Grand Prix Leipzig 2005

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This report may help you to learn about the "two separate event" system followed in Europe for large Grand Prix events. It also details some of the major pitfalls that can be caused by a lack of communication within the full staff. I mention my views on calling a draft, and finally, there is information about the current philosophy on how deck inconsistencies are corrected at Limited events.

As I mentioned in my report from PT Atlanta, Lee Singleton (DCI manager for UK/Ireland/South Africa) was kind enough to sponsor me to attend GP Leipzig. Getting there involved a cab, a flight, a bus, another flight, two trains, and one more cab, with an overall journey time of over 12 hours. It almost didn’t happen, when the travel agency that Lee booked my flights with never managed to send the tickets in time, but timely intervention by myself and Lee, as well as the help of Aer Lingus staff in Cork, meant that everything went according to plan.

The two separate event system:
We had a fairly short judge meeting on Friday night, at which we got our team assignments for day 1. The GP was divided into two rooms, which would run as separate tournaments. The Blue Room would have Blue tablecloths and their printouts would be on Blue paper, while the Green Room would have Green tablecloths and their printouts would be on… Yellow paper! (Wizards hadn’t been able to source enough Green paper.)
The players were to be split at random between the two different rooms, with a roughly equal number of players in each room, with half of the players for day 2 coming from each room. These would be combined by Jason Howlett yielding one single tournament for the second day.
I was to be on the Deck Check team in the Green Room, led by Ingo Kemper, and with Martin Damen and Julien Winter. Jesper had indicated four people who would be Sunday’s team leaders on the list, and I was one of them, and he also let us know that those people would be staying on the same team and to try and get an idea during Saturday of what would be needed for the position.
Several issues were brought up of the “how are we going to handle <foo> in this tournament” variety, and Jesper promised to discuss these with Gijsbert Hoogendijk (head-judge of the Blue Room) and give us answers in the morning.

Day 1 Notes

We had a second judge meeting, where we got answers to our questions from the previous night: For slow play, we were instructed not to interrupt a turn, but to intervene after it and issue any penalties necessary. In the case of decklist errors involving wrong cards, the way we would handle it would be if the missing card/cards were the same rarity as the card/cards actually in the deck, we would go with the decklist; otherwise we’d go with the deck. This is a bit different from how I generally handle it (going with the deck unless it’s discovered late and/or the cards are significant) but I didn’t have to deal with any same-rarity problems during the event.

After registration was closed just after 09:00, it was time to migrate the DCI Tools files onto DCI Reporter, and divide the 900 players into two groups for the Blue and Green rooms. It took 20 minutes to get everyone seated, and I don’t want to imagine the number of players who approached judges in the central area between the Blue and Green Rooms, complaining that they weren’t on the seating list (not having checked the other room’s lists). As it turned out, overall the "two separate event" system worked well, but was probably not totally necessary for the size of this GP. It did, however, give an extra four people the opportunity to lead a team on day 1, which I think is an important skill.

Deck Registration Issues:

Missing columns on the printed decklist:
Q: Judge! These decklists don’t have boxes for all my cards!
I checked, and indeed some of the boxes in the Non-Basic Land and Artifacts sections were missing. I told the player to draw in boxes with his pen.

Tournament Packs not containing 75 cards:
We had to replace three or four 76-card tournament packs (extra common) during the deck registration period, which I guess is fine out of a total of about 475 players, but out of more than six years that I’ve been a certified judge I’ve only ever encountered one 76-card tournament pack.

Incorrect Deck Registration:
During the deck construction period, I was called to two tables where a decklist had a card registered incorrectly. In each case the card in the deck was of different rarity, and adjacent on the decklist, to the card that was registered. In accordance with regular practice, I gave warnings to four players: the players who registered the decklists and the players who received them. (This ensures that a player who “randomly” receives a lot of wrong decklists can be tracked by the DCI.) Each of the players receiving invalid decklists protested the warnings severely, but I was able to explain the situation to their satisfaction, or so I thought. I later heard one of them complaining about me to another judge (I don’t remember who), but the judge backed me up.

