According to Webster – Web in San Diego


Pro Tour San Diego didn’t play out exactly the way I had planned, at least not for myself. Anyone that looked at the standings should have continued scrolling down towards the bottom of the page; eventually my name will come into sight. That’s right; I’m way down there at the bottom. Even though my performance in the main event was quite dreary, the overall experience down in San Diego was as warm as a midsummer’s night.


Everyone who had stayed in the Bay Area after Grand Prix Oakland headed down to San Diego; this included Gerry Thompson, Gabe Walls, Paulo VDdR, Luis, Ben Stark (BenS), Jeff Huang (Fob), Josh Utter-Leyton (Wrapter), Brad Nelson (FFfreak), Cory Baumeister, Tom Raney, Tom Ross (The Boss), myself, and some guys from North Dakota (sorry I forgot your names; Burdles will suffice). Most of us were flying down except for Wrapter who was driving down with FFfreak, Tom Raney, The Boss, and the Burdles in tow. I wasn’t in the mood for an eight-hour drive down to San Diego which is why I opted for a one-hour flight.

When I got to the airport (SFO), I found that it was much more crowded than normal. That was okay though since I had planned ahead and arrived earlier than I needed to. Fob was waiting there for me as he had arrived about ten minutes earlier than I. We both went to check in at a kiosk, but had to get into another line because of some problems. Fob was obviously disgruntled (more than normally) and violently kicked his luggage in front of him as the line advanced (luckily, not as violently as he kicks a bike). At one point, he kicked his bag so hard that it struck an old woman in the back. He apologized profusely as the woman turned around and said, “It’s okay son; I’m sure you meant to do it anyways”¦”

The line was long and slow. Eventually we got to the front and I got to talk to one of the service representatives. The check-in kiosk has put me onto a later flight and I hadn’t been able to fix it. When I told the lady what had happened, she snarled back at me:

Me: “Hello, something happened during the check-in process. The computer said that I had been put onto a later flight. I’m supposed to be on Flight 650.”

Rep: “The computer says you aren’t on Flight 650. What did you do when you checked in?”

Me: “I entered my flight info, but something went wrong and I got put onto a different flight.”

Rep: “You should have talked to a service rep when something happened. The flight is full. I don’t think I’ll be able to get you onto your flight.”

Me: “I did talk to someone. They told me to see you. Here we are. What can you do to fix it?

Rep: “Hold on. Here’s your ticket. Be careful next time.”

After that ordeal, Fob and I passed through the security check-in and got to our gate. I hadn’t had time to have my morning coffee so I stopped my Starbucks to pick up my pick-me-up. Luis and Gabe arrived later on shortly before we were able to board the plane. I was stuck away from the three of them and missed out on the cube draft that they did on the flight; luckily it was only an hour long.

San Diego has been the best venue for tournaments that I’ve ever been to. I’ve visited the city four times for Nationals/Pro Tours and have always returned more impressed than I had previously been. The weather is the best I’ve experienced; that’s saying a lot being from the Bay Area with its vast array of micro-climates. Downtown San Diego offers a range of cuisines so diverse, you’d be convinced that nothing is missing. The nightlife is energetic and flashy, just like the scenery; it’s as pleasant as the weather.

We got off the plane and were greeted by the sun, a beacon of warm experiences to come. After arranging for a taxi, we made our way to the hotel which was about two blocks from the site (San Diego Convention Center). It was lunchtime and I knew exactly where to go: Tin Fish. At this restaurant just across from the convention center in the Gaslamp District exists some of the best fish tacos that I’ve had. They offer a wide range of fish from the traditional cod to salmon, swordfish, halibut, and crab. After devouring a few swordfish tacos accompanied with some fries, we headed back to the hotel to check in and continue playtesting.

We had been playtesting for a while, but hadn’t come to many conclusions. Jund was still good as was Vampires. We were looking for a good [card jace the mindsculptor]Jace[/card] deck, but hadn’t been happy with Grixis or U/W/r. The Boss had been playing with a Naya deck for a while and Gabe was impressed with it when battling against it. We had scrapped most of the other decks to focus on the Naya deck, but there was still a lot of work to be done. We were still working on a few slots in the maindeck and some in the sideboard when time ran out.

We went to the player registration/party but were disappointed. The recent player dinners had been excellent. However, the downside to San Diego was that it’s expensive. It didn’t seem like there was much of the budget left to have a good spread ready for the players. A handful of grapes later, I was heading back to the registration line where the rest of the group had been waiting. I managed to meet up with them when they were in the front of the line. Mise!

