I learned some lessons the hard way.


My local shop has a Standard tournament every Tuesday.  I’ve been going for the past few weeks.  They guys there are pretty competitive and it hasn’t gone well for me, but I’ve learned a lot as a player.  Anyway, I went 2-2, which is alright, but the way I lost my first match was really frustrating.  I was playing against a Mono-black Devotion deck.  In the first game I put monsters on the board early and by the time he brought out something to stabilize the board, I was able to play Stoke the Flames for the win.  Game two, I take the game pretty quickly, but right at the end as I’m scooping up my cards and shaking hands, a guy points out that I have a card on the ground.  I look at it and know that it’s got to be the one that I finished the first game with since the only one I played in game 2 is still sitting in my graveyard.  A judge is called over and rules that I lose game 2 for playing with 59 cards.  I know the ruling is fair and I go on to losing game 3, partly because I was on tilt and decided to keep a hand I should have mulled.  I lost my second game and decided not to cut and tough it out, finishing out the night with two wins.

I’m not complaining about the outcome of the ruling or anything, it’s just the way the game is.  The whole ordeal has taught me to be a bit more careful with my cards between games.  I think that with sideboarding and all that I easily lose track of some of my cards.  I’m going to start counting up all my cards before each match now as I shuffle and make sure that there’s the full 60.  I also need to make sure that I reset myself mentally with each game to make sure that I have my head in it and don’t keep any bad hands.

Not to pile on, since the damage is done, but I have questions about the ruling:

Is this tournament held at Regular REL, or Competitive?

Was the game definitively over before the issue was found?

If this is regular, then that’s a fairly harsh infraction to give; game losses generally aren’t given at Regular. In fact, most infractions are given Cautions, with some (Serious Problems) being DQs.

Also, if the game was over before the judge was called, the Game Loss (which rightfully should have been given at Competitive REL) should be applied to the next game.

I genuinely believe the judge was trying their best to make the right call, and I may be incorrect in my reading of the JAR and IPG, but it might be worth following up with them to see if they still think it was the right call to make. I’m a big proponent of both players and judges being on the same page, rules-wise.

(Source: thetopdeck)


Pro-tip from a friendly judge: among all others, there is one Game Loss that is REALLY EASY TO AVOID, yet gets given out a surprisingly high amount of the time:

Tournament Error - Deck/Deck List Problem

For those that have never run up against this infraction and do have experience at competitive tournaments, good for you!  For everyone else, follow these easy steps:

1. Make sure your deck list is readable.  I’m sure you can find templates to use, but here’s one straight from the DCI:

If you don’t write very legibly, you can always use that template to type up your deck list and print it out ahead of time.

2. Count your cards.  Do you have at least 60 in the deck?  Make sure the right number is on the deck list.  Count it again.  Count it again.

3. Same goes for the sideboard.  Make sure it’s accurate (remember: it can be anywhere from 0-15 cards, but should still be right.  If you have 12, make sure that’s what’s written down).  Also remember that any limitation on the number of copies of a card apply across both the main deck and sideboard.

4. Make sure your tray tables are up and seats are returned to an upright position.  If you, for whatever reason, don’t remember the deck list, you can use some tools to help.  You CAN use electronic devices between matches, so feel free to use whatever means you need to make sure your deck is restored to what is on the deck list between matches.  Failing that, you can usually ask a judge to see your deck list.

That’s about it.  If you follow the steps I’ve outlined, you shouldn’t run into a Deck/Deck List Problem.

I don’t speak for all judges, but I can say that I personally hate giving out these game losses.  I want you to play full matches!  So be a little prepared and you never have to worry about it.



Combo of the Day: Become almost unkillable!

"6/1/2011 Phyrexian Unlife won’t affect damage that reduces your life total from a positive number to 0 or less. For example, if you’re at 3 life and are dealt 5 damage, you’ll end up at -2 life. The next time you’re dealt damage, it will be dealt as though its source had infect."

