|PTQ New Orleans (New York) - Judge Report
Site: Neutral Ground, New York City
The atmosphere was cooler than one would expect for a PTQ, with a lower than usual turnout being the reason. When the final competitor was tallied, there were 115 people vying for the coveted blue envelope- and only 1 would walk away with it in tow.
This was the final higher level IBC tournament, aside from whatever Sunday PTQ's there were this weekend. I hadn't paid much attention to the format in over 2 weeks, and in a constructed PTQ format, this can mean ages of technology. Thankfully, not much had changed and I was well equipped for the task of making rulings for the duration of the day.
The only card rulings I was called over for more than once on the day involved Lobotomy. People wanted to know that if a Lobotomy resolved, but the targeted player had no non basic land cards in his/her hand, could they still search the library. I conferred with head judge Eric Smith and my initial instinct was correct. The library could still be searched.
Lobotomy will always let the player search his opponent's library
A similar question came up when the only card a player could choose from a Lobotomy was a non-basic land. He wanted to know if he had to remove copies of that card from his opponent's library. I explained that the term "search" in the MTG vocabulary did not require something to be found, provided the zone being searched was not of public knowledge. Naturally, I then had to answer that indeed, a library is not considered public knowledge.
Another ruling I had to make and explain was when a target was no longer in play (for whatever reason) when Prophetic Bolt resolved. Players wanted to know if they could still get the "Impulse" effect. I ruled that, since there was only 1 target for the Bolt and it wasn't in play upon resolution, the entire Bolt was countered by a game rule, thus negating both the 4 damage and the "Impulse effect".
Game sequence Ruling
If all the targeted parts of a spell fail, the non-targeted parts do not occur
One of the biggest problems is people not being specific about what step they're in. Going into the end step by saying, "discard?" simply isn't exact enough. It could mean that you are ready to discard, or just that you want to leave main phase 2. As a result, some problems result when one player says "discard" and their opponent says, "OK." They then discard and their opponent says they have effects in the end step. This sort of thing can easily be avoided by cleared communication between players (as with a number of other problems, for that matter). Of course, there are some people that just don't know that effects cannot be played after someone discards for a turn. There were two players that found this out the hard way at this tournament. I was careful to make sure that all involved players agreed that it was alright for the active player to discard, and that there was simply a misunderstanding about the rules, rather than a misunderstanding about the game state which is harder to remedy.
To follow up on some other specifics of the game that a surprisingly large number of players don't know, let's talk about the upkeep. One player found out the hard way (yet again) that you could actually "float" mana from your upkeep into your draw step, and use it (on an instant or instant speed ability) after the card was drawn. I had to explain the difference between 6th and 7th Edition rules, and that this was in fact changed over 2 years ago. The player was grateful for the explanations, and somewhat embarrassed, but at least the rule was learned.
Other than these couple of rulings, the tournament went quite well. Every deck check took 10 or less minutes, and no registration errors were found to my knowledge (I only performed 4 of the deck checks myself). The Top 8 was well underway, with the semifinals already begun by the time I left at 6:30.