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PDtamer on Yu-Gi-Oh!
YCS Chicago Judging Report
Alright, this is my first report from a judge's perspective, and 2nd championship level event that I've judged at. I decided that I wanted to judge nationals this year instead of playing at it, and to do that, I'd need a little bit more experience on the YCS/SJC circuit.
I leave home at 4 AM on Saturday morning, heading out for Chicago. I get in the convention center, run down this skywalk that's insanely long, and walk all around the outside of the room to find an entrance I could slip in. I eventually make my way in there, and start helping out by setting up numbers. We open our doors shortly afterwards, and get down to business. During pre-registration, I was assigned to keep the general area clean. That means I had to walk around, and grab all of the trash on the tables/floor, and ask players if I could take anything for them. Had a couple of rude people, but the majority of players were incredibly polite and easy to talk to. Answered some general rulings questions, and it was during this time that I started talking to a frog FTK player. He was asking a LOT of questions about his deck, and one particular one about how his cases/cards looked, which seemed suspicious. Initial Inspection produced a severely bent SR One for One. I told him to replace the card, and I asked his name after I introduced myself. I wrote down his name, along with identifying information, and gave it to a judge to keep an eye out for him. This wouldn't be my only encounter with him. After my 5th or 6th sweep of the floor, my team (Deck Team) was assembled in our area, and we went over the basics of our job for the first 2 rounds. Round 1 we would collect and deck the deck lists for any outstanding errors (i.e. banned cards, illegal deck count, etc.) and round 2 would be our "penalty round," in which all of the potential game losses were examined, and penalties were/were not given out. Each judge was assigned a list of players to collect lists from, and we were sent out on our merry ways.
During the player meeting, we started the deck list collecting procedure, and this is when I realized we had some players in the field with special needs. One of the players in my assigned area was still filling out a deck sheet, but his mother/guardian was standing next to him. When I told her to have him turn in his deck list up front, she communicated to him using sign language. So I'm assuming that he has/had a hearing problem, and I took extra note to keep an eye out for him in the later rounds. On the way back up to check the sheets, I also notice a player using a walking stick and a friend to guide him. Again, we had judges watching over him nearly the whole time to prevent any sort of cheating/theft, just in case anyone attempted it.
During Round 1, our duties begin. I checked through 3 stacks of 44(?) people during this round, during which I oly found 8 errors. Not too bad, but the errors I saw were frightening. One Player was main decking 3 Graceful Charity. Another was main decking Monster Reborn, Change of Heart, and Dark Hole. Needless to say I chuckled quite a bit. At the end of round one, all of the penalties were lined up, and we were given 2-3 to check out. My first one was a quantity error, where we could not determine whether or not a player used 2 or 3 of a certain card. His card count suggested 2, but upon looking at the deck, he used 3, and was given a game loss. My second one was the Frog FTK player. His list included 2 copies of One for One. Sure enough, he had 2 copies mained. So he took one out for a different card, I marked it on the deck list, and gave him a game loss for an illegal decklist. After we were done with this, I was put on the floor for rulings questions and match slip collection.
Rounds 3-5 went pretty fast. Deck Check at the beginning of the round, and going to the floor to answer questions. Round 6-8, we did Mid-Round deck checks along with our initial deck check. Suprisingly, no penalties were given other than a warning to change sleeves. I only missed one ruling the entire day, as well, thanks to tricky wording tripping me up. Ah well, you learn something new every time you judge these events. After round 8 was done and the standings were finalized, Head Judge Andrew Bowling thanked everyone for coming out to day 1, top 128 comes back for day 2, and now everyone needed to clear the venue. We had a judge meeting, and we headed our separate ways for the night. It was here where I encountered some trouble. The hotel I was staying at had its direct route cut off by downed power lines, so we had to search blindly for a way through the side roads to get to it. After about 45 minutes, sure enough, we found it, with a Burger King next to it. After eating and testplaying, I went to bed.
When we departed from the hotel the next morning, it was 7:52 AM. I needed to be there at 8:30 to help set up stuff. I arrived at 9, thanks to ****ty directions. Hoping I wasn't released for the day, I again ran the length of the skywalk into the room, and went to my team leader. It was here where we cleared out our side event area and started our regionals. I judged the first regional of the day, seeing 10 different deck types playing. No rulings questions at all, which made my job a tad bit boring. The first guy to complete his match got up and walked around, after I gave him explicit instructions to stay right next to the regional so that as soon as everyone was done, we could move onto the next round. He didn't listen. So I paired everyone up, and in my "big judge voice" announced that round 2 has started. I saw he was within earshot, but must have not heard me. Not wanting to be a total jerk, a minute and 30 seconds in I waltz over there and tell him, "You have about 90 seconds to start playing, or you will recieve a game loss." Never seen a YuGiOh player run that fast lol. The rest of the rounds went by smoothly, with Quickdraw Cat winning it. After reporting the results and distributing the prize, I was told to go to lunch. I returned and immediately jumped into a Win-A-Mat. No rulings questions this time, either, but the matches finished very fast. Finals were Wilson Luc vs. George Murray, which Murray won. Both were running Sabers.
Which brings me to the last tourney I judged. It was another regional, and boy oh boy, it was a doozy. Several of the first round games went to time, and some of the players were not letting me complete rulings, cutting me off halfway. Round 2 began a tad bit late, and ran smoother. Round 3, however was truly a pain. Spectators, rulings confusions, and overall cranky attitudes led this to be a very trying round for me. That fact that a player appealed 2 rulings, one that I gave much earlier in the match, disrespected me, since he accepted the call earlier. (Already Active Black Whirlwind vs LADD. LADD does not negate the search, since Whirlwind was already active at the time of LADD's summoning.) The other rulings mishap was a chain problem with everyone's favorite friend, LADD. The judge call(s) took about 13 minutes, and a few turns later the appealing player lost the match. Right when we were starting the final round, everyone not involved with a tournament match was to exit the venue. This caused a problem since two of the spectators refused to leave, citing that one of the competitors in the finals was a friend of theirs, and was jumped in Columbus. I asked them to leave, and one of them piped up and said, "Let's wait until they kick us out." Uh...I kinda have to do that. The competitor started to get irritated, and I told him if he was that scared of getting jumped, I'd escort him out to his friends personally after the match. The match itself only lasted 11 minutes, with Caliber Cat winning.
Finally starting to wrap up, I collected my compensation, spoke to some of the judges that I'm friends with, and walked outside to talk to Rey Garza (without whom I probably wouldn't be judging this one.) Basically asked me how it went, we shot the breeze, and he wanted to check out my compensation. Had some people huddled around me asking about my judge mat. We leave the event, get something to eat, and arrive back home. Hopefully this experience will allow me to judge nationals, and hopefully you've made it through this monster of a report. All in all, it was a smooth event, but there was a LOT of theft. People, for the love of everything holy, watch your stuff. The reality of the matter is, unless a judge picked your stuff up and took it to the Lost and Found area, it's most likely gone. Sad but True. Anyways, below are some guidelines that you should take to heart if you feel like attending a championship level event.
1) WATCH YOUR BELONGINGS!
2) Always have spare packs of sleeves. Try to resleeve every 4th or 5th round to prevent any sort of "marked cards" infraction.
3) Be familiar with the rulings of the cards in your deck. Several calls for judges have to do with a player insure of a ruling of one of their own cards.
4) When in doubt, call a judge. As long as the card/situation is currently in play, we must do everything possible to help resolve any dispute that may come up.
Thanks for reading!
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