Gerry had gone to play in the LCQ which was Sealed instead of Standard for some reason. He was X-0 before we left to find a place to eat and do more brewing with the deck. Eventually we settled for The Spaghetti Factory. I usually don’t like eating there because I’ve never been impressed by the food. This time I had to make a concession because of the lack of places that would accommodate a party of eight Magic players squatting seats for a few hours. The wait was an hour, but there was a lounge above the restaurant where we could relax and chat. The appetizers that people ordered were tiny and expensive which was the opposite of what the restaurant itself was like.

After dinner I parted ways with the group. I went back to the room to sleep while they went to the site to draft and do other stuff. They came back eventually; we talked through sideboarding plans and went to sleep. That night was one of the worst I’ve had in while. It seemed like someone had left a chainsaw on or two people were singing an opera in tandem because the snoring was so loud. Additionally, I had forgotten to bring ear plugs for the trip and was subject to broken sleep throughout the night. I woke up to find Gerry walking into the room. I didn’t know what time it was and asked him how the LCQ went. I found out that he’d lost in the last round playing for the slot.


I woke up a few hours later at 7:30 AM. I wasn’t fully rested but couldn’t do much to solve that problem. After rousing my friends, we made our way to the site. I found a Starbucks inside the convention center and shelled out $2.75 for some black coffee. The tournament got began with the player meeting followed by five rounds of Standard and three rounds of Worldwake draft. I played the Naya deck that we’d been working on.


The list was the same that Luis decided to run except that I had a Dauntless Escort in place of the Elspeth, Knight Errant in the maindeck and two [card]Great Sable Stag[/card]s in place of the two Baneslayer Angels in the sideboard.

Round 1: Taisuke Ishii [JPN]: White Weenie.

Game 1: I keep Noble Hierarch, Oblivion Ring, 2 Bloodbraid Elf, Forest, and 2 Misty Rainforest on the draw. He played Brave the Elements in response to my Oblivion Ring which made me remove my second Noble Hierarch. Then he played an Elspeth and beat me down. I never drew a red source to cast my hand.

Game 2: I played Bloodbraid Elf, Wild Nacatl, and Knight of the Reliquary to beat him down along with Ajani Vengeant and Lightning Bolt to remove his Steppe Lynx and Knight of the White Orchid. Partway through the game, he revealed a Martial Coup while shuffling.

Game 3: This game went long. I killed his Steppe Lynx with Lightning Bolt and he played Ranger of Eos which got two Soul Wardens. I didn’t have a Dauntless Escort to protect from a Day of Judgment/Martial Coup so I had to sandbag my threats. The Soul Wardens gained a bunch of life and finally died when he had to play Martial Coup for five. Time was called before I could use Sejiri Steppe to let my 17/17 Scute Mob deal him lethal.

Draw 1-1-1;


Round 2: Michael Jacob [USA]: Naya.

Game 1: He had to mulligan and stumbled on mana while I played a Wild Nacatl, Bloodbraid Elf, and Ranger of Eos.

Game 2: He played a Cunning Sparkmage to kill my Noble Hierarch, but I had a Cunning Sparkmage of my own to kill his. I killed off his Noble Hierarch the turn afterwards and took control of the game with a Knight of the Reliquary and Bloodbraid Elf.

Win 2-0


Round 3: Nikola Vavra [CZE]: White Weenie.

Game 1: I used Lightning Bolt to kill of his Steppe Lynx which gave me enough time to find a Behemoth Sledge with Stoneforge Mystic and strap it onto Ranger of Eos; the Wild Nacatl and Scute Mob finished the job.

Game 2: I mulliganed to five and was never able to get into the game.

Game 3: I took a lot of damage early from a Steppe Lynx with Honor the Pure, but stabilized with Basilisk Collar, Cunning Sparkmage, and Knight of the Reliquary. An Emeria Angel threatened to finish me off when he used it in combination with a fetchland to make a few tokens, but the Basilisk Collar gained enough life in combat with the help of a Ranger of Eos and Wild Nacatl. I was able to win with a Sejiri Steppe later on.

Win 2-1


Round 4: Patrick Chapin [USA]: UW Control.

Game 1: I beat down with some creatures before getting wrathed. The game went long and he played an Iona, Shield of Emeria. However, I was able to attack through it for the win.

Game 2: I played a Great Sable Stag and started attacking with it and a manland before the Stag got killed by a Day of Judgment. My manlands were destroyed with Tectonic Edges and he was able to stabilize at one life. I never resolved any threats and he killed me with a Celestial Colonnade.

