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Regionals Report, Lincoln, NE
by Lloyd Dodson

The Pros and Cons of Regionals in Lincoln, NE


"Is That A Judge In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?"

First off, let me start this article with the letter that I sent off
to the DCI and Wizards of the Coast. After that we will deal with the pros
of the Regionals in Lincoln.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to draw your attention to what I feel to be a sad
situation. For the last few days, there has been a considerable amount of
grumbling over the recent events at the Regionals in Lincoln, Nebraska held
at Hobbytown USA. I have talked with numerous people of my acquaintance and
several people in passing and the consensual belief seems to be that there
are shady happenings that occur on a regular basis at Hobbytown USA. I feel
the need to clarify something right from the start. I am in no way trying to
get any judgment that was made there repealed. I am not out to exonerate
anyone of any possible wrongdoings, real or concocted. My purpose in this
letter is to reveal what is on the lips and minds of most every player in
our area right now. The topic is the judging staff at Hobbytown USA.

These are the people representing the DCI in Lincoln, Nebraska and many of
us feel that we cannot trust them.

During Round four, a friend of mine played against a younger player.
My friend lost the match 0-2. During the match, my friend thought that he
saw the young player make it to the fifth pile while pile shuffling. After
the match he kept thinking about this and decided to ask the judge to check
the young players deck. They found the young player and he did indeed only
have 59 cards in his deck. The young player thought that my friend might
have accidentally picked it up when putting his deck back together so the
judge then asked to look through my friend's deck. The judge counted through
the deck and sideboard multiple times. The Judge asked my friend if he had
the missing card. When my friend replied that he did not have the card, the
judge asked to search his card-carrying case for it. My friend agreed to the
search and the card was not found in his possession. The judge asked my
friend again if he had the missing card and once again my friend replied
that he did not. The judge then took both decks and said that he would be
back shortly. The judge came back after a few minutes to tell my friend that
he could either produce the missing card now or be disqualified. My friend
told the judge again that he did not have the missing card so the judge told
him that he was disqualified. My friend asked to talk to someone else and he
was directed over to the head judge. The head judge told him that they
believed that he had taken the card because he had lost and that he was
disqualified. While my friend and the head judge were talking, the judge
that my friend had originally approached came into the room with the card
that had been missing out of the young players deck. The judge said that he
found it crumpled in a trashcan and told my friend once again that he was
Now, I do not believe that my friend would do such a thing, but that
is not what is being questioned here. My problem with the whole affair was
that the judges had made an assumption that he was guilty and ran forward
with it. To my knowledge, no one was ever called on as a witness what went
on during the game or what may have happened later. They did not try to see
if anyone had seen the card. They did not make any real attempt to find out
exactly what happened. The young player that my friend played recently
posted a message on a local bulletin board. He told us that he disagrees
with the ruling as well and does not believe that my friend would have
purposefully taken the card. The young player also commented on the fact
that he and his colleagues had also noticed poor judging throughout the day.
Later on, another KC player was talking over the situation with the judge
and I overheard the judge say that he knew my friend was guilty "because of
his body language". I feel that this is a far cry from proof on any day of
the week. They had accused my friend of being a cheat, a thief, and a liar.
They searched through all of his belongings, not found the card, and once
again accused him of being a cheat, a thief, and a liar. I think that
anyone's 'body language' would be askew at this point and should not be a
factor in any sort of ruling.

These are the people representing the DCI in Lincoln, Nebraska and many of
us feel that we cannot trust them.
A suspicious occurrence took place last year at a pre-release held
at Hobbytown USA. A Kansas City player was there doing well at the time of
the last round. The winner of the match would garner himself a spot in the
coveted Top 8. He happened to be playing against one of the local members of
Team Hobbytown. A judge comes over and informs them that there will be a
deck check. A standard procedure at all of these events, and he thinks
nothing more about it until they return to inform him that they are going to
disqualify him. Their claim was that he listed a Rith's Attendant in his
deck, but had a Dromar's Attendant there instead. He reads the list and
points out that he received both Attendants in his sealed deck. So, after a
period of deliberation, they decide to give him a one game loss. Now, the
funny thing is that he also had a Rith, the Awakener in his deck and had
used the Rith's Attendant to cast Rith during the previous round. He had a
good deck, absolutely no use for the Dromar's Attendant, and he never sided
it in all day long. There was no reason to. I know that he will never let a
Team Hobbytown judge review his deck unsupervised ever again.

These are the people representing the DCI in Lincoln, Nebraska and many of
us feel that we cannot trust them.

