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Judge Points: Torment Prerelease Report

Sheldon Menery


Event: Torment Prerelease, Anchorage
Site: Dimond Mall, Anchorage Alaska
Date: 26 January, 2002
Players: 79

Judging Staff:

Sheldon K. Menery, 3, David Phifer, 1, Eric Sturgeon, 1, Bryan Woodward, 0

Tournament Setup

The largest of our local events, prereleases in Anchorage are still small by other standards. The turnout of 79 was our largest ever, eclipsing our previous best by 6. David Phifer, a fine up-and-coming judge, is in training for Level 2, and served as Head Judge for the event. I performed the Tournament Organizer role as well as giving David what little oversight he needed.

The event was held in the mall just outside the shop of our local sponsor, Bosco's. While this made communicating with the players sometimes difficult due to the noise level, it gave us excellent exposure. We fielded numerous questions about the game, hopefully generating interest from people who would never have otherwise seen the game. Late in the afternoon, a reporter from the local news came by with a camera crew and interviewed me. I gave him a somewhat standard speech about what the game is about, where we frequently play, and the like. The segment aired that evening. Since then, several folks have come up to me to say they saw me on TV.

The Anchorage community is undoubtedly the most sportsmanlike and clean environment in which I've ever been. It's not unusual to see an experienced player helping a less-experienced opponent during a match, especially at prerelease. The atmosphere is one of fun and discovery. Given that we spread prizes out across the board, everyone is playing more for the enjoyment than the competition. Because of this, we don't require deck lists at prereleases, although we do randomly deck check people. Most of what we do is count the number of cards of each rarity to make sure the balance is right.

Relevant Rulings

Like any time a new set comes out, there are many questions regarding the cards and their interactions. Madness has been covered repeatedly elsewhere, so I won't cover it here save where it's relevant with other card interactions. Here's a sampling of what we ran into:

Hypnox clearly states that its coming-into-play triggered ability only happens if it's played from your hand. That means paying its mana cost and playing it normally. Putting it into play via some other method won't generate the trigger.

If a card, such as Acceptable Losses or Waste Away, has the additional cost of discarding a card, you can't play it if it's the only card in your hand. You must be able to pay all costs in order to play a spell or ability. We ran into several instances of players not realizing that Acceptable Losses is a Sorcery.

Circular Logic counts the cards in your graveyard on resolution.

With Devastating Dreams, if you discard and subsequently play a Madness creature such as Basking Rootwalla, the creature will take damage from the Dreams. This is because the Rootwalla played with Madness will resolve and come into play before the Dreams resolves.

Last Laugh is a card likely to cause much chaos whenever it's in play; when it's in play and creatures start dying, make sure that players deal with things slowly. There was a situation where Player A had a Carrion Rat (2/1) enchanted with Shade's Form. Player B had the Last Laugh, a Faceless Butcher (2/3, which had removed another of Player A's Carrion Rats), an Enslaved Dwarf (1/1), and a Rotting Giant (3/3). Player B attacked with the Butcher and the Dwarf. Player A blocked the Dwarf with the enchanted Rat. Combat damage resolved, killing the Dwarf and enchanted Rat, triggering Last Laugh three times and the Shade's Form. The Form trigger resolved first, putting the Rat back into play. A Last Laugh trigger resolved, killing the Rat and triggering Last Laugh again. That trigger resolved dealing a 2nd point of damage. Then the next Last Laugh trigger resolved, dealing a third point of damage, killing the Rotting Giant and the Faceless Butcher, meaning that Player B had three triggers to stack: two more Last Laugh and the Butcher. He stacked the Butcher last. Player A's other Carrion Rat came into play. Then one of the last two Last Laugh triggers resolved, doing a 4th point of damage, killing the Rat. Laugh Last triggered twice; once for killing the Rat and once for there being no creatures in play. The Rat trigger resolved, doing a 5th point of damage. One of the two waiting Last Laugh triggers resolved, dealing a 6th point of damage. At long last, the final Last Laugh trigger resolved, doing an 7th point of damage to each player, having cleared the board. Note that while permanents see themselves leave play, Last Laugh specifically says that it triggers on other permanents, and not itself.

Make sure that players take the time to deal with the all the triggers involved with Last Laugh

Final Thoughts

As always, a bit of preparation beforehand (like reading the FAQ sent out to Judges and TOs two days earlier) made the event run smoothly. David Phifer turned in an excellent performance as Head Judge; perhaps we'll see a report from him soon. The remainder of the staff was up to their usual level of excellence. A final thank you to our sponsors from Bosco's Cards and Comics, without whom we wouldn't have a place to play.

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