Gray Areas: Was This Technically a Shortcut?

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This story comes from last year's Modern GP in Minneapolis. I was playing against a high-profile player who I had just attacked down to three life. I had a Lightning Bolt in my graveyard and I showed my opponent the Snapcaster Mage in my hand and said the words, "Snapcaster Bolt?" My opponent told me to actually go through the motions, and that's when I remembered what the Burrenton Forge-Tender that he had in play did.

I hadn't tapped any mana for the Snapcaster Mage or even moved it out of my hand at his point, and I asked my opponent if I had to make that play. Neither of us had any idea, so we called a judge. The first judge to show up made it pretty clear that he wasn't able to make a definitive ruling, but held me to making the play that I suggested. I appealed and the head judge explained that there wasn't a hard rule for situations like this, and said that he was going to rule my communication as a shortcut and hold me to my actions, but he allowed me to make my case.

I argued that my actions were more akin to flashing a counterspell and asking my opponent if me having that card in my hand left them dead. As I hadn't tapped any mana or done anything with the battlefield, I contended that I hadn't actually made a game action.

Can you beat this?
Can you beat this?

My opponent made the point that if he had not made me go through the motions I would have just played into the Forge-Tender. This is an interesting point, and while it was true of this situation it could also have been true that I was only flashing him the Snapcaster in the hopes that he would forget about his Forge-Tender and scoop.

More importantly, this argument was not relevant in the judge's ultimate ruling. Whether making me actually commit the actions impacted my thinking doesn't have any impact on the matter of my communication being counted as a shortcut.

The head judge wasn't convinced of my argument and ruled that my actions would be considered a shortcut. What call would you make if you were the head judge in this scenario?

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Ryan Overturf

Ryan has been playing Magic since Legions and playing competitively since Lorwyn. While he fancies himself a Legacy specialist, you'll always find him with strong opinions on every constructed format.

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51 thoughts on “Gray Areas: Was This Technically a Shortcut?

  1. Possibly the judges’ decisions had to do with your punctuation. If the judges thought you declared, “Snapcaster Bolt.” while flashing the Snapcaster I can easily see this being interpreted as a shortcut. If, however, the judge understood you to be saying it in the form of a question, “Snapcaster Bolt?”, it would seem to me you are not making an actual play but are asking your opponent if a concession is reasonable? This puts your opponent in an uncomfortable position of possibly changing your line of play by his response but that is unfortunately his burden in this scenario. I think the judges may have made a mistake but this seems to be a situation in which how one can deliver his case to a judge might actually make a difference.

    1. Interestingly, a more rude way of asking what I did would be to show it and ask something like “You’re dead, right?” which easily wouldn’t lock me into playing the Snapcaster and targeting bolt. Good point.

  2. I agree w/ the judge- you screwed up. This is akin to other card game tournaments when someone tries to lay down their hand indicating that they have all the remaining tricks, but they have miscounted the number of trumps played and an opponent still has one. When the opponent points out that trumps are still in play, it obviously makes the person who attempted the lay-in to immediately flush out the trump card they forgot about. Had the person attempting the lay-in just played out the hand, the opponent with the trump may have been able to take a trick with the trump, and that could affect the result of the hand. If you had played through rather than attempting to lay in, you would have wasted your lightning bolt off the Snapcaster, and that might have affected the result of the game.

    In cards, never attempt a short-cut unless you are 100% positive that you have it correct.

    1. There are several relevant differences between your comparison and the scenario here. For starters, you can drop your hand, literally drop out of clumsiness, and pick it back up and still have good odds of winning a game of Magic.

      It’s especially relevant that I by no means was attempting a shortcut, at least how they’re defined in the rules of Magic. If I show you I have an arbitrarily large combo in my hand you can still make me go through the motions, and in this scenario I can reevaluate my options.

      Me showing the Snapcaster was my way of asking if we had to play this out. The answer was yes.

  3. I’m not some tourney player, but this makes for an awkward position. The flashing of Snappy in your hand forces the opponent to make known that it has to be played out and this then ‘allows’ you to rethink the situation and play around something you obviously would not have done if you had just made the play.

