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Canadian Regionals-Western Prairie

Jason Ness

Tournament Report - Canadian Western Prairie Regionals (Standard Format)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
April 29th, 2000

Greetings from Western Canada!! First, let me offer my apologies in advance if this report is a little discombobulated. I'm trying to write it in conjunction with running a Friday Night Magic event. So, if you notice some discontinuities in my chain of thought they're likely due to a round break or me having to explain for the 7000th time what happens to a permanent when it comes back into play after being removed with a Parallax Wave.

Western Prairies Regionals (making up the National Qualifier for the provinces of both Alberta and Saskatchewan) is the 5th big event that I've judged since becoming a level 2 in January at Grand Prix Seattle. Since this is my first report ever, I'll give you a brief touch of background on how I made it to this point after coming from relative obscurity in the province prior to 2000.

When our previous judge, Phil Denis, decided to leave the ranks of judging, Alberta was in a bit of a grim position in terms of available judges. The TO for Alberta, Katherine Denis, with her back to the wall was in need of judges. Naturally her first choice was for the job was...

....someone other than me.

Actually, my intent was to become a Level 1 for the sake of just having the title. The plan was to have my good friend and compatriot in arms Mike Handfield become the primary judge in the province, with me picking up the slack whenever he was unable or not inclined to judge. But unfortunately my good friend and compatriot in arms felt that in addition to playing a Serra Angel at GP Seattle (and thus getting DQd in the 1st round), he thought it might be fun to write a level 2 test on about 2 hours of sleep in two nights. ;-) You know you rock Mike, but the burn's been a long time coming! So the burden of getting a level 2 judge here fell upon me. Luckily, I managed somehow to impress upon Collin Jackson & Elaine Ferrao enough that the province of Alberta was still worthy of holding qualifiers so I got my level 2 & piled on to the judging scene in short order. Kewl.

So before I get into the tournament nitty gritty let me just put a call out to all of you: This is an open invitation that if anyone needs a tour guide, someone to show you the local tourney scene, or just someone to go fer a drink with feel free to drop me an E-Mail or give me ring (jbness@msn.com 283-5247) any ol time. If you can, check us out for the Calgary Stampede in July. Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. I'll show you an amazing time if you look me up. No joke. You think I'm just saying that, but ask anyone who knows me: it's all good!

On to the report: I drove the 3 hours up from Calgary the night before. I figured first thing in the morning that it was going to be a rough day as we were running late getting to the tourney site. Mike (who lives in Edmonton) and I stayed with our friend Ray. We were loathe to find that 20 minutes before we needed to leave for the tourney, Ray realized that he needed to build a deck for the thing. Now, Kath is an exceptional TO, but there's no doubt that while she's very easy going, she's justifiably unimpressed with tardiness. So when we showed up 10 minutes late to find that Kath was not yet there, the only question was how heavily we were going to rub it in. And Mike: if you had've just told her that we were on time instead of 15 minutes early (a possibility so remote that Ripley himself would scoff at the idea), she might've actually bought the story.

Doors opened at 9:30 and after the initial handful of people waiting at the doors there was quite the lull before the rest of the entrants arrived. As a result, I got half the deck lists in a span of about 5 minutes just prior to start time. I'm not fond of that. In past constructed events I've tried to check all the decklists before the start of the tournament to ensure that all entrants are playing with legal cards, at least 60 of them, and the right sized sideboard. I was only able to check the first half of the decklists. I hate having to hose people with a big DQ because of a simple and honest mistake like naming a card wrong or writing a 3 down when you meant to write a 4. I managed to find 3 errors that we were able to fix before even starting the tournament. These included one by a brand new player that didn't have the first clue what "Standard" or "Type II" meant and registered a 42 card deck that included Mox Diamond and Revenant. The guy was obviously unsure of himself coming to a tourney like this in the first place, and a quick word with him and some corrections may keep him coming back. But a first round DQ would have very likely scared him away (or ticked him off) enough to eliminate him from the large tournament scene.

But the down side of the whole pre-check thing is that I just couldn't finish them in time. Working by myself, I was too busy entering players and such to go through each list one by one. Thus a situation arose: I helped 3 players avoid a DQ by mentioning errors in their decklists. But I had this nasty feeling that somewhere in the 25 or so lists that I couldn't check would be a problem worthy of a DQ if it got deck checked. So is it not somewhat unfair to that person who didn't get the benefit of my decklist perusal before the tournament that he should get booted and Mox Diamond guy gets to fix his deck?? I'll just say that the jury is still out on this one. I'm thinking that in the future I'm going to have to either make a point of checking EVERY list even if it means stalling the start of the tourney or reviewing NONE of them and letting the chips fall where they may. The only thing I was able to do was quickly breeze through all of them as I announced the posting of the first round in search of illegal cards. It was the best I could do, and it was a cursory scan at best. More on this in a bit.

