Tessitori is a level 5 judge from Italy (and former Pro Player ^__^); he judged a hundred professional events, headjudged 15 Grand Prix events in Europe, the United States and Asia and has been headjudging Pro Tours and World Championships since 2009:
Tour Kyoto 2009
- Pro Tour Austin 2009
- Worlds Chiba 2010
- Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011
- Pro Tour Barcelona 2012
- World Magic Cup Indianapolis 2012
11 Rounds Here, an Egg Deck There... The World Is Changing!
Return to Ravnica has
arrived and, for the joy of tournament organizers and players who like huge
tournaments, it is already breaking some records. This weekend I have to judge a “small”
PTQ in Rome, with just 300 preregistered competitors and I hear that the
expectations for GP Philadelphia are above TWO THOUSANDS; will GP Philadelphia
2012 beat the gigantic GP Madrid 2010 and its 2228 competitors?
Just before checking the
attendance of the GP, let’s take a look at how the two professional events on
the Pacific coast (GP San José and PT Seattle) went.
Q: If my opponent controls
a Cosi's Trickster and I cast Green Sun's Zenith, how many counters does the Trickster get?
A: Interesting, I believe
that most of us would say “you grab your library once, you shuffle once, you
get one counter”, right? But let’s take a close look at what Green Sun's Zenith
says: “… then shuffle your library. Shuffle Green Sun's Zenith…”. What?!? Does
it actually say “shuffle” twice? Yes, indeed, in real life we search for a
card, we put the Zenith in the deck and we shuffle it once, but Cosi's Trickster
reads the instructions written on Green Sun's Zenith and gets a +1/+1 counter
every time it finds the term “shuffle”, this is so weird. Two counters!
Q: With two Corpsejack Menaces on my side of the field, what happens when I scavenge?
A: Wait, isn’t it
Legendary? It’s a Prerelease promo, so it should be Legendary! Damn, it’s not
Legendary, and I have no Detention Sphere in my hand! This annoying creature my
opponent has is one of the cards that “double effects”, and their effects are
exponential if there are more copies! Two Corpsejack Menaces would
quadruplicate the number of +1/+1 counters! So, if cast my Rites of Replication
kicked, I get five copies of it, I get the effect multiplied by 32….
Questions of the Week
Q: I control Batterskull
and I want to attach it to another creature; in response, my opponent destroys
the other creature; what happens to the Germ token?
A: Batterskull remains
attached to the Germ token, because the Attach ability gets countered by the
rules of the game for having an illegal target at the moment it would resolve.
Q: I control Mikaeus the Unhallowed and Kitchen Finks; what happens if Kitchen Finks dies? Does it have
Persist or Undying?
A: It has both Persist and
Undying. If it has no counters, you will get to choose if the first triggered
ability that resolves is Persist or Undying (I guess you will choose to make it
come back with a +1/+1 counter). If it has a +1/+1 counter, only Persist will
trigger and it will be returned to the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter. If it
has a -1/-1 counter, only Undying will trigger and it will be returned to the
battlefield with a +1/+1 counter. Interesting ^__^
Q: I control Knight Exemplar and a few other knights; my opponent casts a Supreme Verdict. What
A: The Knight Exemplar
makes your other knights indestructible, and will save them from the Supreme Verdict because the Supreme Verdict will try only once to destroy the
creatures; the Knight Exemplar will be destroyed, while the other creatures
will still be indestructible because the Knight Exemplar’s ability is still
applying at the moment the destruction effect will try to destroy them.
Q: I control Knight Exemplar and a few other knights; my opponent casts Earthquake. What happens?
A: In this case, all your
knights will be destroyed. The difference between this situation and the
previous one is that the damage stays on the indestructible creature (it would
be removed at the end of the turn), and the creatures get destroyed as soon as
they stop being indestructible.
Q: I control Crucible of Worlds, and my opponent controls Grafdigger's Cage; who wins?
A: You can play your lands
from your graveyard, because the Grafdigger's Cage affects only spells and
reanimating creatures. Lands are not “cast”.
Event Report – GP San José
and PT Seattle 2012
Rules, Rules, Rules
A new set, a new format, a
very good opportunity to find new interesting rules interactions; specifically
for GP San José, I requested the role of “Rules situations reference” so that I
could collect the most interesting and the most frequent rules questions; enjoy
Q: I control Goblin Electromancer,
that allows me to cast my Izzet spells for one mana less; I want to cast a
spell with Overload (like Mizzium Mortars) or with an X (like Epic Experiment);
does it work?