At Regionals two years ago, there was another occurrence that has
fueled these thoughts. A local Nebraska player was playing a match. The
Nebraska player was found to have had an illegal decklist. At Rules
Enforcement Level One that is a game loss. At REL Three, it is a match loss.
At this Regionals, the hometown player received a warning.

These are the people representing the DCI in Lincoln, Nebraska and many if
us feel that we cannot trust them.

If anyone has any fact to support or contradict anything in this article, I
would greatly appreciate it if you would send me the information. I truly
hate to be judgmental, but I believe that all of this has at least the
semblance of suspiciousness. Even more so, I hate to believe that this sort
of "impartiality" can occur on a regular basis especially at a Rules
Enforcement Level 3 tournament. In my heart of hearts, I hope that I can be
presented with enough information to change my opinion of how things are run
at Hobbytown USA. Until then, I will continue to believe that there is
something 'rotten in the state of Denmark', and that this situation should
be rectified.
Again, I sincerely request for any and all information, pro or con,
that would shed more light on any of these events. I do not take any of this
lightly, nor should you.
And so I register this complaint in hopes that someone of authority will
look into this and affect some sort of resolution. If I am completely off
base pertaining to all of these accusations, I will be more than happy to
publicly apologize, but if I am not then something needs to be done.

End Of Letter

SO...I have had enough of this negativity and want to move on to happier
matters...namely, my terrible showing at Regionals.

After pulling up to an even record, I decided to press on (being the glutton
for punishment that I am). I had spent the entirety of the day Parising down
to four and five cards in most every game. I sat through hour upon hour of
this grueling torture, all the while enjoying the repartee with my
opponents. I count myself lucky to have been matched up with (for the most
part) such fun-loving players. I had the pleasure of playing a particularly
good-natured soul during my last match of the day.
Rick (from Team Decepticon) sat down and we made our introductions before we
began our Fires on Fires battle. I lost the first two games in a rather
disappointing fashion as I waited turn after turn for any one of eight cards
left in my library that could flat out win me the game. Each time I had at
least one Rith, the Awakener in hand, a Fires of Yavimaya on the table, and
enough mana to cast him, attack, and activate his ability. Any of the four
Birds of Paradise or the two Brushlands could handle that. Or I could have
done it the easy way by casting a Ghitu Fire for some ungodly amount. But I
decided instead to simply continue to draw lands.
After the thrashing that Rick dealt me, he asked if I would like to play a
third game for fun. He set a goal for himself to get a side boarded Questing
Phelddagrif into play. I keep a sub-optimal hand only due to the fact that I
was tired of shuffling my deck at this point, and proceeded to beat myself
into submission with my own painlands to reduce myself down to one life (of
course, with some help from Rick as well). When he realized that I was down
so low in life, things got a bit silly and some might say very much out of
As we both waited for Rick to get out the two Birds to cast the Hippo, We
emptied our hands as fast as possible, and cluttered the board with every
permanent that we drew. With eight Fires of Yavimaya, six Llanowar Elves,
four Chimeric Idols and just about every land we had out in play, he was
finally able to drop the Hippo and then that was when the real fun began.
I do not remember which one of us brought it up first, but we decided to see
how many Hippo tokens that we could get into play. I think that it was about
up to 90 Hippos, before I was able to talk him into trying to deck me with
the Phelddagrif's Blue ability. The Green 1/1 Machine really went into
overdrive when I dropped Rith and he let me charge across and activate. A
little while later I used a Ghitu Fire for 24 on the Two-eyed, two-winged,
flying, purple, token-maker. Of course it was only to see if we could pump
him up to survive. It took sacrificing all eight of the Fires on the table,
but the Hippo lived.
Now, everyone on our respective teams and most other random players were
walking by and gawking at the monstrosity of cards on the table, and just
about everyone made the same comment. It was always something to the effect
of, "Why don't you just attack and kill him!?!?!". I do not think that
anyone really appreciated the aesthetic value of our unconventional game and
the reasoning behind our game-play. Oh well, their loss.
The most amusing moment though, had to be after time had been called. We
were so focused on having a good time that we did not notice that the round
was over until a judge was passing by, came to an abrupt halt to stare
incredulously at the state of the board as he asked us, in a horrified tone,
"Are you still playing in the tournament?"
We realized then that we had completely forgotten to turn in our result
slip. As we apologized and explained the situation, a wave of relief visibly
washed over him as he took the signed sheet and quickly distanced him from
the mess at our table.
So there the day ended. We said our good-byes and made our way to the exits.
Amidst all of the controversy and hubbub, I fulfilled my goal of having a
good time and continued my tradition of memorable last rounds (see my
article Revenge of the Jedi for more on that).

Lloyd Dodson
a.k.a. D.H. Thomas
Team Regime
Kansas City <>

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