Judge Bill

Bill Guerin is a Level II Judge who we can personally vouch as walking Magic encyclopedia.  He'll be answering all your Magic Ruling questions.  Write him at PojoMagicJudge


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Judge's Corner

Portal "Instants?"

8.4.03 ---  Q: Defiant Stand, from Portal One. It's a sorcery, and yet can only be played when you are attacked, before you declare blockers. Why would you make a card like this if it is a sorcery, you can't even play it because you can only play it after you are attacked?


A: Because Portal only had sorceries. Instants did not exist in Portal.

True, a card like this is really an instant, but Portal did not include rules for instants.


Q: I was curious if any card cases were illegal for tournament play. Any specific brands or colors.


A: The Floor Rules do not specify any cases that are illegal. The Floor Rules say the following about sleeves:

"35. Card Sleeves

Players may use plastic card sleeves or other protective devices on cards. If a player chooses to use card sleeves, all cards in the player’s current deck must be placed in the sleeves in an identical manner. If the sleeves feature holograms or other similar markings, cards must be inserted into the sleeves so these markings appear only on the face of the cards.

Once a match begins, a player may request that the judge inspect an opponent’s card sleeves. The judge may disallow a player’s card sleeves if the judge believes they are marked, worn, or otherwise in a condition or of a design that interferes with shuffling or game play. To avoid confusion, a card sleeve may also be used to mark a player’s card if the card is in an opponent’s playing area."

In the rest of this answer, I assume you have sleeves fresh out of the package. Played sleeves can exhibit other signs of marking, but the following are the sleeves that are most likely to be disallowed even straight out of the package:

Sleeves that are sometimes considered "marked" are the Ultra Pro Metallic Sleeves, colors gold and silver. These sleeves act as a mirror. If you lift a card slightly off the deck, you can typically see what card it is in the reflection off the card below it. The other colors of metallic sleeves are similar in style, but the reflection properties typically aren't good enough to see the card like you can with the gold and silver.

One set of sleeves that can be "of a design that interferes with shuffling or game play" are the sleeves with holographic faces. The design of these cards makes it hard to read the cards inside the cases, and as such, have been disallowed at some tournaments.

As with most rules, the Head Judge is the final arbiter of whether a particular sleeve is legal for play in his or her event. If you have any questions whether your sleeves are legal for use in his or her event, make sure to ask him or her before the tournament starts.


Tournament Report - FNM - Diamond Bar, CA

You've already got my decklist if you have been paying attention. If you haven't, here you go ...

Secret Desire

4 Careful Study
2 Chain of Vapor
4 Cunning Wish
3 Early Harvest
1 Flash of Insight
2 Future Sight
4 Mind's Desire
2 Nostalgic Dreams
4 Rampant Growth
4 Sleight of Hand
1 Temporal Fissure
4 Trade Secrets
4 Wild Growth
10 Forest
11 Island

3 Envelop
3 Stifle
2 Mana Short
2 Chain of Vapor
1 Moment's Peace
1 Brain Freeze
1 Counterspell
1 Early Harvest
1 Hibernation

Round 1 - Nick H. - W/B Reanimator

Game 1 - I win the roll and go first. I keep a hand of 2 Forests and 5 others, and don't draw another land until turn 4 (an Island), so I miss my turn 3 land drop. He misses his turn 3 land drop as well, and I Chain of Vapor the Akroma and Visara he reanimates. He hardcasts the Akroma on turn 9, and I take the hit before finally launching into the combo.

Sideboard: Nothing.

Game 2 - He plays first. I keep a hand of 5 land, Trade Secrets, and Early Harvest. He ends up hardcasting a Glory, and attacks me for a couple of turns. I've built my hand up enough, so I just finish him off.

Games: 2-0, Matches: 1-0

Round 2 - Sean B. - Elves

Game 1 - He wins the roll and goes first. When I finally go off, I end up choosing to try for the Desire instead of Fissuring all of his creatures and a few lands. It fails, and he kills me the next turn.

Sideboard: Nothing.

