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Belgian Nationals - Judge Report

Jeroen Vercruysse

Location: Brussels, Student resto of the French University
Number of players:102

Head Judge: Lutz Hofmann; Lvl 3

Judge staff:

  • Johnny Bouckaert, lvl 2
  • Peter Coenen, lvl 2
  • Glen Monica, lvl 2
  • Eric Verbraecken, lvl 1
  • Jeroen Vercruysse, lvl 2

TO: Ann Van Dam; WotC Europe


Doors 9.00 am, Registration closing 9.45
Pods up 9.50: 3 people showing up from the tournament area for not being on the list...

Despite our calls if everybody was registered there was still some surprise with these players that they had to have themselves registered for this event. Ann has them registered for the tournament, adds them to the incomplete pods and off we go.

After players have been seated, the head-judge makes his announcements for the tournament. As this was done in English only, so there comes a question from the French speaking players if it can be done in French too. As Lutz is German and doesn't speak French, I get passed his English notes to translate his speech into French. Since my native language is Dutch, my unprepared French-English translation contains some small errors causing some hilarity as helpfull players are eager to correct them...

Draft 1
Pods are made random and at first sight I expect no real problems at the 2 tables I'm monitoring as the players all look familiar to me. Despite that, it is soon clear one youngster has no draft experience so I have to give some quick procedural guidelines.

Deck registration and construction start smoothly and we start sorting out the lands by type. With a fixed print order this goes really fast, and we're in time to set up land stations as the first players come to collect lands.

At the land station, we do a quick check of the lists collected; checking if the players name is on the paper and if he noted the required basic lands. This isn't time to socialize and we rush through the lands to have everybody served in a timely manner without delaying the tournament. Simultaneously, first initial is marked and list are sorted as they are collected.

Round 1
Round 1 takes off while half of us bend over the decklists for deck/total counts. As all of us have a serious experience with this; we discuss some broken draft numbers. Besides the regular registration errors of cards being short main deck or on the list, we spot a player registered 2 Angel of Retribution who left them in his SB. We decide to check this out as it seemed not logical. Once more there is a player with only his deck registered and not all the cards that were drafted... that's one sideboard gone for sure. We are ready before end of round and I manage to go for FOOD, as I'm quite starving.

Round 2
I'm assigned to collect decks of the random deckcheck table. At first, I collect table 7 and not 6... But as guidelines were to present decks when ready and NOT shuffle opponents deck before start of round; I can correct this easily. The decks match the list, so no problems here. Floating the floor, it becomes fast clear that we're somehow overstaffed for normal judge's work. Most players are familiar with the rules at this level.

One tough question; Player A has an Aven Trooper out, which was pumped in response to player B's Patriarchs Desire. Is he able to make him survive by pumping it in the beginning of his turn and then destroying the desire with his Nantuko Calmer? (the calmer had just been cast the turn before) No, as the Trooper dies during clean-up step when until End of Turn effects end.

Round 3
Deck-Checks, 2 tables full check per round. No problem once more

Draft 2

I'm at tables 1 and 2 again; so these players have had a good start. This it where it matters most for now and I have to tell players to keep their cards nearer to themselves. Some players pick up cards early, others choose their cards slow and both are reminded to pay attention to their timing.

While players are getting seats assigned for construction, some are eager to start and do so before allowed. Quick intervention prevents them from continuing to do so. They may begin and high concentration is used too its fullest extent.

Deck counts delivers some losses once more, tough this can be easily prevented by double-checking your deck.

Round 4
Round 4 gets some questions about if one is able to syncopate his own Cephalid Sage for 0, in order to reach threshold and draw the extra cards. Threshold and flashback aren't always best friends so a player needs some clarification about the interaction of his Zealot with his Embolden. He manages to draw the right conclusion and I don't have to step in to resolve everything correctly.

Round 5
Guy 'Deckcheck' Laenen gets another DC, computer picks him for random DC every single tournament he attends...
For once his random combines with an ordered as he has 14 To card listed. DC incorrect list. Match loss for not registering 2nd main deck ghastly demise at all. Added basic land to deck and invalidated the demise completely.

Issue a warning for misrepresentation to a player playing acceptable losses during his opponents EoT.

Once more I get the Soul Scourge Q: If I attack and my opponent kills my Scourge in regular combat damage; Is he dead before he gets his life back from the scourge? YES, the scourge dies at the exact same time as your opponent, state based...

Round 6
The last round for day 1. DC once more without any problem.
Its been a long day so I'm happy to go home to my girlfriend.

