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I am very much looking forward to the Khans pre-release this weekend. Not only do I get to play Magic again (I’ve been judging a lot lately), but I convinced my flatmates to come with me. Also, this is the last 3 set block and that’s exciting.
But, I specifically want to comment on a couple of cards I’m looking forward to.
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.
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.