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Goodbye 2014

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About Riccardo Tessitori

Riccardo Tessitori
Riccardo Tessitori

Riccardo Tessitori is a level 5 judge from Italy (and former Pro Player ^__^); he judged more than a hundred professional events, headjudged more than 25 Grand Prix events in Europe, the United States and Asia and has been headjudging Pro Tours and World Championships since 2009:

  • Pro Tour Kyoto 2009
  • Pro Tour Austin 2009
  • Worlds Chiba 2010
  • Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011
  • Pro Tour Barcelona 2012
  • World Magic Cup Indianapolis 2012
  • Pro Tour Dublin 2013
  • Pro Tour Valencia 2014

Goodbye 2014

Hello everybody and Happy New Year!

We haven’t met in a while, as I’ve been on “holiday” for a few weeks (well, actually, the “holidays” have been four GPs, a PTQ and a World Championship in seven weeks!).

Now I’m here again, ready to start with a new year, full of Magic!

Similar to last year, we will have plenty of event reports, where I will do my best to show you some pictures and tell tales about Magic and also about adventures, we will have the Card of the Month, and we will have your questions.

From time to time, we will have special sections dedicated to new sets (Dragons!) or other unconventional topics.

To bring 2014 to a closure, today’s article is dedicated to the World Championship and the World Magic Cup 2014 and to the first “Card of the Month” for 2015: Sorin, Solemn Visitor.

Happy reading.

Card of the Month – Sorin, Solemn Visitor

After dealing with business in his native Innistrad, Sorin Markov decided to seek the help of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, to fight the Eldrazi. Thanks to him and Nahiri, the Lithomancer, thousands of years ago, the Eldrazi were imprisoned on the plane of Zendikar. On the plane of Tarkir, though, a bitter revelation awaits him…

This is one of the stories of the multiverse; let's now enter our mathematical world of rules. We have three abilities for this Gothic Planeswalker. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Until your next turn, creatures you control get +1/+0 and gain lifelink

Sorin's first ability increases the power of all creatures we control and gives them lifelink.

If we activate this ability and, after it resolves, we cast a creature, does this creature get +1/+0 and lifelink?

The Comprehensive Rules [CR 611.2c] check the continuous effects generated by the resolution of spells or abilities and divide them into two categories:

  • those that modify the characteristics or change the controller of a set of objects: this set of objects is determined at the moment the effect is created. Sorin's ability modifies the characteristics of creatures, and therefore is in this category of continuous effects. For this reason, the creature that has just entered the battlefield doesn't get any bonus.

  • those that don't modify the characteristics and don't change controller. The set of affected objects isn't determined at the moment the effect is created, but at the moment the effect is applied. An effect of this category also affects objects that weren't on the battlefield at the moment the spell or ability resolved. The effect "stays" in the air and doesn't change any characteristics of creatures but, for example, modifies the rules of the combat phase or other phases.

Here you have two examples of this second category:

Effects from the first category can be recognized by the word "get" for the changes to power and toughness (like "creatures get +1/+0"), or the words "have", "gain", or "lose" to indicate that creatures gain or lose abilities ("creatures have/gain/lose flying"). There are also effects that change the characteristics and don't use these words though ("creatures are red").

Effects from the second category "stay in the air" and modify the rules of the game.

Note that multiple instances of lifelink are redundant. A creature that has lifelink twice and deals damage makes us gain life equal to the damage it deals, not to its double. Sorin's ability makes a Child of Night "3/1 lifelink, lifelink", but if the Child of Night deals damage, we gain three life points, not six.

Put a 2/2 black Vampire creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

Effects that put tokens on the battlefield also define name and type of these creatures. If the name isn't specified, it's equal to the creature type.

Tokens generated by Sorin's ability are simply called "Vampire".

A single Bile Blight that targets one of the tokens kills all of them.

You get an emblem with "At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that player sacrifices a creature"

Emblems are a very special category of objects. At the moment, they can be generated only by the ultimate ability of some Planeswalkers.

Emblems exist in the command zone. Such a zone always exists, even if we aren't playing a Commander game; in a format like Standard or Modern, the command zone can have only emblems.

Once an emblem is created, it exists until the end of the game; there is no way to get rid of an emblem. It doesn't magically disappear if the Planeswalker who created it leaves the battlefield.

Actually, there is no way to interact with emblems; they are neither cards nor permanents. They can't be targeted by Vindicate, Boomerang, or Bramblecrush.

Emblems have no name and no color. The only characteristics of an emblem are the abilities that are given by the effect that created it.

In the case of Sorin's emblem, note that:

  • The ability is written taking into account multiplayer formats; it doesn't say "opponent", but "each opponent".

  • The ability is triggered. Even if we can't interact with emblems, we can interact with the abilities they generate. For example, we can cast Stifle targeting Sorin's ability.

