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Junior Super Series Challenge

Aaron Matney

December 12, 1999
Glenview, IL

We had 27 juniors show up to play the JSS Challenge at Pastimes in Glenview. We started registration at 11:30 a.m. and got off a little slow due to a number of the kids showing up with illegal decks. A few employees from Pastimes and I helped the kids go through their decks and made them legal to play. Also, the number dropped to 26 during this time because one of the younger kids forgot how to play. So anyway, we kicked off the first of five rounds at about 12:45 p.m.

There were a few questions before the tournament started about previously qualified players - two were playing that day. I was pretty sure there were no restrictions about this. After checking the fact sheet, I notified the players that there were no restrictions about previously qualified players participating in future JSS Challenges.

I only had one real problem all day. During the swiss rounds 2 players had a small misunderstanding about the state of the game. The Active Player (AP) dumped a bunch of mana into his pool: 8 colorless and 2 red. The AP then proceeded to put two regeneration shields on his Masticore. This is where the confusion came in. The Non-Active Player (NAP) then asked AP how much mana was left after applying the regeneration shields to which was replied "6 mana". The NAP thought he (strikethrough: had )said "6 colorless mana", thereby denying him the red mana, The AP thought he said 6 mana, not defining any characteristics of the mana - he wanted to have 2 red mana and 4 colorless mana. This was very important to the match because the AP wanted to cast Wildfire. After consulting both players, I let the AP have the red mana.

The only real problem I had with this ruling was the fact that the AP was not paying as close attention as he should have (strikethrough: been )to the game state, because he wasn't even sure exactly what was said before I got there. I wasn?t sure if both players misunderstood or if one player had not communicated well and the other player was trying to take advantage of that fact. Since this was REL 1, I explained to both players the value of communicating your actions thoroughly to your opponent and ruled leniently on the AP.

Other than that the tournament went smoothly. The Top 8 started about 6:00 p.m. and the tournament was over at about 8:30, not bad for untimed rounds in the Top 8.

My only conundrum is the same one I have every time I run a low rules enforcement event. How do I apply the rules enforcement when I am faced with two distinct levels of play among the participants? The last thing I want to do is force extremely technical play onto someone who is just learning to play. Tournaments are sometimes the best way to learn the intricacies of the game, and I don?t want to penalize someone because they perform actions in the wrong order when they didn?t know the order in the first place or they are a little sloppy because they don?t know all of the actions involved. Isn?t that what low rules enforcement is for anyway.

But at the same time can I let someone get away with playing sloppily when I know that they know how to play? For instance, in the example above both players are competitive in the local magic scene. They play at of qualifiers and in local tournaments against some of the best players in Chicago. If this were a qualifier I would probably rule differently on the event mentioned above.

So far I rule all situations at the lower level because I think that discouraging new and inexperienced players in these kind of events is a far worse evil than letting knowledgeable players slip a few things by the judge.

Thanks for the time and forgive the ramblings.

Your humble judge,

Aaron Matney
Level 2 DCI Judge
matnaar@yahoo.com



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