|Mercadian Masques Prerelease-Toronto, Ontario
September 25 and 26, 1999
I judged at the MM prerelease here in Ontario. A rather enjoyable
experience, overall. I'm going to give an overview of the tournament,
then some specific cards that were asked about often or in a troublesome
manner. I'll apologize right now for only giving card names and not
descriptions, but cut-and-paste doesn't work too well when your e-mail
editor is vi.
The first day pre-release drew 182 people, out of a maximum of 200 set
so that we wouldn't overcrowd the hall. I am unsure how many of the
tournament staff were actually judges: I am only sure about Head Judge
Gary Wise (level 2), Mike (level 1), myself and the T.O. Marvin. We had
several others helping out, though, including Scott and side-tournament
maestro Nathan. Gary began shouting at the players right on time, 10
a.m., going over such potentially useful rules as 'Do not open your
packs as soon as we hand them to you' and other such standard tournament
procedures. Deck construction went well, and we settled in to 8 rounds
of straight Swiss, no top 8.
The players were very well behaved. Other than the standard problem of
having to rule on cards we had never seen before, the only stumbling
block was that there were quite a few players who were relatively
unfamiliar with 6th edition rules. I had to explain the stack and the
new order of the combat phase to several people.
The main event ended around 8 p.m., with Chris Almost taking home the
trophy and first place. An hour earlier, the Merchant Team Challenge, a
three-man team event, had begun, drawing 21 teams. I took over running
that event so that Gary could get some sleep before the sister
tournament on Sunday... after a money draft, of course.
Team Comf and Team Skrzydlo split in the finals of the Merchant Team,
and I actually managed four hours of sleep before being back for the
second day prerelease. This event, as always less well attended, drew
64 people, and over the day we did 5 booster drafts rather than the 30
of the day before. I went home tired but happy at the experience.
Now on to the rulings section:
Common Cause: I was glad to have seen the FAQ for this, so that I could
be sure that I was interpreting it properly. I was asked about it
twice, and both players put it far away from their decks when they found
out what it did.
Ignoble Soldier: most misread card of the day. Everyone thought that
damage dealt TO it was prevented. But that would make it a good card.
Pious Warrior: If it gets hit by combat damage at the same time that
combat damage drops you to 0 or below, you die before gaining the life.
Also, if 5 damage hits it, you gain 5 despite it's 3 toughness.
Saprazzan Raider: Yes. It's that bad.
Shock Troops/Muzzle: the Troops will deal the damage from their ability,
as the Muzzle is in the graveyard by the time the damage hits.
Rushwood Elemental: no ruling, just thought I'd mention that one hit the
table on the third turn. First turn Hickory Woodlot. Second turn
Forest, Vine Trellis. Third turn Forest, Elemental.
Snorting Gahr: it is worded differently than Cave Tiger. Only gets the
bonus once for multiple blockers.
Bargaining Table: we had several incidents of people trying to change
their hand size after it's effect was declared, or people trying to draw
X cards. It probably would have been clearer to put 'draw one card'
rather than 'draw a card', but I have no real problems with it.
Jeweled Torque: my most-asked question of the day. You can only
activate it once per time they cast an appropriate spell.
Magistrate's Scepter: the first time I've actually seen the five extra
turns actually not go back and forth normally. One player with six
counters on it took the second, third and fourth turns. The game ended
in a draw, as that player was in the weaker position, and did this to
Volcanic Wind. I had a case come up where the number of creatures in
play changed between announcement and declaration. My thoughts went
something like this. On the one hand, you're supposed to declare things
like division of damage on announcement, but other spells with Xs in
them that aren't part of the play cost don't lock in until resolution.
On the other hand, I didn't want people declaring all of their opponents
creatures as targets just so that they could divide up the damage
however they wanted on resolution. After checking with the head judge,
I ruled that damage was divided up on resolution, but that each named
target must receive at least 1 damage. I ran through a couple special
cases in my mind before giving this ruling, to make sure it made sense.
There would be at least 1 damage per target, as each target was a
creature, and X was based on the number of creatures. If the Skulking
Fugitive was targeted, it would go away, but so would it's portion of
the X. Although I have now seen the official ruling, and will use that
in the future, I don't have a problem with the ruling that I gave.
If anyone has any feedback, I welcome comments at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to be in Chicago to test for
my Level 3 in December, so I also hope to see many of you there.
-- Duncan McGregor