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Chicago PTQ-Des Moines, IA

James Lee

02 Oct 1999
Head Judge: James D Lee, Lvl 3
Judge Staff: none
Number of Players: 40

This was my first experience as a head judge of a major event since achieving Judge Level 3. Coming into the event, I was both nervous and excited. On the one hand, it has long been a running jest in some judge circles that James Lee is known for making one absurd ruling at each event he attends. While this is a bit overstated, it does demonstrate my fallibility in comparison to such luminaries of the midwest as the incomparable Ken Roth who first made me. On the other hand, I have always received great support and encouragement from WotC and the DCI in my progress as a judge and this was an opportunity to make good on the kindness and generosiy of their leaders.

The event was smaller than any other QT I had ever attended. This was a Good Thing (TM) in my mind, as a smaller field meant a smaller likelihood of many issues cropping up and allowed for more attention to be given to individual players. Despite this, two issues did arise which did have a significant impact on the field. The first was the discovery of a player with an illegal deck. He had been out of the game for a while and was unclear on the UBC format of the QT. His deck contained for cards from an illegal expansion and I had to DQ him. He was clearly unhappy, but not unreasonable. The TO offered to allow him free entry into a side event as compensation and this seemed to satisfy the matter.

The second matter was even more unsatisfying as it involved a Bad Ruling on my part. Two players at one of the lower tables asked whether the removal of the Academy Rector from the game once it hit the graveyard was a cost to activate the pseudospell allowing the search for an enchantment from the library on resolution or whether it was part of the resolution. If it was the latter, the opponent wanted to play an instant removing the Rector before it could be removed by the controller. Looking at the text and checking the Oracle, it seemed to me that the removal of the Rector from the game was a cost and I ruled as such. Both players were satisfied and the day continued. However, I was plagued by the ambiguity of the text and uncertain of my own conclusions. Over the next two rounds, I poured over the Comprehensive Rules whenever I had time off of the floor and eventually concluded that I was wrong. As far as I can tell, the Rector's ability is a triggered one which allows for the removing of the Rector upon resolution. Indeed, the earlier player's opponent was able respond and remove the Rector before it could be used. By the time I reached this conclusion, the event was over and I was unable to find either player to clarify the situation. As neither of them were in final eight contention, I felt less horrified by this error.

Finally, when I announced the Final Eight, I indicated that the rounds would be timed and that we would use the updated Universal Rules to determine outcome for tied matches. Upon discussion with the TO, he indicated that they had never timed Final Eight matches but that he would submit to my declaration. After thinking on this, I decided that I would run the Final Four untimed after initial eliminations. (Kierin might consider this to be a "River Boa Ruling."-TM)

These three incidents were of most note at this event. In the final match, one player conceded to the other as the former did not intend to play at PT-Chicago, but I had no involvement in the matter. This coming Saturday, I will be head judge again at a QT in Milwaukee. If any fellow judges are going to be there, I welcome any feedback they might offer. Otherwise, I hope that my above testimony will be a source of encouragement to other judges as they seek to advance in their ability and service to the DCI. No judge is perfect and we always have much to learn as we continue in our work. Our mission is to serve the Magic playing community and to stand as ambassadors to the game and to the DCI. To succeed, we must first be human, then judges.

Firm and Fair,

James D Lee
DCI #4947
Judge Lvl 3
Oak Park, IL

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