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Report 2009 - PT Kyoto - Riccardo Tessitori
Articolo del 16-3-2009 a cura di Tessitori Riccardo
Tessitori Riccardo

Buongiorno a tutti (hi all).
2009 season begun; the first stop on the long way to Worlds in Rome was PT
Kyoto.
Japan is a beloved country for me; I played my first (and last ^__^) Pro
Tour in 2003, I became L4 in 2005 and this year I had the great honor to
HJ my first Pro Tour.
It was at the same time scaring and very satisfying and I would like to
thank all the people who helped me to enjoy a great weekend.

Goodbye old judge shirts
Stripes, Zebras, B&W, Juventus, Footlockers…
Our judge shirts were called in several ways, and now they are gone!
At the moment, they have disappeared from professional events; in the next
months they will probably disappear from local events, but they will
remain (at least for me) one of the main symbols of the judges; I still
remember how excited I was when I received my first and I will always keep
it.
>From today, the judges will look less sporty; they will be more elegant
with the long sleeved jackets and I wonder if, in the future, the head
judge of an event will be recognized by a different color or by a tie ^__^
The old judge shirts are part of our history; good luck to the new, very
elegant judge jackets!

Japan opens the door to the world
During Worlds in Memphis, last December, I met with Sheldon Menery and
Toby Elliott and we decided the PT head judges for 2009.
Since I wanted to work less ^__^, I asked for Kyoto; “public events will
be managed by the Japanese staff, there will be less judges because of the
flight costs, it will surely be very easy”.
Before leaving for Japan, I already had 500 mails in my “PT Kyoto” mailbox!
Many more mails than any past GP (except Denver 08)…. Shouldn’t have PT
Kyoto be an easy and relaxing event?? ^__^
One of the main reasons for this massive communication was the interaction
between the Japanese judges and the foreign judges; this was our *first
priority*.
Japanese and English languages are extremely different, there are very few
people in the world who speak even a little Japanese and it’s very hard
for Japanese people to correctly speak and understand English.
But even with this huge wall in front of us, I’m extremely satisfied about
how the weekend went; a few judges started helping at the Last Chance
Qualifier (Christian Gawrilowicz, Jorge Penailillo, David de la Iglesia,
Damion Guy), all the foreign judges worked at least one day at public
events, we had the final judge dinner together…
I really want to thank all the judges (Japanese and non Japanese) who had
so much patience in communicating and interacting with the other group;
special thanks to Mitchell Waldbauer, American who has been living in
Japan for about two years (our spy ^__^) and Satoshi Miyamoto, public
event manager.
Today, Japan judges are much closer to the foreign judges!

Constructed-Draft change
The formats have changed; there is no Constructed Pro Tour and Limited Pro
Tour; 2009 will be the first year with mixed formats Pro Tours.
This is surely a challenge for players, because their skills will need to
be versatile.
This shouldn’t be a challenge for judges, but there is one detail: we are
not using round tables any more for drafts!
Because players will draft, build and play on the same tables, judges will
always need to switch the tables from a playing area to a drafting area;
if you weren’t at Worlds 08 or Kyoto 09, you may wonder what I’m talking
about; I will give you an exercise:
“In front of you, there are tables for 380 players; now they are all
playing the last round of Constructed; as soon as they finish, you will
need to prepare those tables for a 380-players draft; you will need to
change the table numbers (1 number per pod), you will need to put all the
boosters, you will need to move a few chairs to have two people sitting at
the end of the tables (no, you don’t need to move tables to make them
squares); while you are working on it, there will be 380 players waiting
for you; can you do it in less than FIVE minutes?”
It’s a very nice logistical challenge; at Worlds 08 it was Kevin Desprez
who organized it; in Kyoto, it was John Alderfer; to give advices to the
next judges who will do it, John Alderfer is preparing a written guide who
will be made available to everybody in a few weeks.

Judge advancements
Congratulations to our new L3 Riki Hayashi (United States) and to our new
L2 Tobias Fjellander (he’s from Sweden and the judge who tested him was
Johanna Virtanen from Finland; how could it be that a Swedish needs to go
to Japan to be tested by a Finnish? ^__^).
The success of an individual represents a success for the whole group and
we are very proud of Riki and Tobias.

“I cheated but I didn’t want to”
It was the last round of day1 and two players were 4-3, playing to make
day2; as it frequently happens, one of them did a mistake and the opponent
called a judge.
Surprisingly, when I arrived to the table, the player said “Yes, I
cheated”; the opponent, obviously, expected to win the match thanks to a
DQ, but it didn’t happen.
You might have read about it in a report or you might have heard it from
players; here you have my “official statement”: the player clearly said “I
cheated”, but it was immediately followed by “but I didn’t want to”; the
verb “to cheat” means “to **intentionally** violate a rule to gain an
advantage”; if there is no intention, it isn’t a cheating infraction; the
player wasn’t an English-speaker and improperly used the words; this is
why he didn’t get disqualified.

