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QT-Denver, CO (PT-NY)

William Graham

PTQ Mar 04, 2000

Magic: The Gathering in the Denver arena of 101 players, 7 Judges working, and another half Dozen testing for various levels. I invited James Lee down to be our head judge and so that the same group of judges could have James Lee for testing again. Tara sent James Lee down at a three slot event I ran here back in November 1999 to interview Judge candidates.

Having been recommended by James Lee for Level III in November I wished to see how James runs events as Head Judge. I have to say that James does a super job as Head Judge and entertainer. James Lee is one of the best level III judges I have ever worked with. Before the event started, almost on time, James set forth the rules and who were the staff judges. By the time he had completed his announcements the players were almost rolling in the isles, as were the judges. Sense this was an extended event James Lee reiterated the need to make sure your deck lists were correct. Low and behold after the first round started all deck lists were checked. One person had a 57-card deck and 4 people had improper sideboards. Also being a TO for the event makes it hard to see a player ejected for a clerical error.

Round one was uneventful, besides the Deck list problems.

Round two through seven were normal. Some of the Judges on staff had to be correct on some operational procedures, that's where I came in. But for the most part every round went very smooth. The only think I didn't like was, the answer I got when I had to correct the Judges procedures, "that's the way we have always done it!" In one case I couldn't convince one of the Judges and had to call James Lee over to confirm the proper procedure. Sinse being in the Denver Magic arena I have noted a lot of procedural problems with events. Including a LA-PTQ I played in here locally.


This final set of rounds should be called lessons learned. One DQ, One unsportsman-like conduct, and a game loss for procedures.

First came the DQ for marked cards. All decks were checked before play begins and a deck of newly sleeved cards was found to be marked. All the judges looked at this deck and we could determine that by looking at the markings that we were able to pick out sets of cards. James explained to the player what was happening and would submit a letter to WOTC DCI.

Second was the unsportsmen like conduct round one of the finals. If I see would have been the observing judge I would have halted the game where it was and called the Head Judge over to resolve the issue. If I was the Head Judge, game ends, DQ have a nice day. I will not tolerate unsportsmen like conduct in any arena of gaming, MTG, L5R, Star Wars, etc.

Third was the game loss for Procedures. With two judges watching and about 20 other players observing the event, this call should have never occurred. The Observing judges should have caught the error and reset the board and let play continue. This is what is done at Pro Tours if a Judge is observing the game while a procedural error occurs. How do I know this you ask, this is what happen to me at PT-New York a year ago.

So now I've seen a few styles of judging. From my early days 6 years ago to present day and everyone has their own style. So if I'm testing for Level III which style do I use? Follow the written word or follow by example of the higher-level judges? You will need to make that call when you go for your level III test.

William R. Graham
Level II Judge
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