Published on 06/27/2022

Three May Be a Crowd, But It's a Good Team

Cranial Translation
Deutsch Español Français

I know this is all about 3's, but which color,
Red, Yellow, or Green, represents Legacy?

On May 14th, I head-judged a Team Trios tournament in Clive, Iowa. Since the pandemic began, this was my first large event outside my home state of South Dakota. We had 36 teams (so 108 players). One player on each team played Legacy, then one played Modern, and the last played Pioneer. I noted each question I was asked all day, and figured for today's article we could go over those questions, and then discuss what a judge does to remedy any issues caused by these errors during a Competitive Magic event.

We are always looking for new material, so if you have a short question, you can send it to our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and you can send us longer questions to our e-mail at . If you do so, we may use your question in an upcoming article.

Q: "Judge, if I put my Spreading Seas on my opponent's Darksteel Citadel is the land still an artifact?"

A: I told the player, "It is still an artifact. An ability like Spreading Seas gives a basic land type to a land, which overwrites all land types it has, plus makes it lose all current abilities, such as indestructible. However, it will keep any other card types it already had (like creature or artifact), and it will keep any supertypes it already had (like snow or legendary)."

Judge Remedy: I was able to answer this question quite quickly, and it took very little time to get to the table this player was sitting at, but even then I tend to give a two minute time extension for calls this simple.

Q: "Judge, I'd like to cast this Thoughtcast but I only have enough mana if I can both get the mana from my Lotus Petal and have the petal count towards my affinity to artifacts. Does that work?"

A: I told the player, "Yes, you can do that. The good news is, cost reduction is 'locked in' before you have to make mana or pay costs."

Judge Remedy: It took a little time to get to the far corner of the event to answer this question. I knew the interaction quite confidently, having just written a article over the steps of casting a spell, but I went over the player's battlefield several times to make sure I wasn't missing anything, and gave them a 4 minute time extension.

All three: "You're a Knight of the Round Table?!"
Right: "In that case, I shall have to kill you!"
Center: "Shall I?"
Left: "I don't think so"

Q: "Judge, our opponents haven't shown yet, and you started the round. What happens now?"

A: I told the players, "If your opponents show up before 10 minutes have passed, then each opponent starts this round with a Game Loss, the late opponents each get to choose who goes first in the first actual game you play, and there is no side boarding in this first game you play. If after ten minutes have passed your opponents have not shown up, call for a judge and we will give a second Game Loss to each of your opponents and drop them from the tournament."

Judge Remedy: Once the start of a round is announced, if you are not at your table, you are going to get a Game Loss. Sometimes a Head Judge may allow for a little leeway, for example if the venue has a poor speaker system. However, with the advent of MTG Companion, leeway is probably less likely. It's worth noting, if you ever show up more than ten minutes late to a match, if you contact the scorekeeper or relevant stage staff at a larger event, you can prevent yourself from being dropped from the event.

Q: "Judge, I've had out this Blood Moon out for a few turns, and my opponent just played a Dryad of the Ilysian Grove. What colors can my opponent's lands tap for?"

A: So, we initially answered this wrong. Here is how we should have answered: "Because Dryad of Ilysian Grove came down second, your opponent's lands tap for any color."

Judge Remedy: We judges are human, and we sometimes make mistakes despite our best intentions. We initially told the player, "Blood Moon wins, because there is a dependency, each basic land can tap for any color, but each non-basic land only taps for red mana." However, there is no dependency between these two cards, so time stamp order determines which card wins. Once we realized the mistake, we went back to the table and told the players our mistake. Luckily, it didn't affect the outcome of the game as the affected player had enough basic lands to cast his spells.

Q: "Judge, it's turn 4, and it appears my opponent has one more card in hand than they should have at this point. How do we fix this?"

A: "Your opponent has to reveal their hand, and you choose any card you don't know should be there, and it gets shuffled into the random portion of their library."

Judge Remedy: I spent some time counting the cards in the players hand and in play, making sure the opponent did in fact have too many cards. There were no cards in the graveyard, making the math rather easy. After finding out who went first, I confirmed that there was one too many cards. I asked the player with too many cards some probing questions, and didn't feel he did anything nefarious to get the extra card. So I applied the above fix and gave a time extension for the time it took to complete the judge call. It's worth noting, if I felt that the player had cheated to get the extra card — drawing eight cards in his opening hand intentionally, or drawing an extra card when his opponent wasn't looking — I would have spent more time investigating, and may have disqualified the player for cheating.