A: Sure! Mizzium Mortars
with overload would cost five mana, and Epic Experiment for five would cost six
mana (first, we announce X, then we determine the cost; when the spell
resolves, it checks the announced value we chose for X and will not care about
how much mana we paid for the spell).
Q: My opponent is at 4
life, I control a Guttersnipe and I cast a Launch Party, sacrificing the Gutter Snipe to destroy one of my opponent’s creatures; do I win?
A: No. A spell is
considered cast when you complete all the steps to cast it; if you sacrifice
the Guttersnipe to pay the additional cost, the Guttersnipe won’t be on the
battlefield at the moment you finish casting your Launch Party, and therefore
its ability cannot trigger.
Q: I cast Rootborn Defenses, I put a token on the battlefield and I make all my creatures
indestructible. I am sure that this token is indestructible too, but what about
a creature that enters the battlefield after Rootborn Defenses has resolved?
Will it be indestructible too?
A: Yes. Indestructible is
not an ability, therefore Rootborn Defenses is not modifying any
characteristics of your creatures (like power, toughness, color, mana cost,
abilities…); if the effect of Rootborn Defenses doesn’t modify any
characteristics of permanents, it modifies the rules of the game. Let’s say
that it creates an effect that is “all around the table” that says that your
creatures are indestructible this turn.
Q: I attack with Skymark Roc, and my opponent controls a 2/1 Tower Drake; I choose to bounce the Drake,
and my opponent taps two Plains to make it a 2/3; will it be bounced or will it
stay on the battlefield?
A: It will stay on the
battlefield. The target is “creature defending player control with toughness 2
or less”, not just “creature”; when the triggered ability resolves, it will
check if the creature is still controlled by the defending player and if it
still has toughness 2 or less.
Q: I control Growing Ranks;
at the beginning of my turn, I untap, I draw a card and then I put a token on
the battlefield; my opponent says that it’s too late. What does he mean?
A: The rules about
triggered abilities have changed; although this ability looks mandatory, and
although you don’t gain an advantage from drawing before creating a token
(let’s assume that, in case you have the choice among multiple tokens, you will
always choose the biggest), it is now your responsibility to resolve your
triggered abilities at the correct time; if you perform any action after the
triggered ability should have resolved (like drawing the card, which happens
after the upkeep), you lose it forever; your opponent is not required to inform
you that you lost your triggered ability (unless he really wants it to happen).
Q: I control a Runewing,
and my opponent kills it with Annihilating Fire; instead of exiling it, I put
it into my graveyard and I draw a card. What is the infraction? What is the
penalty (at a Competitive event)?
A: Game Rules Violation,
Warning. Although a card is drawn, drawing a card is only the consequence of
the initial mistake, which is to put the Runewing into the graveyard instead of
exiling it, which is a Game Rules Violation, whose associated penalty is a
Warning (while the penalty associated with Drawing Extra Cards would be a Game
Q: My opponent is at 1
life, and I have a “pinger” (a creature with the ability T: deal 1 damage to
target player); my opponent controls a New Prahv Guildmage and enough mana to
activate the Detain ability as many times as he wants. Will I be able to kill
him with my pinger?
A: Yes. Detain creates an
effect that prevents you from activating the pinger ability; this effect lasts
until the beginning of your opponent’s turn; when he untaps, he’s able to
activate his Guildmage ability again, but you can use your pinger in response
and win the game.
Q: My opponent controls Grave Betrayal and kills my Keyrune. Will he return my Keyrune to the
battlefield under his control? Will it get the +1/+1 counter?
A: Yes and yes. Although
the Keyrune is just an artifact when it is in your graveyard, it was a creature
when it was on the battlefield; Grave Betrayal triggers when a creature you
control dies, and it triggers when your animated artifact is killed. More, it
will get the +1/+1 counters; although the +1/+1 counter will have no effect
until your opponent animates the Keyrune, the counter is indeed put on it.
Q: I cast Grisly Salvage
and I reveal more than five cards. What do we do to fix this mistake?
A: If it’s clear to you and
to your opponent which are the first five cards, they stay revealed (and you
will choose one of them) and the other cards get shuffled back into the
library. If it’s unclear (because you took six cards at once, you somehow mixed
or shuffled them and you put them on the table, or because they fell below the
table and the order isn’t recognizable), all the revealed cards get shuffled
back into the library, and then you reveal the first five cards.