    I do see this as something a Judge would need to hold you to, as you did something that ‘forced’ an opponent to acknowledge your gesture in a way that alters how the game finishes.

    1. @Suh: Ryan did put the opponent under some pressure to give information which is awkward for that opponent. Here Ryan’s opponent had to defend against giving a tell. But I don’t see how any of that is reason for the judge to force Ryan to play the Snapcaster and target the Bolt. Ryan wasn’t really trying to elicit a tell in this scenario but if he was I don’t think he would be in the wrong. I think most high stakes players would agree Magic has many layers of gamesmanship that does not cross the line of rule breaking but that goes beyond just tapping the mana and playing the spells.

      1. Can you give an example of how someone could respond to this without giving anything away?

        I absolutely agree that Magic has many layers of gamesmanship that go beyond tapping lands and playing spells, but, I’m not sure if forcing an opponent to give away information would be considered gamesmanship, so if there’s no way to respond without giving away information it’s wrong as far as I’m concerned (regardless of what the rules say, but I have faith in the head judge).

        1. He is pressuring the opponent, not forcing. An example of not giving away any information would be dead silence. Silence is awkward but soon the pressure shifts to Ryan who is in danger of slow play if he chooses to continue jabbering without making a play.

  4. If you could just say what you’re going to do, then not do it after you obtain more information as a result, wouldn’t that mess with tournament play in all sorts of forms? If this was allowed people might be wasting a lot of time discussing hypothetical plays with their opponents to obtain more information. I can’t see how this would be a positive for the game.

    You clearly indicated what you wanted to do, I believe the judge did the right thing regardless of your intentions as ruling otherwise would lead to big problems for tournament play.

    Next time just actually do it and live with the consequences. How much time would you save with this anyway, the 10 seconds that it would take to actually cast Snapcaster and target Bolt?

    1. I should maybe add that I was on the other side of this in a casual multiplayer game and it led to an extremely annoying situation. The guy who was trying to do it got frustrated and took really long for his combo. He had been very clear in describing what he was going to do and surprised that we weren’t packing it up. This got him thinking, then he asked why we weren’t packing and I then pointed out his error, at which point he went and corrected everything. Surprised that we still weren’t packing he started complaining, got upset and then took really, really long to make sure he covered every scenario. He still kept not committing to a play, he must’ve taken 10-15 minutes before finally saying that he would do it. We then stopped the combo with something else he had missed*.

      * He was trying to do Mikaeus + Triskelion and at first didn’t realize the Trisk had +1/+1. Later when he was still deliberating I asked the 3rd player to please not concede, which should’ve been a clear hint, and finally the combo still failed because of the 3rd player’s Yavimaya Hollow regenerating Trisk.

  5. I remember an article, i believe by Jim Davis, on Starcity where someone laid down 2 instant at once thinking he had the game. When Jim revealed he had a response the other player called a judge stating he was ‘short cutting’ the judge ruled in that players favor. Complete bs, if you ask me. If anyone is playing for money and prizes we should be held to a higher standard. I see no difference in tournament magic than in tournament poker. I’m not accusing you, but I’ve seen a few articles now on various sites basically showing players how to use loopholes to win games and cover up fast or sloppy play. I’d really like Magic to get more professional.

  6. The first step in casting a spell is announcing that you’re going to do so. That’s basically what you’re doing here: announcing your intent to cast the Snapcaster and then shortcutting the ETB ability and announcing your intent to cast the bolt.

    Since you clearly expect the action to end the game, the failure to tap your mana is somewhat irrelevant in this case.

    The call feels right to me.

  7. The common interpretation of what was said is “I’m going to play snapcaster mage, using its ability on the bolt. Does this win?”

    You’ve basically announced what you’re going to do in hopes to shorten the game. When it doesn’t Turn out like you wanted, you can’t take it back.

    That’s basically like you casting a spell, an opponent saying “wait” as if they were going to cast something in response, and you saying “oh, well since you said wait you must have an answer so I’m actually NOT going to play this spell i take it back.”

