What happened in Madrid?

May 26, 2014

Hi players,
I am writing those lines from the site of GP Madrid. After I played (and lost) an on-camera match in round 13, I was informed that I had been doing something illegal in game 3 of our match. I will try to describe it in the simplest, most objective way I can.
On turn 3 on the game, I sacrificed a Verdant Catacombs fecthing for a Forest, and played a Birds of Paradise. The problem is, I did not actually cast the Birds of Paradise from my hand : I cast it from my library.
This is what happened, and those are just facts that you can see in the video. Nobody noticed what had just happened, myself included, but this is obviously just my word here. Still, I just got to see the footage on camera, and I can already say three things :
– I did play that card from my library, and I did use that card to try and win the game afterwards. Even though it was not very useful, I did absolutely gain an advantage by putting into play a card that should not be there.
– This is a very awkward thing to do, it does look extremely suspicious and it has absolutely no reason to happen since playing a card from your library is absolutely not a common mistake to make, especially when you play at a competitive level.
– This was a very important round for me, since a win would keep me alive for top8.
Now, this is why I want to tell you. I do know that a part of the magic community will see this as me trying to cheat my way into the top8: it is an awkward mistake to make, and I did have a lot of the line. Also, I should have noticed that I had one bird too many in my hand the turn after that happened.
I will obviously not be able to prove anything, since you are not in my head and have no reason to believe me, and I can definitely not blame anyone for seeing me as a cheater after watching this footage. Hell, I would at least be extremely suspicious.
I did not cheat. I never intended to do what I did, and I feel extremely bad I did it because I understand what it looks like and what it makes me look like. I also know that the recent events regarding “fake shuffling” that resulted in a bunch of bannings have made the community highly suspicious towards most competitive players, and it is both a logical thing, and a good thing.
Can I make you believe me? Certainly not, even though I am absolutely willing to discuss what happened with anyone that wants to. But I will just try to list a few things that I hope you will keep in mind before you react to what you saw. It is not about telling you I am a nice guy, because that would be entirely irrelevant. It is about logical thinking, or at least I believe it is.
– Doing what I did on purpose would be the stupidest thing to do. I was on camera, and I obviously knew it. I know many people watch those streams, and I know some of them will scrutinize everything. Also, what I did is definitely not subject to interpretation. Looking at an opponent’s library, even on camera, is something a player might deny doing even when shown on the footage. Playing a card from your library? No way. This is a mechanical thing (and it is indeed extremely obvious in the video), and you can prove it with absolute certainty just by counting the cards I had access to. So if I try to do this, I can be entirely sure people will notice it on camera – and they did.
– If I was a cheater, I would probably try and get a big edge through cheating. Here, I got a free 0/1 when I already had a bit of mana to work with and, much more importantly, had another Birds of Paradise in my hand that I did not cast (and this is something you can should be able to see on camera, so please, please go make sure). I did not need that extra mana – but there is no denying that having an extra 0/1 flyer in my hand was still an advantage illegally acquired, especially given that I also had a Gavony Township.
– Now, look at how I played from my perspective (I mean, trying to think as I did). I already have a Birds of Paradise in my hand (I had it in my opening hand), I fetch a Forest with a Verdant Catacombs (I think it is fairly obvious that I want to cast that Birds of Paradise). So far, everything is absolutely legal. Now, instead of playing the Birds of Paradise that I have in my hand with that Forest, I cast the one that was sitting next to that Forest in my library. And then, I pass the turn to my opponent without playing the Bird of Paradise that is still in my hand. In other words, I could have had a Birds of Paradise into play without doing what I did. I hope that goes to show how I got confused, and how when I played that Birds of Paradise, I actually thought I was just sticking to my initial idea of playing the one I had in my hand. I hope you understand that it was, indeed, an honest mistake.
This is pretty much all I can say in my defence in terms of logical arguments. Even though I think it makes some sense, and more importantly, even though the judges decided that this was an honest mistake, I do understand that not everyone will be convinced (how to blame them?), especially given how weird that precise mistake is. And I feel both sad, because this is not who I am or what I do, and also sorry, because this is entirely my fault and I should never have been careless enough to let that happen. No one should.
So, before you make up your mind forever, please read those lines. Before you condemn me, please consider that slight chance that you might be wrong. Do not just go with the flow. If you want to talk with me, please do it. If you want to check my previous feature tables matches, I thank you for doing it. I thank you for giving me the benefice of the doubt and taking time to investigate. And if after that you still think I did what I did on purpose, I cannot blame you. I saw that video too.

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