Check Your Match Slips

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First thing Sunday Morning, redditors were treated to an attempted Witch Hunt, sensationalist title and all.



The poster claims Ray filled out the match slip 2-0 in his own favor despite losing the win-and-in match before the Top 8 cut. When the head judge refused to re-pair the Top 8 after Ray told the judge staff that his opponent  actually won, Ray didn't drop from the tournament and was "condescending toward [his] anger [sic]".

Ray's side of the story is that his opponent filled out the slip, Ray just signed his name, said "Good luck in the Top 8" and when the Top 8 was announced, Ray found his opponent and went to the head judge to set the record straight. When they reufsed to correct it, calling the match slip "binding", Ray would not have benefitted his opponent by dropping because doing so would not have put his opponent in Top 8.

Both parties agree that Ray's opponent signed the match slip without double-checking the results.

I am reporting on this as dispassionately as I can considering people who don't even know Ray were accused of some sort of Pro-Perez bias by the reddit lynch mob.

"You're just saying that because you're his friend"
"I don't know him"
"Yeah, well you're not not his friend enough"


At the risk of being accused of bias myself, don't all of the most compelling arguments accuse people of trying to abridge their free speech by disagreeing with them?

Whether or not I think Ray didn't cheat intentionally or his opponent and some of the more easily-led readers of /r/spikes think he did, there are some facts here and let's stick to them.

  • No one disputes that Ray never lied to the judge staff about the result of the match, or even that he went to the head judge when the results were announced
  • Ray's opponent would not have made Top 8 if Ray had dropped, despite lots of people saying Ray should have for "integrity"
  • A /r/spikes moderator removed the thread



By the time Ray showed up to defend himself, the pitchforks were mostly put away.

The issue raised by this incident isn't whether Ray intentionally filled out the match slip and cheated. Since Ray didn't lie to the judges when they asked who won there was a chance to change the results so lying on the match slip would have been irrelevant. Everyone in the thread was surprised that the head judge didn't change the result when it came out that Ray lost before the Top 8 was seated. If everyone was surprised that the head judge didn't just fix the issue, was Ray's plan to say he won on the match slip then not make Top 8 later when they fixed it? No, it seems like the issue here is whether the head judge should have fixed the mistake when it was caught. The match slip would have been irrelevant, but since the head judge did not correct the mistake, the (by his own admission) inexperienced OP assumes Ray knew that the judge wouldn't correct the match slip.

A second issue is whether Ray should have refused to play in a Top 8 the head judge assigned him to play in. What do you think? Would dropping have shown "integrity" or would it have been a meaningless gesture since OP would have not been added to the Top 8 when Ray dropped? Leave it in the comments section.

Let's not blame the victim here; a person who earned the right to play in a Top 8 was not allowed to. Was it through no fault of his own, though? He signed a match slip and allowed a judge to take it without checking that the information on the match slip was correct. If you win a match, never, ever put your signature on the match slip until you have visually verified that the person who won was credited with the win an that the correct number of game wins are printed on the slip. If you won, don't let the loser take the slip up. It's the winner's responsibility to make sure the match slip is correct because the winner is the person who wants to be credited with the win.

So what do we think? Should the head judge have changed the results once Ray verified that his opponent won the match? Should Ray have dropped despite the fact that this would not have remedied the situation? Do you have any good "match slip error" stories? Leave it below.

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Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on He is also the Community Manager at and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

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12 thoughts on “Check Your Match Slips

  1. I believe that the head judge made the wrong ruling and that Ray was fine playing the top 8. Circumstance put him there, and luck is necessary for anybody to top 8. There isn’t a compelling reason for a loser to check a match slip and there is every reason for a winner to check and double check. I know I do.

    1. Agreed.

      These are the toughest beats to the guy that got knocked out — but there is, literally, nothing to gain by Perez dropping beyond him trying to make the other guy “feel better by someone not getting any benefit from his mistake”.

      It’s a VERY tough life lesson to learn, but I don’t think Perez did anything wrong.

      Consider filling out and signing the match slip the last play of the match.

  2. As someone who regularly Head Judges comp REL events, I wholeheartedly support the stance of “the slip stands” (especially once its been entered). Not doing so opens the game up to the potential abuse of “match is done, slip is filled, we’ve gone outside for a smoke or whatever and you’ve just slipped me a $50. Yeah, judge, we totally got that slip wrong, yup.”
    I even announce that the slip will stand and say that the winner should always take the slip up themselves and double check the result is correct.

    1. That’s an angle I hadn’t considered; thanks Paul! The reddit thread had a lot of back and forth between people claiming to be judges and TOs and they couldn’t agree on whether the slip should stand. I think there is real potential for abuse and collusion like in the scenario you stated, and that people hadn’t really considered that. The slip is easy to check before the winner turns it in, and it’s something that is totally within the winner’s control to check. I think there was a lot of butthurt in OP’s thread and it stems from him blaming everyone but himself. At least he had the presence of mind not to say he wanted to jump the head judge the way he said he wanted to jump Ray.

      1. I’ve been discussing it with some local judges too. Seems that most of them would have done the re-pair. I don’t think there’s an official policy covering this, as it is fairly corner case.

        Definitely going to continue announcing that the slip stands, because then it covers my butt!

  3. If one wanted to do the thing that had the most “integrity’ in that situation, I imagine it would be to give the affronted party a share of the winnings, not drop?

  4. This happens.

    The very first SCG event I worked, The very first amtch slip I picked up. I looked down at it and asked ” Blah Blah got it 2-1?” Both players looked at me . One in confusion, the other in Panic. A few whips of a red pen later and ti was fixed.

    This happend 3 more times through out the day.

    Some players sign the match slip just how we all hit that little box next to terms and conditions- something that must be done before you can send results or continue.

    Fact still stands, you signed and agreed that the results were final.

    If the match slip was correct and the Scorekeeper entered the results wrong, this would be a completly different conversation.

    Tl;Dr: Check your match slip before you turn it in/Judge 101 confirm results with players before taking the slip

  5. Redditt = troll central.

    It seems that a lot of the issues that are coming up at tournaments lately (this episode, the various shuffling cheats in recent months, etc) could be solved if event personnel handled some of these duties instead of leaving them to players. Why are there not designated shufflers and ‘match slip runners’? I’m not very familiar with casinos, but my understanding is that card games played for money- especially on a professional circuit- have neutral dealers to help ensure the specter of cheating is not a thing. And such events would never leave it up to the players to go report their winnings; “um, yeah, I just beat the house for 3 grand, you can take my word for it, so can I have my money?”. I realize it would require manpower to have a neutral dealer(s), but match results could probably be easily reported via app.

    I have no experience with tournament Magic so maybe I’m being unrealistic. But it seems to me that these tournaments have grown- in attendance, prize pots, and event coverage- to the point that they need to move away from the ‘small time’ approach of having the players doing a lot of the work themselves and evolve to have more personnel handling these required duties. Wotc is pushing for 10,000 to attend an event at Vegas- this ain’t on the level of FNM at the LGS or charity bingo at the local VFW anymore. Let the players play- don’t give them opportunities to stack the decks, change the scorecards, etc.

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