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Nemesis Prerelease (Day 1) - Mountain View, CA

Don Barkauskas

It was Prerelease weekend at Neutral Ground in Mountain View, CA, and I was settling in for the long haul. In the past we had always run one big tournament on Saturday and one big tournament on Sunday with side events throughout both days. This time, however, since we were competing opposite PTLA, the TO decided on a different schedule: we ran tournaments at midnight Friday; 9, 2, 7, and midnight Saturday; and 9 and 2 Sunday. I played in the midnight Friday tourney. Six rounds finished a little after 7:00 in the morning; I then settled down to judge the remainder of the tournaments.

The first tournament's staff consisted of me (a Level 3), the TO (a Level 2 --- and PTLA champion Trevor Blackwell's brother), and two Level 1's. It got started late (as usual); with registration and getting everyone seated, we didn't actually get started until 10:30 or so. It had 152 players; we played 6 rounds and then awarded prizes to anyone who was 6-0 (a box), 5-0-1 (9 packs), or 5-1 (six packs). The tournament was not the smoothest we've ever run; there were three rounds in a row where someone was accidentally dropped from the tournament. This became a real pain, and in fact there was one situation we couldn't resolve with the computer (fortunately, the player involved decided to drop anyway, so we were saved). Other than that, though, things went fairly smoothly. A list of questions asked with answers is included below.

The 2:00 tournament was run as soon as we had enough seating to accommodate the new tournament. I was not directly involved in it; it was run by one of the Level 1 judges who had been helping me.

The 7:00 tournament only had 20 people in it, so I ran it by myself. We ran 5 rounds this time and gave prizes for 5-0 (20 packs) and 4-x (5 packs). The tournament ended slightly after 1:00 AM. At this point, I had been awake for 28 straight hours, but I still felt pretty good. I was definitely ready for Day 2.

Questions asked at Day 1 of the Prerelease and their answers

Many of these questions have obvious answers, but I am including them to illustrate the types of questions that are asked at Prereleases. The pool of players tends to be less experienced than at QT's, so you get some relatively easy questions.

ANIMATE LAND

Q: Can an animated land block a creature with "Fear"?
A: No, the animated land is colorless but _not_ an artifact.

LACCOLITHS

Q: If I block a Laccolith, can the Laccolith kill my blocker before it can deal damage?
A: Yes; its damage is dealt and resolves in the Declare Blockers step, long before even first strike damage goes on the stack.

Q: If I enchant my 3/3 Laccolith with a Laccolith Rig, what happens?
A: If you creature is blocked, both trigger separately, and you have four options: (1) Deal combat damage to the blocker; or (2) deal no combat damage to blocker and do one of the following: (a) deal 6 damage to one creature (in two packets of 3); (b) deal 3 damage each to two different creatures; or (c) deal 3 damage to only one creature.

MOSSDOG

Q: My opponent casts an enchantment targeting one of his creatures. I use Misdirection to change it to targeting my Mossdog. Does it gain a +1/+1 counter?
A: Yes; the enchantment is a spell controlled by your opponent. This is called a "good play (TM) by you."

PARALLAX WAVE

Q: Do creatures return to play in the same orientation (tapped or untapped)?
A: No. They are new creatures, so they come into play untapped, with summoning sickness, with all their Fading counters, etc.

Q: What happens to creature enchantments?
A: They go away. This is different from Phasing.

TRAP RUNNER

Q: Can Trap Runner stop a creature with "fear ability"?
A: Yes

Q: What happens if Trap Runner uses its ability on Alley Grifters?
A: It becomes blocked, so opponent discards a card. Note that this can be a fairly neat combo if you control both cards; you can attack with the Grifters, put damage on the stack, and _then_ use Trap Runner's ability to do two damage to your opponent _and_ make them discard a card.

TOPPLE

Q: Can Topple be cast if there is more than one creature tied for highest power?
A: Yes

Q: Blastoderm (5/5, untargetable) is in play. Can Topple be cast?
A: Unless there is a targetable creature with power >=5, then Topple cannot be cast _at all_ in this situation.

VICIOUS HUNGER

Q: If I target Tar Pit Warrior with this, do I gain the 2 life?
A: No, the Tar Pit Warrior is destroyed before the Vicious Hunger resolves; when Vicious Hunger resolves it has no legal target and is therefore countered.

MISCELLANEOUS

Q: Doesn't a creature automatically deal damage when it's declared as a blocker?
A: No. If it's removed from combat before damage goes on the stack (e.g., by killing it with Ballista Squad) then it doesn't deal damage, although the creature is still considered blocked.

Q: My opponent casts a Global Enchantment (Flowstone Surge) targeting one of my creatures. What happens?
A: This is a judgment call. At the time, the judge at the table said that the Enchantment comes into play. If I had known about the situation, I probably would have allowed the player to take back the play (since this is a Prerelease and supposed to be fun).

Don Barkauskas
DCI Level 3 Judge
barkda@math.berkeley.edu


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