Event: Grand Prix Madrid 04
Date: February, 21st and 22nd 2004
Location: Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo, Madrid
Head-Judge: Bruno Barracosa L3 (with Jesper Nielsen L3 as tutor/backup)
Scorekeeper: Peter Coenen
Judges: Francisco Herrera L2, Henk Claassen L2 *, Jason Howlett L2, Antonio Polo L1, Jorge Cerdá L1, Omar Pazo L1; David Gallien L2 *, José Navarro L2, Iago Tomé L1, myself L1, Saúl Rodriguez L1; Alfonso Ruiz-Rivas L2 *, Federico Calo L2, Carla Graça L1, Nicolás Morell L1, Xulio Gómez L1; Andrzej Cwalina L3 *, Cyril Peuvion L2, João Graça L2, Tobias Gonzaléz L2, Manuel Gajardo L1;David Vogin L3, George Michelogiannakis L2 *, Antonio Vives L1, José Berruezo L1, Ricardo Fonseca L1.
Notes: * indicates team leaders for Saturday, Lx means DCI Level x judge.
My name's José Palhares Martins and I am a DCI Level 1 judge from Portugal. I had decided to participate in this GP last December, as either a judge or player, so I devoted some of my time researching the various options on transportation and accommodation, and ended up traveling in a bus with a bunch of Portuguese players, and staying in the Crowne Plaza due to a partial sponsorship from the DCI.
After almost two months waiting, it was finally time to depart for Madrid! I got in the bus in Lisbon and the trip began at 10h04m (GMT+0). We stopped for lunch around 12h30m near the Portugal-Spain land border, and within the hour the bus resumed its journey. I passed the time reading some MtG rules and policy documents, listening to music and exchanging nonsense with my travels buddies. We got to Madrid around 19h (GMT+1) and about half an hour later we were at the event's site. I reported to the GP's Head-Judge (Bruno Barracosa, L3) and rested for a while, chatting with some of the Portuguese players. After registration closed on Friday (20th), I participated in the Judges' Meeting and afterwards checked-in at the hotel. After a 15 minutes' walk - my impatience got the better of me and I didn't wait for the other Portuguese judges that were to stay at the same hotel. After some confusion about which name I was registered under at the hotel, I got up to the room where I'd be staying for the weekend with my roommate (João Graça). After a swift shower and change of clothes we went out for dinner with the other Portuguese judges: Carla Graça e Ricardo Fonseca. We got back to our room around midnight and I tried to sleep.
The first day of the Grand Prix
Saturday morning, we woke early, because João had to be at the site by 7h45m (GMT+1) and I had to be there 15 minutes later. We had breakfast and got in separate cabs with other judges to get to the site.
I was assigned to Team B (Deck Checks) with David Gallien (L2) as team leader and José Navarro (L2), Iago Tomé(L1) e Saúl Rodriguez (L1) as teammates. Before the start of the rounds I was detached to product handling, and helped in the separating of enough product for 800 players at first. It didn't take long to realize we would need product for 1100 and then 1300 players, due to feedback from the registration station. After the product was separated and piled at a suitable spot near the main area of the event, it was time to help set up the tables and chairs in the upper balcony, for those players who couldn't be seated on the main floor.
Soon it was time to distribute the checklists to the players, but we found that we were a few dozen lists short of the needed value, which generated a delay for some players during deck registration, while the lists were printed. Meanwhile all the players received one Mirrodin tournament deck and two Darksteel boosters and all the wrappers were collected in garbage bags. We'd lost about 15 minutes due to the list problem! When registration time was called, I helped with the deck swap (each player had received instructions to leave all non-foil basic lands in the middle of the table and place all other cards with the folded checklist inside the deck box) by taking every deck from one side of one row of tables to the opposite side, and vice-versa. This task would have been easier with two small plastic bags, 20 decks aren't that easy to handle with only two hands and arms!
During deck construction, Land Stations were set up to collect all the lists and give additional lands to players in case they hadn't enough at their tables. Every few minutes, lists were collected from the Stations and taken to the back room for counting and review. After collection, the task of checking every single list started in earnest!
During the first round, all the lists were checked, and many were found without lands marked (+/- 3%) and a few without the minimum number of 40 cards (< 1%). Some lists had clerical errors, or raised doubts - those would be checked during the second round.
During the second round, I collected three decks for checking (two at the same table), every list lacked the marking of lands, so they were corrected and each player got a Game Loss. One of the players wasn't at the table when I got back there, twice, so his deck was left at the Judge Station, after signaling his penalty in the Result Entry Slip for his table. Afterwards I circled the section of the main floor assigned to my team like a shark, while waiting for calls for a judge.