Game 3: We were short on time and agreed to finish the match. My draw was awkward because I had Wild Nacatl and Stirring Wildwood in hand along with Plains and Mountain. I played another Nacatl but get wrathed by Day of Judgment before it could attack twice. The Stirring Wildwood got in another hit before it got destroyed by Tectonic Edge. I got him down to two life before he was able to stabilize and start using Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He played a Baneslayer Angel and killed me with it the turn before being able to use Jace’s ultimate ability.

Lose 1-2


Round 5: Sebastien Roulot [FRA]: Vampires.

Game 1: He played a Vampire Hexmage and Vampire Hexmage in consecutive turns. I would have been able to deal with them except that he played a Vampire Nocturnus the turn afterwards. The Nocturnus revealed a Tendrils of Corruption which allowed him to fly over the blocks that I had arranged the turn before. I had Behemoth Sledge and could have played two ways depending on whether he would reveal another black card. I decided to gamble and play in a fashion that would leave me dead to a black card but much further ahead on the board than otherwise. He revealed a black card, used the Tendrils to kill my Birds of Paradise, and killed me.

Game 2: This game was the same as the first one. He played some Nighthawks and a Nocturnus. I didn’t have a Path to Exile or Oblivion Ring to kill it and got killed in the air before I could stabilize and take control of the game.

Lose 0-2


I was very unhappy with how the Standard rounds had played out and was looking forward to the draft. I knew that I had to 3-0 the draft to make day two. I was comfortable with Worldwake draft despite only having played in less than a dozen drafts.

Draft Pod 1:

Marcel Angelo Zafra [CAN]
Matthew Boccio [USA]
Jarg Unfried [DEU]
Philip Yam [USA]
David Ochoa [USA]
Philippe Pham [FRA]
Taisuke Ishii [JPN]
Lucas Siow [USA]

The pod was more difficult than I had hoped for. I was expecting a bunch of PTQ winners which wasn’t quite the case. I knew a few people (Lucas and Phil) were better than the average Joe. I started with a Plated Geopede over Welkin Tern and Living Tsunami but quickly realized that red was being cut when I saw Surrakar Marauder and Welkin Tern pick three. Plated Geopede had been taken from that pack as well. I dipped into black with the Marauder and then blue for a Welkin Tern fourth knowing that blue wouldn’t be the best color to be in for pack two. However, I wasn’t seeing green or white which left Blue as the only other choice. I stuck with black as my base and was rewarded for the remaining picks. Here’s what I ended up with:

Round 6: Matthew Boccio [USA]: Green/White.

I’m not going to go into details here. I was flooded in game one and screwed in game two. I had Adventuring Gear and Surrakar Marauder in game two but couldn’t draw lands to make them awesome.

Lose 0-2


At this point I knew that I was out of the tournament. I couldn’t make day two but wanted to play more because winning the last two rounds would be better than ending the day on a loss.

Round 7: Marcel Angelo Zafra [CAN]: Green/Black

I didn’t play very well in these games. The day had caught up with me; as a result, I made a few mistakes in the match which cost me game one. After losing I dropped.

Lose 0-2


At this point I went around watching my friends and chat. Most of them were doing better than I which wasn’t very hard. I hadn’t received a beating this bad in a while. However, I didn’t let it get the best of me (well, maybe it did). After watching the side events for a bit, I went out to dinner with Gerry and MJ (Michael Jacob) back at Tin Fish. I had to run back the double fish taco platter again; the swordfish from earlier had been too good to not have for a second time. This time, it was accompanied by 32 oz of Fat Tire Ale. The beer took me a while to finish, but I managed

I found out that Luis was 8-0. I wanted to play in a team draft before heading back to the hotel, but it was too late for Luis. He decided to bird it before heading back to sleep. In the end, it ended up being Wrapter, Gatormage, and me against TomM, and more Floridians. I started in Blue/White and got a Hedron Crab midway through pack one. I opened Archive Trap pack two and got two more Hedron Crabs as well as two Trapmaker’s Snares. Needless to say, my deck led me to a quick 3-0/6-0 with two Windrider Eels watching the action from my sideboard. After the draft was over, we headed back to the Marriot to sleep.


Saturday was a lazy day for me. I hadn’t planned much prior to leaving because I had planned to be playing in the Pro Tour. I wasn’t too excited about the Side Events and had decided to be more social. I went to get some coffee from Starbucks before going inside the site (priorities are important) and birding matches. We had also planned to eat at a Brazilian Steakhouse that I had found in the area for dinner. As a result, I had to skimp on what I had been planning to eat for the day.

