|Learning More About the Rules
Well, I'm supposed to submit a number of judging reports equal to my level
(1) to maintain certification periodically. Since I'm a level 1 judge, I
think that my topic for this year ought to be "learning more about the
rules." And that brings up a funny story that happened to me over the
A little about myself for the unfamiliar reader: I'm an attorney up in
Anchorage, AK. I don't have as much time for hobbies (including Magic) as
I'd like, but I try to turn out for the big tourneys and enjoy judging now
and then. (By way of example, I'm qualified for Chicago and planning on
spending $1,000 to go, and still have no clue what I'm going to play).
Like a lot of Level 1 judges out there, I probably spend more of my
limited hobby time playing Magic than I do judging. When I do judge, I'm
usually the assistant, and they tend to be very small tourneys or very big
ones requiring lots of manpower (prereleases).
We had our LA PTQ this past Sunday. I've played in PTQs other places
(Seattle, Nationals, etc.), and to be honest, they weren't half as much
fun as they are in Anchorage. Everyone up here is a good sport and has
Sheldon Menery, the Level 3 (hopefully soon to be Level 4) judge in
Belgium is soon to PCS to our neck of the woods here in Anchorage, AK.
Darrell Breese (our local head judge) and I have been exchanging emails
with Sheldon in preparation for the big move. Some of the emails that
Sheldon has sent us have been some particularly evil multiple choice
judging quizzes. Over the lunch break, Darrell and I sat down and worked
through a couple of them.
I thought I did pretty good. I got most of them right, and they seemed
designed to test depth of knowledge, and not breadth of knowledge. But I
did miss one. It had to do with timeouts in PTQs. I don't remember the
exact wording of the question, but the upshot of it was that it was the
quarterfinals of a PTQ. It was what would have been the deciding game of
the match, the time limit had expired, and the extra turns had expired,
but there was no winner in terms of game results. What result?
The answer, as I was somewhat surprised to learn, was that the player
ahead on life in the deciding game wins. My kneejerk reaction was that
the game should be finished.
Of course, the 1999-2000 Floor rules presently provide:
117. Determining a Match Winner
In Swiss-style rounds, the winner of a match is the player with the most
game wins in the match. If both players have equal game wins, then the
match is a draw. In single-elimination rounds, matches may not end in a
draw. If both players in a single-elimination tournament have equal game
wins when the normal match
Time is up, the player with the highest life total is the winner of the
current game in progress, otherwise the game in progress is considered a
draw. In the event the players have equal life totals (or are between
games), the game/match should continue until the first life total change.
But this just doesn't come up that often for me. The smell of karma was
in the air. At least I think it was karma, but after 8+ hours of being
cooped up with a bunch of card players, it could have been something
Tracking my usual tournament performance, I had just managed to sneak my
way in to the final 8 of the PTQ, surviving a mediocre sealed deck with
only 1 match loss on the day. I sat down for the Rochester draft as the
number 8 seed. My teammate and quarterfinal opponent, Rob Weimer, was the
number one seed. Rob is a very deliberate player who often plays slow
control decks which usually have a healthy dollop of life gain. I draft a
quite nice little black/blue deck with several counters, Darting Merfolk,
regenerating black creatures, blue flyers, and a Bribery. Rob ends up
drafting mostly white, with every lifegaining spell available. No surprise
there. So Rob and I sit down to play. We had met in the quarterfinals of
States the prior day, and I had managed to win, so it was Rob's turn.
The first game went to me. The second game went to Rob. The third game
was hard fought, and long. I finally managed to gain control of the
board. I was at 4 life. Rob was at 30 something.
Darrell the head judge this way comes. He casts an imposing shadow over
Rob's global Spirit Link. Rob's Bribed "Spirit Linked" Rebel (whatever
it's called) stares back up me. Time, quoth Darrell. Rob casts a
Renounce in response to the declaration of time and goes up to 50
Dark clouds of irony loom on the horizon. Too much knowledge is a
dangerous thing. Rob wants to know what happens now.
"Uh, we get to finish this game, right?" I ask Darrell, adrift somewhere
between uncontrollable laughter and cosmic hopelessness. Darrell was
forced to remind me that I had just learned the answer to this question
There was nothing left to do but to stand on principle and demand that I
be declared the loser, even as my growing army of ghouls and airships
whittled Rob down to the low 50s over the next five turns. The best
thing, of course, is that everyone laughed. That's how Magic should be.