|Northeast Regionals - Judges Report
Dorian Anders and Vicent Roscioli
After the Northeast Regionals, I sent out a request to the participating judges for them to send along their experiences at the Regionals so we could build a group report. Vincent Roscioli's prompt submission was extensive enough that I could combine his thoughts with mine to produce this report. Vincent went through his Level One judge certification with me and has returned to help me at my monthly tournaments. He is a good dedicated judge who is fun to work with. This report is divided into two sections. Section one describes the tournament setup and how my team, Team 1 tried out some new set up processes. Section two is a floor report by Vincent Roscioli, who was on Team 2.
Site: Ramada Inn & Conference Center, North Brunswick, New Jersey
Judges: Head Judge - Eric Smith (3)
Team 1: Dorian Anders (3)-Lead, Kendall Redburn (2), Christine Colosimo (1), Patrick Appnel (1)
Team 2: Steve Zwanger (3)- Lead, Vince Roscioli(1), Sean Marotta (1), Doron Singer (1), Hayden Courtland (1)
Team 3: Seth Levy(2)- Co-lead, Ray Merz (2) - Co-lead, Joe Amato (1), Matt Urban (1)
The judging staff was great with three Level 3, three Level 2, and eight Level 1 judges, plus Gray Matter staff Michael Errante, Mark Mazella and Tournament Organizer: Glen Friedman.
Head judge - Eric Smith
Eric organized us into three teams with each team rotating through the duties of Floor judging, Deck Checks, and Pairings. The team performing deck checks then had the rest of the round to take a break. The team that posted the pairings, after doing so, would help with floor judging.
Section One: Tournament Setup:
With a huge turnout anticipated, we had decided to test out using multiple computers to enter players. We also separated money and registration form collection from the data entry station. It worked!.
The player registration forms and entry fees were collected outside the main tournament hall. A runner brought registration forms back to the data entry stations which were located inside the main room.
Since Kendall Redburn, our technical wizard, was on my team, Team 1 handled the data entry while the other teams were helping set up the tournament hall. We initially started out with three computer stations. After each computer had 7 or 8 people entered, Kendall decided to test the operation of the data transfer. At this time he found out that the main computer's floppy disk no longer functioned. Kendall was able to swap out the main computer's floppy disk with the floppy disk from another station (two Dell's) and complete the test. He decided that the two computers with operational floppy drives were sufficient for data entry and Christine used the third computer to look up DCI numbers.
Kendall and Patrick started data entry at 8:00am. By 9:30am they had 240 names on the second computer and around another 260 on the main computer. Then using the process described in the judge's article - 'Using multiple computer entry with DCI Reporter', they successfully transferred the player data from the secondary computer to the main computer in under 2 minutes. The last thirty or so players to straggle in were registered on the main computer (and the second computer was shut down). By using two computers to enter player data we were able to have enough time to handle unreadable forms and incorrect DCI numbers. In less than one and a half hours over 500 players were entered.
from left to right, Patrick Appnel, and Christine Colosimo (Team 1), Sean Marotta, and Steve Zwanger (Team 2)
Round One pairings were posted at 10:00am! Needless to say a lot of players were astounded that we were starting round one on time. Deck lists were collected after all players were seated for the first round. Since we had four players with special seating needs, we got a chance to try out the Special Seating feature of DCI Reporter. When you enter a player you check the Fixed Seating Box. They are assigned a seat of S-1, S-2, S-3, etc. We located the S- seats at the front of the room. For the first round there was some confusion as only the player with the fixed seat, got an S-1, S-2 next to their name, while their opponent was seated at a regular table. We ended up off searching for the special seating player's opponents after round one started. For all other rounds, both players had the proper S-1 - S-4 designation after their name.
PDA's and Floor Judging
I had just gotten a Palm Tungsten C (PDA) into which the night before I had loaded the Oracle for all the Type two cards, the Comprehensive Rules, and the Penalty Guidelines. One of the Computers at the main table was also set up to be a Web Server, so I could use the web to check on how much time was left in the round. What fun it was having a PDA to use out on the floor! The first round had just started and responding to the call "Judge" - A player asks "I need to see the exact Oracle wording of Corrupt." (A foreign Corrupt had been played). Out came the PDA, and within seconds I could show the player the Oracle wording.
Most of the judging questions that I encountered were procedural, such as
How did cycling go on the stack?
There was one protection from color question (Mutilate versus a creature with protection from black)
One of Kendall's incidents was a bit unusual.
There was a gentleman who was hard of hearing who was sitting at the back of the room. Time was called. Players started their five turn countdowns. When they got the turn five, the hearing-impaired player called the judge to protest that his opponent had not told him the right time for when 'Time' had been called. Upon investigation it turned out that the main reason the hearing-impaired player had called for the judge was that when they got to turn five he was able to see that he would be able to win if he had one more turn. Kendall suggested that if the player needed to be seated up near the front so that he could hear better, that the tournament staff would be happy to accommodate him (as we already had special seating set up). Kendall also explained that it was highly unlikely that his opponent was trying to take advantage of him as there were a number of other matches also 'counting down' at the same table. The special seating offer was not accepted.
