The PTQ-NY tournament held in St Louis on 4 March 2000 was an extremely
well-run event. Congratulations to Barratt Moy, Chris & Debbie Boles, and
to Head Judge Chris Page for their organization and presentation skills.
The event was held at the Fantasy Shop in St Charles. The doors opened at
8:30, and the staff arrived at roughly 8:40. They brought all of their
equipment in on a single small cart, and had set up two laptop computers,
a printer, an official clock and dry-erase announcement board,
registration sheets, a cashbox, and a virtually unlimited supply of pens
and scratch paper before 9:00.
Floor judges included Tom Angelos (2), Michael Meiner (1), Mitch Sanders
(1), and myself, as well as two judge-trainees, Chris Martin and Ryan
Pennington. Each floor judge was assigned a range of tables, and was
responsible for answering any questions and handling any problems within
that area. (In later rounds, as the number of competitors shrunk, each
judge oversaw a smaller group.) In addition, each floor judge performed
one deck check each round (and timed the end of the round for that match,
extending the time to compensate for his deck check), beginning with Round
2. Head Judge Chris Page floated throughout the hall, available for any
questions from his subordinates.
Tournament registration and deck registrations were completed by 10:00.
Three floor judges began vetting decklists as they came in, and all
decklists were validated by 10:05. The first round pairings were posted
by 10:15, and after the Head Judge's announcements, the tournament began
The field of 73 contenders required a 7-round Swiss segment. Dominant
deck archetypes were Trix, Rec-Sur and PandeBurst, with a leavening of
red, white and or green weenies including 10-Land Stompy (which uses Land
Grant and Elvish Spirit Guide for mana), two Gush-Stasis, a couple of
Tinkers, and a few rogues. Interestingly enough, none of the Trix decks
made the Top 8. I would attribute this to the Dojo Phenomenon; too many
people read that this was the best deck, but they didn't practice enough
with it to learn how to play it correctly.
I answered the following questions:
Q: "When does a spell go to the graveyard?"
A: "At the end of resolution."
Q: "You mean after you've done everything the card says?"
A: "That's correct."
Q: "Does Ascendant Evincar give Masticore -1/-1?"
A: "Yes, Masticore is non-black."
Q: "But it doesn't have any color at all!"
A: "That's correct, it isn't black."
I noticed that questions like these disappeared in later rounds.
The tournament was marked by a few unfortunate incidents, from the judge's
point of view:
A young Trix player Consulted for "Delusions of Mediocrity." As he picked
up his library, he said "I meant 'Illusions of Grandeur.' Head Judge Cris
Page ruled that he should continue to resolve the spell as announced,
rather than changing the announcement of the spell during resolution. The
player argued that no other judge had ever ruled that way, but Chris was
unimpressed. The player picked up a large die and threw it across the
table, muttering epithets under his breath, and received a warning for
I issued a caution for incorrect sleeving. A Tinker player, using clear
Ultra-Pro sleeves with the holograms on the reverse side. One card
("Teeka's Dragon, significant but not critical) was sleeved with the
hologram on the front, creating a marked card. The game state at that
time did not include any factor that made his library other than random; I
delivered the lecture on familiarity with the Standard Floor Rules at this
REL and instructed him to sleeve his deck correctly, shuffle his library,
and continue the game from that point.
I issued a caution for drawing too many cards after a Mulligan. The
players called me over and explained the situation before the first turn.
I chose one card at random from his hand and had him shuffle it into his
library, then asked him if he wished to Mulligan again. He declined.
During deck checks, floor judges issued two game losses for "deck does not
match legal decklist." This was an eye-opener to me; I had never seen it
happen before. Chris took the opportunity to educate the staff judges on
deck checks: "Don't worry if you end up deck-checking someone who has
already been deck-checked today. It keeps people honest."
All-in-all, this was a very professional tournament. The vast majority of
73 players (plus 12-15 who came in just for the side events) enjoyed
themselves. I was able to go home saying, "I helped over 80 people to be
happy today." That's Magic!