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Mercadian Masques Sealed Deck-Chico, CA

Benny Louie, Jr.


This is my first judging report. It is for a Sealed Deck Tournament on Nov 7th 1999 at my comic book store. My store is located in Chico, California which is about 80 miles north of Sacramento. It was an all Mercadian Masques tournament. There were only 10 players, which is a little lower than our normal turnout. This is probably due to the fact that 4 sealed deck tournaments, including this one, have been run in the last 4 weeks. I head-judged 2 of them and helped out with questions at a third one.

Overall, the tournament was easy to judge due to the small number of players and most of them know me by name. The tournament was run as a 3-round DCI Swiss one with a cut to final 4 "single elimination." In my store's version of top 4 "single elimination," we have 1st rank of the Swiss rounds play 4th rank while 2nd rank plays the 3rd ranked player; then, the winners of those matches play for 1st and 2nd place prizes and the losers play for 3rd and 4th place prizes. This is the way my store has always done it and I hope the DCI doesn't have a problem with this. Besides, the players like to determine who is in 3rd versus 4th by playing instead of any other method.

The tournament started about 30 minutes late, but my store likes to allow a maximum number of players in. Announcements about the format and rules were made at the start of the tournament. Rules that I stressed included no trading of cards in your sealed decks until after the tournament, minimum of 40 cards, maximum of 105 - which hasn't been tried yet at our tournament -, 5 land swap, 50 minute rounds with the 5 extra turn rule, not to start building decks until I tell them to, and if any foils are pulled and you want to play with the card, you must play with the foil version. At the next tournament, I may allow proxies or substitutions since our tournaments are only at level 1 enforcement. We had a 30-minute deck building round. I used the DCI Reporter 1.3 to do the randomized matches and to enter results. I am still learning on the program.

There were not many rulings of interest since for some people it was their fourth Mercadian Masques tournament in Chico alone. Here are some of the questions that I did have:

1. Which player gets to pay to avoid damage with the Artifact Barbed Wire? The answer is in the MM FAQ so only the controller can play the damage prevention ability.

2. How come it's not a draw when I'm at 2 life and my opponent is at 4 life, I have 8 untapped basic lands and use the Squallmonger's ability using all 8 lands? This has to do with the Classic edition rules and the stack and resolving last in first out. This took quite a bit of explaining since this is different from the old way. I hope I was correct in this ruling.

3. (A similar question to #2) How come I lose when my opponent is at 4 life and I'm at 5 life and I have a War Monger out and I activate the War Monger 4 times with all the mana available to me and he responds by using his Shock Troops? Here are the important elements on the table: Player A has a War Monger out with 8 tapped lands since she just activated the Monger 4 times and is at 5 life. Player B has a Shock Troops in the graveyard that was just sacrificed in response to the fourth activation of the Monger. Player B is at 4 life. There are other things on the table, but nothing important to this ruling. This question again has to do with the stack and resolving last in first out. Basically each point of damage is placed on the stack by Player A and then she pass priority; then, Player B puts the Shock Troops on the stack targeting Player A and passes priority. Player A also passes again so the stack resolves last in first out so Player A takes 2 points of damage and! goes down to 3 life. Then Monger point resolves taking Player A to 2 life and Player B to 3 life. This continues until Player A is at 0 life and Player B is at 1 life. At 0 life, Player A immediately loses, I believe. And Player B wins even though the last point of damage on the stack would kill Player B. Would someone please email me if I am incorrect in this ruling? When I get a chance I may put the question on the judges list.

I only had to issue a few cautions while watching the tournament. One was for coaching someone else with their deck. I don't believe this should be allowed from one player to another player even in a Level 1 event. There was one beginner who forgot to untap their lands, but with a caution and some friendly help from me, he seems to have gotten it. Three matches went to the time limit since MM is a much slower set. That's much better than last time when 7 matches were close or went to the time limit and extra turns. The top 4 are not timed, but I do believe one of the matches took 90 minutes. I don't feel it is right to time the semi-finals or finals of a tournament, but I'm not 100% sure if there is a rule against it. I shall have to check the Tournament Organizer handbook or the website. The 1st and 2nd place players decided to roll a die to determine the winner which is how we recorded it. I don't believe there are rules against that, but there is another thing I will have the check the handbook for. Since the top 2 rolled a die, the next two also rolled a die. I was the only official judge for the tournament, but I think many of the players also ask questions of the local Level 1 Judge who was playing in the tournament. I have announced at previous tournaments that any rules questions should come to me; however, it is difficult for me to cover my store and judge the tournament so the players occasionally ask another player in the tournament. My store and the tournament do not generate enough funds to bring in another employee to cover the store while I judge the tournament. so I guess I will have to do the best I can. Overall everyone enjoyed themselves, even the player I ruled against in rulings #2 and #3 from above.

Thanx for reading my report,
Benny Louie, Jr.
DCI Level 2 Judge

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