Decklist Checks:
There was some discussion about the order in which we checked decklists. Should we make sure we had all the decklists first or that all the decklists were legal? Gis was the opinion that we should focus first on missing decklists, saying that a missing decklist had a higher potential for abuse. This is still under discussion. Four decklists were found to be missing. Two turned out to be players who had not shown up for round 1, a further one proved to be a duplicate player, and the one remaining player was pulled aside from his match and we discovered that he had written a different name on his decklist than was registered with the DCI and hence in DCI Reporter. He had a very good reason for this, which I didn’t note, but we gave him a warning anyway for being confusing.
For the players with main decks under 40 cards, in each case we checked what the missing card was, registered it, and returned the decks.

Decklist Problems:
In one round, both of the decks that I picked up had land problems. One of them had 6 Mountains, 3 Islands, and 7 Plains on the decklist, but 6 Islands, 3 Mountains, and 7 Plains in the deck. The other had 7 Islands on the decklist, and 7 Forests in the deck. The team discussed different options, ranging between warning and change the decklist to match the deck, and game loss and forcing the players to play with the deck they registered. As it was near the top of the tables, I was in favor of a stricter penalty — players are responsible for submitting correct decklists — but Jesper felt that making them play on with what they registered would be a far more severe penalty than was warranted. As a result we gave both players warnings and they were allowed to adjust their decklists to match what they were actually playing. The match ended up with 16 extra minutes.

How to Record Warnings issued Outside a Match:
As instructed by Jesper originally, I wrote the warnings I had issued onto a sheet of paper, but this sheet was refused by scorekeeper Jason Howlett, who required me to find the players’ results entry slips during round 1 and write them out there. I was unhappy about this as it seemed arbitrary and made for a lot more leg-work for the judges, especially during round 1 when we needed as many zebras counting decklists as possible. Happily, we later worked out an easy system whereby blank results entry slips would be used for warnings before round 1, satisfying both of our requirements. This will be used on an ongoing basis at future events.

Communication Issues:
My main duty during the latter half of deck construction was collecting the lists from the four land stations, which were divided by name range, and bringing them to a table near the stage where we would count them and check them off a master list. Unfortunately, there had been a lack of communication as to what was expected to be done at the land stations: two stations were just taking in decklists, quickly checking for obvious mistakes (no name, no lands, etc.), whereas the other two were also attempting to check the lists off as they came in. This meant that those two stations had significant queues near the end of the construction period. When I was roaming around the stations to pick up lists and bring them to the count table, I noticed this problem, and we quickly abandoned the idea of checking them off. I acted as a queue-buster at the affected land stations, quickly taking in decklists in order to continue the event.

I also observed a useful system for players who intended to drop which avoided bothering the scorekeeper. Hungarian judge Gabor Hegyi was standing in front of the scorekeeping station with a clipboard, and when someone wanted to speak to the scorekeeper in order to drop, Gabor intercepted them and had them produce identification (this ensured nobody dropped someone else) then circled their player number on a master list, turning this in to the scorekeeper at the end of the round.

Rulings of Interest:

Genju Rulings:
Player A had attacked, and player B had said “before you attack, I activate my green Genju”. (This supports my opinion that Genjus are the most troublesome cards in the block for judges.) Player A then wanted to kill the Forest using a sorcery, but player B said it was already the combat phase. I allowed player A to play his sorcery. Because player B had not been specific on when he activated the Genju, it was assumed he was doing so at the earliest opportunity.
By the end of the round, we had finished counting all the decklists and were well into the process of checking them off the master list. I was assigned two decklists with 39-card main decks to deal with.

Q: If someone Befouls a Swamp with Genju of the Fens on it, and the person activates the Genju in response, will the Befoul be countered for having an illegal target (a black creature)?
A: No, it’s still a land and still satisfies one of the possible types of legal target.

Q: Can I use Mystic Restraints on Genju of the Fields?
A: No, Genju of the Fields is an enchantment and is not a legal target for an Enchant Creature.
Q: How about on the Plains once it animates?
A: Yes, that is legal.
Q: But won’t it fall off?
A: Yes, during the cleanup step once the Plains de-animates.
Q: I activated my Genju of the Falls but my opponent destroyed it in response, does the island still animate?
A: No, “enchanted Island” is not defined on resolution because there is no enchanted Island, so it does not animate.
After a brief pause, the player chose to appeal the ruling, and Jesper upheld my ruling on the grounds that he had no better information or knowledge on which to overturn it. Gis also confirmed what we said later, as did Frank Wareman, a level 3 from the Netherlands who happened to be playing but hadn’t made day 2.
After post-event discussion on DCIJUDGE-L, we found out that this was in fact incorrect, and that the game would use Last Known Information, so the Genju should in fact have animated.

