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Mercadian Masques Prerelease-Toronto, Ontario

Duncan McGregor

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 avoid dying.

and finally...

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 rrdmcgre@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca. 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

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