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Nemesis Prerelease (Day 2)-Mountain View, CA

Don Barkauskas

When last we left our hero (that would be me, for those of you just joining us), he had played in a midnight tournament, then judged two full tournaments ending at 1 AM the next morning. Any sensible person at this point would get some sleep, but no one ever claimed Level 3 judges are sensible! The store was starting some drafts, so I decided to play. I was noticeably unsuccessful in the drafts, but I had a good time. After being eliminated in the first round in both drafts, I played some games for fun, including an epic battle that lasted almost 3 hours, with 1.5 hours for the third game. By this point it was 8 AM and the next tournament was starting in an hour. I went to get some breakfast and load up on caffeine.

The second day was (as usual) smaller than the first one. We had 70 players, and the prize structure was the same as the previous day (a box for 6-0, 9 packs for 5-0-1, and 6 packs for 5-1). The judging staff consisted of me (Level 3), a Level 1, and an uncertified judge with whom I'd worked before.

Once again, the tournament ran very smoothly. The only interesting judging situation occurred when two players called me over to say that one of them had just drawn his opponent's Muzzle; apparently it had been accidentally shuffled into his deck after the first game of the match. If it had been in the middle of the game, this might have been awkward, but it was still the second turn and the only permanents in play were one land each, so I just had them start over. I didn't issue any warnings; my philosophy on Prereleases is that I basically don't want to give out warnings unless someone attacks me with a machete. ;-) (Attacking a side judge is only worth a Caution. ;-) Don't get me wrong --- if someone deserves a warning, I have no qualms about giving them one, but this is supposed to be a fun event and I prefer to keep it low-key.

The most exciting part of the day was during the fourth round, when I was trying to simultaneously run the 9:00 tournament and start up the 2:00 tournament. We were somewhat understaffed to be running two large Limited events simultaneously; only the fact that it was a Prerelease and the fact that for the most part there were very few problems or questions saved us.

The 2:00 tournament had 32 players in it, so we ran 5 rounds and had the prize structure from Saturday's 5-rounder (20 packs for 5-0, 5 packs for 4-x). Things went extremely well in this tournament. For the last two rounds of the 9:00 tournament, both tournaments were going simultaneously, but it wasn't a problem because there were so few questions.

Finally, at approximately 8:15 PM on Sunday, the last tournament was over. At this point, I had been awake for almost 60 consecutive hours and had been either playing or judging Magic for the previous 44 hours. Despite this, I felt pretty good. I'll probably never do anything like this again, but it was fun to do once. Hopefully, we'll never be opposite a Pro Tour again and we'll have a more normal schedule for future Prereleases.

As with my previous Prerelease post, I'll end this with a list of rules questions asked and answered at Sunday's Prerelease.

Questions asked at Day 2 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.

ANCIENT HYDRA

Q: Can I remove all five counters at the beginning of my upkeep?
A: Yes. Put the "remove counter" ability on the stack, then respond by removing all five counters. When the ability resolves, you will have to sacrifice the Hydra.

BARBED WIRE

Q: Can anyone use its ability?
A: No, only its controller.

LACCOLITHS

Q: Does using Trap Runner on a Laccolith trigger its ability?
A: Yes.

MASSACRE

Q: Does Massacre kill a Nightwind Glider?
A: Yes. Since Massacre is not targeted and does not deal damage, Protection from Black doesn't help.

TOPPLE

Q: In response to Topple, my opponent increases the power of a creature so that it now has the greatest power. Do I get to kill that bigger creature?
A: No. Once Topple is cast, its target is locked in. If the target is invalid on resolution, then Topple is countered.

MISCELLANEOUS

Q: If a creature with no fade counters on it and another creature of the same type with a fade counter on it are both in play, will the one without counters die?
A: A card only looks at itself. When upkeep rolls around, any Fading card with no counters on it will be sacrificed, even if there's another card like it with fading counters on it in play.

Q: If a spell's target(s) are invalid on resolution, do the non-targeted effect(s) go through?
A: No. The spell is countered.

Q: When does summoning sickness end?
A: At the beginning of a card's controller's turn.

Q: A creature is given Protection from Red after a red creature blocks it. Is it still blocked?
A: Yes.

Q: I attack with a trampling creature and my opponent blocks. I then use Ballista Squad to kill the blocker and my opponent regenerates the blocker. Do I have to trample the creature?
A: No. In fact, you _can't_ assign damage to the creature. Regenerating it removes it from combat, so you have no choice but to do all the damage to the defending player.

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



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