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GP Lisbon - Judge Report

Gijsbert Hoogendijk

January 18-19 2002
Head Judge: Rune Horvik
Format: Extended

So finally I came back to Lisbon. The first tournament report I ever wrote was for GP Lisbon 1999 (co-written actually) and can be found in the archives under the Dutch Vikings. I went to Lisbon in 2001 as well, but it was even a shorter trip then usual. It was for a Pokémon Super Trainer Showdown Qualifier, arriving Friday evening late and going back Sunday. There just wasn't the time for partying like we did in 1999, or visit the nice little restaurants we went to back then.

So let me try something different and see how it works. I'll make this into a real report and do it round by round. Wins are for resolving a situation in a good way, draws for nothing interesting and losses for screwed up situations.

First round: before the tournament.

Game 1: getting to the Hotel

The flight to Lisbon was 2.5 hours, got some drinks, some snacks (they had no Vodka) and arrived safely. I only had carryon luggage so within 10 minutes I was outside local time 22.30. So I decided to call to one of the wizards people to see if they could use a hand. They had just finished with the setup and were just entering a restaurant. They gave the address and I was on my way. I was treated to a very nice meal and even came up with a couple of nice ideas for celebrating the 100th GP. We finally settled on giving 100 boosters to the 100th finisher, and making table 100 a feature match each round and giving them a bottle of champagne. We took a cab back to the hotel around 00.30 and arrived 15 minutes later, Game 1 in the bag.

The 100 boosters prize was a big hit with the players

Game 2: sleep

Being the sensible guy that I am (and having worked 'till 17.30 that day) I felt that it was better to get in some extra hours of sleep instead of going to the bar. I had a little trouble getting into sleep but around 2.00 I finally felt my consciousness slip. But I guess the opponent knew what I was up to and had sideboarded wisely. 2.15 my roommate came in and managed to keep me awake for most of the night with his snoring. I lost this game badly.

Game 3: getting to the site

Breakfast was good times. WotC didn't bring any staff shirts, but I had a staff shirt from last year, so I had to provide WotC people with shirts, that's really the wrong way round in my opinion. Getting to the site was easy enough too. Nothing interesting. So I squeaked out a win.

Matches: 1-0

Aside on day 1

On day one I would be team leader, my team consisted of Mickael Bouet (France, lvl 2), Saul Rodriguez (Spain, lvl 1) Paulo Hipolito (Portugal, lvl 0)

Round 2: registration and rounds 1 and 2

Game 1: registration

Having 675 pre-registered players and only 200 registrations on Friday we knew we were in for a rough start. Even though there was little trouble it still took a long time until we got the master list up. For some reason there were a lot of problems with the master list. I don't know what went wrong though. After previous experiences in Portugal we were smart enough to incorporate DCI numbers in identical names (Lisbon '99 had 5 players with the exact same name) so that couldn't have been it. We ended up with 670 players, of which one lost his deck when the master list problems were handled and dropped before the tourney had even started. I think I'll have to count this game as a draw.

Game 2: round 1

It was very chaotic on the floor; this was because the middle aisle was packed with people. There were few judges on the floor and those that were there were very hard to spot for the competitors because of the amount of people standing everywhere. Nothing "bad" happened so I guess we could count this as a draw.

Game 3: round 2

The decklists had been sorted during round 1 and all decklists from players starting with A and B had been counted. This added up to roughly 15+ wrong decklists. There were still a lot of spectators in the middle aisle and with too few judges running around, (still a lot of them doing decklist counts) we lost a lot of time, and maybe some game losses were not giving at the right time (start of the round instead of halfway in game1). During these chaotic times I noticed that there were a couple of judges who did not have a lot of experience, I did my best to instruct them the best I could without loosing too much time with handing out all the penalties. At this point I remembered that we had cleared out the aisle and made it a judge only area in '99. I suggested this to the Head Judge and he readily agreed. With so many bad things happening this game the game was unfortunately lost, which means we lose this round.

The judging team for Grand Prix Lisbon

Matches: 1-1

Round 3: rounds 3, 4 and 5

Game 1: Round 3

I did a deckcheck this round and one of the players had forgotten to de-sideboard so that was a game loss. The other player had a significant amount of his cards facing the other way. It was so bad that the upside down cards only had one mountain (he was playing sligh) and 2 other lands (Wastelands I believe). I discussed the situation with Rune Horvik (HJ) and decided it was Marked Cards - minor, but we upgraded it to a Game loss because the amount of land in the turned cards (3/21) was to much to warrant only a warning. I told Rune that the other player should also receive a GL and he decided the GL would cancel each other (of course they should still be recorded in DCI reporter). When we talked about it later we concluded we made the wrong ruling here and should have applied the GL to their next matches. Both players understood they had something wrong when I told them the problems with their decklists separately. When they were seated at the table I told them the GL cancelled and they were both relieved. So even though we later concluded they didn't really receive a penalty they were aware of what they had done wrong and what their penalty should have been. Although it was hard fought, clearing the aisle gave an advantage that was needed to win this game.

