Worlds 2009 Round 6: Disqualification

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Round 6 here at Worlds saw the disqualification of Charles Gindy. This disqualification highlights the DCI position on clear play, and has a direct impact on the team competition at Worlds, so we caught up with Head Judge Sheldon Menery to get all the details of what happened.

Gindy controlled a Master of the Wild Hunt, along with a pair of Wolf tokens, one a 2/2, and the other a 3/3 thanks to a counter from Oran-Rief the Vastwood.

Gindy activated his Master of the Wild Hunt, targeting one of his opponent’s creatures, in order to kill it. His Wolves were tapped, and his opponent’s creature was killed by the 5 damage from Master of the Wild Hunt’s ability, but the opponent did not assign damage back to either Wolf.

At the end of the match, Gindy asked why his opponent had not assigned damage to kill one of Gindy’s Wolf tokens when Master of the Wild Hunt’s ability resolved. This made it clear that Gindy knew that one of his Wolf tokens should have been assigned damage, but had chosen not to say anything at the appropriate time.

It is mandatory that the ability of Master of the Wild Hunt be completed in full, and by intentionally allowing the card to be misplayed, Gindy committed fraud as defined in the Infraction Procedure Guide. With Master of the Wild Hunt, a clear assignment of damage must be made for the ability to have fully resolved. It is not an option to see an opponent making a play outside the rules and allow it to happen.

Communication is one of the areas of the rules that is occasionally unclear in how it works, even to top players of the game. In this instance there was no ambiguity. It is the responsibility of both players to maintain the game state, and when they see that there is a problem, they must communicate it to their opponent.

The simple example that Sheldon used to illustrate was as follows. If you attack with a Silvercoat Lion, and your opponent blocks with a Glory Seeker that should not die in the combat due to Veteran Armorsmith that is on your opponent’s side of the battlefield, you have a responsibility to let your opponent know—if they try to put their creature in the graveyard—that it has not taken lethal damage. Willfully failing to do so is Fraud, and will result in the same penalty that Gindy received: Disqualification.

This ruling has implications for the Team Competition, where Gindy, as U.S. National Champion, was due to play alongside Adam Yurchick and Todd Anderson. His disqualification from the main event means that the U.S. team is ineligible. The use of the team alternate is not permitted in these circumstances.

Both Yurchick and Anderson will receive their prize money for the team competition, but will take no further part in team play at the World Championships this year.

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