Game 2 - As he cuts my deck, he looks at a card for the second time while he cuts. I call the judge over, and he gets the standard "Don't do that again" speech. He comes at me quickly again. I go to resolve my Wish, and he is hassling me about taking the damage. I ask him to slow down, and he still hassles me. So I call the judge over to watch the remainder of the match.

I was counting my sideboard at that time, since I think I forgot to take a Chain out for a Wish. I wanted to make sure I had 15 cards. I did, and got the Chain to bounce his creature.

I eventually end up going off on like turn 6, and succeeding this time.

Game 3 - He plays first. He attacks for a few turns, I Wish for Moment's Peace and hold him off for a few turns. I decide to stop mid combo, thinking I only had 3 Green mana available (along with some blue), so I couldn't continue. I then notice my sheet had a green floating, and the judge allows the MTGO setting "Prompt before taking mana burn" to allow me to continue and finish him off.

Games: 4-1, Matches: 2-0.

Sean - I appreciate you wanting to play at a fast pace. I like playing fast most of the time, and pride myself on my general fast play. But when someone asks you to slow down, it's for a reason. Give them the time they need (within reason, of course).

Round 3 - William T.

I get to play down this round, as William is 1-1. Or wait, someone got their score recorded wrong. We go over the rest of the people's points, and no one else is wrong, so we repair.

Round 3 - Sugrim - Land Destruction

We get into a friendly banter about how little of a chance I have at this match. He comments, "Only if I'm playing land destruction." I make a bunch of analogies like, "Like the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening."

Game 1 - He gets a turn 4 Braids, Followed by a quick Magnivore.

Sideboard: In: 3 Stifle, 3 Envelop. Out: 2 Future Sight, Mind's Desire, Nostalgic Dreams, Temporal Fissure, Trade Secrets.

Game 2 - Multiple Pillages, Rancid Earths, and Misguided Rages later, he drops a Braids and Magnivore on consecutive turns.

Games: 4-3, Matches: 2-1

Round 4 - Casey F. - Reanimator

Game 1 - I win the roll and go first, he mulligans once. He Duresses, taking a Mind's Desire when I had 2 in hand (instead of an Early Harvest or Trade Secrets). I drop turn 5 Future Sight, and sit on that for about 6 turns, when I finally decide it's time to go off (with 3 Desires in the grave, mind you). I cast a bunch of stuff through the Future Sight, and have 27 mana floating in my pool, when I notice I've cast 13 spells (I Dreamsed for 2 of the Desires, but haven't cast either yet). I ask how many cards are in his library. He says 41, so I just Wish for the Brain Freeze, and Freeze him out. All without having cast a single Desire.

Sideboard: Nothing.

Game 2 - He Duresses me first turn again, taking the Future Sight (over a Desire and 2 other cards). I draw Nostalgic Dreams turn 3, pitch the extra Desire I drew turn 4 to get back the Future Sight, lay the Future Sight turn 5, and go to town.

Games: 6-3, Matches: 3-1

I help Matt set up for round 5, and then we do the randoms. First was the random pack, which goes to Nick H. Next is the random Smother.

I've been talking all night about how I'm going to bring either UG madness or RG for the next few weeks if I don't get a Smother this week. One or two of the 4-1's isn't going to make top 4. I click the question mark, and it says ...

70139430 Guerin, Bill

Nice. So I can keep playing this deck without having to worry, since I now have my Smother.

Round 5 - Eric L. - Mono Black (Braids, Grinning Demon with control elements)

Game 1 - I meekly try to go off twice, but it doesn't happen either time, and after my feeble attempt at a Mind's Desire for 3 turns up 2 Island and a Cunning Wish, I scoop.

Sideboard: In: Chain of Vapor. Out: Future Sight.

Before the second game, we agree on a split of the winner giving the loser a pack if the winner makes top 4. (3rd and 4th get 2 packs each.)

Game 2 - I see way too much of my mana, and he drops turns 2 and 3 Nantuko Shade. I put up very little resistance as he kills me turn 6.

Games: 6-5, Matches: 3-2

Alas, the prize split is not to be , as Eric finishes 5th.

See you Thursday.

Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge





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