Watch out for First/Doublestrike though!

I was discussing this very combo over the weekend at the SCG Open in Syracuse. I definitely want to build a deck that capitalizes on this.

Now to see if I can shoehorn in Melira…



so a friend offered to teach me how to play Magic: the Gathering and so now I’m watching beginners videos on it and it sounds so damn confusing!

All I can say to this is videos may not be the best thing for you. I know I very much like to teach through play; it’s how I learned and I’ve seen success with it when teaching people.

It’s also fun! Way more fun, in my opinion, than watching videos.

I missed you, Lili.  My first planeswalker way back when.  I also feel she’s a good power level for 5 mana (and ridiculously so with draw effects or a way to get her to her ultimate).  
I don’t really have much else to say about this card.  I just really like it.  I kind of wish Liliana got a new card in M15, but I’m happy enough with the new Garruk.

I missed you, Lili.  My first planeswalker way back when.  I also feel she’s a good power level for 5 mana (and ridiculously so with draw effects or a way to get her to her ultimate).  

I don’t really have much else to say about this card.  I just really like it.  I kind of wish Liliana got a new card in M15, but I’m happy enough with the new Garruk.


mtgexpert said: Are you familiar with the standard brave naya lists? If so, you may know that the pump goes well with double strike, so many people have been thinking about running fencing ace. What's your opinion? Also, what would remove from the deck to supply a spot for the fencing ace? Thanks!

Correct me if I’m wrong (sadly, I don’t keep up with standard), but I think this is the list you’re talking about (or is at least approximate):

For anyone who doesn’t want to go read that article, this is the list:

Boros Reckoner
Dryad Militant
Fleecemane Lion
Ghor-Clan Rampager
Loxodon Smiter
Soldier of the Pantheon
Voice of Resurgence

Boros Charm
Brave the Elements
Selesnya Charm

2 Plains
Sacred Foundry
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Temple of Abandon
Temple of Plenty
Temple of Triumph

For purposes of this conversation, the sideboard doesn’t matter much; we’re talking strictly mainboard here (also, Fencing Ace really wouldn’t have a place in the sideboard).

There are actually a few lists out there that could match this description.  For most of those, Fencing Ace could probably find a place (for example, this list.  I could see Fencing Ace replacing Scion of Vitu-Ghazi).  

I like the idea of Fencing Ace in a deck that can, essentially flash out pumps.  Our friendly swordsman with something like the Rampager makes for a really deadly combo.  I particularly like lists that run Boon Satyr for a more permanent boost (also effective with any bestow creature, but the satyr can flash).  I would probably go for something like an Ordeal, but that still nets you card disadvantage when you lose the ultimately still vulnerable Fencing Ace.  

Personally, I might take out a Voice, Soldier, and Lion.  Meaning the creature list will look like this:

4 Boros Reckoner
4 Dryad Militant
3 Fencing Ace
3 Fleecemane Lion
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
2 Loxodon Smiter
3 Soldier of the Pantheon
3 Voice of Resurgence

Running 3-ofs mean you still have a good chance of hitting that card in a game.  Plus, you end up with 9 total 2-drops (at the loss of a 1-drop).  It might be a little unwieldy (Fencing Ace really does require support to be effective), but I kind of like it.

All that being said, I’m not really a great player.  I’m good, but not that good.  One of the many reasons I choose to judge now.


Wanting to mentor


I basically want to scream rule questions and advice in the face of the people I know that are studying up to become judges. But all I can say is “If you ever have a question I’m always reachable”. And they don’t have questionssss. Sob.

If these people are your friends, why not start a judge club or something? Like a book club, but everyone has to bring a particularly interesting ruling or something.

Or, do your own take on judge classes instead.

If these people are serious about judging, they’ll want to learn. It doesn’t have to be an in-person thing if that’s too hard for people; it can be a skype conference or a google hangout or something.

This will also have the benefit of getting local judges talking to each other.

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