  • The ability is controlled by the player who controls the emblem, and is considered to be beneficial to him. It's therefore its controller responsibility to remind the opponent to sacrifice a creature. On the other hand, the opponent cannot untap and quickly draw to have the upkeep end and decide that the ability has been missed. If we control Sorin's emblem, our opponent untaps and draws and we remind him that he has to sacrifice a creature before we take any other action in his turn, the ability isn't considered missed, and our opponent will need to sacrifice a creature (even if he has already drawn a card for his turn).

Event Report – Worlds 2014

Every tournament season begins the day after the end of a World Championship and finishes the last day of the next World Championship.

But what does World Championship mean?

Depending on the sport you like, the World Championship can be the highest level of competition and interest (the soccer World Championship takes place only every four years, and in Italy is considered to be the most important competition, able to get the attention of an entire country for a month) or a less important event (the baseball World Championship might be not that attractive to Americans, who have their amazing national league).

Many may consider the Pro Tour as the top level competition of Magic.

I personally find the current system of the World Magic Cup a lot more attractive.

Style, Folklore and Pride

While GPs are gigantic events with thousands of people (we will see at the end of May how many people will be playing a Magic GP on the same weekend!) and Pro Tours have all the most famous players in the world, the World Magic Cup is to me like the Olympic Games.

At Olympic Games we have a fascinating melting pot, where a lot of countries of the world compete (with the same number of athletes) and enjoy their time a great lot.

Sure, the most expert are playing to win and Olympic Games might not even be the top event of the year, but for others it’s the sport spirit, the joy of the international competition, the pride of representing their home country!

Sportsmanship

The World Magic Cup and the Olympic Games are also the events where it’s a pleasure to see good sportsmanship.

You might have seen pictures or videos of athletes helping other athletes, with things that go way beyond the simple victory and incarnate the spirit of good sportsmanship.

Something similar, much smaller, but still similar, happened during the final!

Team Denmark (who actually won the title!) was seated on the same side of one of the table commentators, who had a radio to communicate with the studio commentators; one of the Danish competitors called us to inform that he was able to hear some voices from his radio, and that it wouldn’t have been fair if they heard anything about what the opponents had in hand.

This was sporting behavior!

A Very International Environment

At the beginning of the World Magic Cup, there were more than 70 teams; after the first day of competition, only the top 32 teams qualified for the next phase.

Among these 32 teams, we counted two who spoke Chinese, two who spoke Russian, four who spoke English, and Eight who spoke Spanish.

Flanked by half of the teams speaking these four languages, the Greek and the Danish, two small countries with their own language, got to the final!

An honorable mention goes to team Malaysia, in first position at the end of day 1.

Morph and Penalties

During the World Championship, which is an individual competition with the top 24 players of the world, we tried a different rule for morph (creature cards played face down), which has now become the official rule.

Until Worlds, failing to reveal a morph warranted a Game Loss penalty.

The reason for it was that, if a creature is played face down and it’s not revealed at the end of the game (or when it gets bounced or shuffled into the deck), it’s impossible for the opponent to verify that it was actually a creature with morph.

If we lose a game and we are afraid that our opponent won thanks to an illegal play (worst, if we are afraid that he did it on purpose), we surely feel bad. That’s why it was a Game Loss.

The problem we had to face was that our opponent is entitled to receive the *information* that our card was actually a creature with morph, not a *free win* in case we forgot to reveal it.

At competitive and professional tournaments, the number of games whose result was reversed due to a non-revealed morph was, in my opinion, way too high.

I am very happy about this change, as I believe that the winner should be determined by what happens on the battlefield, not by a penalty that is given after one of the players went down to zero.

Now, the responsibility of revealing the morph is shared by both players and the goal is just to make sure that nobody is cheating by putting a non-morph card face down (which, in my opinion, isn’t at all a smart way of cheating).

What my opponent has to do is just to ask me “what are your morphs?” at the end of the game or when he bounces one to my hand (actually, I would have no problem even if he took my morphs and revealed them, but I cannot guarantee that all our opponents will be happy that we touch their cards, so let’s just ask them to show them to us, ok?).

Control Decks and Control Decks

An interesting aspect I noticed during the weekend was that the control decks played in the World Championship (no time limit) and the World Magic Cup (with time limit) weren’t the same.

As I haven’t played a Constructed event for quite a long time, I had forgotten the importance of making sure that the time limits don’t create any disadvantage.

Just “play faster” doesn’t always work; sometimes we can choose a deck over another by taking into account the time limits.

I still remember a friend of mine who was the only person I know that didn’t lose any match at our Nationals, but didn’t make Top 8 because he drew FOUR matches (if you have a slow control deck and draw the first, you are going to play only with people who have at least one draw…. and you unfortunately get a lot of mirror matches).

Goodbye and Happy New Year

A year full of Magic has ended, and another one has just begun; it’s now time to return home and prepare for the 2015 season.

I wish that all of you keep having great fun with our game and that you find new successes and new friends.

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. Simply send me a personal message with all the rules questions you may have.

Ask the Judge Now!

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 couple of weeks, when we will read about a weekend with two GPs in the same city!

Riccardo

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