Partway through the day, Marshall Fine and I went out to get lunch at Dick’s Last Resort. They serve American-style food there. I had gone there before the last time the Pro Tour had visited San Diego and had been impressed. After having some crab cakes with fries and watching some Olympic curling matches, we headed back to the site. Luis was still X-0 with a few rounds to play before being a lock for top 8. I decided to go watch some more side event matches that my friends were playing in. Some of the Florida guys needed a sixth for a draft and managed to wrangle me into it. I ended up with a sick red/white deck with Basilisk Collar. Although I did lose a game in this draft, I still 3-0’d with ease. After gaming the rares, I came out with nothing.

The convention center staff had set up some tables for food in the middle of the room. However, they hadn’t brought out anything else besides serving utensils which led to a lot of speculation as to what they would be serving. There were plastic plates and forks as well as serving knives for pies, small ladles for dressings/sauces, and covered heating dishes. After a while we discovered that a dessert would be served. There were two kinds of sweet breads: pound cake and short cake. There were also various toppings including sweetened strawberries, sweetened mixed berries, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream.

The convention center staff successfully held off the ravenous Magic players for a while until an announcement was made from the Side Events booth that anyone could enjoy the food. At that moment a horde of people surrounded the three immaculate tables of delicious confections. The scene was like a flock of Pigeons in a city park being fed by a person with bread. After finding out that Luis was a lock for top 8, we decided to change the dinner plans at Rei Do Gado (the Brazilian Steakhouse) to Sunday. The change of plans was convenient because there was still dessert left over. I walked towards the tables and joined the rest of the rats with wings.

After the Pro Tour had finished the Swiss rounds, Luis was on top at 16-0 which was pretty amazing. We went out to dinner at Lou & Mickey’s, a fantastic restaurant across the street from Nobu and Tin Fish. I had also been there in a previous trip and knew that it was an excellent place to eat, although a bit more expensive than most places. The dinner was lavish; I had chicken piccata with lemon and capers along with a side of spinach with garlic. After we were all finished, we headed back to the site to test for the top 8. A few hours later (around 1 AM), we were satisfied with our results and headed back to get to sleep.


I had planned on playing in the 3K Super Draft which meant that I had to get there early because it was limited to 128 people and was a fairly popular event. Most people who played on the Pro Tour wouldn’t have much to do on Sunday which increased the demand even further. I got to the site just before 8 AM and found a line of twenty people waiting in front of me which wasn’t that bad. After signing up, I had to trek a few blocks to a different Starbucks because the closer one was closed. I returned to find that the event had filled up and was ready to start.

FFfreak and Alex West were in the pod with me. The packs got handed out and I asked FFfreak which pack I should open first. The fate of my draft rested on his decision. He wanted to switch packs but I denied him. As it turns out he opened Marsh Casualties. However, I opened Vampire Nighthawk. Pick two was between Marsh Flats and Kazandu Blademaster. The Blademaster was a trap. If I ended up black/white, Marsh Flats is better. I was more inclined to play Nighthawk which would make Marsh Flats better if I stayed in black. From that point, I dabbled in white for a few Kor Skyfishers. The deck ended up being quite good, although a bit slow.

Draft Deck #1:

I was able to easily go 3-0 with the deck despite throwing a game in round two. twice. The fourth round was odd. I got a bye. So many people had dropped from the pod and I had already played everyone else that remained. Fate had changed her view of me; I was on a rebound. I had the highest tiebreakers going into the second draft and was in a great position to top 8. I don’t remember exactly how the picks went in the second draft, but this was the deck that I ended up with:

Draft Deck #2:

The matches in the second draft were more interesting than the first. The first round was close. I was paired against a mono-green deck and barely won. Game one he mulliganed to five; that game wasn’t close. Game two he played Bestial Menace and was close to killing me. I had to make a choice in combat where I could win if I drew a land on the following turn or block more conservatively. I played it safe, but drew the land. I was still ready to win the game, but he had Nature’s Claim to destroy his Hedron Scrabbler and gain life. Game three involved me setting up Goblin Shortcutter followed by Smoldering Spires and Brave the Elements to prevent him from blocking.

I was convinced to draw in the second round but forgot about the way that 128-person tournaments play out. Generally, X-0-2 made it into top 8. However, tournaments with 128 people are different. Assuming that no draws happened, there would be four people at 5-0 and twenty people at 4-1 at the start of round six. If the 5-0’s drew rounds six and seven, then there would be five people from the 4-1 bracket that end up at 6-1. That meant that one of the 5-0-2 people would come in ninth and miss. I knew about that fact, but forgot about it at the time. I drew round six, but played for fun. I won, turned in the results slip, and quickly remembered the math. However, it was too late.

