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PTQ Report (Providence,RI)

Judge Report

Matt Villamaino

Format: Pro Tour Qualifier for PT: New York
Site: Your Move Games, Providence, RI
60 Teams, 6/30/01
Staff: Head Judge - Matt Villamaino (2), Scorekeeper - Helen Dunsmoir, Rob Dougherty (2), Jeremy Smith (2), Graham Stein (1), Brad Lannon (0)

It was a hot and muggy day.

200 or so Magic players crammed into Your Move Games - Providence isn't a pretty sight. New York had an attendance of around 60 teams the weekend before, so we were expecting around 50 teams to show up. When setting up, we left room for about 54. Towards the end of registration I realized that this would not be enough, so we quickly set up some tables and chairs in the retail area of the store. With this many people, the store got really hot, really fast.

To Begin With... Registration challenges

Prior to the tournament I designed a registration slip to help speed up registration. It contained space for team name, the team members name and DCI#, sponsor, city, and state contained in nice boxed in areas to help ensure clear writing. However, I put too many boxes in the team name section. DCI Reporter (at least the version we were using) has a maximum team name size of 30 characters. Several teams had to be called up to shorten their name.

The other thing that came up during registration was dealing with offensive team names. One team had used a team name for two events previous to this one, however the consensus of the staff was that the name also had a sexual meaning so we asked them to change it (I'm obviously not going to post this name). Anther team had listed "[person's name] is a thief" as their team name. We asked them to change it and they did without a problem. (After trying the halfhearted "but his D&D character is a thief" excuse.)

Unfortunately it took a lot longer than I would have liked to enter all the names into the computer. Registration was originally scheduled from 9:00am - 9:40am with the tournament starting at 10:00am. Due to the increased number of people and the need to enter the team information we were not able to seat people for registration until 11:00am.

When we finally seated everybody and started passing out product we discovered a small error. The people we had asked (not staff members) to put the product together had included two Invasion boosters in addition to the two Invasion starters, two Planeshift, and two Apocalypse boosters. After passing out product to the first table, we quickly realized this and pulled the Invasion packs before passing out the remainder of the product.

Unsporting Conduct

There was more unsporting conduct during this tournament than usual. Several times players had to be given warnings for insulting other players or judges and tempers in general were very short. This may be because of the temperature of the room - with all those players in there and outside conditions being fairly warm, even though we had the AC going full blast it was hot.

One match during the tournament caused more problems than most smaller tournaments in their entirety. It started with the allegation that one member of team J gave advice to anther member of his team (player K). I was called over by the judge who initially heard the complaint. He (player K's teammate) said something to the effect of "don't forget about that card." He claimed that he was just talking to himself, not to his teammate. Midway through my investigation, one of the spectators tapped me on the shoulder and told me he wanted to tell me something about the incident - by clarifying what he interpreted the statement to mean. As I was about to talk to him, player K told me that he didn't think I should talk to him because he felt there was no reason for me to speak to him since he didn't actually see the incident. This upset me. A lot. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was the head judge and that I would talk to whomever I wanted to about whatever I wanted to while I was conducting my investigation and no player (especially on involved in the situation) is going to tell me what I can and can't do. "Is that clear?" He was wise enough to be quiet at that point. After a few minutes it became clear I didn't have enough evidence to prove that advice was given, so I gave a stern warning to the players involved to not talk to their teammates while a match was in progress or I would separate their matches. I then left a judge to watch the remainder of the match.

Around five minutes later I was called back to the same match. Player K had played a Pouncing Kavu tapping enough mana for the kicker, but not announcing it. His opponent, player L, complained saying he hadn't announced kicker. Based on the rulings I had previously issued on the subject, the judge that witnessed it ruled that the intent was clear, so the spell was played with kicker. Before I even asked about the situation, I told both players that I would not be tolerating any arguing or other unsporting conduct while I was making the ruling. I then listened to what was going on and affirmed the judges ruling that the spell was played with kicker. Additionally, because of both players attitudes I was gave them both a warning for unsporting conduct - minor and to watch themselves for the rest of the event.

I then remained to watch the rest of the match. Player K, when it wasn't his turn, continued to subtly insult his opponent by praising my skill in handling the situation (since all the rulings were made in his favor). I finally told him to just be quiet and only talk to his opponent and then only about game related information. A few minutes later the game ended with player K winning the match (his win also won the match for his team). Player L was upset over the whole matter and threw his deck at player K and started to move physically towards him. I (along with other staff and spectators) kept them separate and had player L go outside while we talked about the incident.

151. Unsporting Conduct-Minor
Minor Unsporting Conduct is defined as behavior that may be disruptive to a person at the tournament, but has no significant impact on the operation of the tournament in any way.
152. Unsporting Conduct-Major
Major Unsporting Conduct is defined as behavior that is disruptive to a player or players at the tournament, but does not cause delays or include any form of physical contact or significant emotional distress.
153. Unsporting Conduct-Severe
Severe Unsporting Conduct is defined as behavior that is disruptive to a player or players at a tournament, causes delays, and may include any form of physical contact or significant emotional distress.

It's up to the judge to determine if the incident is minor, major, or severe

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.

Rules Questions

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.

Players have to be ever-vigilant that sorceries are not played like instants

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.

How many problems would we avoid if players would just "Read the Card."

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.

Deck Problems

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.

Finals Draft...

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.

In Summary

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.
If you are interested in either my registration form or custom decklists, email me at MadMage682@aol.com.

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