Debates over what actions are angle-shooting and which are outright scummy are interesting to me. For that reason, I’m starting a series of articles to set up scenarios and ask players how they would conduct themselves in specific situations. I think it will be interesting to hear who would do what, when, and why.
This week I’m going to provide two very similar scenarios with one very relevant difference. Both of these happened to me over the last year.
My opponent and I were shuffling up for game one and we both presented our decks. We presented and drew our opening hands. While evaluating our hands, a judge came over and game my opponent a card that his opponent from the round prior had accidentally taken after their match ended. It was a card from my opponent’s maindeck, meaning that he had presented an illegal deck. The judge ruled that since the round hadn’t started he would “be nice” and downgrade the penalty, which is usually a game loss, to a warning.
Would you appeal the judges ruling?
My opponent and I once again found ourselves drawing hands before the round clock had started. My opponent looked at his hand with a perplexed look on his face and called a judge after about 30 seconds. He had drawn a sideboard card, meaning that he had forgotten to de-sideboard and thus presented an illegal deck. Once again, the first judge called issued a warning.
Would you appeal this judges ruling?
Neither situation suggests that the opponent was trying to cheat anybody. The first opponent very clearly forgot a card and the second opponent called the judge on himself. The fact that the second opponent called the judge on himself is the key difference between the two scenarios. The first scenario displays a player unknowingly breaking a rule and the second displays a player realizing that he had broken a rule and taking the appropriate steps to right the wrong.
I completely understand the rationale of anybody who would accept the warning in either or both situations. Personally, I chose to appeal both times. I feel like players don’t appeal as often as they should, and given the knowledge that the penalty for presenting an illegal deck regardless of circumstance is a game loss and also given the fact that there were substantial stakes in both tournaments, I believe that appealing in both situations is a reasonable thing to do.
For the record, the head judge overturned the warning in the first scenario in favor of a game loss, whereas the initial ruling was upheld in the second scenario. I was informed at the time of the ruling in the second scenario that the Infraction Procedure Guide actually lists this scenario as an example of a time when a game loss can be downgraded at the discretion of the head judge.
What would you have done?