Grand Prix Vienna Judge Report

March 9, 2014

Emilien Wild

Level 3 Judge that judges a lot of GPs.
Also judges in all sorts of events in Belgium.
Top 16 GP Lyon 2012

More Posts (10)

This weekend I was back in business as a judge in Grand Prix Vienna 2013. However, I almost didn’t judge GP Vienna… What?!
Well, as I already explained in previous articles, a tournament this big (1,464 players!) needs many judges (we were more than 50) and to improve our efficiency we’re given really specific tasks and roles.
On Saturday I helped with the registration process as it was the last European Grand Prix ever in which people could still register on the morning of the tourney. What followed was quite chaotic and a lot of logistic issues arose. Unfortunately, nearly 200 registered players didn’t appear on the players’ meeting seating.
As players went to complain, we helped to channel the flow, separate them based on their kind of problem they had, send the most urgent ones to a priority line (players without any byes, who are supposed to play starting round 1), and made sure that nobody disturbed the scorekeepers as they resolved the issues. All in all we did our best to reduce the delays but players still waited far too long for the tournament to begin.
I then joined the floor team judges who did the most iconic stuff: Walking the tables, watching games, looking for cheaters and mistakes and answering players’ calls.
It’s pretty common for judges to be switched around based on the needs of the events. Here, I went to the team in charge of the smaller events that took place on the side of the Grand Prix itself. It was mainly an administrative job, explaining the system I used at GP Prague and getting events started.
Sunday, I was on the Community team, which goal is to help make the GP fun for everyone, players and judges alike, while not working on specific events. Among the many duties of the team was manning the judge booth (on which we entertain players with rules question or provide them answers and assistance in any judge-related topics), being on the certification team (which provides an accelerated way to be certified to players without a local level 2 judge) and on the 2-on-1 team (which was my case in Vienna).
The goal of 2-on-1 team is to provide a gateway between specific judges and the whole judge program. Most judges actually don’t interact with more than a dozen of other judges but we wanted to utilize every opportunity to get to know them and make sure that they got answers and support.
The 2-on-1 team is always composed of two experienced judges who pick a third less experienced judge to discuss any topic he wishes. While we do this, we try to get a picture of the judge’s situation.
Part of the discussion may be private and if he has a question which we don’t have the answer for, we research it and get back to him later. Common topics are policy, rules, conflicts with other judges, organizers or players, things that went wrong in the past, the leveling process and feedback from the judges that we pass along.
It may sound nice that I spent my Sunday at the convention center’s cafeteria, especially compared to the other judges who physically manned the dozen of events taking place in the main room. Alas, it also meant that only half of my work was done: Once I got home I had a lot of reports to write!
Although I didn’t spend that much time watching Magic games, here are some situations I witnessed or that were reported to me by fellow judges:
Q. Nicole controls a Soldier of the Pantheon and Arianna wants to play a Turn // Burn targeting it. Can she do it? And if so, does Nicole gain 1 life?
A. She can as long as she doesn’t fuse it and only targets it with either Turn or Burn. Nicole won’t gain 1 life. When you play only a single half of a split card you only consider this half while it’s on the stack. If you only play Burn, the spell on the stack will only be Red and so not multicolored.
Q. OK, but if I want to search in my sideboard for a Turn // Burn thanks to Glittering Wish, does it work?
A. Yes. Outside of the stack, split cards have two sets of characteristics. This means that Turn // Burn has two mana costs, including two different colors of mana. Having two different colors of mana in its cost(s) is the definition of a multicolored card.

Situation: Aran controls a Bident of Thassa and 8 creatures including several tokens. Niki controls 6 creatures. Aran attacks with everything and Niki blocks with all her creatures. Aran states: “OK, you take 5 and I’ll draw 3 cards for the unblocked creatures.” Niki agrees. Just after drawing, Aran realizes that he should have only drawn 2 cards and immediately calls a judge.
Answer: In this case the ruling is a standard rules error (what we call Game Play Error – Game Rules Violation in judge-speech) for which Aran got a Warning. We then take a card at random from Aran’s hand and put it back on top of his library. Aran didn’t get a Game Loss – the usual penalty for drawing too many cards at a competitive event – because he got Niki’s approval for the draw before he performed it. Keep that in mind next time you’re about to draw some cards!

Q. Asher controls a Master of Waves and 3 Elemental tokens. He plays a Thassa, God of the Sea. Is Thassa a creature?
A. No, the Elementals, as is the case with most tokens, don’t have a mana cost and so don’t count in the devotion to Blue.

Situation: During an 8 players pick-up event, two judges had to sit down at the table and watch both player’s face closely for about a minute. Can you guess why?
Answer: The players were engaged in a Chaos Draft game, a booster draft event performed with boosters, each coming from a different Magic set (including… Unhinged). One of the players played Eye to Eye and the only way to know for sure who won the staring contest was to have a judge on either side. The judges gleefully performed this silly task.

Situation: Amaris controls a Satyr Rambler and Nico controls a Karametra’s Acolyte. Both cards are physically close. Amaris attacks with her Satyr and Nico picks up his Acolyte and puts it back on the table. Amaris slams a Titan’s Strength on her Satyr. Nico tells her that he didn’t block yet with his Acolyte but was just considering it. They call for a judge to settle the disagreement.
Answer: The judge decides that, in the absence of any other communication the move of a creature card in front of an attacking creature could reasonably be interpreted as a declaration of blockers. This is true especially if players did it the same way before, leaving the game untouched, as it was impossible to rewind without giving away too much strategic information. Next time Nico should communicate his intentions more clearly to Amaris by, for example, saying that he’s just thinking or that it’s not his final move (while he’s fiddling with his cards).

Q. Ariana controls a Meletis Charlatan and plays a Sphinx’s Revelation for X=5, then uses the Charlatan’s ability targeting her Revelation. How many cards does she draw?
A. 10. On the stack, the value of X is equal to the value chose during its casting (everywhere else it’s 0) and it’s a copiable value. This means that the copy’s value of X is 5. Ariana draws 5 cards for the copy and then 5 cards for the original spell.

See you at Grand Prix, GP Prague 2014.


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