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Keeping out of trouble at PTQ - Dark Ascension

Keeping out of trouble at the PTQ

PTQ Dark Ascension – Honolulu is coming up fast (26th of November 2011) and as this is a sealed deck tournament I thought I would give you some handy tips on how to keep yourself out of trouble!

1.       The judges are there to help you. Players often forget this and it can be quite intimidating calling for a judge or having your opponent call a judge because of a mistake you may have made or they may have made. Please call us when something goes wrong and don’t try to fix it yourself.

2.       Deck Registration. This is a huge pain for players and Judges alike. You will receive an Innistrad Checklist sheet with 6 Innistrad Booster packs that looks like this:

If you are the one registering the 6 booster packs print your name and DCI# (if you know it) under the “Player Registering Deck” title. If you are the player building and playing the deck please print your Name and DCI# under the “Player Using Deck” title.

When you are registering a deck open all 6 Innistrad booster packs, count 14 non-basic land cards in each pack (84 total. Foil basic lands replace a common in Innistrad packs.) sort the cards by colour then by name. Once you have done this print either Talley marks or Numerals in the “Total Column”. Finally, double check that everything is marked down correctly on your Check List. You will be given 20 minutes to do all of this.

You will, most likely, be asked to swap your registered card pool with another player of the Head Judges choosing. If you do, you may not be using that card pool that you get so please do not start building a deck out of the cards. You may be asked to verify the continents of the card pool, do so and if there are any problems call a judge. You will then be given any further instructions relating to Deck Swaps and will be told “This is the card pool you will be using to construct your deck”.

When constructing your deck please verify the contents of the card pool match your checklist. If something is incorrect please call a judge. Using a Talley marks or numerals please print the number of cards you are using in the “Played” column. You have 30 minutes to construct your deck. Please print your name at the top of the checklist representing your card pool under the “Player Using Deck”. And make sure it is at least 40 cards

A land station will be set up for you to collect land from or you can bring your own. At the land station you will be asked for your completed deck list including the number of basic lands by a judge. (We will double check that you have your name and some basic lands registered)

Once all the lists have been collected we will begin Round 1.

3.       Results! A result slip looks a little like this:

Each round is the first to two wins. Indicate a match score by writing the number of wins to player 1 and the number of wins to player 2 and any draws in the middle. The third column is where you tick or print that you would like to drop from the event.

You may be asked if the game score is correct by a judge and whether or not a player is dropping if there is any indication they may do so.

You may bring your results to the score keeper or call a judge to collect it from you.

Do not write on the result slip for any other reason.

4.       Life totals. My best advice here is to bring a pen and paper. Unfortunately judges are not an infinite supply of pens so we cannot hand them out for free. Spin down life counters and abacus life counters are very fragile and can move with a shift of the table or a simple knock. Pen and paper is a simple and stable solution.

5.       Watch yourself. The most common infractions at Sealed PTQ’s are: Deck/Deck list Problems, Tardiness, Slow Play, Game Rule Violations, Missed triggers and Failure to maintain game state. Here is the part of judging that is least satisfying.

Deck/Decklist Problems are when you miss register your deck list, do not de-sideboard or have an illegal number of cards in your deck/sideboard. Do not put your deck/sideboard with any other cards. Bring a separate deck box for them.

Tardiness. When you are not at your table or on your way to a table by the time the round starts you are tardy (sitting at the wrong table is not a good enough excuse). You will receive a second tardiness penalty if you arrive after 10 minutes to your table. You are also tardy if you do not hand in your deck list in the allocated time.

Slow Play. Everyone at the tournament has a life outside Magic: the Gathering so Slow Play penalties are enforced. You are expected to make a play in a reasonable amount of time if you fail to do so you will be given a caution similar to “I need you to make a play now” or “You are playing too slowly” by a judge. If you continue to play slowly you will receive penalties.
Game Rule violations. These cover anything that other Game Play errors do not. This can include casting and resolving spells incorrectly (e.g. Casting Chapel Geist using 2W istead of 1WW), not putting a creature into the graveyard that received lethal damage, or not attacking with a creature that has “~this~ must attack each turn if able”.

Missed triggers. I am picking this to be common as many cards have triggered abilities in this set such as the Werewolf creatures with Transform. Please be aware that triggers do exist despite them being invisible. You may put something small, a glass bead or die, on top of your deck to remind you of upkeep triggers.
Failure to Maintain Game state. This is given to players who do not notice an illegal action or game state caused by an opponent. This includes, but not limited to, a player not noticing a creature with protection from black has Dead Weight (a black enchantment) on it.

6.       Getting Deck Checked can be a harrowing experience. Just stay calm and if you did everything correctly you will alright.

7.       Watching games. Magic is a spectator sport. The reason it does so well as that it can be very interesting to watch and is very interesting to play. It is fine to watch but it is not fine to comment on a game while a match is still in progress. If you have an overwhelming urge to tell your friend (that is not playing) how you would’ve made a play then do so far away from the table so you don’t ruin the experience for others.

8.       Dealing with defeat. If you lose a game or match or come so close to 8th in the standings that you miss out because of tiebreakers please don’t be sour about it. It is natural to be upset but it is no reason to get angry at your opponent or other players. Leave your rage where it belongs, at home.

9.       Standings. These will be posted in the last two rounds of the tournament. You have approximately 2 minutes to view them. After they have been taken down that is it.

10.   The last round. If you are so skilled to make it to a point where you can Intentionally draw your way in to the Top 8 you may offer the ID to your opponent. You may discuss the idea to double check you will make it. However, and this is very important, you cannot base your decision of whether or not you wish to ID or not on any other match result.

11.   The Top 8! So you made it this far now it is time to do it all over again. The top 8 for a sealed deck tournament will be draft! (INN, INN, INN)

a.       Open pack 1.

b.      Remove the basic land and token.

c.       Count your pack face down, there should be 14 cards.

d.      Then you draft a card and will be asked to count your cards out to your left there should be 13 cards.

e.      This repeats until the pack is depleted.

f.        Then the second pack is opened and repeated except you will pass to the right

g.       The Third pack you will pass left again.


You will then be asked to construct your deck and be given a new blank checklist to fill out. You must register all 42 drafted cards and then your deck which is 40 card minimum.


You will then be paired for the top 8!




1.       Judges are there to help you. Use them!

2.       Register correctly: Print Name and number of cards and leave cards in colour order and alphabetized. You should register 84 cards.

Write a Decklist: Print Name and number of cards including basic lands. Collect basic lands from a land station when you are ready to hand in your deck list. Your deck needs to be a minimum of 40 cards.

3.       Write your results on your result slip. Do not write life totals on it or anything else. You can hand it in to the score keeper or to a judge.

4.       Keep track of your life total with pen and paper.

5.       Do your best to make sure you and your opponent maintain a high level of play. If you have problems call a judge. Be on time to your matches and play at a reasonable pace. If a judge asks you to do something you need to do it.

6.       Do not be scared when you get deck checked and do not feel like we are picking on you.

7.       When watching games do not comment on them while the match is still in progress.

8.       If you lose do not get angry at anyone. It’s nobody’s fault you got unlucky.

9.       Standings will be posted in the last two rounds of the tournament and no earlier. When the standings come down you may not request them again.

10.   If you are in contention for Top 8 in the last round of the tournament you must make your decision quickly and quietly on whether or not to intentional draw. DO NOT wait and see if other players are doing so and DO NOT go over and inform other players of your decision.

11.   The top 8 draft is still part of the tournament so please hold to a high standard of play.

Thanks for reading,
James Stewart