Feb 27, 2000
This is my first tournament report since I became a level 3 judge. I
must admit that I had been waiting for a tournament with many interesting
judging issues to come along before writing a report. However, I have
begun to realize that such things do not occur every day. And since this
tournament had enough strangeness to keep things interesting I decided to
write a report even though I don't have even a little of the wisdom of the
ages to pass along.
First, a little background to this particular tournament. The day before
the event I get a call from my boss Brian David-Marshall. He is off in
France at GP:Cannes. He and his teammates made day two, and he tells me
that this will be held in a castle on an island in the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, I am off to sunny Edison, NJ. At first, this may not seem like
a fair trade. Heck, even at second... Still, I am willing to bet that we
had better food at our tournament. Or at least bigger food. If you have
never seen a pancake the size of a hubcap or seen a level 1 judge eat a
BLT sandwich larger than his head drop by one of the PTQ's in Edison
[editor's note: these outlandish claims are corroborated by Elaine Ferrao,
who has judged at Edison and states that extra garbage recepticals are
required due to the large food size]. In any event, here are the vital
statistics for the tournament. The turnout for the main event was a bit
low at 78. Most of the qualifiers this season have been averaging around
110-120. Still, after GP:Philly last weekend, almost any turnout would
seem a bit anticlimactic. On hand for judging duties were Gray Matter
regulars Steve Zwanger (level 2) and Brian Gaitens (level 1). In
addition, Greg Genega (level 1) was also working with us.
As I warned you at the start of this report the majority of the judging
issues that arose during the day were pretty routine, mainly dealing with
clarifications of card rulings. The mana vault/necropotence interaction
and the modal nature of pyroblast were among the more frequently asked
Still, several interesting judging issues did come up. The first
involved a match between a Rec/Survival deck and a Hatred deck. Player A,
playing the survival deck ends his turn by survivaling for a creature. He
gets the creature and shuffles his deck. Then his opponent, player B,
shuffles his deck. Player A then untaps and draws... a sarcomancy. Not a
standard card for your typical Recur deck but fairly common in Hatred.
What happened was this: Both players were playing with black backed
sleeves. And when player B returned player A's deck after shuffling it he
placed it right next to his own deck on the table. Player A, who had not
been paying close attention, picked up the wrong deck and the rest is
history. I gave both players warnings for a major procedural error and
let the match continue.
The second interesting issue involved a younger player at the tournament.
At the start of the third game of the match his opponent notices that he
didn't shuffle about 6 cards from the last game back into his deck. The
cards were a fairly even mix of lands and spells and the players involved
believe that they were probably his hand at the conclusion of the last
game. Given the random assortment of cards and the fact that the game had
not progressed past the first turn I decided that the game had not been
disrupted enough to warrant a game loss. I gave the player a warning for
a major procedural error: failure to sufficiently randomize his deck, had
him shuffle the extra cards into his library, and had the game continue.
The third issue that came up was more of an organizational one. During
the middle of the fifth round one of the hotel employees started turning
out all of the lights in the room. It seems that several people had
approached him about how hot the room was and his solution was to turn off
all of those heat-producing lights. While a sound decision from an
environmental standpoint it did leave something to be desired from the
players point of view. Or at least those players who actually wanted to
see the cards that they were playing. I convinced the employee that a
better solution was to just turn on the air conditioning and in a few
minutes the situation was resolved.
Apart from the above few incidents the tournament ran smoothly and we
were able to finish the finals by around 8:30 PM. The eventual winner was
Ryan Swan playing in his first top 8. He also had the quote of the day:
Ryan (looking at the crowd gathered to watch the finals) "Everybody's
watching; Thank God I'm not naked..."
Till next time,
Lost in New York, NY