    1. I wonder if the ruling would have been different if Ryan asked, “If I were to decide to play my Snapcaster Mage, targeting the Lightning Bolt, would I win this game?” instead of “Snapcaster Bolt?”. At least with the former, it is more clear a line of play has not been committed to yet.

  8. This is quite clearly a shortcut, and I’m actually kind of shocked you think you were in the right in any way, which makes me think it’s kind of scummy. Imagine if Magic worked the way you’re proposing; against a control player, at every step, I would announce my spell before casting it to see if they had a counterspell. In your situation, if you were not held to your action, you, at the very least, found an underhanded way to make your opponent give you free information by a confusing wording of intent.

    Here’s the shortcut rule:

    716.2. Taking a shortcut follows the following procedure.
    716.2a At any point in the game, the player with priority may suggest a shortcut by describing a sequence of game choices, for all players, that may be legally taken based on the current game state and the predictable results of the sequence of choices. […]
    716.2b Each other player, in turn order starting after the player who suggested the shortcut, may either accept the proposed sequence, or shorten it by naming a place where he or she will make a game choice that’s different than what’s been proposed. (The player doesn’t need to specify at this time what the new choice will be.)

    You proposed a shortcut, extremely clearly. You said “Snapcaster Bolt”, which is both a very common play and a very acceptable wording for a shortcut. He didn’t need to specify where he was changing the shortcut, so he made you step through it. By the rules, he did everything right. You, however, did not.

    Furthermore, it is clear to me from your comments that you probably just lost track of the board state, forgot about the Burrenton Forge-Tender, and tried to gain an advantage when you screwed up in a shady way. This article is about how to gain an advantage in the future in a similarly shady way. Which makes me think that this is either clickbait or that you’re trying to scum out wins, and neither of which inspires me to read more of your articles in the future.

  9. Pointing out your snapcaster and saying bolt has no relevance to the game if you did not intend to play snapcaster, targetting and then casting bolt.

    Saying snapcaster bolt when you’re not intending to cast both is a waste of time and disrespectful to your opponent. It doesn’t benefit anyone in any way at all so you simply should not do it, end of story.

  10. I’m a level 2 judge, and while the overwhelming caveat is always “you had to be there” I would say just from reading your information that while you did propose a shortcut, your opponent declined it and asked you to go through the motions of your actions. My ruling would much more likely be along the lines of “You are currently announcing Snapcaster Mage. Please finish casting this spell and proceed with play.”

    I do not believe that you should be held to targeting the Lightning Bolt in your graveyard.

  11. I find it interesting that myself, my opponent, the first judge (presumably L1 or L2) and the head judge of a Grand Prix all found this situation interesting without a clear answer, but rather one that the judges determined to work in this scenario, while many commentators considered this “obviously” to be a shortcut.

    What I don’t find interesting are attack on my character and accusations that I was trying to scum anybody.

    It’s one thing to ask what value there is to showing cards, it’s another to assume there is none without asking and to assume ill-intent. The correct play on my side of the table is to pass the turn and let him go through his turn and Bolt EoT, because they’re all instants and I win next turn by attacking with my Delver if he does nothing anyway. I show him the card and ask if we have to go through this because waiting on making the correct play feels like slowrolling. It’s my way of not letting him get his hopes up. You can disagree with this if you like, but thinking this way does not make me scum.

    Further, the idea of these articles is to share a story and to ask what others think both to grow my own rules knowledge and that of others. The rulings in these situations are what they are and in future situations will be what they would be. How on earth anybody derives that these are a tool for me to scum people in the future is beyond me. I apologize if the way that I composed this pieces suggested that I was trying to do anything other than this.

      1. the problem is when you tried to backtrack after you realized your mistake and rewind the game to a point where you could avoid it.

        I don’t know if it needs to be “scummy” but I certainly think at that point your behaviour has become rules-lawyering in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage.

        In this situation i think it’s entirely up to your opponent to allow this or not, and asking the judge to intervene is just an attempt to get away with it.

        1. It’s unreasonable to expect players to know the letter of the entirety of the comp rules. They’re both complex and long. I would never shame somebody for calling a judge ipso facto. They’re there to help when things get hairy.

