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Chicago PTQ-Huston, TX

Douglas Saadeh

(September 26, 1999)

This event was an Urza's Block constructed (Urza's Saga, Urza's Destiny, Urza's Legacy) and was run the day after the Mercadian Masques prerelease. The turnout for the prerelease the day before was over 200 players and only 44 showed the next day. The number playing in this PTQ totaled 48 and the enrollment was hampered due to some players wanting to play in the second day of the prerelease, the fatigue and time factor from the day before, and possibly financial budget constraints in a single weekend.

The tournament went very smoothly and the ratio of the number of judges per player was higher than usual due to the prerelease, so the staff was able to perform more random deck checks. I continued with the idea of checking both players at the table and also checking them in later rounds whether or not they have been checked before. All players understood this and one player even came foward stating he did not register his sideboard, and I informed him he would have to play without it for the remainder of the tournament.

An interesting event occurred at the beginning of the tournament. A couple of players approached me asking how I would rule on Confiscate or Treachery coming into play using Replenish and whether it could be placed upon an untargetable. Apparently a ruling was made in Memphis, that it could happen but I had some doubts and hadn't read it anywhere. I recalled that the rulings regarding Crown of the Ages and Enchantment Alteration had been reversed, but that was only regarding comes into play abilities of the enchantments. My scorekeeper had the current Oracle download from 2 days earlier and we looked at the rulings on those cards. One confusing issue was the fact that there was no zone change, but I did know that the the enchantments moved did not retrigger the coming into play effect, but it wouldn't be the same under Confiscate or Treachery since they are coming into play via a zone change.

Since I had told the two players my initial ruling and a lot of time was spent looking up relevant text before the tournament started, I decided to stick to my original statement even though I had doubts. I made an announcement to the entire playing field before starting the tournament stating that Confiscate and Treachery could NOT target an untargetable when coming into play by Replenish. Only one player voiced an objection and asked if I read the judge's list. I responded "regularly and tell me how recently it was and I will find it". His reply was "I don't remember and I don't care because I'm not playing that deck".

Needless to say throughout the tournament I began searching the DCIJUDGE-L lists from the web and could not find anything. I really wanted to see the relevant ruling and it wasn't until the next to last round that my scorekeeper found the similar ruling regarding a Morphling, and Confiscate after using the ability of an Academy Rector. This showed that I had made the wrong ruling knowing that the answer was out there somewhere but it could not be found in a timely manner, including a search of D'Angelo.

I believe sticking to the ruling for the final round (and also the finals) was the right choice because it stayed consistent. No players complained about it and it wasn't even a Morphling deck that won the finals. Part of being a judge is to take the views of other people seriously and to work through your own doubts, but you have to make a decision because you are the head judge. On a rare occassion you might even be wrong, but the integrity of the game stands when the ruling is consistent throughout the tournament. It would have been a mistake to reverse the ruling for the last round even though it was in error.

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