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GP-Lisbon

The Dutch Vikings

25,26 September 1999
Attendance: 767
Head Judge: Carl Crook
Organizer: WotC Belgium, Devir (Portuguese distributer)

This is the first report written by "The Dutch Vikings". TDV are Jan Willem Barends, Jaap Brouwer and Gijsbert Hoogendijk, TDV is the nickname we got from the US WotC people during PT London and we thought we'd use that for our reports. But lets start by making one thing perfectly clear, we are from the Netherlands which isn't a Nordic country so basically associating us with Vikings is wrong :-) Jan Willem Barends (JWB) is a 24 year old student and currently a level 2 judge, Jaap Brouwer is a 28 year old working student and currently level 3, Gijsbert Hoogendijk (Gis (me)) is a 25 year old student and also level 3.

We have been and will be attending big tournaments with the three of us, and instead of writing a report each we thought it is more convenient to write one report. In the report the first part will be written by one of us telling about general tournament information, the second part will be divided in three, in which each of us writes about some personal experiences from the tournament.

The Tournament

JWB and I went to Lisbon on Thursday, we had arranged an extra night at the hotel so we could see something of Lisbon. We arrived at "the Lisboa" Hotel around 15.30 and checked in (no room so we had to wait for a while, while they arranged something). After dropping our luggage we walked around in the city for a while and were back at the hotel at 19.00. We decided to wait for the WotC Belgium people and Carl Crook (WotC UK) to arrive and then we went out for dinner.

The next day we were up pretty early and went to the site, it looked very nice as it's the old inner court of a convent with a glass roof over it (slight problem, the roof was leaky and it rained). When we were finished with setting up the site we went out for a bite to eat with the people from Devir, we had a lovely dinner under strip lightining (which as we all know produces alot of atmosphere), the food was good though and thats what counts IMO. At 00.30 (There is a time difference between Portugal and The Netherlands hence the difference with this and Jaap's story I presume *wink*) Jaap called (this was still during dinner) that he had arrived aswell (Jaap couldn't really take any days of so he had worked that morning). We were back at the hotel at around 1.00 and had a drink from the mini-bar so all in all we went to bed pretty late. Jaap slept in our room as the hotel was fully booked.

After about 3 hours of sleep we needed to get to the site for the first day. And what a first day it was, we had 649 preregistered players so we knew we were in for something as we had about 13 judges for the main event. In the end we ended up with 767 players of which about 200 hadn't prereg'ed so it took us a very long time to enter all of the players in the computer. Meanwhile the players had plenty of time to fill in their decklists. We then posted the masterlist to make sure that everybody was registered, and at this point the players had to fill in their player number on their decklist as this seemed the only reasonable way of sorting them. This caused some confusion ofcourse but it worked in the end. Then, at 14.00, we could finally start with the first round, atleast for most players. Several, 15 or so were registered with the exact same name, one name was even registered 5 times. We sorted that by putting the player numbers in their name and have them memorizing it. With so many people attending we decided to play 8 rounds of swiss. This resulted in the top 64 announcement at 02.30. We were back at the hotel at around 03.00 and didn't really feel like dinner anymore so after some relaxing and some drinks we finally went to bed around 05.00. As we were getting ready for bed I shocked Jaap a bit as he had to get up at 05.00 on monday morning to catch his plane at 07.00, so he could be back at the office around 15.00. So Jaap basically had 24 hours to sleep twice and judge the final day of the GP, not a very nice thing to look forward to.

This time we slept for a full 2 hours before our telephone rang telling us to get up. So we did and arrived at the site around 08.45 starting the first round at 09.30. Only 6 rounds of swiss that day, which were finished around 17.00. There also was a prerelease for MM going on in the same area, with 300 players attending, but it didn't bother anyone to much. The finals didn't start much later and finally at 22.00 we had a winner in Helder Coelho. One of the foreign players didn't have a room and asked if he could stay with us, and as we could see no problem in fitting four people in our room we had no problems with that. We went to get some food in the same restaurant as friday night and it was good again. After dinner Jaap and Carl went back to the Hotel as Jaap only had 3 hours left to sleep and Carl wasn't feeling all to well because of the strange food. The rest of us went clubbing 'till about 05.30. When we got back to the Hotel, Vicky and Christophe (WotC Belgium) decided that there was little point in going to bed as they had to leave at 08.00 to catch their plane. I stayed with them untill 07.30 as they were both falling asleep regularly so I kept poking them. We had to leave at 11.00 so when the telephone rang at 10.00 it was hard to stay awake. JWB and me shared a cab with Carl to the airport and were finally on our way back home, and a well deserved rest.