During the third round, I collected two decks for checking, swooping the target table as soon as decks were presented, taking decks and sideboards to the back room. No problems were found with the lists so I returned the decks and sideboards to the players and resumed my floor judging task in the usual section. There was a rules question this round:
- Player A has Arcbound Stinger and Spawning Pit (with 1 charge counter) in play;
- Player B has Spikeshot Goblin in play and activates it to kill the Stinger;
- Player A asks if he can sacrifice the Stinger to the Spawning Pit and, in response to the Modular trigger, create a Spawn token, getting 3/3 Spawn after the trigger's resolution.
No, because the Modular trigger goes to the stack, before Player A gets priority to play the Spawn creation ability, and the Spawn isn't there yet to be targeted.
During the fourth round, my team had raised the performance bar a bit, as did the other teams, to make sure the event wasn't delayed even more. The DCI Reporter quirks were enough! Breaks had to be arranged differently and the team rotation was forgotten. All teams would keep their current tasks until the end of the day. I didn't collect decks this round, but I did check one deck, finding nothing wrong. One question this round was:
- Player C declares his single creature as attacker;
- Player D has Loxodon Mystic and asks if he can play its ability to tap the creature, preventing it from attacking.
- After talking with both players I find Player D was given a chance to tap the creature, but didn't do it before Player C declared attackers, so I had to say he couldn't do it any more, and reminded him of the steps during the Combat phase.
During the fifth round, I didn't do a deck check, so I devoted my time to floor judging. There wasn't a call worthy of note during this round, though.
During the sixth round, I helped in a deck check and then got back to the floor. I think it was this round the following situation happened:
- Player E attacks with Grimclaw Bats;
- Player F blocks it with Auriok Glaivemaster equipped with Neurok Hoversail;
- Player E uses the ability of the Bats three times;
- Player F plays Test of Faith and says the Bats die with first strike damage, while Player E contests it.
- Player F made his statement based on the premise that Test of Faith places +1/+1 counters on resolution based on the damage that will be prevented; that is false, because damage is prevented and counters placed on the creature at the time the shield created by Test of Faith is used, during combat damage resolution in this case. Neither creature dies, because the Bats receive 2 damage (having resistance 4) and then deal only 1 damage to the Auriok (resistance 5). Player F didn't accept my ruling, so I called my team leader to handle the call. The ruling was upheld and the player appealed it, so the Head Judge was called and ended up giving the same ruling, and Player F had to accept the ruling.
During this round I had an accident with pizza, ending up a dirty zebra shirt, after trying to avoid collision with a girl eating pizza and I became the only judge wearing a black shirt, because there were no spare zebra shirts.
During the seventh round I did another deck check, finding nothing wrong again. I think it was this round I served as translator in a situation between a Portuguese player and a Spanish player:
- Player G has Disciple of the Vault, Wurmskin Forger and two other creatures in play;
- Player H has Spikeshot Goblin in play with enough lands to activate it;
- Player G had just put the Forger into play, and stated the target of its come into play ability by placing three beads on top of the Disciple.
- Player H says such an action implies he had no chance to respond to the Forger's ability, (I got on the scene because the players didn't speak English well enough and the original judge called didn't understand Portuguese, to help in getting all the facts straight)
- After some questions to both players and talking with me, the other judge decides to back up the game to the time the Forger's ability was placed on the stack - at which time the target(s) get chosen -, but Player H only wants to have the chance to respond to the ability as originally played, so the target remains the same (the Disciple), so the original play stood. At that point Player H added 1 Red mana to his pool and passed priority, Player G passed too and the Disciple got the three counters. Afterwards Player G declared his intention of advancing to Combat, and Player H complied, losing one life point due to mana burn.
During the eighth round nothing worthy of note happened - mental notes of course, I had no time to take written notes!
During the ninth round, some judges were placed near the pairings' boards, to discourage improper result discussions. It wasn't very effective though, because pairings were sorted by players' last name. Judges would have to be near the top tables to avoid collusion incidents due to ignorance. Nothing else to report on this round, so after the round, it was time to set up the draft tables for Sunday and get my assignment for the next day - I was placed on a main event team, so I was to report at the site at 8h30. Because the last round ended around 2h20, I'd sleep a few hours again!
Coming soon, the report of the second day of GP Madrid!
Until then, may you play and/or judge well,
José P Martins, DCI Level 1 judge.