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Prize Splitting

OK, so you are with the topic. Most of you reading this already know what I'm talking about. For those of you that don't, I'm referring to the concept of exchanging product and other prizes in the finals of an event. Let me make it completely clear that you can't split prizes in exchange for a win. You just can go with an unplayed match and the prizes and go to who they need to go to. Now, this can lead us to a long discussion of collusion (trading items for a win), but we are going to try and not go there in this article. That's a whole separate debate.

Recently, the concept of prize splitting has come under fire around the net. Some people seem to feel that there is never a good time to prize split. I tend to think differently. Some people aren't sure what to think. So, we'll just look at it from a couple of different angles and let you make your own opinion.

First of all, let's look at the "never split" camp. Truthfully, there are a few valid points to this one. Most of the players with this line of thought feel that you shouldn't ever split in the finals of an event, because you came to compete. You came to the event to play. Why give up the prize? The truth is, if you decide to prize split with someone to give up the invitation to a particular event, that requires the other player to be listed as the tournament winner. So you are outright giving up your option to win the tournament. This is definitely not cool. People with this mindset also feel that it is unethical, because it is not keep the sense and feel of competition. That's arguable, but that's still the mindset here.

Players that tend to think that prize splitting is OK, are those see it as completely fair. If the last two people in the tournament feel that both players are getting what they want, it should be OK, right? I don't really understand why this should be a problem. There have also been many times, that they guy taking second place, via the prize split, was not going to be able to use the invite to go to the main event. Why should he play to take away the invite from the player that has every intention on using it? That just seems selfish. In some ways it's even rude to the other players. Many times the guy accepting the prize split is getting some of the cash prize in addition to the product prize, so if you need the cash, this is a good deal as well. I think the reason TO accept severely outweigh any reason NOT TO accept a prize split.

For those of you trapped in the middle, I say just weigh your options and deal with it as you see fit. If the potential opponent has been a jerk to you and you want to play him to teach him a lesson, that's fine. If he's a friend and you want to see him off to the Pro Tour, then feel free. If it's a bad matchup for you, don't have shame in accepting the split. On the other hand, if it's a great matchup for you, there's no shame in playing.

With all that being said, remember that if you ever decide to discuss a prize split, call a judge over. Let him know that you want him to monitor your conversation to keep you from saying something that can get you in trouble. They way you present your offer can fall in that fine like between prize splitting and collusion. You don't want a potential friendly offer and plan yo backfire against you. This would be disastrous. You want to keep things on the level.

Also, if you offer and your opponent doesn't accept, don't get upset. Your opponent always retains the right to play. You obviously had the right to ask, so he obviously has the right to decline your offer. Don't make an offer if you aren't prepared to hear the word "No." If you are that wired up already that someone turning you down is going to upset you, then you shouldn't be offering anyway. Prize splitting is almost a gentleman's agreement type situation and it needs to be treated as such. Just be polite, friendly, and professional and take it from there. I do have a good word of advice though. If you are in the finals, and you KNOW that your opponent wants the invite as much as you do, don't even consider talking about it or making an offer. Only bad things will come from it. You opponent will feel like you are trying to manipulate him or belittle him. I've even seen some instances where one of the players felt strong-armed. There's no need for these types of feelings in a game.

On the other hand, if you are being propositioned, remember that you always have the right to decline. If you want the invite, feel free to play. Just be sure to weigh your options. Most people are quick to ay yes or know to a potential offer. Don't sell yourself short. If you don't like your opponent's offer, make a counter offer. You guys can feel free to go back and forth. It's a friendly discussion and you are both basically making an offer/proposal regarding a pro level event. You should definitely take time to talk it out. If both sides aren't content, then you should definitely head back to the table to play. If you start to feel uncomfortable or unsure, don't do it. However, when you do finally come to a decision, stick with it. Don't second guess yourself. There's nothing you can do about it once the decision is made. Don't play the game out for fun. Don't start playing out other scenarios in your head. The decision is made and done, so stick with it and be happy. After all, if you were happy with your decision o begin with, there should be no reason to second guess yourself.

Whether people like it or not, prize splits are part of the game. There's no way to stop them. There's nothing you can do about it. And honestly, if you've ever been in the finals with a prize split offer on the line, you understand that the offer people a possibility really does save some time and clear things up fast. Just make sure to do it correctly and NEVER offer prize for a win. Again, I personally find it hard to be upset with even the concept of prize splitting. I think it's great. If you don't make it an option openly, people will just make deals behind everyone else's backs. This just leads to name calling and suspicion and there's no reason to open up those cans of worms.

But hopefully, this clears things up for you well enough regarding the whole situation. It's no so much about it being right or wrong. That will be debated, regardless for years to come. It's just a matter of lining things up and helping players sort out the thinking involved. This way, you, the reader, can make a well informed decision the next time you are involved.

And so I don't leave you high and dry, here's a decklist. After all, what good is all this information if you can't make it to the finals. Hopefully this will help you at your next Mirrodin Block Constructed event:

Big Red

4 Electrostatic Bolt
4 Magma Jet
4 Pulse of the Forge
2 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Seething Song
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Talisman of Indulgence
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Great Furnace
3 Arc Slogger
4 Slith Firewalker
3 Furnace Dragon
2 Beacon of Destruction
11 Mountain

2 Flamebreak
1 Furnace Dragon
4 Molten Rain
4 Shatter
4 Slith Firewalker

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn
PowrDragn at Pojo dot Com

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