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Canadian Nationals Judge Report

Mike Clark

Well suffice it to say it was a ride.

Canadian Nationals 2001, which I had the esteemed honor of being asked to judge in Ottawa, was quite an experience. I got to meet judges from all over Canada, and in one instance New York City.

Arriving on Wednesday I figured it would be best to find out exactly where the
Congress Centre was, as I'm unfamiliar with the city, and on that night
most of the set-up had to be finished because of a shipping snafu

Grinder Day (Thursday July 19)

Yes this is the day in which 16 people will gain the last minute privilege of competing in their national championships. Now if you're looking for a whole plethora of rulings, don't look here. I am only a level one judge, working amongst Canada's two Level three's (Chris Page, and Jason Ness) and more than a few Level two's, and the high level of play led to few rules questions, and me handing down fewerrulings, but, for the first time I actually took notes, so here's myGrinder rulings, in a nutshell.

  • Gave one player a game loss for drawing extra cards, in retrospect it may have been the wrong call (you'll see why later.)
  • Misdirection does not change the mode of a spell, just its targets (ie. if Player A cast Dromar's Charm, and chose to Counter target spell, you couldn't Misdirect it to gain 5 life.)
  • Coastal Piracy does not trigger when a creature deals zero combat damage to a player. (In fact nothing triggers off of zero damage.)
  • If Glimmering Angel is made untargetable, in response to a spell or ability targeting it, the previous spell or ability will fail, as it is targeting an illegal target.
  • Players can't modify attack costs, or tap creatures, after the cost of Collective Restraint has been paid. This is because all attackers have been declared.

Mike Clark intently watches a match

Day 1 (Friday July 20)

"It has begun" -Mortal Kombat

The Rochester Draft portion of the main event happened this day. I was asked by Chris to watch two tables, who told me about the procedure, but since I have had no experience with Rochester Draft when head judge Mike Donais came around I asked two questions of him.

Q: Can players signal to other players of what they intend to pick?
A: Only if it is their pick.

Q: What happens if a player touches a card, and it is only while reaching for another card?
A: Allow them to take the card they intended.

Other notable happenings in Day 1

There were many decklist errors, resulting in many a match loss, and much confusion among the staff. When Mark Richardson (I think) asked Jason Ness of the penalty for this violation, Jason answers a game loss, and allow them to add basic lands of their choice. I then interjected that I thought it was a match loss, (as I had viewed the quick penalty guideline sheet, that I feel every judge should have handy at any event,) and he corrected me. So I thought everything was good. Then Chris, my group leader, asked me how I went about everything, and I told him how I had progressed through the situation, and he told me to correct it, which I did.

BTW, this was the first draft of the day.

Coastal Drake's ability is immune to the flagbearers, as a flagbearer is not a Kavu.

A player came to me and asked why Fertile Ground wasn't destroyed by Tranquility. I approached the game, asked if it was still the same turn as Tranquility was cast, and the answer was no. I then issued a double warning for the mistake, and allowed the game to continue, as both players have made decisions based on the current state of the game.

In round 5...
I, following another judge, went to the feature match area. I watched a match involving Gary Wise (a person whose Sideboard draft analysis help improve my draft skills exponentially, but that's another story for another time.) Gary attacked his opponent with a couple of creatures, including Spiritmonger. The Spiritmonger pummeled helplessly a Mire Kavu, and I made note of this. A couple of turns later, Gary then attacked with only the Spiritmonger. His opponent stated, that he was taking six. I then chided in that the Spiritmonger was in fact a 7/7 from the beating it gave to the Kavu. It was the only call I made in that match.

Day 3 (Saturday July 21)

Meddling Mage must use the full card name for split cards

Here I ended up making many rulings, they are...

  • Void checks each half of a split card for the number named (ie. Player A plays Void, and names 1, and a Life/Death is revealed, Void will pull it as Void sees a card with a converted mana cost (CMC) of 1 in Life. It doesn't matter if Death's CMC is 2.)
  • Questing Phelddagrif's creature type is Phelddagrif. The question came up as the pre-release greek on was in play.
  • If a player plays Meddling Mage, and wants to ban a split card, both halves must be named (ie. to ban Wax/Wane, said player must say Wax/Wane not either or, as there is no card called Wax or Wane.)
  • If Misdirection targets Absorb, and then is made to re-target Misdirection the caster of Absorb gains zero life. This is because Absorb fails against its target.
  • Blood Oath, or any other instant for that matter, can be played after any player has drawn during their draw step, still during the draw step.
  • Blood Oath can be targeted by Misdirection, but will fail to do anything on resolution, as there would be no second target (Blood Oath reads "...target opponent...")
  • A reminder of Rule 102.7 "A player may concede a game at any time." (Yes someone actually asked about this.)
  • In side draft managed a Coalition Victory. (not a joke)

Day 4 (Sunday July 22)

Since it was top 8 day, I (through some coaxing by Chris) took my level 2 test. Although I managed a 92 on the written portion, it was the interview where I crashed, and burned. Here are some things I learned about myself and how to improve my judging as a direct result.

Slow down. I'm not kidding, I have a penchant to run during events, for a degree of expediency, and the longer it takes me to get to an area to do my job, the more potential for a delay, which is unacceptable. This is not necessarily the case. Judges should exercise the right to caution, as things could get messy if I were to floor someone in an unnecessary rush. It's something I should try to improve upon.

Chris also noticed that my hair appeared greasy. In the train station, I finally figured out this one. My hair is in a situation currently where it's not long enough to fit in to a ponytail, but too long to keep out, so during the day, I'd sweep my brow of hair that is creeping into my face, taking any sweat that was building up on my forehead with it. Simple answer to a really unusual question.

Chris Page gave me a lot of good suggestions on how to become a better judge

Another problem is that I shadow people. This is something I need to work on, a lot. Part of it is to watch and to try to learn from the other judges, other times, I just don't know when to end a conversation. To those who watched Star Trek-Voyager will understand what I mean when I say that I feel paralleled with Seven of Nine, when she was severed from the Borg collective, in that I have no clue how to socially interact. This is my area that I need to work on the most, because I can't analyze this and formulate a solution.

Final thing, which lends to the previous point. I get very nervous around large groups of people and tend to direct myself in pre- programmed responses, kind of like, well let's see, a Borg drone. Chris suggested a couple of things for this, but I have other ideas, and I'll try to find my own way, but I'll take the advice if, what I'm thinking doesn't pan out.

To say the least I ended up failing the test, and I'm still a bit steamed about it, but this is a good steamed. I don't take to EVER hearing someone tell me that "I fail". This makes me more determined to make up in the areas that I truly need to work on, so I don't hear it again.

My first Nationals, a great learning experience.

That'll be nothing compared to Worlds, in two weeks.

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