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Report 2005 - PTQ Atlanta - Firenze
Articolo del 31-12-2005 a cura di Tessitori Riccardo
Tessitori Riccardo

PTQ Atlanta (Italy)

Head Judge: Cristiana Dionisio, L2
Format: Team Sealed Deck + Finals Team Rochester
Date: January 2005
Players: 117

It looks we are waiting for a very good PTQ, this weekend: the TO is precise and efficient in everything he does, we already worked together with great results; then, the judging staff has a L3, two L3 candidates and a L2 candidate (this is great for an Italian PTQ); last, I saw in the last two years that PTQplayers get better and better in their approach to competitive play.
Are we going to spend a boring Sunday, without any interesting situation?
No, I’m sure not. In every tournament you can find something to learn from, even when everybody will say that everything went perfect.

Waiting for the tournament: pr-eregistration
Having a relatively small tournament area, there was a maximum number of teams allowed to participate (40 teams, that is 120 chairs in the hall); pre-registration has been managed by the TO, via e-mail (he pre-registered only via e-mail, because he wanted not to lose any team and wanted to confirm to everybody they were pre-registered).
Information about the tournament were given to the player community more than a month before, using a mailing list that is used by the majority of the PTQplayers; this way, there were no difficulties at all, and, very important, there were no players complaining about the tournament, before the day of the tournament (it often happens in Italy).
On Saturday evening, there were 40 pre-registered teams who were sure to play, 10 pre-registered teams in the queue and 5 teams who already said they weren’t able to come.
On Sunday morning, we received 39 teams; luckily every team had the opportunity to compete in the event; even the team in the queue were able to register (usually we have a 20% of the pre-registered players who don’t show up, so we were confident about making everybody play).
Four teams arrived ten minutes late but, very wisely, they phoned me to tell me about this and were sure to participate and to receive no penalty; when I judge a PTQ, I always give my private phone number to the players, it helps when they have some problems in finding the place.

How to improve?
A possible way to improve is to educate players to communicate with the TO, in order to delete their pre-registration, if they are not able to go to the tournament.
This way, other than helping the TO to find a big enough hall, if necessary, an efficient pre-registration process would help players who are in queue (for example, even a simple e-mail, the evening before the tournament, with a sentence like “Four teams deleted their pre-registration, you are now second in the queue” can be useful to the players).

Registration and Deck construction
To speed up the registration, we chose to register the teams only with the team name; we then asked to the players to write names and DCI numbers on a pre-filled paper that was given to each team, together with the cards they were going to play with.
After ten minutes from the beginning of the deck construction (decks were already registered), we took all of these papers, with every necessary information to complete the team registration; the remaining 50 minutes were used by the scorekeeper to put all the information in the DCIreporter, without being in a hurry and without delaying the tournament.
Deck construction had an amazing result for me: every team succeeded in building and registering the decks and only two players out of 117 listed 39 cards (the penalty was Game Loss, following the new Penalty Guidelines that were released few days before).
The number of penalties due to tardiness and decklist problems has significantly decreased in the last two years (I’m talking about PTQs); I’m convinced that, other than players being more precise and used to competitive play, a symptom that the overall judges skills have improved, in PTQs and, mainly, in local tournament.

How to improve
Registration has been the moment that delayed the tournament the most, because we chose to wait the few teams who phoned to say they were going to be late (10 to 15 minutes delay) and to write the names of the registered teams on a paper, in order to put them into the DCIreporter only at the end of the registration process (10 minutes).
To improve the registration process in the next PTQs, were there is a maximum number of players allowed to play, is to register all pre-registered players until 9:45am (that is 15 minutes before the scheduled beginning of the tournament), and to register all the players in queue in the remaining 15 minutes; this way we will be able to post seatings or pairings at 10 o’clock.

The tournament
39 teams, deck construction, seven rounds, semifinals, team Rochester, final, what to say more?
Do you want to know about infractions and main problems?
The whole tournament was regular, players were behaving fine and there were very few interesting episodes:
• Only a Tardiness penalty, because a team got lost, after going out to find a restaurant to eat between rounds.
• Two Coaching penalties, due to the players’ ingenuity (they didn’t realize they were doing something wrong); these players were not used to competitive play and, while trying to correct a situation that looked wrong, gave an unintentional little strategic advice.
• A difficult situation was created because of a Frostwielder, whose one damage to the opponent determined the result of a whole match. The Frostwielder’s controller looks at the life totals paper and says that, two turns before, he forgot to write a damage dealt by his Frostwielder at the end of his opponent’s turn; both players were tracking life totals and none of them wrote that damage (life totals were tracked in the same way, with the same numbers) and the judges involved decided to make the game continue, without changing the situation; the Frostwielder damage was considered not dealt.
• At the end of a deckcheck, a deck was returned to the table face up (don’t do it, never); luckily the top card was a “simple” green Zubera and its owner didn’t complain too much.
Most of the potentially disruptive situations were prevented, thanks to the fact that Italian players are learning how to avoid them; they are getting used, for example, to call the judge BEFORE getting into a shady situation.