  12. If, instead of asking you to play the cards, he had just said in response sac the forge tender, what would you have done. From the sound of it, you would have said “Oh I was joking, I obviously didn’t want to do this shortcut I clearly proposed. It’s not like I’m trying to remind my misplay or anything.”

    1. I don’t know why you can’t just ask the question, but instead insert assumptions about the answer.

      I’d have called a judge and had them work it out, same as this situation.

  13. Showing him the card to expedite the game was not scummy, nobody is saying that. Trying to revert the play after he was forced to implicitly reveal more information was definitely underhanded at the very least least. Do you not see how this would be a very dangerous thing and exploitable if it were allowed? You can just flash cards at the opponent and say things that are remarkably close to any neutral observer as typical play lines, and hope they reveal their play, then go back and revert your own play in response. It’s not the way Magic is intended, it’s more of a way of extracting information from your opponent for free. In your situation, you started with the intent of not slowplaying him, but ended up trying to get a free pass on the details once he was forced to reveal he had a play. Especially egregious is that there WAS a misplay on your part, and you would have greatly benefited from the knowledge that you got in an underhanded way. That’s the crappy part.

    We are all saying it’s obviously a shortcut because the words and actions you used were identical to words people use in real games to shortcut that exact play. Of course Judges think it’s borderline; they weren’t there, and they err on the side of caution. And also they’re impartial; I’m arguing that what you did was slimy, and they are not commenting on that whatsoever because that’s not a judge’s purvey. Writing an article about peoples’ opinion opens you up to that type of thing.

    1. Reading comments now I can see how what I did could more widely be considered a shortcut. I didn’t realize any of that at the time, nor for the months between when the event happened and when comments started pouring in. At the time I wasn’t convinced that I had committed a game action, and that’s why a judge was called in the first place.

      Again, these articles are to expand my own knowledge as well as the knowledge of others. Now that I see that this is widely considered a shortcut, if possibly only by a very vocal minority, I will avoid making similar actions in the future, even if by my standards it will push me towards making actions that feel like slowrolling to me.

      1. It’s not the vocal “minority” it’s the vocal “community.” Quiet Speculation’s engaged reader base saw this and felt compelled to voice their concern. Instead of using this information to “expand your knowledge,” you chose to become defensive. The passive aggressive PR statement you just made in no way makes me believe you’ve learned anything. What I do believe is that you sir are a cheater and I WILL NO LONGER READ ANYTHING AUTHORED BY YOU

        1. Even if you believe that the story in this article is an example of scumbaggery, I most certainly did not cheat. I called a judge, got a ruling and abided by it. Then I posted this to see what other people thought of the situation.

          So your contention is not only that I cheated in the course of calling a judge, but also that I outed myself months later when nobody would have heard about the situation otherwise? Bold.

  14. I would like to comment that “David” has summed it up well. Also you are being arrogant saying the judges agreed with you. They weren’t there so they needed to make a neutral stance. I would think that had they observed the episode you would have been punished. I agree that you acted in a scummy way. You admit to missing the BFT. Asking for a judge ruling to get a rewind of play is what it looks like. I don’t trust your character and I hope you are ostracized by the community for 1. performing these acts. 2. trying to defend the acts.

  15. Ryan: I don’t think you meant to do anything scummy and I think you absolutely believed you were doing everything right and proper at the time. I can certainly appreciate that you don’t like comments that imply you were up to something scummy and I certainly don’t think people should assume you were, but it may help to take a step back and ask yourself why people feel this is scummy. That many feel this way in itself should be a hint that it may not have been the right thing to do, regardless of your intent.

    It would probably help if you would admit that you may have been wrong (assuming of course that that is how you feel after reconsidering). Or otherwise address the arguments presented (ignoring the less friendly remarks; yes, I understand that that might be difficult).

    1. I’ve been operating under the assumption the entire time that by even making this post I’ve made it clear that I’m very open to the fact that the judge’s ruling could be correct.

      1. Sure, but that’s not what I and many others were referring to. Many don’t see it as a question of whether it’s a shortcut or not, but instead a question of whether this kind of action might be used in a scummy way (even if this was not what you intended).

