.

In addition to checking both players in a match, I also would check a player a second time if randomly selected. In the past, that usually wasn't the case, and it seemed that a dishonest player might take advantage of this. I had a couple of cases where the players were checked a second time, and both said they had already been checked, but I explained my reasoning to them. In each case they passed, and understood that it was a good thing.

In the fourth round of the tournament I had to find a couple of players that weren't at their assigned table, and they had told the scorekeeper they were intentionally drawing. They were in the middle of a game for fun when I found and informed them there would be a deck check immediately after the first game. One of the players didn't feel this was fair, and since they were playing for fun I gave him and technically his deck was not required to be at it's initial state, I gave him two options. He could look his deck and sideboard over for a few minutes or he would be deck checked in a later undetermined round. He grumbled a little and felt I was unfair because they were drawing and mentioned that he might write the DCI. I asked him if he was threatening me, and his response was no, as he calmed down to look his deck over and it proved to check out ok. I made an important point to him, stating that my stance is to ensure the integrity of the event and he was chosen randomly. Some players are higher strung than others, and staying calm and firm makes the situation easier to handle.

Anyway, that is my new take on deck checking and I like it very much.

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