Illegal decklist, but…
Round 5, the first round of draft: a decklist is brought to my attention,
because it had only 39 registered cards, but…
The fortieth, missing card was a non basic land; the player drafted only
one non basic land; the player registered 1 as “total” (the cell at the
bottom of each column, where players have the option to write the total of
cards they play of that color or type).
What’s the infraction? Illegal decklist.
Is the missing card clearly identified? It’s not clearly identified, but I
would bet that it’s the non basic land.
Is it appropriate to downgrade the penalty from Game Loss to Warning? Yes.
Why is it appropriate to downgrade? The player used the optional “total”
cell and failed to copy the same information in the only line above who
corresponded to the only card drafted of that type (if he had drafted two
non basic lands, I wouldn’t have decided to downgrade the penalty) **and**
this situation happens very rarely (in my experience, it happened once
every 5.000 players).
Are we going to add it to the Penalty Guide? Adding a line to handle such
a rare situation, no way! We would like the Penalty Guide to be a *guide*
and not a 1000 pages comprehensive document where you can find a solution
to all possible situations!
Are we going to create an unofficial webpage or document with the most
interesting deviations and the recommendations that didn’t find a place in
the Penalty Guide? Nice idea ^__^

“Where is my dragon?”
Another draft, another interesting problem.
After finishing his deck construction and after giving the decklist to the
judges, but before the end of the deck construction time, a player came to
me saying “I lost a card!”
His decklist contained 40 cards, it was legal.
His deck had only 39 cards (the player himself discovered it and
immediately went to the judges) and the missing card was a Grixis Charm.
Can we create a proxy for a lost card? Absolutely not, especially for a
draft; I clearly explained to the player that I will never create a proxy
for a lost “Dragon of any kind or Visara or Jitte” (do you vaguely
remember how strong was Jitte in the Kamigawa limited?!?); even if I trust
the player, it’s my fundamental responsibility to avoid at any cost the
impression that a player can go to the judges saying “I drafted the
ultimate bomb of this format, but I lost it”.
Can we allow the player to correct his decklist and avoid a Game Loss
penalty for Deck / Decklist mismatch? Of course; the player realized the
problem before the end of deck construction and called the judges. Again,
to avoid the impression that a player can claim to have lost a card to
make a change to his deck, I allowed him to replace the Charm with a basic
land.
Can we allow the player to use the lost card, in case he finds it? (In
Kyoto, he found it after two rounds) No, for the same reasons above.
To summarize, this was the result:
No Game Loss, because the player called the judges about his own
infraction before the start of the round; had I given him the default
penalty, the player would have never ask for help to me again.
Charm substituted (forever) by a basic land, to avoid the potential for
abuse.

Your Obelisk is tapped!
This was the most difficult ruling of all the weekend.
Anthony is the Active player; Nick is the Non active player.
Anthony has one life point, Nick has six life points.
Anthony cycles a disentomb black creature, then disentombs it, then
disentombs another creature, then attacks for the win (Nick is tapped out
and has too few creatures to block).
Nick looks at Anthony’s mana sources and realizes that Anthony tapped one
extra land/obelisk (one of Anthony’s creatures costs 1UBR and has a
disentomb cost of UBR; maybe Anthony made a mistake here).
Nick says “You burn for one and you die before attacking, thanks”.
Anthony says that his lands were tapped, but the Obelisk wasn’t.
This is one of the most annoying situations for a judge: the players
disagree on the state of the game and on what exactly happened, but the
judge *must* take a decision.
In these situations, I pay a great attention on how I communicate my
ruling to the players (and to the spectators, too!); I clearly explain to
them that I have no camera that registered what happened, that I can’t
read minds and that, even if I’m not sure about my solution, I still need
to take a decision; the decision I take should be the *most probable*.
Taken for granted that I’m able to ask useful question to both players,
I’m aware of all shortcuts and communication policies, I’m aware of how
the game is played… there come times when I still need to determine the
*most probable* situation.
Believe me, in these situations I never found a player who argued and who
was angry at me when I used the approach of “I’m human and I can make a
mistake, but still I’m responsible for taking a decision and I do my best
to make you understand my point of view”.
Back to the Obelisk: Nick tapped cards were clearly tapped at 90°; Anthony
tapped cards were oriented 50° and the Obelisk was (probably) oriented
40°; since the Pro Tour is a professional event and I announced in the
player meeting that they needed to play technically precise, I chose in
favor of Nick, telling Anthony that his lack of precision during the game
caused Nick to believe that the Obelisk was tapped and it was very likely
that it was actually “oriented like the lands you used to get mana”; it
might have even been by accident, but an Obelisk that is oriented like a
tapped land *did* produce mana and that mana caused Anthony’s death.

When did you play your Path to Exile?
Last situation for today will be much shorter, I will use Anthony and Nick
again (no, they weren’t the same players).
Anthony says “Can I attack you?”
Nick says “Path to exile on your xx”.
Anthony plays a land (a sorcery/creature would have been the same) and
wants to declare attackers.
Nick says “If you played a land, you are in your second main phase”.
I will keep it very short and I will copy the appropriate part of the
Penalty Guide:
“A statement such as "I'm ready for combat" or "Declare attackers?" offers
to keep passing priority until an opponent has priority in the Beginning
of Combat step. Opponents are assumed to be acting then unless they
specify otherwise.”
The Path was played in the Combat phase; the land was played in the
following main phase, Anthony made a mistake and lost an opportunity to
attack.

A great weekend with friends, proud to be judges
The weekend is over and all the main goals were achieved: (in random order)
I survived.
The PT had no delays.
Players didn’t complain.
Japanese – non Japanese interaction was impressive.
I spent two days in Kyoto visiting temples and, when we were in a temple
on the hill, it snowed and it was awesome ^__^
What I remember with enormous pleasure during this PT is the group of
people I spent my time with, people who enjoyed their weekend and who
helped me enjoy my time, people who are continuously helping the others to
be better (special dedication to the Spanish judges, headed by the
unstoppable David de la Iglesia, who gave me a Spanish course with the
promise I will learn Spanish before Worlds… and I will ^__^), people who
dedicate so much time, energy and money to travel all around the world to
judge, people who know what friendship and loyalty are, people who are
extremely proud to be judges; these are the people I love…

… and this is my final ruling!

Riccardo Tessitori