        You’re basically saying that if this is not forbidden by the rules it is fair game, while others are arguing this should be forbidden (even if the rules would allow you to do it). Whether or not it’s a shortcut is relevant to the former discussion yet completely irrelevant to the latter.

        1. If it’s legal it’s legal. That’s how rules work. If the rules are broken, then your concern is with the rules committee, not with those who follow the rules that you think are bad. I always announce my exalted triggers immediately because I think the invisible trigger rule sucks. I don’t call those who abide by the rule scum. It’s pointless and tactless.

          I see now that people view these actions in a negative light and that there is a rule the will consistently be applied- something that I didn’t understand before and why I even called this a gray area.

  16. If this were me in your situation, and I had made the same snap-bolt statement and then noticed the BFT after my opponent responded, I would be thinking “Oh crap! Do I still have to make that play?” Especially if the game/match was at stake. If I didn’t make the play, my conscience would have killed me knowing that I announced it and got off on a technicality. But I probably would have looked for the technicality in the moment and regretted the hit to my character later. Short term thinking would have won out over long term thinking.

    Calling the judge is a good way to remove that conflict, as it externalizes it and you go with the ruling. But still the if the technicality lets me off, I would feel scummy, and even calling the judge (not just going through with the play despite realizing it as a mistake) would make me feel scummy, like I am trying to get away with something.

    This is likely my psychological perspective had it been me.

    Looking for feedback well after the is interesting, but I am not surprised that you are getting hammered (though some comments are over the top…). I hope this is helpful.

    The end result of you having to play the spells seems correct to me. The first judge should have made a definitive ruling. Had he, I think appealing is less than upright, but it is our right to appeal. But he was not definitive, so it makes sense to get something definitive.

    I think we all have moments like this where a temptation to be less than upright comes up and hope there is a technical argument to defend it. We learn and grow and move on.

    1. The key difference is that I didn’t feel like I had made a play. Popular opinion seems to be that I had, and I will avoid taking such actions in the future.

      One thing that isn’t considered in a lot of comments is that there is no way I was anticipating a backlash. I didn’t think that I had made a play and I didn’t see anything wrong with what I did. Accusations of scum assume that I was trying to get away with something. All that I was trying to do was share an interesting story and pass on some knowledge, maybe learn something from the comments.

      And I did. I learned that this is widely accepted as a shortcut. I’d be curious to know how many of the angry posters on reddit knew this when they read the scenario, or called it a shortcut after seeing that the judge did, but I digress.

  17. Let’s throw some fun hypotheticals in this, too, because I’m curious.

    Does the situation change if Ryan instead says “Snapcaster Mage… no wait, no, I will fail to pay for the announced spell” with no intervening comments from the opponent?

    Does the situation change if Ryan is at one life and must tap a Shivan Reef to cast his Snapcaster Mage?

    Does the situation change if Ryan has to activate a Scalding Tarn to get an Island to play his Snapcaster Mage?

    Finally, if Ryan is at 3 life, has a Scalding Tarn, must get a blue source and his only source of blue in his deck is Steam Vents, is he obligated to pay a life and then two more life to kill himself to resolve the Snapcaster Mage?

    1. If you say the name of a card without letting go of it on the table or tapping any mana you’re not held to casting it. At least, that’s how I’ve seen it ruled many times.

      If you are held to making an action by another rule and that action kills you you still have to make it. I.E. casting Small Pox while at one life thinking that you’re at two will end up killing you.

      Fetchlands are generally accepted as being included in shortcuts- prior to this circumstance fetchlands and combos were the only timed I had used the word “shortcut” used in Magic.

      Fetching for a steam vents that you would need untapped is a much more interesting situation. I want to say that since the library isn’t public information you could end up failing to find a land or deviating from your announced line once you have to fetch and see a problem. I could be wrong on this one, but I’d be amazed if you were forced to fetch an untapped dual land.

    2. “My opponent made the point that if he had not made me go through the motions I would have just played into the Forge-Tender. This is an interesting point, and while it was true of this situation it could also have been true that I was only flashing him the Snapcaster in the hopes that he would forget about his Forge-Tender and scoop.”