Q: I cast Street Spasm
(that can target only creatures without flying) targeting a creature with
flying; what happens? Does it change if I paid the overload cost?
A: If you cast the normal
spell, targeting an illegal creature, the action is undone; Street Spasm is
returned to your hand and your lands are untapped (and you get a Warning
penalty). If you cast the spell with overload, it has no target and it’s a
legal action; you will waste it, if your opponent has only creatures with
flying, and you won’t be allowed to undo the action.
Q: I cast Jarad's Orders
and I find only one creature card. Can I choose to add it to my hand or to put
it into my graveyard?
A: No, you will add it to
your hand. Jarad's Orders say “Put one into your hand and the other into your
graveyard”; the first instruction refers to the first creature card you find,
while the “other” is the second card.
Q: I attack my opponent
with a 2/2 creature with deathtouch; he controls Palisade Giant. How does
A: You will kill the Palisade Giant. The Giant’s ability redirects all the damage to it, but doesn’t
change the source of the damage; the 2 damage from your creature with
deathtouch will be “deathtouch damage” and will destroy the Giant.
Q: I cast an instant spell
and I want to copy it with my Nivix Guildmage; my opponent casts Cancel on my
original spell. Is the copy created?
A: No. Nivix Guildmage’s
ability is a targeted ability and it’s necessary that its target is legal at
the moment the ability resolves; because your original spell was countered
before the Nivix Guildmage’s ability resolved, the ability got countered on
resolution. Storm, Mirari and Replicate work differently; they don’t target the
original spell, and therefore they create the copies even if your opponent
counters the original spell (otherwise Storm wouldn’t be so strong, right?)
A Short Comment About GP San José
How many people? 1700?
But…. But…. Didn’t they say that Magic was dying?
I have to say that there
were moments when I thought “If I knew it in advance, I wouldn’t have come”;
entering into the tournament room at seven in the morning, discovering that
there would have been eleven rounds (yes, this was the one and only GP with eleven
rounds on Saturday, in addition to a long deck construction), knowing that I
would have worked until one in the evening (hoping that there wouldn’t be any
problems), indeed, it’s quite a hard day!
At the end of the weekend,
I could say “YES! I survived GP San José!”, and it was a great weekend.
Next team event: GP
Utrecht, see you there!
A Short Comment About PT Seattle
It was Friday morning,
maybe round 3, maybe round 4.
I saw a player bored, cards
face down on the table, while watching his opponent.
Curious, I approached the
table, and I saw it: THE EGG DECK!
It immediately became my
favorite deck; “it’s boring, but it’s awesome, he’s my favorite” was my
comment; “he tried it, I wish him good luck, he got surely lucky for winning a
couple of matches, it will never make day 2” was my thought.
The first day ended, and I
didn’t see the egg deck anymore.
Saturday came, another day,
I forgot about the egg
deck… Surprise! I was passing next to table one, it was about turn 12 or 13,
and there it was, undefeated, as awesome as the day before, A_W_E_S_O_M_E!
The evening came, and my
favorite deck brilliantly made Top8.
Sunday, the most quiet day,
a draft with friends in the morning, the train to the airport, about one hour
waiting for my flight, let’s check my mail and see how the PT Top8 is going.
Would you believe that I
had never watched the Top8 of a Pro Tour on the Internet? The live coverage is
actually great, you can see the video, live! For the first time, instead of
reading a book, I watched the last game and a half of the final and I could see
a deck full of commons winning a Pro Tour!!!
(yes, I actually offered
100 dollars to buy the entire deck on Saturday afternoon; the proud owner
refused; I raised my offer to 120 dollars the next turn; he refused again; good
A Tournament Dedicated to… Mat Marr
Mat is a level 2 judge from
the United States, who is currently residing in Thailand. Usually, we can see
him playing at Pro Tours and several GPs, but from time to time he puts the cards
in the closet and wears the judge uniform. For GP San José, he chose to judge
and the reason was (his words) “to rest and be better prepared for the Pro
Tour”; I am sorry that you didn’t choose the best GP to “rest”, but I was happy
to judge again with you…
… and this is my final
Don’t forget to submit all
your rules questions for the next installment of Ask the Judge:
You have the unique opportunity to ask Level 5
judge Riccardo Tessitori all the questions you want to!
You can ask him questions concerning rules
problems, the life of a level 5 judge, DCI policies, interesting tournament
situations and anything else you want to ask him!
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this article and I’m looking
forward to reading any comments.