Q: "Judge, my opponent is about to look at a random card from my hand because he sacrificed his Urza's Bauble. Do I get to know which card he sees?"

A: I told the player "That's a very good question that I don't know the answer to. Let me see the random card, and while you continue to play, if I find out you get to know before this game is done, I'll tell you the card I saw."

Judge Remedy: The strategic value this could give is fairly minor but could take me a while to research on my phone, so I wanted the players to keep playing in order to not slow down the tournament. My initial guess was no, you can't tell what the opponent saw. It took some digging, but I found an article with an official answer to the question from the previous Magic Rules Manager Eli Shiffrin — as opposed the current one, Jess Dunks. In that article, Eli explained that you do get to know what card your opponent sees, because nothing in the rules allows them to shield you from knowing.

Q: "This is a Team Trios event, how do we report our win or loss? Do we type in 2-0, 1-0, do we count if a match ends 2-1, etc."

A: I told the player "For this tournament, we want all results entered as 2-0 or 0-2, never 2-1, 1-2, 1-0, or 0-1."

Judge Remedy: For this event we required everyone to use the MTG Companion app for reporting results. The current program doesn't actually support Team Trios events, so each team is actually only entered into the tournament as one player. (For this event, the team was only entered in as the Legacy player.) As it was explained to me, you want 2-0 or 0-2 results, and not 1-0 or 0-1 results, because games that end in draw (either from time being called or intentional draws) would give incorrect tie breakers if we did the 1-0 or 0-1 results. Since some teams would knock out two wins before losing or winning the third seat, the third seat to finish was never recorded. All recorded results had to be 2-0 or 0-2. The only exception to this is if a table ended in a draw from time being called, which would be reported with the result of 1-1-1.

I want to ride my tricycle,
I want to ride my bike.

Q: "Judge, earlier this turn I drew a card from cycling a Ketria Triome, then after deciding not to attack, my opponent noticed we both missed the fact that he has a Narset, Parter of Veils on the battlefield. So I should not have been able to draw that card. What do we do now?"

A: I also got this answer wrong. What I should have said was "Although this is similar to Drawing Extra Cards, because your opponent controls the rule-changing card that should have prevented this card draw, we will back up the game to before the illegal draw and put a randomly selected card from your hand on top of your library. You get a Warning for Game Play Error - Game Rules Violation, as does your opponent since their Narset helped cause the error."

Judge Remedy: I had the players perform the fix under Game Play Error - Hidden Card Error for drawing too many cards. This lets the Narset player look through the opponent's hand and choose which card goes back to the library. However, written into the definition of Hidden Card Error is an exception for errors where the opponent controls a card or ability that causes the error, making this a shared problem, and therefore it should be handled under Games Rule Violation instead, which has a less severe fix. After giving a ruling I regularly double check my answer, just in case I missed something. I missed the exception, and by the time I figured this out, the match had ended. I still tracked down both players, and apologized for my mistake and told them the correct remedy.

Q: "Judge, can I use my Omniscience to cast my Dig Up for its cleave cost with paying no mana?"

A: I told the player, "No, you can't cleave for no mana cost since that is using two different alternative costs, and you can only ever use one alternative cost at a time". The player responded, "Can I cleave by paying its cleave cost?", to which I replied "Yes, since Omniscience says you may cast spells without paying their mana cost."

Judge Remedy: This was a quick and simple exchange, so I gave the players a two minute time extension.

Q: "Judge, I have a Ob Nixilis, the Adversary token, what is its mana value?"

A: I told the player, "Three, just like the original spell."

Judge Remedy: This, too, was a quick and simple exchange, so I gave the players a two minute time extension.

Hopefully today gave you an informative look into what judges do at events, and what to expect from us at events. It's getting late and I have work in the morning, so until next time!

- Justin Hovdenes AKA Hovey
Level 2 Magic Judge
Rapid City, SD


No comments yet.


Follow us @CranialTweet!

Send quick questions to us in English for a short answer.

Follow our RSS feed!