      That sir, is what makes you scummy.
      The line of play you’re suggesting:

      a) I misplayed and didn’t want to pay the price.

      b) I was asking my opponent to play magic for me cause I couldn’t look over the board state, and he declined. So I called a judge to try and overturn his decision.

      c) I tried to trick my opponent into scooping, and didn’t realize he was smarter than I, so I called a judge as I was caught in my rouse and didn’t want to pay the price.

      Best case scenario, is you made an honest mistake, paid the price for it, and now you’re whining on the internet because you’re hurt over that we don’t award everyone trophies for playing magic like they do for other sports.

      Worst case scenario, is you’re scum. And you came to the internet hoping to find fellow scum to commiserate with, like when a girlfriend dumps you and you expect all your friends to go: “Man, she was trash, you did right for getting rid of her.”

      The problem here is that when you’re truly scum you’re the last to know. And when you’re the lowest scum, even the rest of the scum knows it and shuns you.

      As for the unexpected backlash…if you would like to see prior examples on the internet of similar behavior, look up Jackie Lee’s DQ from 2012.

        1. That does become very relevant when you’re addressing in a wide forum, with a very wide audience that events where determined by a judge to not be in your favor.

          When you’re wanting to review how a scenario played out, and what the world’s thoughts on it are, you need to include everything.

          Knowing that you won after the misplay at least absolves you of being a whiner. The root of the issue though is it still makes little difference to A, B or C.

          In this scenario Ryan, the ends do not justify the means. You have seemed to be an upstanding guy in the past, and I’ve never had any issues with articles I’ve read of yours, but this article has you taking a stance that announcing spells to your opponent is not the same as casting them.

          The real issue I have with the play line, is that the board state wasn’t obfuscated, the response to your play line did not originate from a hidden zone, and you presumed you had the win on the spot.

          I think the real issue I have with the post sir, is your arrogance towards your opponent in the play line. You were so convinced the line of play was the end, you offered your opponent the option to bypass the actions and just scoop.

          A question I would like to pose to you sir:

          Would the amount of time it had taken to place the snapcaster on the table, and move the bolt from the graveyard to and say “3 to you” really have been any different than the question you posed?

          Ask yourself that question, then view your actions through that lense.

          1. I addressed a similar question in an earlier comment.

            “It’s one thing to ask what value there is to showing cards, it’s another to assume there is none without asking and to assume ill-intent. The correct play on my side of the table is to pass the turn and let him go through his turn and Bolt EoT, because they’re all instants and I win next turn by attacking with my Delver if he does nothing anyway. I show him the card and ask if we have to go through this because waiting on making the correct play feels like slowrolling. It’s my way of not letting him get his hopes up. You can disagree with this if you like, but thinking this way does not make me scum.”

            Of course, that’s justification for my actions at the time. From comments on this thread I have new information- which obviously makes a huge difference in how one should conduct myself. In the future I’ll er more on the side of what feels like slow rolling. The fact that I make posts like this clearly implies that I follow rules to the best of my knowledge and ability.

            1. You are correct though, your play line should have been to EoT, snap, bolt to face to remove Forge Tender, to free up mana for next card drawn then swing in with Delver for three. You may view that as slow rolling, but I consider it playing smart and eliminating your opponents potential outs.

              Seeing you self rationalize and justify invokes Godwin’s Law and requires at this point that I must reference the fact that Nazi’s following Hitler, and even Hilter himself can’t be considered scum, since they clearly can bring up points where their thoughts were internalized as morally sound and even patriotic and protecting their race from what they perceived as an aggressive and oppressive threat.

              Now that we gotten Godwin’s Law out of the way, it appears further lessons can be drawn from this article:

              For future articles you need to include full board state. No where in the original article is the flipped delver included, nor the absence of the flying blocker (clearly not included due to absence of flipped delver.)

              Further more, hand state, opponent’s deck choice, mana untapped, etc, all come into play. Your opponent could have been on Soul Sisters post board or pre-board if hey expected a lot of Jeskai Delver from your comments so far, or even on Modern Hate Bears. That information needs to be included if you’re wanting a totally educated and informed opinion, and not a torches and pitchforks knee jerk reaction.