Game 2: round 4

Nothing interesting happened this round so I count this game as a draw.

Game 3: round 5

At the start of this round, one of the judges in my team came up to me and said that when he went over to a guy to perform a deckcheck something weird happened. The player got his deck and sideboard from his deck box then took some (~5) sleeves and 3 cards, put them back in his box and gave the rest to the judge. At this point I arrived and confiscated the sleeves and the 3 cards. It was a 4 color Oath deck. The 3 cards were Hydroblast, Urza's Rage and something I can't remember. That last card was very useful for his sideboard though. He had 3 Hydroblasts in the sideboard, so it was all looking very dodgy. At this point I was considering and decided it should be at least a Match loss and maybe a DQ, I wanted to discuss it with Rune. When we asked him his defense was that he had borrowed those cards and did not have ANY place to put them. In the end we believed in his innocence and gave him a Match loss, to which he protested as being way to harsh. I made him understand in the end.

During this round we had some efficiency problems judge-wise. Waiting for Rune in the above situation had cost approximately 5 minutes. He was solving minor problems and should have a let another judge handle it and be available for any other problems. So halfway though the round, one of the Dutch players called me over and tells me they have a problem and already have had a couple of judges look at the situation but they just left. He stated that they had been waiting for a couple of minutes now. The player has illegally "Oathed" as they both control 2 creatures and his opponent caught it when he had revealed about 4 cards. I thought for a second, gave him a warning for misplaying Oath and let him reshuffle his library. They both accepted the ruling and I moved on. Little did I know that the judges, who were there in the first place, were discussing the situation with the HJ. Rune had just decided that the Dutch player should receive a game loss. I felt so bad at that point. I had thought about a game loss but decided against it because the player had asked his opponent "Oath?" and the opponent had given the same consent as the previous turns, but then calling for a judge when 4 cards were turned over is a bit suspicious to me. I didn't want to give him an easy game win. It was because the players were frustrated with the judge team that I wanted to solve the situation fast and clean. I did solve it, but didn't make the right call in the eyes of the HJ. I talked to the Dutch player afterwards and made sure he understood what had happened. I didn't give extra time to the players because I had only been there 30 seconds or so. Apparently no other judge had informed them of any extra time so they had to get a judge again at the end of the round to get some more time. All in all it was a very ugly situation.

Playing "Oath" decks properly can be a real challenge

When I was handing in some result slips, I overheard Rune discussing a ruling with one of the other judges. Apparently a player had activated "Oath" and told his opponent there were no more creatures in his deck and a Blessing, so he just shuffled his graveyard back in when he realized he did have a creature. The judge had only given a warning (I don't know how he solved the rest of the situation). Rune wasn't to happy about it, as that too should have been a game loss. About 5 minutes later the same player called me over, he had again fumbled Oath, this time both players had 2 creatures in play, and by that time he had revealed half his library. At this point a game loss was the only thing I could give him. He fully understood and started playing VERY carefully after that.

This game definitely had its downs and I am afraid we have to count it as a loss. Which results in a draw for round 3.

Matches 1-1-1

Round 4: round 6, 7 and 8

Game 1: round 6

I was deckchecking this round. The two judges who were checking the other table had taken a deck from a player who had no opponent when the round started. I explained them that it was not the best way to go, as he never actually presented his deck. The deck had 5 bloodlusts in it and a 12 card sideboard, we had to give him a game loss for the next round.

My deckcheck went fine and when I came on the floor I was called to a table. Player A had asked his opponent if he could sacrifice his Barbarian Ring after his Ruination had resolved. His opponent had said: Yes! This was asked while the Ruination was already on the stack. So player A asked: Resolve the Ruination? Player B answered: Yes! Player A then went on to sacrifice his Barbarian Ring to do 2 damage to B. Player B then announced: In response, I'll counter the Ruination. I was called at this point and explained them that it was not possible and went with the last known, legal state. Ruination on the stack and them both just having agreed to resolve it, player B wasn't happy with this but he had agreed to let it resolve. I gave him a warning for giving a wrong ruling to his opponent. He understood and said that he would be more careful in the future.

With about 10 minutes to go in the round, I was called over to one of the lower tables figuring it was for the ordinary slip signing. However when I came to the table, they said that their match slip was wrong. I said that probably one of them was sitting in the wrong place. But no they were very sure they were sitting where they were supposed to be. I asked what the name was of the player who was not on the result slip and asked them to stay seated. When I looked at the pairings for the round 262 was in front of his name, not 264 the table at which he was sitting. I went back to the table and looked at table 264, nobody there but the result slip still was, totally blank. I gave them both match wins, marking their opponents as no shows. I gave the one sitting in the wrong seat a warning for that though.

