This is the third time that I have had a chance to participate as a judge in a Grand Prix event and I wouldn’t let this chance get away. There were only two judges from Thailand participating in Grand Prix Hong Kong; Arthit Eurkittiroj and me. We went to Hong Kong by Emirate Air but there was an unexpected accident, which delayed us 15 hours from the plan. Actually, we wanted to arrive at Hong Kong on 5 March at 4.50 PM. Well, I arrived at Hong Kong on 6 March at 11.00 PM instead.
Grand Prix Hong Kong had 250 players participating. There were many well-known players like other Grand Prix, i.e. Osamu Fujita, Jin Okamoto, Antonio De Rosa and a lot more. In the first day, there were eight rounds of sealed deck and the second day there were six rounds of booster draft (2 pods) for the top 64. Finally, the top eight players played off in the final draft pod. Head Judge of Grand Prix Hong Kong was Mountain Hung, a Level 3 judge.
Once we were in the event, I asked Mountain Hung (Head Judge) for my responsibilities. I was assigned to join Yuan-Hsun Tsai’s team. My main responsibility was to post the pairing results and standings of each round. If we had a feature match, one of judges in our team must work as a table judge, too. Because of that, I worked as floor judge and logistics.
Due to the problem that I came late, I worked as a floor judge for only 20 minutes in this round. However, there were some questions that I faced about the “cannot be target” issue, which some players did not understand clearly. Player A had Drill-Skimmer, which was attached with Bone Splitter, and a Darksteel Brute in play. He paid 3 mana to change the Brute to a 2/2 creature. He then attached Bone Splitter to the Darksteel Brute. After that, he wanted to move Bone Splitter to the Drill-Skimmer.
Like local enchantments, Equipment has a state-based effect to check. If it is not enchanting a creature, it’ll unattach
At this point, I told Player A that he couldn’t do this because it cannot be the target of a spell or ability. At this time Player B also had Drill-Skimmer and Myr Enforcer in play, (his Drill-Skimmer was already equipped, too). I told Player A that the “cannot be target” will check only when played and when it resolved, but after that it’ll stay even its target gains the “cannot be target” ability. In this case, Player A cannot move Bone Splitter and it will be unattached at the end of turn.
In this round, there was no feature match so I worked as a floor judge like in Round one. I walked around slowly to observe the overall tournament. I noticed that there was a new tradition to make junk-counters. Because Darksteel has a new mechanic called “Modular” that relies on counters and many players did not have any plastic counters. Usually, I would use a coin as a counter, but many players tore the score papers into small pieces and used them as the counters. I warned many players to keep the tables clean, but I found that those small rubbish pieces were still on many tables. The answer when I asked the nearest player “Is this rubbish yours?” is .. “No, it’s not mine”. In the next tournament, I will tell all players that this type of counters makes the tournament look dirty. Players should have better way to represent their counters.
One player called me to ask about artifact land. “Does artifact land count as spell?” The answer I told him is “No”. If player had asked me outside tournament I would have told him more one sentence. “But it’s still count as artifact, it’ll trigger anything which will trigger when an artifact comes in to play.” However, in the tournament I will answer only what the players ask to make sure that I won’t guide or coach them.
This round I worked as a Table Judge, which you can read a report about on here. After the match finished, I continued as a floor judge. Player A called me to have me give a penalty to Player B for a minor reason. Player B had forgotten to put a modular counter on his creature. Anyway, I saw that one judge had already given him a warning in this case, but I felt like it’s too minor to give him a double warning and move the penalty to game lost by this reason. In my opinion, I wanted to make him learn and not forget to put a counter on it. Therefore, I gave him a procedural error major again and told him that if he still forgot to do it again, I would have to give him a game lost. However, he didn’t have any arcbound creatures anymore.
Playing an artifact land won’t count as spell but it still counts as both artifact and land when it comes into play.
Next couple turns with the same table and same player. Player A forgets to pay 4 to untap the Goblin Dirigible during his upkeep but he tries to draw a card. Player B told me that he cannot untap because he already has drawn, thus skipping the upkeep phase. I noticed that Player A did not see the card he had just drawn. So, I told him to put the card back on top of his library and moved back to upkeep phase. After the match ended, I called him so I could explain the different result between saw the card and did not see. If he had seen the card, I won’t allow him to pay 4 to untap because I do not know that the card he has drawn may affect the game at that time or not. However, he is lucky that he did not see the card he drew.
During this round, there is one player who played Fireball in the wrong way. Normally, Fireball will deal damage to each target equally round down. But this player chooses two targets and divides it as 1 and 3. The judge called the Head Judge to solve this problem. The solution will be to reverse it back but we have to know first if he announced the spell before tapping land or not. After investigation, it turned out that he had announced to play before tapped land. So, in this case he will get the lands untapped and get warning. (Procedural Error – Major)
Another case that I saw was Player A played Psychic Overload targeting a Plain. Player B found a way to successfully put Oblivion Stone into play and unless he could find mana to clear the board, he will lose. Luckily, Player B drew a land in the next draw and played it, then discarded two artifact cards to untap the Plain. At this point, Player A called the judge to ask something in the Chinese language which I could not understand. After we can find the suitable judge, he shows one card in his hand. “Echoing Truth” then, Player B concedes. I forgot to ask that judge what Player A asked, but I understand the overall situation. I guess that he asked if Player B can tap the Plain for mana if I used this card (Echoing Truth) before the trigger ability of Psychic Overload resolved?” When I think about this, if Player A had asked me this question, what would I answer?
- Player B cannot tap for mana because the Psychic Overload’s ability is not resolved yet. (Then, Player A will play Echoing Truth immediately)
- No, I cannot answer this question without giving information that might be considered coaching.
Does this answer will count as coaching? For my safe purpose, I will choose number 2 if Player A calls me.
Round 5, Round 6 and Round 7
When I walked as a floor judge, I notice one player had two Myr Enforcers and two Goblin Replicas in play. It’s a little bit strange because normally there are no duplicate cards in one tournament box. So, I talk with other judges and I found out that Mirrodin has fewer common cards than other blocks. This is the main reason why this player has two copies of a single card.
On Round 7 I table judge again. You can read coverage of this match here. After the feature match finished, I floor judged like before.
Finally, this was the last round of the first day. There was one question that I did not hear before. Chuen Hwa Tan calls me to ask “Can I kill a creature as it comes into play before the modular counter is put on it?” The answer is “No” because Modular has the text “This comes in to play with” So, it’s not triggered ability.
This is the summary of my first day in Grand Prix Hong Kong. After judge meeting, I was assigned to do Side Events computer. Surprisingly, I have never created a tournament and control led two tournaments at the same time before, but this time I have to create a new tournament and concentrate on the result entry slips. But at last, I have learned that it’s not hard as I used to imagine. Now, I have better experience with DCI Reporter. So, I want to tell other judges that “Do not feel lazy to do more work but try to work more. It will reward you a great experience in return.” If anybody wants to share an opinion, you can drop an email to me at Smith_X@mweb.co.th