Other Rulings — Cards
Q: My opponent wants to play Blind with Anger on my creature. What happens if I play Veil of Secrecy on it in response?
A: A creature that cannot be the target of spells or abilities is not a legal target for Blind with Anger, which will be countered on resolution.

Q: Does the mana I get from Sakura-Tribe Springcaller last as long as I want it?
A: No, the “until end of turn” effect lasts through your cleanup step only and the mana will leave your pool at the end of that step.

Q: Does Hideous Laughter destroy this indestructible creature, which is 2/2 and has a divinity counter on it?
A: A creature with 0 or less toughness is put into the graveyard, so yes, your creature will be put into the graveyard.

Q: If I tap my non-Ninja creature to deal damage using a Shuriken, and the ability is countered (because my opponent made his creature untargetable), does my opponent still gain control of the Shuriken?
A: No, no part of an ability that is countered takes place.
(This was briefly argued by the opponent, and after rebutting his arguments twice I gave him the option of appealing to the head judge, continuing to argue and getting a warning, or playing on. He chose to play on.)
Q: If I destroy Horobi, Death’s Wail in response to my creature being targeted, does it still die?
A: Yes, the triggered ability of Horobi is already on the stack and will resolve.

Q: Who returns a creature when this Soulshift creature dies? (The creature was by this time in its owner’s graveyard.)
A: Whoever’s Spirit it was.
Q: But I stole it with Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni!
A: Why didn’t you tell me that? If you controlled the Spirit, you return the creature.

Q: What does Rat Offering mean?
A: It means you subtract the mana cost of the creature you sacrifice from the mana cost of the Rat offering card, and pay what’s left.

Q: Will a creature that I regenerated during combat still take combat damage?
A: No, unless damage was already on the stack; regenerating a creature removes it from combat.

Q: Can Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo choose an untargetable creature as the source? When do I choose the source?
A: Yes. On resolution.

Q: If Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo isn’t in play, will damage still be redirected to it?
A: No, it will be dealt to the original creature.

Q: With Candles’ Glow, is the damage prevention and life gain simultaneous?
A: Yes.
Q: Can Mending Hands be used on creatures only, or creatures and players?
A: Creatures or players.

Other Rulings — Technical
Q: My opponent has a 56-card deck, surely he can’t take out 16 of the cards when he’s sideboarding?
A: Yes he can, as long as his deck is 40 cards or more he can change its size.

Q: Judge! I didn’t see that attacking creature due to that light shining on it, can I redeclare blockers?
A: No, it is your responsibility to stay up to date with the game state, you must have known the creature was in play. It’s your job to ask your opponent if you’re not clear.

Near the end of one round I was watching a match, where a player attacked, and his opponent immediately activated a Genju of the Fields on his Plains. He waited for a while, then declared blockers. His opponent wanted to destroy the Plains before it could block, but I ruled that he had implicitly passed priority by not saying anything and not indicating he was thinking.

In a match I watched, a player managed to play two Overblazes on his Moss Kami, which was 6/6 due to a Child of Thorns, but had it blocked by a 10/10 Cursed Ronin. The player correctly did not seek to deal 14 trample damage to the defending player, as the 6 damage is all assigned to the Cursed Ronin before being quadrupled to 24. (Under older versions of the rules, the defending player would have taken 56 damage.)

Round 9 vigilance
Deck checks were cancelled for this round, as we blitzed the top tables and pairings boards with judges in an effort to stop collusive agreements. Jesper had announced that players were to go immediately to their tables, and two players had to be threatened with game losses for tardiness in order to get them to stop looking at the standings. A similar procedure was applied during round 16 on day 2.
Jesper also made several reminders during and after the round that Daylight Savings Time was beginning overnight, and that players should remember to set their clocks forward an hour to avoid arriving late. I was listening to an argument between two players at a table, one insisting the other should ID the match for them both to get to day 2. After over a minute of his attempting to convince, I stepped in and pointed out that the player had refused the offer and that they should now play the match.
During another match, I was waiting by it after they finished their second game. The players were taking quite a while shuffling, and discussing whether they would draw or not. I had kept track of the three minute pre-game time limit and kept them informed of the time left. One player would not stop shuffling and present his deck after the time was up, so I issued him a warning for Slow Play – Exceeding Pre-game Time Limit, mainly because I suspected he was trying to wait and hear about results from other tables before he decided it was safe for him to ID. I also gave the match the required one-minute time extension.
I also had to request several other tables to start their matches for similar reasons. Players cannot delay or play slowly in order to determine the outcome of other matches before they decide what to do.