Section two: Floor Judging - Team 2, by Vincent Roscioli
NE Regionals was the first large event at which I judged, and it was a truly unique experience. Of course, I had to start the day by doing something wrong and getting it over with and I managed to do so. At 5 o'clock in the morning, as I prepared to leave my home in Bethlehem, PA to North Brunswick, NJ, I realized that I had left my only pair of decent shoes in my locker at school; I furiously attempted to find a store that would be open that early. Failing to find any, I went to my backup plan - I wore my dad's shoes. This worked fairly well, but caused severe discomfort after 15 hours of being on my feet. Thus, I learned my first lesson of the day.
Never let it be said that judging isn't fun. Dorian Anders and Ray Merz with Hayden Courtland observing in back
Having only judged 4 events prior to Regionals, I was not familiar with dealing with masses which exceeded 500 people, not to mention that this is the first event at which I've judged which used Match Result Slips and was run at a higher REL than REL1. In short, I was overwhelmed.
Prior to the beginning of the event, I was assigned to help set things up and keep people away from the computer station. Our registration process proved to be very efficient, and our data entry judges were able to keep up with the registration forms which were continually ferried from the registration booth to the computer station.
Luckily, my team's first round assignment was to check deck lists. 'Good,' I thought to myself. 'This is something I know how to do.' And it was. At each event I went to that utilized deck lists, I had been assigned to check if they were legal. Now this experience was paying off.
My team was also assigned to check deck lists during Round 2, but we proved to be quite efficient and managed to finish them before the end of Round 1. Therefore, after issuing penalties to those with illegal deck lists, we finally got a chance to hit the floor.
Two situations in Round 2 were of interest. The first was a rules question involving Graveborn Muse and Words of War. Player A has Words of War, Graveborn Muse, and 5 other Zombies in play. His life total is less than 6. He wants to know if he can activate his Words of War using the card drawing caused by the Graveborn Muse to kill off some of his Zombies so that he doesn't lose as much life. It was ruled that he cannot because, even if the X could change from the time that the amount of damage is calculated to the time that the loss of life is calculated, the Zombies would still be in play after damage is dealt to them. They would only go to the graveyard after the ability had finished resolving as a result of State-Based Effects.
The second situation occurred at the end of the round. Player B and Player C are on the fifth turn of the end game procedure. Player C is the active player and declares his attack. Player B is using several of his sideboard cards to represent token creatures. He has 13 of these token creatures in play. During the process of deciding what to block, he sets his hand down next to his token creatures and cannot determine which cards were in his hand and which cards were in his sideboard. Under most circumstances, this would be a game loss, but our head judge, Eric Smith, told the pair to finish the game, with Player B not having a hand, and issued Player B a warning. Eric explained that this was a sufficient penalty because it was the last turn of the game, and by disallowing Player B to have a hand, he could not affect the outcome of the game, and therefore he could not gain a strategic advantage.
For Round 3, I was assigned to the floor. There were no very memorable problems during this round, aside from instructing players to change sleeves that had been banned at this event but were being used nonetheless.
During Round 4, I was assigned to perform a deck check. It proceeded without mishap and my team members and I were permitted to go to lunch.
Well-fed, my team returned to the floor for Round 5. There was one question worthy of note in this round. The first question involved Chain of Plasma and Faceless Butcher. Player D has a Faceless Butcher in play, having removed one of Player E's creatures from the game. Player E plays Chain of Plasma targeting the Faceless Butcher. Player D asks if he may target the creature removed from the game with the Chain of Plasma. It was ruled that he may not. The copy of Chain of Plasma goes on the stack and targets are chosen during the resolution of the original spell. At this point, no players have received priority, and State-Based Effects have not been checked. Therefore, when targets are declared for the copy, the Faceless Butcher is still in play, leaving Player E's creature untargetable.
Also during this round, I noticed a lot more problems that were caused by miscommunication. Players failing to indicate when they were yielding priority and failing to realize what phase or step they were in caused some confusion.
By Round 6, our players began to show signs of weariness. Problems regarding game state were arising frequently. In one such scenario, Player F is unsure whether he has drawn a card for his turn. His opponent also doesn't know. We perform a card count and find that Player F has, in fact, drawn a card for his turn.
On the same note, we had a rather strange case of "Procedural Error - Playing the Wrong Opponent". Player G was supposed to play Player H at table 129 and Player I was supposed to play Player J at table 139. Player I, instead, sat at table 129 and played against Player H. This went unnoticed because Player G failed to show up for the match. The mistake was not realized until the end of the round; therefore, Player I received a match loss for playing the wrong opponent, Player G never showed up, and so received a match loss and was dropped from the tournament. Players H and J received match wins by default.
Round 7 was relatively quiet. After issuing a Warning for "Marked Cards - Minor" during a deck check, I hit the floor, which was eerily devoid of questions.
It is at this point that my memory begins to fade. I recall beginning to feel the signs of fatigue myself. I began sitting and watching matches rather than working the entire room and this was another important lesson to be learned: get lots of sleep. Having just turned 16, I am not yet graced with a driver's license and my own car, causing me to be reliant on others for transportation. So when my ride arrives, that's when I need to leave. Unfortunately, that time was in the middle of Round 10, so I was unable to see who ended up on top.
All in all, I feel that the 2003 NE Regionals ran fairly smoothly. It couldn't have been done without the top-notch administration which we had available. This event reminded me that you must be alert in looking for all types of penalties, from drawing and extra card to collusion in the top 8. It was a very memorable experience as my first event working with the Gray Matter Conventions crew, and I'd like to send out a 'Job well done!' to everyone involved. - Vincent Roscioli
I would like to join Vincent in thanking everyone for their assistance and diligence in making this a truly professionally run event. - Dorian Anders