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Making the Leap - PTQ Yokohama @ Seattle

Tony Mayer

March 29, 2003 at Cardhaus Games, Seattle, Wash., USA
76 Players, 7 Rounds
Sealed Deck Format with Top 8 Booster Draft
Winner: Eric Olson
TO & Scorekeeper: Jessica Lawson
Judge Certification: Chris Zantides
Judges: Tony Mayer (2, HJ), Mike Goodman (2), Dale Sizemore (2), Kevin Defields (1), Jay Schneider (1), Mike Thompson (1)

Pro Tour Qualifiers in Seattle are known for an unusually deep talent pool and for experienced staff. Seattle PTQ's are generally worked by 2-4 Level 2's and 2-4 experienced Level 1's. For the players, this means tough competition and a well-run event. For up-and-coming judges, it provides a rich environment to develop skills. Our core group has judged together at every PTQ here for over a year, with our teamwork having allowed us to go to Grand Prix, Nationals, and beyond.

HEAD JUDGE vs. STAFF MEMBER

With WOTC headquarters just 20 minutes to the south, opportunities to Head Judge a Premier event are scarce. When a random Level 3-5 Judge walks in the door, the issue is decided. When that doesn't happen, we Level 2's take turns in charge. This was my first go as the Head Judge, and I found subtle differences between being a dependable team member and being the leader of the team.


Head Judge Tony Mayer
Judges' Meeting: After updating the team on the latest relevant rulings (Foothill Guide vs. Gempalm Incinerator), I told them we wouldn't split into teams to take care of the tasks for each round. There were only six of us and two guys were testing for Level 2, so it wasn't super-feasible. I also broke tack with some other HJ's I've worked with before by saying they didn't need to consult me before handing out Game Losses. I did this because I knew they would likely tell me about major penalties anyway, or they would be appealed to me by the player. Good communication, a must for any group, has always been a strength of our judge team.

Decklists/Land Station: Jay, Kevin, and I have an uncanny ability to count up decklists rapidly. Just because I was HJ didn't mean I had a set group of tasks I had to do. Because we knocked out the decklists mere seconds into Round 1, we were able to hand out the decklist penalty in that round (yes, only 1 out of 76 lists).

Deck Checks/Start of Round: As the day progressed, I made sure everybody did result slips, pairings, etc. In later rounds, I stayed on the floor while the rest of the team conducted deck checks.

SCENARIOS/RULINGS

Round 2: A attacks B with 3 creatures. B controls a lone Glarecaster. Combat damage is stacked, and before it resolves B uses Glarecaster's ability targeting A for the redirected damage. I ruled that since combat damage is a single entry on the stack, all three creatures' damage gets redirected to A. Glarecaster is unlike a CoP in that it waits for the next damage event rather than choosing a specific source of damage. (This is similar to when Phantom Nishoba is stack-blocked, the Nishoba only loses one counter.)

Round 4: At the end of Game 3 of a Feature Match, the winning player failed to reveal his two morphs. Although I had verified the cards were legal morphs while watching the game, he failed in his responsibility to flip them up for the opponent. He was given a Warning for Proc. Error-Major.

Round 5: A's morph is blocked by B's morph. A passes priority and B flips up Battering Craghorn. A attempts to Pinpoint Avalanche the Craghorn before first strike damage goes on the stack. B calls me over contending that since A had passed priority and morph doesn't use the stack, the game should proceed directly to the Combat Damage step. I informed B that he was incorrect; while morph doesn't use the stack, it does break the chain of priority passes needed to end a step. A could then Avalanche the Craghorn and keep his morph alive.


Morphing the Craghorn before damage is put on the stack does allow the opponent to cast Avalanche before damage is stacked

In another Feature Match, A's decklist had no blue Legions cards registered. We found the cards in his sideboard and we determined it wasn't his fault so a Game Loss for Illegal Sideboard made no sense. In an odd twist, the registering player was his opponent, B, which made giving penalties much easier. B got a Warning for misregistering the deck, and A got a Caution for not reporting the error to the judges during deckbuilding.

Top 8 Draft: One of the players received a Warning when he began reviewing his picks in the middle of the first pack. I had to instruct another player to keep the card he selected after he put a card on his pile, changed his mind, and began picking the card up. (From the UTR, Section 74: "Once a player has removed a card from the pack and put it on the pile, it is considered selected and may not be returned to the pack.")

During deck construction a player asked me about an interaction between Sigil of the New Dawn and Celestial Gatekeeper. He asked about this scenario: Sigil and Gatekeeper were in play and other Birds or Clerics were in the graveyard. If Gatekeeper were sent to the graveyard, could he stack the Sigil atop the Gatekeeper ability, so the Gatekeeper can come back to his hand before its own ability removes it from the game? I confirmed that as true. Also, the return of the other Birds/Clerics is not dependent on the removal of the Gatekeeper (unlike something Standstill, where the card draw is contingent on the sacrifice), so the targets could be returned to play. As it turned out, he never got to pull off the combo and he was bounced out in the semifinals.

If these two effects are stacked correctly, the Player can return the Gatekeeper
to his hand before its own ability tries to remove it from the game

SUMMARY

Well, we finished deckbuilding in a timely manner and had a couple of rounds end early (that made the T.O. happy). We had no penalties for unsporting conduct, cheating or collusion (that made the players happy). And we got huge things of teriyaki for lunch (that made the judge team happy). All in all, a good day!

Congratulations to the team (Mike, Dale, Kevin, Jay, Mike) on a great job for this event - you guys are amazing! Final thanks go to Chris Zantides, James Lee, and John Grant for their leadership, mentoring, and support of our judge team over the last two years.



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