How to Record an Intentional Draw:
I observed several inconsistent methods of players and judges in writing down ID results on the results entry slips. My understanding is that they should be written as 0 wins for each player, and optionally 0 draws – no match was played, and no match should be recorded. Writing ID, 1-1-1, or similar notes on the slip can be confusing and incorrect, because it may affect the second or third tiebreakers slightly. I also observed that the timed announcements from Jason’s computer were up to a minute out from the big clock, and one player complained in the final round that he had made plans based on there being a minute left in the round, only to have time called with 47 seconds apparently left. I said that there was nothing I could do about it. Although it might have been an idea to let the match continue until the main clock ran out, it probably would have set a bad precedent.

Our last result came in at 21:57, only two minutes after the Blue Room finished, which really said a lot for the standard and consistency of the judging in the two rooms.
With the posting of top 128, judge assignments for day 2, and one final reminder from Jesper about Daylight Savings Time, it was off to the hotel for an absurdly early bedtime, compared to other GPs that I’ve worked, along with the other judges who would be judging day 2. Judges for the next day’s side events were asked to remain a little longer to help set up for day 2, as they would not be expected in until 9:00am whereas we would need to arrive for 7:30.

Day 2 Notes

Once again I was on the deck check team for the day, this time as team leader, working with Ingo Kemper, Martin Golm, and Milos Prochazka.

Drafts At breakfast Jesper announced that he was looking for someone to call the first draft, and turned to me asking if I’d do it. I was very happy to. I had called drafts over a microphone before, at Irish Nationals 2004, but this was a much bigger experience.
In whatever spare time I could find I wrote out a quick draft call cheat sheet, which looked something like this:

Pack 1 Pack 2 – pass to right Pack 3 – pass to left
Time Cards left Time Cards left Time Cards left
40 14 40 14 40 14
40 13 40 13 40 13
35 12 35 12 35 12
35 11 35 11 35 11
30 10 30 10 30 10
30 9 30 9 30 9
25 8 25 8 25 8
25 7 25 7 25 7
20 6 20 6 20 6
20 5 20 5 20 5
15 4 15 4 15 4
15 3 15 3 15 3
10 2 10 2 10 2
5 1 5 1 5 1
Pass the last card Pass the last card Pass the last card

I had the sheet on a table near me while calling the draft and crossed out each line as I called it.

The French judge Barthélémy Moulinier was assigned to call the second draft, so I found myself in the more conventional position of watching a table, specifically the top table. Table 2 had been chosen as the feature table, however, and was off to one side and attended by Ingo Kemper.
During the draft, a spectator at the Tensabarrier asked to be allowed nearer to the draft, and later complained that I was obstructing his view from where I was standing. I politely informed him that spectators were encouraged to watch the feature table, and that while I would not deliberately seek to obstruct his viewpoint, my job was to judge the table and I would stand wherever I needed to stand. Jesper intervened at this point to continue the argument with the spectator, and I gratefully returned to watch my draft.
The only problem arose when two stray cards, both last picks, were found at the end of a pack. I had players either side of both cards count their cards to determine who should receive the last card.

Top 8:
During the quarter-finals, I spent most of my time writing judge reviews. I was table-judging a semi-final, which proved very entertaining and my only significant job was to stop spectators talking too much. Any significant rules problems were caught by the players before I could even pick up on them.
The whole event was finished by 22:30, and we had a judge debriefing. The agreement was that the event had gone amazingly well, and really there was nothing that could be seriously faulted. Let’s hope all GPs go this well.

Thanks to Johanna Knuutinen for help and feedback on the report.
Thomas Ralph
DCI Area-Level Judge
magicjudge@thomasralph.com
Island on EFnet’s #mtgjudge

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