I think this game can go down as a win.

Game 2 and 3: round 7 and 8

Nothing interesting happened, so I finish the day at 2-1-1, which is ok. I ate some Pizza, sorted the decklists for the top 64 and drank something in the hotel.

Day one was pretty ok, although we could have used a couple of more judges because at times there were troubles with signing all the result slips, so players just came up to us without their opponent.

I had a good night sleep and was ready to start day 2 with my new team that consisted of Bruno Barracosa and David Gallien. We would get one of the judges from the other team to help with our deckchecks.

Round 5: round 9, 10 and 11

Game 1: round 9

Nothing interesting happened during this round so lets chalk up another draw.

Game 2: round 10

I got called over to a table where a Sligh player was playing an Oath player. The Oath player had a COP: Red in play and was flashing a counterspell. The sligh player was claiming that his opponent had prevented all the damage from his attack with his COP and hence had only 1 blue mana available and could not legally cast the counterspell. The Oath player said he had not prevented the damage of one of the creatures and showed me his scoresheet that had him 2 points lower then the Sligh player's score sheet. I asked the Sligh player if he had seen him write anything on his pad ever since they had called for a judge, which he had not. So I concluded that he did not prevent the damage and could therefore counter the spell. I also gave them a small lecture on confirming all life total changes with your opponent. I think I squeaked out a win this game.

Game 3: round 11

See Game 1. So another win, which makes it 3-1-1.

Round 6: round 12, 13 and 14

Game 1: round 12

During this round I got called over to a table while the players were sideboarding. At least player A called me over and told me that he had just lost game 1 and with little time left on the clock his opponent was taking a longtime sideboarding. I asked player B to hurry up and he was done within a minute. I stayed and watched for a while but the speed of play was good so I left. Player B felt threatened by the other player so when player A played a Brainstorm and didn't clearly put 2 cards back, accused him of cheating. The situation was pretty tense but easily solved as player A could name the top 2 cards of his library. After the match Player A came to me he had lost the match, coming up 2 turns short. He told me that the reason he had called me over was the fact that player B had already taken 3 minutes for his sideboarding when he started to call me over. So when he was finished after I urged him on, he had taken five minutes. I explained to him that he should have been clearer I did not know he had such a clear grasp on the elapsed time. He understood the situation and would be to sure to explain better next time. I think I should have asked more questions when I was asked over in the first place and have to count this is a loss.

Game 2: round 13

This game had nothing interesting coming up so I'll consider this a draw again.

Game 3: round 14

With 3 minutes left in the round I was wandering over to the feature match area. I got to the match between Tiago Chan and Kai Budde, which you can read about on the sideboard here. This is the most relevant part:

In his haste to speed up the game, even though he would benefit from slow play, Kai turned over an extra card but the judge ruled they should go on with only a warning.

There were 2 minutes left at this point and his only reason to speed up the game, was to give his opponent a fair chance. By going through the Oath motions slower (but still definitely a reasonable speed) this game would be unfinished and he would have won. I think he did the sportsmanlike thing and I was not going to give him a game loss for it. I think I handled it correctly and make this a win.

This round is a draw, which puts me on 3-1-2, barely making my way into top 8.

Round 7: Top 8

Games 1 and 2: Quarterfinals and Semifinals

During the Quarter- and Semifinals, we had to content with a slight problem, which arose due to a strike on the Airport in Milan. Because of the strike Davide Bitetto couldn't come and he was scheduled for judge certification. Rune and me were the only level 3's actually judging. Rogerio Alecrim the local level 3 was too busy organizing things to actually help with the judging ( the tournament couldn't have run as smooth without him though). So I sat down and corrected 10-15 judge tests in one go. The passing percentage was unfortunately very low. We handled the situation okay, but for the candidates it would have been a lot better if we had a Spanish or Portuguese speaking judge running judge certification because I was not able to explain things because we couldn't understand each other. I guess we'll make these 2 draws so that leaves...

Game 3: the Final

What can I say about the final, one thing is for sure although it took 3 hours it was a lot of fun. I made a sideboard suggestion before game 3. Guess what, they actually followed my advice. Gary Wise was talking to someone and somewhere along their, way too loud, conversation a remark was made that made Pete Norris (one of the spectators) and me get a laughing fit. After about a minute or so Kai helped me get my notes straight...OOPS.

I guess this resulted in another draw. So I finish at 3-1-3. Not a bad score but it should have been better. When everything was packed, Devir (Portuguese distributor) surprised us with a nice buffet to celebrate a successful 100th GP. I had a great weekend and am looking forward to the next GP.

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