Personal views

Gis:

After the first delay it went really smooth, well, about as smooth as it can go with that many players.

Jaap and I were Senior judges, we had done that at GP Amsterdam too, but for me that was alot easier. First the general judge level in Amsterdam was higher with four experienced level 3's working the floor instead of just us two. Next to that in Amsterdam/The Netherlands there is close to no language barrier as we all speak Dutch (DUH!) and the English of most Dutch players isn't that bad either. In Portugal though we needed a Portuguese judge to interpret for us several times, this isn't a good thing as technical things can get messy when translated several times. Being a senior judge is fun but can be very hard too. At one point Jaap and I were talking and four judges came up to us all needing a ruling at a table. It got solved ok in the end, but at those moments I didn't feel very comfortable, I wish I could split myself in two.

We had big argument between the judges about Engineered Plaque and Deranged Hermit and if the squirrels would come into play or not. The final outcome was that they did, but it took about an hour to convince the entire judging staff.

During the final day, one player called me over about 3 times for the same thing. As he used his Academy Rector ability, (search for an enchantment and put it into play) his opponent didn't react, then usually when he was putting his Confiscate/Treachery on the opponents Creature they wanted to react and were ofcourse to late. The last time that guy called me over it was really funny to see his desperate expression.

I guess thats it for me I had a great weekend and it was very tiring but one of the nicest events I ever judged.

Jaap:

My plane left at 18.10 at friday evening and I had hoped to arrive at around 23.00 at the hotel. Not even close. When I arrived (ripped off by a very smart cabdriver) my watch showed 01.30 AM. Making a short phonecall to let the rest of the crew know I was there was good. Then some waiting and checking out the neighbourhoud. Half an hour later everyone arrived and we had another drink at one of the hotelrooms. JWB brought some good beer from Enschede (Grolsch) and combined with good company, some nicotine and some dirty conversation I had a superb time. I realy don't remember anything else but I think I got some sleep that night ;-)

Saturday was amazing. I organized the judgebrieving for the portugese judges and explained them what REL 4 ment. Then I assigned the judges to areas to prevent clumps of judges :-) I also handed out the sheet with the warningstructure that we would use during the event, answered some random questions and told them to prepare (both physically and mentally) for a long, long day. I expected something like 500 players max. but close to 800 is a lot more.

Both Gis and me were performing as senior-judges. This is a very good system that gives better satisfaction for all who are involved. The floorjudges get more feedback from their local senior-judge and don't have to search for the headjudge whenever a player appeals. The senior-judges have more interessting questions and responsibilities and the head-judge has more time in general. I especially found the 'getting more interessting questions' part very attractive.

Sunday was so much more relaxed than saturday. _Only_ 64 players is so much more relaxed than the close to 800 we had on saturday. For the players the stakes where higher. So was the average level of the players.

Sunday evening we had dinner with WotC staff. The company was good and the food even better. Only the "going to bed at 2.30 AM and getting up at 5.00 AM" was a bit hard.

The top 8 was quite oke. The only thing that got my attention was the following. Player A controls Wild Dogs enchanted with (his) Treachery. During his next upkeep (he is the one with lower lifetotals) he advances to his draw fase. His opponent points the Wild Dogs out to me and that he should gain control over it again. When I start talking the Wild Dog controller drops the word 'timestamping' and tries to bluff me out and calls over the head judge. Me, normally not accepting this from any player (disrespect, first let the judge talk then appeal) call over the head judge and let him decide. The desicion taken was that the active player didn't make a choise and had to make the choise again. That player ofcourse choose to sacrifice the creature to his Phyrexian Tower and taking 2 manaburn. At that moment I completely agreed, but later on I doubted this. I think afterwards it would've been better to let the Wild Dogs change controller.

