Berlin Regionals

Last Saturday we held the Magic Regionals 2005 here in Berlin. I’ve already blogged about the problems I see in the way this year’s Regionals are run in Germany. So originally it was proposed to run inofficial top 8 as a separate event, but in the end we decided against it for various reasons.

The event ran smooth overall, although there were complaints about the lack of judges on the floor during the first round. At this point most judges were involved in various administrative tasks.

As always the event was held at the Magic Center. Since the store is now under new management, we two TOs: Theo Buskase is the old owner and still official TO, and Peter Who’slastnameIdon’tknow is the new manager for the store. Head judge was Cristian Hoof (L2), Sascha Wagner (L2) was our scorekeeper, Lutz Hofmann (L3) and I (L2) were floor judges.


Huy covering Gabriel Huber vs. Andreas Hennig

For this event we had a special treat: Huy Dinh covered the event online. He was later joined by Christoph Meise, so that we had up to two matches covered and featured per round. Of course the lack of top 8 play was hurting coverage as well.

We had a few interesting situations: While counting the deck lists we noticed a player who had noted four Beacon of Creation in his mono-red deck. While a legal deck list, we didn’t believe that this was right. When checked the player did indeed play four Beacon of Destruction. We argued about the solution to this problem. I was of the opinion that we should stick to the Penalty Guidelines and let the player replace his BoDs with BoCs. The head judge wanted to correct the deck list to match the deck played, since he saw no abuse potential. In the end he decided to let the player play with basic land of his choice instead of the BoCs, since getting the BoCs in time would be quite hard and be a de-facto disqualification. I liked this decision.

We had another situation where we checked player A who had noted only 56 cards on his deck list. And he had Beacon of Destructions in his deck, but he had noted … Beacons of Creation on his deck list. It turned out that the scorekeeper hadn’t accepted the player’s original deck list because of unreadable handwriting. So the player had to rewrite it. When we reviewed the original decklist we noticed that it was fine and matched the deck as played. Therefore the head judge decided to accept the original deck list as valid deck list. We issued a game loss, but let the deck unmodified.

During one of the following rounds I got a call: Player B had a Genju of the Spires enchanted on a Mountain. Player A wanted to know what happened if he played Mind Bend on the Genju, changing “Mountain” to “Plains”. Especially if it would also change the type line (“Enchant Mountain” to “Enchant Plains”) and if the changed return to hand ability (“When enchanted Plains is put into a graveyard, you may return Genju of the Spires from your graveyard to your hand.”) would cause the Genju to stay in the graveyard when the land dies. I ruled that it would indeed change the type line, but that the Genju would return nevertheless, since the trigger is basically a placeholder for “When enchanted permanent is put into a graveyard”.

Head Judge Cristian Hoof patrolling the feature match area

A appealed to the head judge about the last part of the ruling. (“Would you be very angry if I ask the head judge to make sure?” I considered this an appeal.) But when I came back to the table with Cristian A had already realized that this question was irrelevant. The Genju is put in the graveyard, not the land, so the ability of the Genju will never trigger.

We had problems throughout the day with player A. He accumulated a total of five penalties over the day. One game loss for deck problems was listed above. This was joined by warnings for Unsporting Conduct, Exceeding the Pregame Time Limit and others. In one case he called over a judge and when Cristian and I went there, he complained about a supposedly marked foil Chrome Mox of his opponent. We couldn’t determine any markings and alloted extra time. After Cristian went away, A complained that the game couldn’t continue, since we had modified his opponent’s library. Even when I explained to the player the we hadn’t reordered the library, he wanted a confirmation from the other judge. In retrospect I should have given him an Unsporting Conduct warning at this point. Instead I called over Cristian again and gave another two minutes extra time.

At the start of the next round A called over a judge again. Since Lutz and I were doing deck checks and Cristian was handling another call, our scorekeeper Sascha went. I told him to issue an Unsporting Conduct warning should it be something trivial again. Sascha gave that warning; A had sorted his opponent’s deck into what he believed marked and unmarked cards.

In one situation that player missed what I dubbed an “on-table game loss”. I was watching his match against player C for time play. C announced a Reap and Sow with entwine, targeting A’s Blinkmoth Nexus. C immediatly grabbed his library to search for a land card. (He was obviously in a hurry.) At this point a reasonable play for A would have been to activate the Nexus in response and shoot it with his own Arc-Slogger to prevent C from searching and shuffling. (C knew the top three cards of his library due to activations of Sensei’s Divining Top.) In this case I would have no choice but to issue C a game loss, since the game state couldn’t be repaired. Fortunately A just sacced a Sakura-Tribe Elder in response, so that I only needed to give a caution to C.

The new Berlin champion, Lovis Anderson

I was called to the match between two other players (let’s call them D and E). D called me to watch the game for time play. He was clearly agitated and suspected his opponent of stalling. E was up one game and timeout was approaching. While watching the game I chatted with another spectator, so I missed what exactly happend. D was resolving a land search and currently shuffling his library. E claimed that D has said “Dann du” (common German Magic lingo, meaning: “your turn”) while shuffling. D stated that he still wanted to attack with his creatures, but couldn’t remember what he had said, or if he had anything at all. In the end I went with E’s version, since he was sure of what D had said, and D’s bad memory border shadyness in my opinion. So I didn’t allow D to attack.

At this event I also talked a lot to the other judges, the old TO, the new TO. The current judging situation in Berlin is not comfortable at all, since everything is unclear at this point. We hope to find a permanent solution soon, when the store’s new owner is in Berlin. Currently the main problem as I see it are unclear responsibilities. At this event we didn’t have a head judge until a few minutes before round 1. Also, people were invited to judge future events without the new TO knowing etc. pp. All this is of course completely unacceptable and I think all persons involved agreed.

Nevertheless it was a fun if tiring event, but aren’t they all?

Magic Regionals in Germany

This year the Regionals in Germany are in a format I am not comfortable with. They are played as swiss tournaments with one additional round of play, but no cut to top 8. Instead there is a number of invitations given out based on attendance and these are handed to the leading players after the swiss is over. Also, already qualified players can’t play in the Regionals.

I don’t like this format for various reasons. To me the main purpose of the Regionals is to crown a Regional Champion (similar to what the Champs do in the US). And of course the Regionals Champions and all other players that placed high enough should be invited to the Nationals. But the way the Regionals are currently played out, it is just one more (big) Nationals qualifier. And many players can’t reasonably attend.

  • There is no top 8. This means that the Regionals Champion is determined by swiss standing. But swiss standings have the disadvantage that many players just draw into the top ranks during the last round to ensure a Nationals invitation. Also, the thrill of watching elimination rounds is missing. There is no real champion, just the player that ended up first.
  • Invitations for the Nationals are also given out based on rating or Pro Points. Now the rating cut is after at least some of the Regionals. But this means that players with a high rating will not participate in the Regionals, because they might threaten their rating with a poor performance at this K-32 event.
  • And finally people who are already qualified can’t participate. This means that for example the reigning German Champion can not participate in the Regionals and can not also become his Regional Champion.

In my opinion it is a better idea to move the rating cut before the Regionals, allow all players from that region to participate, even if they are already qualified, hand down invitations if necessary, and play out the top 8. This would solve all the problems I mentioned.