Since there was the strong potential that someone would be asked to leave the site, I spoke to the Rob Dougherty (the TO, store owner, and a judge for the event) about his feelings on the situation. We both agreed that player L had to be disqualified (without prize) for unsporting conduct. Our discussion then turned towards player K. My feeling was that his behavior contributed to player L's behavior. Although each player is responsible for their own actions, they are not allowed to provoke their opponent. Based on his conduct throughout the match I decided to upgrade player K's previous warning to a game loss applied to his next match.
Wanting to deal with player L as quickly as possible, I sent another judge to inform player K of his upgraded warning. I told the judge to tell him if he had a problem with the ruling to come see me after I was done with player L. If player K was to "go off" on the judge delivering the warning, I instructed him to upgrade it to a match loss as he saw fit.
Player L meanwhile had calmed down considerably. He understood what he had done was wrong and accepted the penalty without further problems. When I returned inside, player K approached me and wanted to know the reasoning behind the game loss. I told him that I felt his actions contributed towards what player L did and while L should not have done it, K's actions were not appropriate for the situation. He then said that he thought that since the match was over I could not issue him a game loss. I told him that unsporting conduct warnings can be given out at any time during the tournament - it doesn't matter if a player is actively involved in a match. I also told him that any further unsporting conduct on his part would result in at least a match loss.
As the head judge and scorekeeper (our regular scorekeeper had to leave early in round one because of the heat) I did not see very many rules questions. However, I was called to several situations where a player appealed the floor judges ruling to me.
Wait a minute, you can't do that...
Early in the tournament, I was watching one of the other judges make a ruling on SoulBurn. The player's question was did he gain the life if the damage from the SoulBurn was prevented (the judge correctly answered no, you don't gain the life). However I stayed on a couple minutes after the ruling to watch the game develop. After the judge's ruling the player who prevented the damage from the Soul Burn asked if he could continue his attack. Puzzled, I asked for clarification. It turns out that the player who had cast Soul Burn had cast it during his opponent's attack phase. It ended up where it wouldn't have made a difference in the game as the attack was still enough to kill him. I cautioned both players to pay better attention to what the cards did.
Later in the same round, I was called to the same team match (different players though). Player A was attacking with several creatures. Player B cast Strafe on one of them. Player A however realized that Strafe is in fact, not an instant and called for a judge. I had them back up and put the Strafe back in Player B's hand. Since he had put the mana into his pool before announcing the spell, I ruled he had one red mana in his pool and that the game continue from there.
Avoiding judge's calls - players should be clear about what they are doing...
In the first round I was called to a match with the following situation: Player C cast Harrow, but instead of putting the spell on the stack and resolving it, he put it directly into his graveyard. His opponent argued that by putting the Harrow into the graveyard, it had resolved and Player C had declined to get any lands for it. I ruled it as an acceptable shortcut and allowed Player C to get the land from the Harrow.
Several times during the tournament I was called to a match where a player had played a spell without specifically announcing that they were playing it with the kicker. In these instances if it was clear that the player had intended to play it with kicker (for example paying the correct mana cost or selecting multiple targets) I ruled that the intent was clear and that the spell was played with the kicker and cautioned the player involved to be more clear about announcing kicker in the future.
In one game player G played a Worldly Counsel. After he finished resolving it, his opponent player H, misunderstanding the card took player G's deck and shuffled it. I told the judge who was handling the situation to see if he could verify what cards were placed on the bottom and if so place them there and continue the game, issuing Player H a warning for misrepresentation.
Another question I was asked had to do with gating. Player D had a creature that was enchanted with his opponent's Shackles. He played a creature with gating and returned the shackled creature too his hand. His opponent, Player E wanted to return the Shackles to his hand in response. Since he had not responded to either the creature being played or the gating ability going on the stack, I ruled it was to late for him to return the Shackles to his hand.
Players should always check that their match points are correct . . .
Late in the tournament, after pairings had been posted, a team came to me at the computer to report that their match points were incorrect. The judge who had been watching that match quickly verified that they had won the match. I checked the computer where a 2-1 win for their opponent had been entered. One of the members of the team that they had just played asked me to check the match result slip which matched the result in the computer (the incorrect result). He then tried to argue that it should not be changed because that is what the slip was signed as and that was final. Having conclusive evidence that the match had not ended that way I told him that I was going to change it to the correct result. He continued to argue about it saying that they signed the slip like that so the result should stand. When I asked him if his team had won the match, he didn't say anything so I told him that that was what I was doing - end of story. Had he continued to argue with me after that I was going to give him a warning and game or match loss (more likely a match, but I hadn't decided which at that point) for unsporting conduct.
I could have swapped the two teams involved matchups for that round, however with a low number of teams still involved in the tournament and since I hadn't had to do it up to this point I decided it would take less time to just repair the round.
After round two or three we had a card turned in that was found on the floor. I made an announcement at the beginning of the next round. No one claimed the card. About five minutes later I made another announcement. After this one a player at the table directly in front of the judges station realized that the card was his. The problem was he had already presented his deck to his opponent. I issued him a game loss and warned him to keep better track of his cards.
There was one other similar incident where a player had lost a card between matches. When shuffling, his opponent noticed he only had 39 cards in his deck. Despite his opponent wanting the penalty waived (but I didn't present it back...), I still issued a game loss and also told the player to keep track of his cards.
The finals draft was fairly uneventful. A couple players accidentally touched cards when they were pointing at them for teammates to take, but after they were forced to draft that card (assuming it was there when it was their turn) the players became a lot more careful. The finals were uneventful, finishing up in about 20 minutes.
The biggest difficulty we had during the tournament was entering all the teams. On site I'm not sure what we could have done to speed that up. What would be really helpful (hint, hint to the powers that be) would be team DCI numbers. If each team had it's own number that could be entered, pulling up all the team data and all you would have to enter would be the team seeding. Another suggestion I made to Rob would be for the TO to strongly encourage preregistration (perhaps by a raffle for the players who preregistered) so data could be entered into the computer in advance.
Other than the delay at the beginning I am happy about how the event ran. Time delays between rounds were kept fairly low - the only extra thing we had to do was rearrange the seating so some players with crutches could sit in an easily accessible seat. I was able to resolve the major issues without any time delay, which helped significantly. We had no significant computer problems the only minor one being a couple teams didn't get dropped from the event as they should have.