Do you want interesting rules questions? Here you are!

Kiki-Jiki and Brutal Deceiver
I play Brutal Deceiver’s ability, I reveals a land and the creature “changes” from a simple 2/2 to a 3/2 with first strike. Then, this creatures is chosen to be copied with the Kiki-Jiki ability. What are the characteristics of the token creature that is put into play?
The token creature is a “simple” 2/2, because the copiable values are those printed on the card and not the modified values.

Devouring Greed and Uyo
I play a spell with additional costs on the stack (in this situation, it’s Devouring Greed); then I copy this spell, thanks to Uyo ability.
Can I sacrifice other spirits?
Do the copy keeps track of the number of the Spirits sacrificed to play the original spell?
Uyo ability puts a copy of the spell on the stack; this copy is not played (while the copy from Isochron Scepter is played) and the choices I am allowed to do when I play Devouring Greed cannot be done; I cannot sacrifice other Spirits.
When I copy a spell, I obtain a spell that keeps track of any choice I made when I played the original spell; my copied Devouring Greed will work as the original one, as though I sacrificed the same amount of spirits.

Triggered abilities with a condition
I control a flipped Nezumi Graverobber and five lands.
At the end of my opponent’s turn, I use the Graverobber ability to put into play under my control a Painwracker Oni; at the beginning of my turn, I use the Graverobber ability to put into play under my control an Ogre.
Will I sacrifice a creature?
No, because the condition of the Painwracker triggered ability is checked in resolution (and only in resolution); I control an Ogre and I’m not forced to sacrifice a creature.
Let’s now imagine an opposite situation: I control a Painwracker Oni and an Ogre; at the beginning of my turn, my opponent destroys the Ogre, in order to make me sacrifice the Painwracker Oni; will I sacrifice it?
This play is good, because the condition is checked only in resolution; we are sure about this because of the way the condition is written; the condition is at the end of the ability, not immediately after the comma; if the ability was “At the beginning of your upkeep, if you don’t control an Ogre sacrifice a creature”, the check would be done when the ability would go on the stack, also (and, in this example, the ability would not be put on the stack).

How to improve?
To prevent that a player comes back to the tournament area, after going out for lunch, we can post a paper with the scheduled time for the end of current round and the beginning of the next round (in front of the judge station, on the door, below the pairings….); this way, players would better manage the time they have before their next match.
To decrease unintentional Coaching situations and misunderstanding between players, every judge, in every tournament should be vigilant on every part of the game (from rules knowledge to keeping track of life totals, from the different methods to shuffle to the shortcuts used…..), always kind and helpful with the players, giving them advices spontaneously, without waiting for players to ask.
Other than this, let’s use Internet to share these experiences (there’s the judges international mailing list, there’s the website, there are local forums for players and for judges), it will surely be a great help for everybody.

I hope this Tournament Report could be useful to you. If you want to go deeper in a precise subject, or if you want to give me your opinions or advices, feel free to write to me.

Riccardo Tessitori, Italy, L3

Card texts

Creature - Human Shaman
T: Frostwielder deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
If a creature dealt damage by Frostwielder this turn would be put into a graveyard, remove it from the game instead.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Legendary Creature - Goblin Shaman
T: Put a creature token into play that's a copy of target nonlegendary creature you control. That creature token has haste. Sacrifice it at end of turn.

Brutal Deceiver
Creature - Spirit
1: Look at the top card of your library.
2: Reveal the top card of your library. If it's a land, Brutal Deceiver gets +1/+0 and gains first strike until end of turn. Play this ability only once each turn.

Devouring Greed
Sorcery - Arcane
As an additional cost to play Devouring Greed, you may sacrifice any number of Spirits.
Target player loses 2 life plus 2 life for each Spirit sacrificed this way. You gain that much life.

Uyo, Silent Prophet
Legendary Creature - Moonfolk Wizard
2, Return two lands you control to their owner's hand: Copy target instant or sorcery spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Nezumi Graverobber
Creature - Rat Rogue
1B: Remove target card in an opponent's graveyard from the game. If no cards are in that graveyard, flip Nezumi Graverobber.
Nighteyes the Desecrator
Legendary Creature - Rat Wizard
4B: Put target creature card in a graveyard into play under your control.

Painwracker Oni
Creature - Demon Spirit
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature if you don't control an Ogre.