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JUDGE POINTS: Pro Tour Chicago 2003

Sheldon Menery


Head judge Mike Guptil settles a player dispute
I had the pleasure to be a member of the outstanding judge team at this year's Pro Tour Chicago. It was only the second time that I had worked with Head Judge Mike Guptil (the first being at the same venue three years earlier), and it reinforced his reputation as an outstanding judge.

Mike's already written his report from the HJ perspective, so I'll cover what interesting rulings I saw. The main event was an Onslaught Rochester Draft; we'll discuss some cards that you won't likely see in Constructed events.

Erratic Explosion: I've written about this previously, but there were enough questions about it that it bears repeating. If the opponent wants to respond to Erratic Explosion, like to make his creature tougher, he must do so before the Explosion player starts revealing cards. Players don't get priority during the resolution of a spell, so there's no chance to save the creature. Once the Explosion finishes resolving, the game will check State-Based Effects (rule 420.5) before the active player gets priority. The creature will be put in the graveyard before its controller can save it.

Dirge of Dread: It's a Sorcery. You can't attack and then play it. You can, of course, Cycle it, but then only one of your creatures will get Fear.

Thrashing Mudspawn: Like with any damage trigger, the Mudspawn must actually be in play when the damage resolves for the damage to be dealt and its ability to trigger. For example, a player blocked with his Mudspawn, put damage on the stack, and then sacrificed it to his Nantuko Husk. When the damage resolved, the Mudspawn wasn't in play any more; the damage assigned to it was never dealt. That means that the Mudspawn won't make its controller lose any life and that if the attacking creature had any damage triggers (like Exalted Angel, et al), nothing will happen.

The Mudspawn must actually be in play when the damage resolves for its ability to trigger

Tempting Wurm: All permanents put into play simultaneously with Tempting Wurm's triggered ability coming into play simultaneously. That means if you have a Nantuko Husk and a Crown of Suspicion in your hand, you can't put the Crown on the Husk. If you want to play the local enchantment, you'll have to put it on something that's already in play; the Wurm qualifies.

Clone and Morph: A player Cloned his Skittish Valesk while it was face up and then asked what would happen if he lost the flip and it got turned faced down. Clone copies all the abilities of the card, so the player can indeed turn it face up. If he had Cloned it when it was face down, he would have been stuck with a 2/2 creature with no abilities.

Administrative notes: We're beginning to win the battle against avoidable decklist errors; they seemed way down for this event. Perhaps players are just paying better attention, or they're tired of getting losses they could otherwise avoid. Additionally, we're getting extremely good at sorting and checking the decklists for legality. For draft deck construction, we created six different land stations, and then assigned a range of letters to each, corresponding to the first letter of the last name of the player. Players went to the appropriate station to get their lands. Decklists, even for 300+ players, were sorted at lightning speed. The process of checking the lists started before deck construction was completed. This resulted in the entire process being done well before the end of the first round of each draft. The Pro Tour may be richer in staff than your local events, but it doesn't take Level 2 and 3 Judges to do this. Any staff member is capable of ensuring decklists are legal.

Once again, the staff at the event exceeded itself. We've gotten extremely good at putting on these things. Kudos again to Mike Guptil for leading a great team. Huge pats on the back to Renee Roub and Jamie West Elias for a terrific show. I'm already looking forward to Chicago '04.



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