A few days before the tournament Mike Bower from Phoenix Comics rung me to ask what I intended to do about people forgetting to remove fading counters. I hadn't given it much thought to that point and I'm pretty glad that he raised the issue well before hand, because I'm not sure that it would have occurred to me before tourney time. Having heard from Bower what they had done at PTNY which he competed in (sorry my meager contribution of foil rebels could not have been more helpful Mike), I mulled over the issue for a couple days. After registration and after Kath announced all the regular pre-tourney blah blah, I told the players that I would be tight with fading counters. Three strikes: 1st instance = warning, 2nd instance = warning, 3rd instance = game, all others = match. These would be cumulative for the whole tourney. I also decided that forgetting once on an upkeep would constitute a single offence rather than 1 offense for each permanent forgot on an upkeep. With Replenish decks in abundance, it was very foreseeable that a player could forget on 4 permanents in play and go from bashing the snot out of his opponent to losing the whole match on a single upkeep. On the other hand I wanted the rule to be strict enough for this REL to reflect the fact that an extra turn for some of these cards with fading can be a SIGNIFICANT advantage. I felt that this was a reasonable compromise. Incidentally, for those of you that aren't aware, at PTNY the rule was 1st instance = warning, 2nd = game & so on, with each permanent forgotten constituting an instance. For this tournament, no one ever made it past the 2nd warning.

Incidents of note:

2nd round: I call time & there's one match left playing. I sit down to watch the last six turns. On turn 3 the active player (playing some sort of fish deck) attacks with 4 creatures. He has a Coastal Piracy in play. He goes to resolve the Piracy triggers and draws 1-----2-----3-----5.

Five??

I saw him hesitate for half a sec when he picked up the pair of cards that was supposed to be the 4th draw, but right away he shoved them in his hand as though nothing was amiss. I hate it when people cheat, even if it they do it accidentally and just don't own up to it. "How many cards did you draw?" I asked. He hesitates a sec and then nods. "I dunno, um, 1, 2, 3, 4, uh... did I draw five??"

"Yeah. You did. Game loss."

I probably wouldn't have been nearly as grumbly about it if he hadn't have tried to cover it up.

3rd round: I do a deck check. I did one every round except the first which I spend organizing the decklists in alphabetical order. I keep meaning to bring an alphabetically divided folder, but I can never seem to remember. Anyway, I start sorting the cards and right away I run into a Killer Bees. Hm. I knew it. I could hear that pile of unchecked decklists calling me all three rounds in an eerie wailing ghost-like voice "yooouuuu didn't check me ovvverrrrr!!! Sommmeonnnne will get DQd becaussssse yooouuuuu suuuuuck." DOH!

Yes I know it's his fault he didn't check the list of legal cards/sets. Yes I know it's not my job to hold their hands. But I DID save three players from getting bounced because of illegal decks and this guy gets the shaft just "cause he didn't have the benefit that other players received. Hm. I feel bad, but send him anyway. He's cool about it which makes me feel a little better, & Kath is like "not your problem man," but I still feel poopy-crappy.

3rd round: At the start of the round a player comes up and tells me he has the wrong number of match points. I tell them every time I announce the posting of pairings to check, because my greatest fear is screwing a whole tourney up by entering a result wrong. So right away my stomach starts to churn. But I go and look up the match result form and sure enough I entered it as they reported it. The guy is incensed. "Where's my opponent!!!??" Here I thought that maybe the opponent tried to sneak one through by the way this guy was acting. So I call over buddy and ask him what happened in the last match. He says "I lost." I show him the form. "I didn't fill it out, he did." The "victim" turns red.

"Oops."

Yeah oops. Great play Shakespeare.

Luckily their respective opponents did not get paired up/down. Thank God for ordered pairings. They switch opponents and all is right with the world. I hand out warnings anyway & spend a moment outlining the importance of filling out the form properly to all participants.

6th round: I'm not going into heavy details on this 'cause it was a downer and I don't like to dwell on negative things. I hate it when people feel the need to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult. There's this guy in the Edmonton tourney scene that is a heavy annoyance to a number of players. He talks trash, goofs off, and likes to garner attention by being loud and obnoxious. He also likes to distract players and run smack even when he's not playing. Every tourney he's at, I get at least one "can you please ask him to go away."

