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GP Trial and Nationals Open - Germany

Philip Schulz

I recently got an e-mail from Bernd Keller of 'Amigo Spiel + Freizeit GmbH' -- the german distributor of Magic -- who needed a little help at the NordCon -- Germany's biggest event for fantasy games -- in Hamburg, Germany, and asked me if I would like to judge on the weekend of May 20/21. This was a welcome offer, as I had wanted to come to Grand Prix Frankfurt but hadn't been able to. And there aren't many opportunities to improve your judging skills under the supervision of an experienced level 3+ judge

Saturday, May 20

I arrived at the site at 9:30 am. For this day a Grand Prix Trial tournament was planned offering 3 awarded byes at Grand Prix Copenhagen to the top 2 finishing players. After the recent modifications regarding Pro Tour, Grand Prix', etc. it was eventually decided to let the format of Grand Prix Copenhagen be as originally announced: Sealed Deck. The Trial tournament was in the same format (1 MM starter and 2 Nemesis boosters). The start of the tournament was scheduled for 12:00 pm but was delayed a little. Until then the judging staff -- one level 3 judge, three level 2 judges and one more helping hand -- gathered and registered players. Only 37 players showed up. Relatively few regarding the big Magic community in and around Hamburg, however, understandable as the Grand Prix Trial wasn't much advertised. On the other hand this wasn't that bad, because we were low on MM starters, but had a lot of MM preconstructed decks which had mistakenly been taken along instead of starters.

After all players were seated we distributed the sealed product and gave the players 35 minutes to construct their decks and exchange up to 5 basic lands. At 13:00 pm the first round started. We played 5 rounds Swiss style with a time limit of 60 minutes + 5 additional turns. After the final round the top 8 played single-elimination Booster Draft with 1 MM booster and 2 Nemesis boosters.

Besides the main event I judged a Type 1 and a Standard side event. No problems there.

Problems and questions (that I still remember):

A player showed me his hand and asked if he could sacrifice a creature (probably for Fanatical Devotion, at least he had one in play) after the spell (Massacre) resolved. I told him that after a spell resolved state-based effects are checked and named those state-based effects. Only after state-based effects are checked a player receives priority to play spells or abilities.

Volcanic Winds
I observed a match where a player wanted to wait until resolution to determine how much damage Volcanic Winds does. I told them that the amount of damage, the targets and distribution between targets is determined on announcement of the spell, not on resolution.

Alabaster Wall + protection from white
During the Booster Draft player A attacked with a Cateran Brute enchanted with Cho-Manno's Blessing, white as the named color. Player B blocked with a Molting Harpy. Then player A activated his Alabaster Wall to prevent 1 damage to his Cateran Brute. Two other judges were present and didn't seem to object. But I wasn't sure about this situation, so I reached for the Alabaster Wall to look at its text while the players went on with the game. The damage prevention ability of Alabaster Wall is targetted thus cannot be used on a creature with protection from white. The next turn had alreadily started when I mentioned the misplayed card and corrected the situation, putting the Cateran Brute into player A's graveyard. Player A accepted it, but later complained about my 'late' ruling.

What I've learnt is, if confronted with a situation you are not completely certain about, stop the game -- immediately. Consider the situation, check the wordings in the most recent version of the Oracle, DCI Floor Rules or whatever is necessary, then make and explain your ruling and let the players go on.

Sunday, May 21

The main event for today was an Open Qualifier for the German Championship in Standard format. Players had sufficient 2 hours for registering. But there still were players who didn't manage to register before 11:59 am. My task for the first rounds was to enroll players with the DCI Reporter and enter match results. That gave me the possibility to get more familiar with the DCI Reporter. I highly recommend it for tournaments with 20+ participants. This program really makes tournaments easier. After a few announcements by the Head Judge the tournament started at 12:05 pm. We had 79 participants and played 7 rounds Swiss Style with a time limit of 50 minutes + 5 additional turns. Unfortunately, two players had to be disqualified. One listed a 59 cards mainboard, the other played a Bad Moon. After round 2 Deck checks were made. One player listed Miscalculation on his sideboard list where he actually had Misdirection in his sideboard. He got a warning and a duel loss for an illegal sideboard list, and his sideboard was invalidated for the rest of the tournament. Other players wanted to drop but missed to inform us before the new parings were determined. They had to play or concede in the current round and then were dropped. This happened a few more times.

After round 5 we had to take a break. The hall where all trading card tournaments took place was needed for an auction and the subsequent closing ceremony. We had to move to another room within the building. Fortunately, in the meantime enough players had dropped that the remaining fit in the room. Round 6 started at 6:15 pm and the last round finished at 8:10 pm.

Problems and questions:

Seal of Fire + Lava Runner
Do you have to sacrifice a land when you use a Seal of Fire on a Lava Runner?
Yes, Lava Runner triggers when a spell or abilty targets it and Seal of Fires' ability is targetted.

Can you give a Morphling flying during combat?
Yes. But if it was blocked by a non-flying creature this won't unblock the Morphling.

Enlightened Tutor
Do you have to name an enchantment or artifact on announcement?
No, you search your library and then choose an appropriate card.

Thrashing Wumpus
Is it possible to activate Thrashing Wumpus more than three times?
Yes. After an ability is activated and put on the stack it exists independently of its source. Removing the source won't do anything to the abilty on the stack.

Masticore + Hammer of Bogardan
Is it possible to return Hammer of Bogardan from your graveyard at the beginning of your upkeep and then discard it for Masticore?
Yes, but not exactly at the beginning of upkeep. The only thing that happens 'at the beginning of upkeep' is upkeep-triggered abilities being put on the stack. When the active player then receives priority, it is already 'during upkeep'. Thus you may put Masticore's upkeep cost on the stack, then return Hammer of Bogardan to your hand and finally discard the Hammer as Masticore's upkeep cost.

Power Sink
If a spell is powersinked does that spell's conroller have to tap lands for mana and pay?
No, if he doesn't want to pay the additional cost imposed by powersink the spell is simply countered and his lands with mana abilities become tapped.

The whole event meant fun, too few sleep and a lot of experience.

Philip Schulz (p.schulz@tu-harburg.de)
DCI Level 2 Judge

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