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Ray Powers

*Level III Judge

*WOTC Tournament Organizer for Arizona & San Diego



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Regionals Road Trip


Originally I was going to write this article primarily about the Judge School I held at New Mexico this weekend, but since the Regionals Road Trip proved to be so interesting, I thought I’d write about the trip as a whole instead.


My good friend Jay and I were planning on going to Regionals originally with me as a player, but due to other circumstances, I ended up Head judging. This did little to change our actual travel plans, so on Friday at 5:30PM out we went to the great plains of New Mexico. Our trip out there was relatively uneventful, and most of the time we spent going over how we were going to teach Judge School, some of the situations we would “argue” about, and how to set them up.


We showed up at the hotel about 1:00AM, and were amused to see that we had, without realizing it, booked a hotel at where Regionals had been held LAST time it was in New Mexico. The hotel was fine, and we quickly dropped off to sleep.


The next morning, we got up with plenty of time to spare, and headed out to the event site. Jay and I have a game we’ll affectionately call “Last Cute Girl” that we play on the way to any event like this. It is our expectation that the probability of us seeing a girl at a Magic event, much less a highly attractive one, is quite small, so we try to point out the “last cute girl” we will see all day on the way to the event site.


We failed. It was probably because it was 7:30AM on a Saturday morning, but we found absolutely no cute girls on the way to the Convention Center. Fortunately, this ended up being irrelevant, because there were actually several cute girls at the event.


Speaking of the Convention Center, I would like to say that the Convention Center in Albuquerque is actually very large, and very nice. I would say the parking was great too, but I couldn’t find the parking garage to save my life. We ended up parking in a garage across the street, which at least had a tunnel to the Convention Center.


Now, as I said, the Convention Center there is large. It’s actually multiple buildings kind of attached together. Jay and I started walking in, with no idea where in the Convention Center the event actually was. Jay quickly pointed out an information kiosk, which had a screen showing the events for the day on it.


Well, showing some of the events for the day at least, as Regionals was listed nowhere on the screen. I vaguely remembered the Tournament Organizer telling me it was upstairs, so we tried that. After about fifteen minutes of roaming around, out of the corner of my eye I spied a backpack, and sure enough, it was attached to a Magic player, and we found the site.


Once in there, and making quick apologies for being a bit late, we got going, and I was introduced to the staff. I apologize for any misspelling, of which I am sure there may be some.


Jody Godard acted as Tournament Organizer for the event. She was the glue that held the event together organizationally. She was very good at keeping her staff moving and things getting done.


Glenn Godard acted as a Co-Tournament Organizer and as a judge.


Brian Rider was a level two judge from Colorado. He came complete with the black and white shirt that either signifies you as a higher level judge, or an employee of Foot Locker. Brian was a good guy throughout the day, and had excellent rules knowledge.


Bob McClennahan was a level one judge from New Mexico, wanting to test for level two.


Past that we had people to help run the vendor booth, a scorekeeper (actually two during different shifts), and Glenn and Jody’s daughter, who was acting as a general helper for whomever needed help.


One of my big things for an event as large as this was to try to get the deck lists counted as soon as humanly possible. I want to, if I can, get every deck list counted before we even start the first round. There’s a lot of deck list errors that occur, and if I can catch them before the event starts, I can just make sure they get fixed, and worry about much more important things during the events.


Unfortunately I only had a total of three judges, including me, to do this for 227 deck lists. We grabbed them as we could, and counted as fast as we could, but there were other things to be done, like table numbering, and help finding DCI numbers, and while we were able to get them done, it was really only because the event started late because of data entry issues.


As round one began, Glenn’s daughter was nice enough to spend the first round sorting all the deck lists by names, so the judges could walk the floor and answer questions. During my announcements, I mentioned that I was not a believer in “free wins” and would consider attempt to rule cheese opponents as unsporting and that “although I have never DQ’d anyone for unsportsmanlike conduct, I think of it as a goal.”


I found out later that some people where offended by that comment, but it’s the truth. If you were offended, I apologize, but I have no intention of letting players beat down other players psychologically, or try to cheese wins out of abusing the way players say things when their intent is obvious.


