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PT Qualifier Report (Illinois, USA)

Shawn Doherty

Format: Masques Block Constructed,
Site: Palatine, IL (near Chicago)
Number of players: 189, Rounds: 8
TO: Barrett Moy, Head Judge: Lee McLain (Level 3)
Other Judges: Aaron Matney (Level 3), and a couple of uncertified judges.

Logistics: The turnout for this tournament was higher than expected and we barely had room to seat all of the players. We were only able to have one side event table for the first two rounds and that was one of the two judges tables. After round two enough people dropped that we were able to use another table for drafts. By the end of the fourth round we were able to get our second judges table back. The event went smoothly and there were no logistical problems. Each round was scheduled to take 50 minutes, and we were able to get the next round started within 10 minutes of the previous one ending, by having a table judge for each unfinished match after time was called and having an experienced scorekeeper.

Rulings of interest:

  • One person who was unaware of the bannings in Masques Block Constructed had both Lin Sivvi and Rishidan Port in his deck. He was DQed after the first round, but the TO let him into a side event for free to compensate. A player called me over and asked if he was able to look at the first card he drew from Indentured Djinn before deciding whether to draw a second and/or third card. I explained that the number of card that would be drawn had to be announced before any cards were drawn.
  • When I was called over, the active player had just cast Wave of Reckoning and asked his opponent if he had any responses. The nonactive player had none, then the active player wanted to cast cho-manno's blessing on one of his creatures. I explained that the active player and nonactive player had both passed priority, therefore the wave will resolve before the active player has another chance to play a spell.
  • The last situation had to do with a Chimeric Idol. The active player was tapped out and had a Chimeric Idol as his only nonland permanent. He entered his combat phase and tapped his Idol to attack. However, the nonactive player said that the active player did not activate the idol before attacking. I asked the active player if he had activated the idol and he said that he didn't remember doing it. I explained that he couldn't attack with the idol since it wasn't activated. He asked if he could activate the idol at that point and try to attack again. I explained that he was not able to activate it before attackers were declared, since he had entered his Declare Attackers step by try to attack with the Idol. It was a difficult situation to explain to someone who was not very clear on all of the steps of the combat phase. He was also upset because he felt his opponent was trying to "rules-cheese" him by calling me over. After five minutes, I was finally able to explain the situation to both players' satisfaction. I gave them a five-minute extension and allowed the match continue. Had this incident occurred at a smaller event, with lower REL, I probably would have just back the game state up to the beginning of combat step and allowed the player to activate his idol. It is important for players to learn to play properly, but at a PTQ, I think that players have a responsibility to understand the rules.

Things I learned:

I learned that it is critical to remain calm and collected when trying to explain a ruling to players. If a judge gets excited or frustrated, when trying to explain a ruling, it will make the judge seem unprofessional. It is key to come off as unbiased and fair.

I think that the more certified judges at an event, the better the event will run. When there are experienced judges working the floor, there is a less likelihood that there will be appeals to the head judge, or worse, an incorrect ruling. Additionally, higher level judges can mentor non-certified judges to advise and help them learn. I think that if there is one certified judge for every 50 to 75 people, then there are enough experience judges to make rulings quickly and cover the entire floor.

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