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
Waiting For Another GP With More Than 2000 Participants…
Did you see how many people competed in GP Charlotte?!?!? Two thousands, six hundred, ninety, three!!!
Attendance numbers are
really going up; I believe that Wizards decided to have more GPs so that they would
be smaller; well, it looks like that plan didn’t work out that well, since so
many people want to play GPs!
The first two limited GPs
of the Return to Ravnica season had 1701 participants in San José (567 teams)
and 1986 in Philadelphia.
The first two limited GPs
of the Gatecrash season had 1970 participants in London and 2693 in Charlotte.
When this article is
published, I will already be on my way to GP Yokohama… what should I be expecting?
There hasn’t been a limited
GP in Japan for Return to Ravnica or Gatecrash, this will be the very first;
the last GP in the Tokyo area (Yokohama in June 2012) had 1523 participants,
which has been the fourth biggest constructed GP in 2012; the second biggest
constructed GP in 2012 was also in Japan, in Nagoya in December, with 1689
Well, if the Japanese players
are thirsty for limited GPs like the Europeans and the Americans are, I have the
impression this will be a WONDERFUL weekend.
While waiting for this big event,
let’s go back to our rules and policy.
Q: Last night I was playing
with my friends and I accidentally came up with this combo: Mindcrank and Duskmantle Guildmage. If I have Mindcrank in play and I activate Duskmantle´s
first ability (Whenever a card is put into an opponent’s graveyard from
anywhere this turn, that player loses 1 life), does it become an infinity loop
when my opponent puts his first card into his grave yard? When he puts one card
into his grave yard he loses one life, so Mindcrank makes him put another card
in the graveyard, then Duskmantle makes him lose another life activating Mindcrank´s ability once more activating again Duskmantle and so on.
A: Yes, it works! Both Mindcrank and Duskmantle Guildmage have triggered abilities (well, actually,
the Guildmage has an activated ability that you can activate when you want to
create a triggered ability that will exist until the end of turn). You just need
to mill your opponent or deal one damage; one of the triggered abilities will
trigger; when it resolves, the other triggered ability will trigger; when the
second resolves, the first will trigger again, and again, and again, and again!
Note that this loop works because these are triggered abilities; a very similar
situation that you might have read about that doesn’t work is with replacement
effects, like Pariah (All damage that would be dealt to you is dealt to
enchanted creature instead.) and Blood of the Martyr (if damage would be dealt
to any creature, you may have that damage be dealt to you instead.). Two linked
replacement effects may apply only once to the same event, while two linked
triggered abilities may apply infinite times.
Q: My opponent copies his
Invisible Stalker that has encoded Cipher cards on it. Does the new copy
receive the ciphered effects from the original stalker?
A: No. I tell you how I
describe copy effects, it looks extremely simple and I believe it should apply
to all situations. When you copy a card, it’s like removing the card from the
sleeve, put it on a copy machine, press the “Copy” button, and then put the
card back into the sleeve. You just get what is printed on the card and nothing
else. Counters aren’t inside the sleeve, you don’t copy them. Enchantments
aren’t inside the sleeve, you don’t copy them. External effects like +3/+3 from
a Giant Growth aren’t inside the sleeve, you don’t copy them. Encoded cards
aren’t inside the sleeve, you don’t copy them. You just copy what is *inside
Questions of the Week
Q: I control Wolfir Avenger, and my opponent casts Tragic Slip targeting it; can I save it by
A: Regenerating a creature
prevents a creature from being destroyed and removes all the damage from it.
Giving –X/-X to a creature is another way of killing it, which is not by
damage. Regeneration is useless against –X/-X effects or counters; the Wolfir Avenger will die.
Q: Is it possible to block
a creature that has been put on the battlefield with Ninjutsu?
A: Ninjutsu allows
switching an attacking, unblocked creature with a creature from your hand.
Because the creature with Ninjutsu enters the battlefield attacking after the
blockers have been declared, it’s not possible to declare any blockers to block
it… but it’s actually possible to block it! Yes, there are ways to block
Ninjas; one of them is Flash Foliage!
Q: I control Bloodthrone Vampire and I cast Disciple of Bolas; what’s the maximum number of cards I can
A: If you want to draw the
most cards, this is what you have to do: after the Disciple enters the
battlefield, her ability triggers; in response, sacrifice the Disciple to the Bloodthrone Vampire so that the Bloodthrone Vampire will become 3/3; then, when
the Disciple’s ability resolves, sacrifice the Bloodthrone Vampire to draw
Q: I control only Ratchet Bomb and my opponent controls only a single creature; he casts Oblivion Ring; can I
sacrifice my Ratchet Bomb so that he will exile his own creature?
A: Yes. What you need to do
is to sacrifice the Ratchet Bomb in response to the Oblivion Ring spell, before
the Oblivion Ring enters the battlefield; this way, when the Oblivion Ring enters
the battlefield, your opponent will have only one legal choice, which is his
Q: I cast Show and Tell and
I put Omniscience on the battlefield; my opponent puts a Sphere of Resistance
on the battlefield; will I get to cast my spells for free or will I need to pay 1?
A: Sphere of Resistance
wins; Omniscience “only” allows you to cast your spells without paying their
mana costs, but you will still have to pay any additional costs.