As an example, during one of the rounds, I had a judge come over to me for an appeal. Player A had out two Disciple of the Vaults and an Arcbound Ravager, and many artifacts.  The player sacrificed an artifact, announced both Disciples, and adjusted life totals. He repeated this process to get his opponent down to four life (from 16). Then he picked up two more artifacts, saying, “sacrifice these, kill you.”


Yes, you guessed it; the other player of course complained, “He didn’t announce the disciples.”


Now, this is dumb and rules cheesy enough, but when the judge ruled quite correctly that this appeared to be an acceptable short cut, this player had the ... courage… to appeal the ruling!


It was a short appeal. In retrospect, I almost think I should have DQ’d him. I mean, is there one person out there who did not understand what Player A was trying to do? Oh, and I did I mention that even in the best of situations for Player B, if we said that since Player A stacked the artifact so the first one he could not lose life on, then Player A still had TWO MORE ARTIFACTS he could have used to kill Player B with. Player B was trying to rules cheese a procedural error game loss out of his opponent, pure and simple, and that’s really not the kind of player I think we need playing at our tournaments.


As it stands, I instead just gave him a stern lecture about wasting the time of the staff, and how it would be a very good idea for him to not appeal such a ridiculous thing again. It may sound a bit mean, and like it’s trying to tell the player not to appeal again ever, but obviously not. Players are free to appeal at ANY TIME. But if they are being unsportsmanlike in this manner, and wasting the time of the staff, I am free to penalize them for that as well.


Most of the event was pretty smooth, although slow due to multiple players going to time every round. This event had some very strange match slip issues, including at least three incorrectly filled out and SIGNED match result slips, and one filled out incorrectly, then signed in both player spaces BY THE SAME PERSON. One of the incorrect result slips was in the last round of the event as well, and a quick recalculation of the final standings was required.


Jeff Einweller and Drew McBroom invited me over to their hotel room with their girlfriends and a couple other people for an after Regionals party, which I truly wanted to go to, but after the last minute stress of the last round match results being wrong, and the super long time for the event to begin with (it was past midnight), Jay and I looked at each other and decided it would be better to just go back to the hotel, grab a six pack, have a beer, and pass out. I feel bad because I really do like Jeff and Drew, and this is like the third time I have blown them off. Jeff, Drew, if you are reading this, I swear its not you, and I really do want to hang out, just the timing is so bad lately.


And then, already feeling worn out and beat down, we stopped off at the convenience store to grab the beer to drink in the hotel room, only to find out that they can not sell alcohol after 1pm. Now, Arizona has a similar law, so this was disappointing, but not unexpected. But, according to the security guard, bars can still serve until 2am. So, we could go to a bar to get a beer, and then have to drive home drunk, but we couldn’t buy a beer, bring it home, and drink it in the safety of our home (hotel). Right… The security guard by the way must have been lusting after the convenience store clerk’s job, as he spent a large amount of time arguing with the clerk about the fact that the clerk let a kid get a free refill on his drink, and how he should have charged him.  After waiting 18 minutes for the person in front of me to decide what cigarettes she wanted, then for the slowest debit card transaction this world has ever seen, I got my Lunchable and orange juice for dinner, and we went back to the hotel, drained, and unable to do anything but rant about the injustice of New Mexico and its drinking laws and convenience stores.


We woke up the next morning for Judge School, and headed down for that. Judge School went great, aside from a minor misconception. Some of the people thought they could test just by attending the class, but I had to inform them that they still needed to work at least one event with me before they could test. Aside from that, it went great, and I think they learned a lot from it, although it did run an hour longer than I expected.


The ride back was long, but fun. Jay and I were just so happy to be going home, and Jay got a free Arrowhead at a random gas stop off we did. We would like to point out that this is the one advantage we found of New Mexico over Arizona. In Arizona, the arrowheads are free WITH purchase; in New Mexico, they’re just free.


Thanks for reading. See you next week.




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Have a great week!

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