Furthermore things that got my attention:

I gave my first warning (ever) for disrespect for the judge in a very weird situation. One of the portugese judges called me over and lead me to a table with a situation so messed up, you'll hardly believe. If I would have given them two baseball bats, they would've killed eachother. When I arrived the situation was all cooked up because of a chain of little incidents. Most of them being lack of communication. I sat down, heared them out and made a ruling. Three turns later, one of the players won because of my decision. With 10 min. left in the round (they just ended their first game) the player that just lost the first game started to rush his opponent. Driving him to shuffle and deal faster. I asked that player to calm down, and leave the decision of slow play to me. After asking this two more times in the beginning of the game I gave him the warning for disrespect to the judge. The player looked at me like I was a lightning bolt in a standard tournament and then started stuttering, telling me that he didn't mean anything to me, but that he just wanted his opponent to play on. After I explained to him, that by continually pushing his opponent and making all sorts of sighing sounds, he apparently didn't trust my judgement. Followed by the explanation what would happen if I had to give him another warning for this offense, he shut up (finally) and played on in a nice and quiet way.

Furthermore there where a lot of discussions about "he didn't give me the opportunity to use my opposition during his upkeep" and the other way around. I'll come back to this later on.

At day two, a player A opposes player B and a dispute rises. I was around and got the whole story. Player A was in his upkeep and controlling an Avalanche Rider enchanted with a Treacherous Link from his opponent. He still had to pay echo for the creature. So he takes enough mana in pool and states to his opponent that he pays for both effects. Player B then askes, for what are you going to pay? And player A responds with 'for the echo and the Treacherous Link'. Player B claimed that by stating that his opponent payed for the echo, he implicitly choose not to pay for the Link. That effect was first on the stack to resolve, "wasn't it?" I hate these situations. Players who try to win on technicallities give me the creeps. First I told them that the intention of the player A was clear and that he met all conditions. Then I said that the player A was performing an illegal action by trying to pay for an effect that couldn't exist according to the words of the player B player and that apparently there was a lack of communication and no clear image of what the situation was. I choose to roll back to the moment that both effect where still on the stack. Then player A started to play extremely correct announcing every single step, reaction and the passing of priority. Player B got realy fed up with it within 60 seconds and asked if they could play on normal. That was fun to see.

Furthermore there were plenty of players that didn't knew that you can add spells and abilties to the stack again, even when it has resolved to some degree.

Something else that was quite common practise were player unclearly passing their turn, then waited till their opponent had drawna card and then call over a judge and start a fuzz, saying that they didn't pass the turn, hoping for a game loss for their opponent because they had drawn a card too much.

The conclusion was that a lot of players tried to trick their opponent into technicallities and get away with a free game. I dare to say that I'm experienced enough to distinguish most of these 'tricky' cases.

One huge good point was, that I was able to lay my hands on some summer lands. These are beautiful :-) (Thanks Allen, if you read this, get well soon).

Furthermore being a weekend online (like 20+ hours a day) with the Belgium WotC staff was great. That weekend I also had the opportunity to get to know Carl Crook a bit. He's a good guy ;-) and also starting to learn dutch (ggg...ggg...) (trust me, in 10 years everybody will speak Dutch!! 8-) )

Handing over the keyboard...

JWB:

Well, what to say?

During the first day I was mainly in charge of the decklists. 767 players make up for a lot of decklists and they all had to be sorted by number. Luckely I had two lovely Portugeese ladies helping me so i wasn't complaining (much). It still took us three rounds to sort them all out but starting round four I was doing one or two deckchecks a round, after wich I became a floating judge, answering questions and collecting resultslips for the remainder of the round.

On day two I was also doing deckchecks and floating. On one occasion I was called over by a player, his opponent, a Portugeese player, tryed to do something he couldn't do. A clear case of misrep. So I explained the situation and gave the player a warning. At this point the Portugeese player scoops, apparently he misunderstood me and tought he had gotten a gameloss. Now it was about time to call in the help of the HJ. Carl came over and tryed to puzzle the game back together. When both players couldn't even agree on wich lands were tapped or not he gave them both a warning for failure to agree and told them to replay the game from scratch.

Quarter-, semifinals, and finals were quite uneventfull (at least my matches were!). The most eventfull thing happened during the finals when one player forgot to upkeep his Masticore, he still won.

After the finals we started cleanup, gave Bram Snepvangers(NL) a big thumbs up for winning the MM-prerelease and went to our hotel to... well, you've probably read it.

Thats it for me, I hope you've enjoyed reading our report as much as I enjoyed judging at GP Lisbon.

See ya!

Conclusion:

A big thanks to Carl, Christophe, Felix, Vicky and the people from Devir for a very pleasant weekend from which we all learned alot.



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