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NW Regionals 2002 - Judge Report

Jake Bales

Friday night preparations:

After getting together Judge handbooks for the staff, washing a zebra shirt and planning the Judge car pool for the morning I was ready to get a good nights sleep for the long day to come. But instead some friends of mine got together and played sealed, then we drafted. Around 1:30am it seemed wise to get at least a few hours of sleep, since my plan for a full 8 had crashed and burned.

I got an early start Saturday morning and picked up Brandon 15 minutes ahead of schedule. We had 35 minutes to pick up Z, another Judge who lived only 15 minutes away. So we grabbed some McDonalds breakfast and headed to Z's. After some confusion with a phone number to reach him we finally got Z in the car and headed to Seattle, 10 minutes behind schedule now. As to be expected in this world there was an 8-car accident littering I-5, the freeway to Seattle. The once 5 lane empty road at 8am was now a congested 2-lane nightmare setting us another 25 minutes behind. To our advantage security at the venue showed up 30 minutes late to unlock our room so we were actually on schedule with the event.

After the worst morning-of-event ever we were ready to go. Our expected number was blasted away as 340 people showed up. There was much moving of tables and adding of chairs to fit this number in as best as possible. Our head judge, Jeff Donais directed the adjustments to the floor plan and we ended up getting everyone in, although it was a bit uncomfortable for the first 3 rounds.

Jake Bales, leader of Judge Team 1

We ran our Regionals much like a Pro-Tour with the Judge teams and alpha seated players meeting. I had the pleasure of being team leader with Alex Charsky, Brandon Male and Tony Mayer filing the ranks. Ron Foster headed up Paul Thomson, Bryan Zembruski and Dale Sizemore. Everything ran well with team 1 and team 2 alternating duties. Team 1 deck checks odd rounds, team 2 even rounds while results slips were handled on the teams off round. We seated the players alphabetically for the team meeting. While announcements were being made I assigned judges at different ends of each section of tables to pick up deck lists. When all lists had been collected and combined we had a fully alphabetized set to ease up the round one examinations and filing of all of the lists.

We ended up handing out 7 game losses and 2 match losses for various deck list errors. Double count your sideboard and deck lists to avoid this, folks.

Most of the rules questions at this event repeated themselves.
"Do I get a card if my Compost is Deeded away?"
"Can I block then scorch a Spiritmonger without it regenerating?"

Some of the less experienced players had trouble grasping combat steps. On at least 8 occasions I had to explain that Mongrel could be pumped after damage had gone on the stack but before it resolved. Or similarly that Aquamoebea could put 3 damage on the stack, then switch back to 3 toughness to save it before damage resolves.

There was, as always, some upkeep misunderstandings. People need to remember that Braid's upkeep effect goes on the stack before you have a chance to bounce it.

One of the more interesting situations presented involved the interaction of these two cards

One of the more interesting situations presented to me was when player A had an Engineered Plague (horrors) in play. Player B played a Mesmeric Fiend. First question, is the Nightmare Horror affected by an Engineered Plague Horrors? Yes, the Fiend is both a Nightmare and a Horror. Second question, what happens now? Well the Fiend comes into play and its ability goes on the stack, the state based effect checks and the 0/0 Fiend dies. Its leaving play ability goes on the stack. The leaving play ability resolves, then the coming into play ability removing the card of Player B's choice for all eternity.

Deck checks were consistently finding minor marked card infractions and a few major problems. Hopefully one day players will learn to shuffle their decks before sleeving. Always inform players that sleeves occasionally come with markings or dents, if they shuffle them or the deck (preferably both) there will be no problems. Too often the deck is in order and sleeved without shuffling making half of it marked (land) and the other clean (non-land). This is a pattern and whether or not the player is cheating he/she has a huge possible advantage that must be taken care of.

Mike Thompson got a free win when his opponent didn't know a deed for 7 was not required to kill a Roar of the Worm token, and accidentally tapped out Deeding his own Spiritmonger away in the process. The round following this there was a life discrepancy, a mistake by his opponent and Mike mised another win when his opponent's Phyrexian Arena killed him.

The last few rounds were fairly emotional for the players. As Judges we need to control these tough end of event situations. Often spectators present problems in the last few rounds. Whether they are disgruntled players who have dropped with one too many losses, or friends of a player shooting for the top eight an event rarely goes by where Judges don't have to handle or remove disruptive spectators. At this event we had problems with players watching their friends matches and disrupting the cards by picking up and looking at the graveyard of a player or laughing/sighing in response to plays. Often people like this are somewhat difficult to deal with. As Judges we must put aside our fear of confrontation and deal with what must be dealt with to maintain the integrity of the event. The Seattle community of Magic players includes many pro level competitors along with its good mix of PTQ regulars. While this can be frustrating for judges at times I strongly feel this type of environment builds the strongest judges in the program. Overall Regionals 2002 was a enjoyable and well-done event. Thanks to all Regional staff members who volunteered their time and energy at all locations.

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