|Neutral Ground Type 2 Championship
Saturday December 11, 1999 we held the Neutral Ground Type II
Championships, at Neutral Ground in New York City, in which the winner and
runner-up got a qualifying spot for the Neutral Ground Championships to be
held in January. The tournament was scheduled for 1 pm; at 12:30 we had
about 4 people and I was a little worried, but we ended up with 18, which
wasn't too bad. I was the only judge for the tournament, but a
constructed-deck tournament of that size is manageable for one judge.
With 18 players I did a 4-round Swiss tournament, cutting to Top 8.
All the players filled out deck registration sheets before we posted
pairings for Round 1. One player had a photocopied decklist; I like to
see players who are prepared! Players at Neutral Ground are used to
filling out decklists for our weekly Type 2 tourneys -- we've trained them
well-- so there wasn't any explaining to do.
I had a couple judge calls each round of the tournament, which is actually
more than we usually get; I've had entire tournaments finish with no judge
calls at all.
The first judge call came from a match where one player had 2
Repercussions and his opponent had one creature. Player #1 had cast
Cave-In and the other player asked whether he would take 4 or 2 damage
from the Repercussions (4; each trigger is played individually). I also
had to remind the first player that when using the alternate casting cost
of Cave-In he should announce the spell, then pitch the card; he can't
remove a card from his hand without a reason.
I then passed by a table where a player had 2 Karn, Silver Golems in play.
Oops! I guess "Legendary" isn't as obvious as "Legend." :-)
Then I got my first toughie -- one player cast Diabolic Servitude and
played the trigger, choosing a Deranged Hermit from his graveyard to put
into play. In response, his opponent Disenchanted the Servitude, causing
the Servitude's leaving-play trigger to be played before the Hermit came
into play. I ruled that the second trigger couldn't remove the Hermit
from the game, since the Hermit was not yet in
play. Then the Hermit came into play even though the Servitude was gone,
since the effect putting into play was already on the stack. Result: One
un-Servituded Hermit in play. A suboptimal result for his opponent, who
realized he should have Disenchanted the Servitude after the Hermit came
Then I had a judge call where one player accused the other of looking at
the top card of his library, which the second player denied doing. No
sooner had I dealt with *that* (with a Caution) then they called me back a
moment later with a Failure to Agree on Reality. Player #1 had cast a
Vendetta on Player #2's Ticking Gnomes. Player #1 said Player #2 had
sacrificed the Gnomes in response; Player #2 said he'd merely said "OK".
No way to know who was telling the truth. I figured the most likely
was that the first player had misheard or misinterpreted the second, so I
gave them both a warning and told the first player to lose 3 life.
The last judge call was another tough question. Don Lim, playing a
Bargain deck, had 3 lands, a Claws of Gix and an Academy Rector in play.
During his draw step, his opponent used a Mishra's Helix to tap Don's
lands. In response, Don tapped his lands for mana, sacrificed his Rector,
and played its ability to put a Yawgmoth's Bargain into play. So what
happened to the draw step he was in the middle of? It didn't make sense
to me for the Bargain to skip a step that a player had already entered, so
I told Don he was still in his draw step. (It mattered because if his draw
step ended right away, he would lose 2 life for mana burn).
Only one match during the whole tournament went into the Last 5 Turns, a
black/green Plaguelord deck versus a blue Tim/Bribery/Treachery deck.
We cut to a Top 8; some of the 2-2's even made it. Before the Final Four
we deck-checked the four remaining players. One of them, unfortunately,
had a sideboard card switched for a main deck card
and got a game loss.
After the second playoff round the last two players, Mike Pustilnik and
Max Alicea, chose not to play the final match -- no point, since they were
both getting a spot in the Neutral Ground Championships
in any case. The tournament ended at 7:30 -- just in time for the Neutral
Ground Booster Draft Championships to start. :-)