              However, that stated, if he had cards in hand, and mana untapped, it doesn’t look better in your favor.

              Personally, if I have cards in hand, mana untapped, and you announce something to me, your’e going to have to play it out. Slow rolling aside, that’s one more mental edge I have if you’re going to hesitate to pull the trigger against unknown information, cause at that point, even if I have no answers, that turn may be able to let me dig.

              You’ll never see me scoop unless I know that I have no cards in hand and see unavoidable death on the board.

              However, causing a situation that required to call a judge over could put your opponent on tilt. Or, started the behavior of the wonderful conversation of:

              Ryan: Mountain.
              Opponent: Are you saying random English words, or playing a mountain? Just clarifying as verbally stating things has proven to have a 50/50 shot of me understanding you.

              An additional question for your game state and events leading up to the game state, prior to the judge ruling, did you at any point with that opponent use any short cuts? If you did, then if I were your opponent, I certainly would have called the judge as soon as you wanted take-backsies.

              1. Not one shred of that is relevant to the judge’s ruling, which is what this was supposed to be about.

                And nobody forced Godwin but you. That’s messed up. No reason to go in depth on the rest of your post. Just plain rude.

  18. Let’s flip this. If you set a trap for your opponent and they merely suggest that they might fall into it, what do you do if your opponent says “I won’t be doing that!” after you tip your hand? I believe that your opponent should have asked you to confirm your intended play. A simple “Is that what you’re doing?” will force you to commit or not. I also believe that you should volunteer any relevant ‘hidden’ information such as abilities granted by auras or equipment that is covered by the creature as well as soulbonded creatures and any other ability not printed on the card. I also think asking questions like “All attacks/blocks?” “Any response?” “Next phase/turn?” should be asked whenever relevant and occasionally when not. If you don’t do that, then your opponent should be allowed to change their play. I think that everyone would be happier if the community took all of these ‘gotcha’ tactics out of the game.

  19. This is in no way scummy, it’s a legitimate question about a situation that every single one of us comes across even at FNM drafts.

    It’s common place for an opponent to essentially ask for a concession by flashing a spell or pointing out a board state that they believe is going to end the game. Think of the phrase “you’re dead on board…” Followed by pointing at my 5 power flyer when you’re at 3 life, have no legal and only one untapped mana. Here is a specific example:

    I have a 4/4 flyer and one 3/3 ground dork. I am at 10 life. My opponent has 3 4/4 ground dorks and is at 4 life, he taps all but one mama to play a generic 3/3 and then swings with his three legal attackers.

    My 3/3 chumps a 4/4 and I take 8 going to two life. My opponent says “it’s your turn” I pause and say…aren’t you just dead to my flyer. If he says “oh duh” or “yea good games” my turn never has to happen.

    If he says, I dunno, let’s wait and see, I am certainly under no obligation untap, upkeep draw go to combat and attack with my flyer if his unwillingness to scoop suddenly has me putting him on a trick I am by no means bound to the attack. I would further assert that I’m still not bound to the attack if I point it out after I draw for the turn.

    I’ve been on both sides of this scenario and there seems to be a genuine confusion in my opponents when I don’t scoop when they believe they have me dead on board.

    I personally never do, one in one hundred games it’s psyches them out of killing your, or induces a half hearted attack that the one thing you have can beat etc.

    I don’t feel scummed if I don’t scoop to the “you’re just dead to my flyer/trampler/this lava axe/whatever” and they do something else, then doing something else is what I wanted, it’s a chance at another draw step. Maybe a top decked giant growth. Maybe they don’t see an onboard trick. Me not scooping only does one thing, puts the pressure on the actor to second guess.

    That’s always where I want to be.

    If you navigate all that and choose correctly good for you. Magic is not War. It’s not just I flip my king you flip your ace and thus you win. The game is full of variance and gamesmanship and misdirection and bluffing etc.
    Politely pointing out what the OP erroneously assumed was the game winning play helps his opponent far more than it helps him. The opponent got a free “Peak” and was then rewarded by the judge with a free “Mindslaver”.

    All the op got was a reminder of known information.

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