Day 2

9.00 am registration starts, we start to count decklist as we collect them. Staff change, Eric couldn't make it today and Antoine Rottiers from WotC joins us to help with Side-Events

Round 7
10 am pair round 7, surprisingly 1 high ranked player has not shown today and we start with 83 players. Then; the player shows from tournament area for not being on the list. Though alleged 'friends' had confirmed he'd not come, he was present from the very start of day 2 set-up, could not register then and missed the final call for players. Re-enter and re-pair. Unfortunately, memory of who confirmed his no show got lost in the moment, so we could not take any steps there.

Round 7 Deckcheck turns out fine and we head towards top 8 at the end of the day.

Two popular cards that present many questions from players

I have to intervene when somebody playing Psychatog fails to discard, in spite of his opponent clearly announcing EoT, Untap, Upkeep and Draw. The Psychatog got repulsed at EoT, triggered Standstill. There had been some attacks missing enough possibility to finish the opponent; so this was quite crucial for game state. I ruled it to have the same degree as drawing extra cards, and issued a game loss.

Taking the result entry slip, I noticed he had had a failure to discard in the same Match, though edited as misrepresentation. Being a repeat offence I called in the head-judge for a possible upgrade. Game state as I intervened was 1-1 so it was decided to have a game loss carry over to the next round.

Round 8
Deckcheck Guy Laenen, go over there to casually discuss yesterdays check, his deck-check luck and amaze him when I collect his presented deck once more... Both decks are fine and returned swiftly.

Near the end of round I decide to go follow a match-up from a retired judge who has been inactive for 3 years but qualified on rating. The match goes on friendly and as he gets addled he asks what it does and which color. The opponent does tell him what it does and tells him the color; as he then decides to counter, his opponent makes no problem of it. I decide to point him out that technically he's too late for that; so he knows for next time. Two spectators get agitated about that and get to me as I leave that table that this is rules implementation and should be enforced. I tell them my point of view, and discuss the situation with Lutz when I get at the judge station. He tells me I can issue an unsportsmanlike conduct warning to the spectators and confirms my point of view as the situation was clear to both players and no intervention was requested.

Round 9
Pairings round 9 are posted, I see one of the spectators, tell him I can technically issue a warning to him and his friend... He fails to understand judges point of view and I decide to let it al rest.

Ordered Deckcheck by the head judge for somebody with a questionable randomization the day before. Randomization of the deck is fine, so no problem there. Continuing the Deckcheck I notice there is one more forest then listed and 1 less Karplusan Forest. Tell Lutz randomization is fine; about the forest and how I want to solve it. Find the player and call him apart... As I show him the problem he immediately claims the 7th forest is not his and he wants to appeal.(6 forest were Asian, 7th was a regular OD) I go for Lutz, he gives the player the possibility to search for a KF as intended, player gets back and asks for the consequences... Back to me to complete my ruling and issue an additional warning for unsportsmanlike conduct and tell him to always first let complete a ruling and show respect for judges. He's a referee and should know better.

I get called to the feature match for a game situation, whether a tutor is completely resolved or not and a player may change his pick. Rule to allow the change and get appealed upon. The ruling gets confirmed though.

Round 10
Deckcheck once more. By now everybody in a area of some 10 tables around me double-checks his deck when I'm near them before start of round. Kindly reminded to do so by a younger player shouting out I'm there for deck checks... No problems with the decks collected though. 14.30 Time for FOOD (finally)

Round 11
Deckcheck, no problems at all

Round 12
Guard top tables to ensure everything stays fair, warn an outstander not to intervene in the Intentional draw discussion, repeat and remove him some time later.


Quarter finals

We're still 4 local judges, so each of us gets a match assigned while Lutz stays available. There is a time limit announced of 1 hour, but as the match-up becomes 1-1 both players know time limit is off for the deciding game. Although the final game takes quite long it isn't really exciting as one players has to mulligan to 6, misses land drop on turn three, catches up at turn four to end up dead turn 25 while being still at 3 land.


my break, so after some relaxation I went to go watch one of the games in progress. Nothing really special tough.

Finals / 3-4th place

I get to table judge finals, with Stan V as sideboard reporter next to me. No special judge interventions, and Stan isn't interested in this match-up neither. He just watches the game to cover it from short notes.

If your interested in player performance check out the Sideboard or www.trashtalk.be for some more specific info.

I'd like to conclude the report with a special thanks for WOTC Belgium's staff for their everlasting availability and the pleasure to work with them; my fellow judges and of course the players for the smooth and fair tournament.

Congrats to Jan Doise, our new national champion!

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