IPG Analysis – Tournament
Policy by Example
The Infraction Procedure Guide
is a difficult document; on a little more than 20 pages, we find how we fix all
the infractions at Competitive and Professional tournaments; yes, it’s a short
document, it’s not comprehensive, and is in continuous evolution; it can also
be a difficult document, whose understanding is sometimes challenging.
Let’s break it into pieces
and discover how it works and why it works this way!
Today, we will finish
analyzing the very first page; yes, when I said “we will analyze every
sentence”, I actually meant ALL the sentences!
“This document is divided
into two major parts: General Definitions and Philosophy (section 1), and
Infractions (sections 2-4).”
Theory and practice, like
in all well-built documents; the first section will give us the basis of our
philosophy, the principles on whom every procedure is built, and would be a
good starting point for the tournament policy of any game, or also the
governing policies of any structure; the following sections are the
applications of the theory in the real life of Magic tournaments.
“Infractions are broken
down into general classes (Game Play Error, Tournament Error, and Unsporting
Conduct), and further into subclasses for specific infractions.”
In the sections about
practical applications, the first division is based on the macro-types of
infractions that can happen in a Magic tournament.
There are infractions
limited to single games, limited to what happens *on the table*; these
infractions are called Game Play Errors, because they are about how the game is
There are infractions that
are about what is going on around single games, about what happens *around the table*;
these infractions are called Tournament Errors, because they are about how a
tournament is structured.
There are infractions that
are about how competitors behave and what their intent is; these infractions
are called Unsporting Conduct, because they are about behavior that is not part
of a fair and sporting competition.
Then, each of these three
big classes is further divided into a series of micro-types or sub-types of
infractions; each subcategory may have a different procedure to fix the problem
and a different penalty.
“While many infractions
could fall into a more general subclass, they are separate because:”
There are a few reasons for
the choice of dividing all the infractions into several subcategories; here you
“The DCI™ can identify the
potential for significant advantage.”
The severity of the
infraction is linked to the potential advantage that can be gained; same for
the level of penalty, the bigger the advantage, the harsher the penalty (as to
balance the advantage). To make this clear, imagine an infraction that might
cause a competitor to win the entire tournament (like playing with 13 people in
a soccer game, where you can have only 11, or using an engine in a cycling
race); the opposite of “winning the competition” is “losing the competition”,
which corresponds to a Disqualification in Magic; now imagine an infraction
that might cause an advantage in a single game action (like an offside in
soccer, or blocking the ball in the descending part of the trajectory in
basketball); the opposite of “a small advantage” is a “small disadvantage”,
which corresponds to a Warning in Magic.
“The procedure to correct
the infraction deviates from the base philosophy for the class of infractions.”
If there are different ways
to fix the infractions, it’s appropriate for clarity to write the different
procedures in different subcategories.
“The DCI wishes to
specifically track a player’s repeated infractions across multiple
The first two
macro-categories (Game Play Errors and Tournament Errors) are based on the
assumption that the infraction isn’t intentional. If a single player repeatedly
commits the same infraction, the possibility that he’s trying to get an
advantage from it, just making sure that his penalties do not get upgraded
during a single tournament. Using an example about Magic, if a player receives
ten “Looking at extra card” penalties for looking at his opponent’s deck while
shuffling in ten tournaments in a row, the governing body of Magic will surely
want to determine if the player has a physical handicap that prevents him from
shuffling correctly (and, in this case, encourage opponents, judges and staff
to assist him) or if the player knows that he “can do it once every tournament”
(and, in this case, have a very serious conversation with the player to stop
this behavior from happening).
“The DCI wishes to make it
clear if a penalty should be upgraded if it is repeated.”
Just like in several sports
you cannot commit an infinite number of fouls, also in Magic there is a limit
for the number of identical mistakes that a player can make. Some penalties are
upgraded from Warning to Game Loss at the third occurrence, while others are
upgraded at the second occurrence. Different upgrade paths deserve different
“See the Magic Tournament
Rules for further definitions of terms in this document.”
The Infraction Procedure
Guide is not the only document that deals with Magic tournament policy; the
Infraction Procedure Guide is focused on “How to solve problems”, while there
is another document (the Tournament Rules) that is focused on “How tournaments
“This document is published
in multiple languages.”
Just like Magic is played
all around the globe and is translated into several languages, the official
documents are translated into several languages, even more languages than the
cards, with the goal of assisting as many players as possible with having
enjoyable and fair tournaments.
Some of these translations
are official and you can find them on the Wizards of the Coast website; others
are unofficial, created by players and judges, and are hosted on local
“If a discrepancy exists
between the English version and a non-English version of this document,
tournament participants must refer to the English version to settle disputes
concerning interpretations of the Infraction Procedure Guide.”
Just like for all
translations, there might be mistakes, or the translated version might be an
older version; in case of difference, what counts is the official version,
which is always the English version.
“This document is updated
periodically. Please obtain the most current version at”
The latest version of the
official English document can always be found in the Document Center of the
Wizards of the Coast website; the document is updated about four times per
year. If you are going to an important tournament and you want to be sure that
you are aware of all the latest changes, I encourage you to download the most
updated version (and, if you have little time, you can find in the appendixes
the list of recent changes).
I hope you enjoyed this
article, and I’m looking forward to reading your comments.
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!
See you in a few weeks!