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LAC Championship

Juan Del Compare

Regardless of the small quantity of players in the LAC (60 from the 120 expected), it was a busy weekend for everybody in the staff, and since this is my first tournament report, I took little notes, so I'll try to remember as much as possible.

The structure of the tournament was day 1 with 6 rounds of swiss, draft MM-NE-PR format, with drafts before round 1 and 4. Day 2 was standard format, with 6 round of swiss continuing the standings of day 1, and day 3 was single elimination top 8 with the same standard decks as day 2. It took place in Santiago, Chile, between June 23-25th.

The first remarkable thing is that the venue was freezing cold. Winter arrived in Santiago with all its strength, and the venue was an empty and HUGE train station, so all intentions to heat the place were useless. I had to work with a shirt, a sweater and the judge shirt over that, a turtle neck, finger-less gloves, and whenever possible, with a coat. There was even a time when I hoped not to be Head Judge but Head Trainer, and gave a second thought to the idea of start jumping over the stage doing some gym routine ;-). Besides the temperature, the venue was a very nice place, with room enough for everybody in a comfortable space.

The judges/tournament staff was also large, with yours truly as Head Judge; Jeff Donais as Tournament Manager; Collin Jackson doing Sideboard coverage; my wife Silvana scorekeeping; Pedro Ceriotti (lvl 3, from Uruguay) in charge of Judge Certification; Amauri Fonseca (lvl 2, from Brazil), Saul Arreola (lvl 2, from Mexico), and Marcelo Diaz (lvl 2, from Argentina) as Senior judges; Alejandro Raggio (lvl 1, from Argentina), Federico Prado (lvl 1, from Argentina), Fabio Pintos (lvl 2, from Brazil), Fernando Piraja (lvl 2, from Brazil), Alexander Westerley (lvl 0, from Uruguay) as Junior judges and a lot (I'm talking 20-25) lvl 0 judges from Chile who were willing to take the certification exam, along with a couple of Brazilians and a Peruan guy with the same idea. Almost everybody helped with the first draft, so we had more than enough judges. Most of the lvl 0 judges had little experience in tournaments, so even when we made teams with a Senior judge and some Juniors, entropy attacked the judges staff and succeeded during the first rounds of the tournaments, creating its main effect: chaos. After the first rounds, side events started and we send a lot of lvl 0 to help there lowering the excess of judges.

The first problem arised during the second draft, when a table retarded the timing, and we had to wait for that table to complete the draft after the MM booster and again after the Nemesis booster.

During day 2 took place the Chile Open tournament, with almost 230 players, and a big side event with 70 players, what forced us to re-arrange the staff. Saul Arreola went to HJ the Chile Open, with most of the lvl 0 judges, along with Pedro Ceriotti to evaluate them. The rest of the Senior and Junior judges remained in two teams of four, plenty for 60 players.

The language barrier between Brazilian players/judges (Portuguese) and the rest of the players/judges (Spanish) wasn't really important, since all the judges and most of the Brazilian players talked English, so we had a common language to use.

This was the first "professional" event for most of the players, so even when we used REL 4, we tried to be more lenient and tried to correct most of the non-disruptive situations without penalizing heavily. All players (and staff) behaved correctly during the weekend, so I didn't need to enforce any DQ.

At the beginning of a round, CH came asking about his match points, which seemed to be incorrect. Since we were using entry slips, I searched last round and found that he had reported (and signed) an inverted result. I said "sorry, you signed this, go play in your assigned table". Although he was obviously upset, he went to play. After that round, CH's previous opponent, JA, told a judge that he really had lost that match, that CH completed the slip without noticing that results were switched and he signed it without wrong intention. Then, we decided to correct the result for the wrong match, even when it was the round before the current, upsetting JA, who had played (and lost to) a top-player in the last round when he wasn't supposed to play in that table. We preferred to give the match points to the real winner of that match regardless of what player each of them played in the next round, and the situation was solved, even with not all the players happy about it.

Approaching the last rounds of the tournament, a difficult match arised between Player A (playing Trinity) and Player B (playing Replenish). They were playing trying to take advantage of every situation (like forgetting to announce upkeep), but the top of the stress came when Player A played Argothian Wurm, Player B sacrificed a land to its effect and said "to your hand", which was exactly what Player A did. During the same turn, Player B asked a judge "Doesn't that wurm go back to the library?", and Player A answered "Yes, sorry", and put the Wurm back on top of library. Since both players made up the mistake, I issued a warning to each of them, asking them to play more slowly and friendly.

During the top 8, they played again. The tension was the same as the first game, but this time a judge was present to try to avoid conflicts, and Collin was also present doing the coverage. During game 4 (Player B was 2-1), Player B stopped Player A with a Parallax Tide, finishing the lock with a second Tide. Unfortunately, Player B had a Cursed Totem in play, and played Opalescence before removing the remaining counters of the second Tide. Neither player nor judge was aware of the infraction, and when a guy watching the match call my attention, was the next turn for Player B, when he let the Tides go to the graveyard to play Replenish. I stopped the game, asked the judge the sequence of play and his point of view, and issued Player B a game loss for Procedural Error-Major, since it was the opinion of the judge watching the match that that move was decisive for his upcoming victory. Player B accepted the penalty, and the match continued. On the last game, Player A forgot to remove from the game his Thran Foundry (sending it to the graveyard instead), but since it was not disruptive, I just issued a warning to him.

The last remarkable issue arised during the finals between Player C and Player D. Making a mistake on a Tap lands/Tap Monolith/Cast Treachery/Untap maneuver, Player C assumed (wrongly) that he had 2 mana left in his mana pool, which he used to cast Morphling. A moment later, in the same turn, Federico Prado, a judge watching the match told me that Player C didn't had that two mana, so he casted Morphling illegally. I was still talking to the judges present at the match if it was their opinion to get the Morphling back to Player C's hand and letting him use the real amount of mana any other way (it was still his main phase, and nobody had played anything else) with a warning or consider it a procedural error when he conceded before Player D's complains. I'd like to remark a very good habit I saw in Player C: after untapping, in EVERY turn, even with nothing in play, he looked at his opponent with two fingers on his board and asked "upkeep?", obviously lending priority. If the opponent said "no", then continued "draw", getting the top library card with the same two fingers. Although sometimes it seemed useless, in an environment dominated by Rishadan Ports I think that is a healthy habit in a high REL tournament (as we saw in the Godinez-Felsberg match mentioned above), where drawing without asking for upkeep effects can easily cause heated discussions.

Final regardings about LAC 2000: it was a very nice tournament; a great experience for me and the other judges in my team (I hope the same for the players) for participating in a professional event; the cultural exchange was amazing, and it was very nice to meet Magic players and judges from all LA, and had the chance to work with them; it is great to feel that professional Magic has landed in LA, and I hope it stays.

Waiting to see you all in GP Buenos Aires.

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