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QT-Edison, NJ (PT-NY)

Eric Smith

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 questions.

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,
Eric Smith
Lost in New York, NY

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