Before this round it had happened three times. The first time I think I said that he could watch, but he had to keep quiet. The next time I think I asked him to back away and be quiet. The third time I asked him to leave. Each time it was met with the classic "I swear I didn't touch him ref" look that is commonly associated with basketball players following a reach-in foul.

This time, he was watching a match that would influence top 8. He was standing directly behind one player when I was called over. "Judge, can you get rid of him. I think he's signaling my opponent." I told the guy to leave & he snapped. He started screaming at the guy who called me over from across the room swearing and making an all around ugly scene. Now, I don't know this guy well. For all I knew all of it could have been in good fun among friends, but from what I could see, he was being a first rate #$%#. I basically warned him that he was risking never playing with us again, he said "good" and stormed out before I had the chance to say "get the hell out." The whole incident soured an otherwise exceptional tournament.

Rules Questions of Note:

I'll mention a couple in the props & slops portion. Oddly enough there were not very many rules questions. The vast majority of them centered around Parallax Wave & Tide & their interactions with Opalescence. I'm not going to go into details because these have been beaten to death, but essentially the key answers were "when a permanent 'fades in' it comes in just as if you played it from your hand-full complement of counters & all pertinent CIP abilities." and "Yes your Wave can target itself if it is a creature, it just never comes back." and "Token creatures never come back when 'faded out.' They are just removed from game permanently."

I was asked a couple questions about Keg:
Q: If it pops with 0 counters does it kill animated lands? A: Yes.

Q: Would it kill an animated Hidden Predators since IT is considered a token creature? A: No. It is NOT a token creature. A keg would need 1 counter on it to kill a Predators that has been made into a creature whether from Opalescence or its own ability."

Q: If my opponent is at 1 life, he casts Soul Feast on me, and I Misdirection it back to him, does he lose? A: Nope. State based stuff (lose to 0 life) is only checked when someone has priority, not while spells or abilities are resolving.

Question from a side draft: Q: My opponent uses Wishmonger's ability to give one of his creatures Pro Black. I respond by giving that creature Pro White. What happens?? A: Uh. First, if you read the card you'll see that the controller of the creature gets to choose what color the protection is. If you did somehow manage to give that creature Pro White before the Pro Black ability resolved, however, it would be countered.

Props and Slops:

Props: Ray & Mike. You guys make driving 3 hrs each way for a tournament worth while. Nothing beats hittin the clubz after a tourney and hangin with you crazy SOBs.

Props: Mike. Thanks for judging GPT Pitt for me man. You saved our bacon. NATS ARE GOING TO ROCK!! Serge!!!

Props: Zero & Sid. A blue heeler & a bulldog respectively. Zero belongs to a player from Edmonton named Darlene. Both of you have been a pleasure to have at tournaments (for obviously different reasons). Sid belongs to Kath. Sid is just all around funny. Between the buzzsaw snoring and the random barking at inanimate objects, we were well entertained. And as for Zero... If you want to see something funny get a dog to try and chase a rubber ball on a freshly waxed tile floor a few times. (Skitter skitter skitter skitter skitter.....chomp....sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiide......THUMP into the wall) So I'm easily amused. Sue me.

Slops: Zero. Slops were literal here. Imagine a rubber ball coated in about 3 ounces of thick, foamy dog spittle. That pretty much ended the whole "dog running on skating rink" show.

Slops: Ray. You guys spent the whole night talking about decks. Don't wait until 20 min before we're going to leave with you still in your housecoat to start building. Then again you did drive on Sat night and you ARE the coolest guy in Mensa, so I guess we forgive you.

Props: Kathryne. Did I mention that you clearly rock very heavily? What a cool boss. Guys! She's cool, fun, together, she knows Magic.. Thanks again for just letting me be a part of your inner circle. It really is an honor. A can't tell you how highly regarded as a TO you are by the players here. I can only imagine how much the folks at DCI/WotC must love you. Nats must come to Alberta!!

Slops: Having to work on Sunday in Calgary. MAN did that suck heavily!

Props: Top 8 including Chris that made the trip from Sask. Can't wait to see you guys in Vancouver!

Belated Props: Elaine & Collin for bringing me onto the team. I'm lovin every minute of it & can't wait to do some more big ones.

From Calgary Alberta, this is me wishin all of you PEACE!!

Jason Ness
Level 2

jbness@msn.com



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