I knew that some people had dropped in the early rounds at X-1. That gave me a glimmer of hope that the number of X-1 people would be able to accommodate a draw in round seven. When the standings were put up, I found that to not be the case. Pairings went up and I went to my match. I had been paired up against the only 6-0. I asked if he wanted to concede after explaining to him that he was a lock for top even with a loss. He said that he wouldn’t concede for free, but would if I gave him 25% of what I won. Sirens went off in my head. I had to unfortunately call a judge because my opponent tried to bribe me.

I wasn’t happy about calling a judge because I wanted to battle; my deck was good. However, it was the right thing to do and I had to protect myself. I couldn’t carry on the conversation that my opponent had been trying to have with me any further. I would rather have had the situation not happen at all, but it did. We got split up and interviewed. My opponent got disqualified. This wasn’t the way I wanted to make top 8, but it’s what I was dealt.

The top 8 draft started and my draft turned into a train wreck. I took Burst Lightning, Kor Skyfisher, and Steppe Lynx first. I saw that red was being cut and drafted accordingly. I planned for a heavy-white deck and picked up two Brave the Elements. I figured that I would get enough red and white in pack two along with white in pack three to have a deck similar to the one I had in the second pod. However, pack two played out much differently. Both red and white were much shallower than I had expected. I opened Conqueror’s Pledge but received very little support after that. Pack three was the same. I opened Apex Hawks and got passed Chain Reaction and Perimeter Captain. However, the rest of my picks were very mediocre and defensive which was the opposite of what pack one had been. In the end, my card pool was a mix of offensive and defensive cards.

I figured that I’d have to build my deck to be able to mise wins out of nowhere. This is what I came up with:

Top 8 Draft:

My top 8 match played out like I had planned. The match went to three games. Both of our decks weren’t that good. As a result, the games were long with a moderately high number of decisions made. I managed to win after using various mise-cards as leverage. After the first round was done, the top four arranged for a prize split ($750 each). The split wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Morgan Chang. Thanks a lot Morgan!

After the necessary forms had been filled out, I ran off to Rei Do Gado to meet up with Fob, Gabe, Wrapter, PV, Gabe, and The Boss who had gone there before my top 8 match had started. I hadn’t eaten anything all day except for the coffee in the morning and had been anticipating gorging myself on the sixteen kinds of succulent meats they had roasting on skewers. When I got there, I found that the group had finished eating and was about ready to head back to the site! Such is life. I had a literal bite of cheesecake before heading out. I went back to the room to clean up before going back to the site. The site was closing up and my friends didn’t have enough time to finish the cube draft that had started; they went back to the Marriot to finish up. I went back to the room to sleep.


We took a taxi back to the airport in the morning. We didn’t have any trouble with checking in, but ran into some at the security checkpoint. As it turned out, boxes of cards look very suspicious. Luis, Fob, and I were pulled to the side for an additional screening. After ten minutes, we were back on our way to the gate where we talked with Bard_Taliesin for a while before flying back to the Bay Area. The actual Pro Tour had been a disaster for me. Besides that, I had an incredible time and was thrilled about the next time that I’d see all the friends that I have at Grand Prix Houston in April.

105 thoughts on “According to Webster – Web in San Diego”

  1. Sorry for the bad luck, but as usual i love reading about your drafts and this article was no exception. Good luck in the future.

  2. “He played Brave the Elements in response to my Oblivion Ring which made me remove my second Noble Hierarch.”

    I don’t understand this. Are you saying that you announced Oblivion Ring (picking targets, paying for spell, etc) then are forced to O-Ring your own Hierarch?

    Thanks for the report! I always love reading them, to find out how matches/plays work out.

  3. Brian Coghlan (KaGGo)

    Well, if you answer back in any awkward sense when an opponent attempts to bribe you or offer product for a result you can incriminate yourself.

    It may seem dickish to call a judge but rules like that are very clear and in place for a reason..

    There are many ways of manipulating results and expected player / deck matchups and just straight up saying NO talking about prizes for results is necessary.

  4. he casts o ring… when it comes into play, the triggered ability goes on the stack… in response his opponent plays brave making all his white dorks have pro white… the only available target left is a noble hierarch… so his opponent had a 1 mana LD spell… brutal

    as for the DQ part… web did what he had to, to cover his own ass… when someone starts saying dangerous things like ‘I’ll scoop if you.. ” that’s about the time when you call a judge… otherwise you can be dq’ed without prize as well

  5. Brian Coghlan (KaGGo)

    @Lotus Head: The way oblivion ring works is that it Enters the Battlefield first (it resolves) and the trigger of exiling a non-land permamnet goes on the stack.

    You might be more accustomed to the shortcut method or the “obvious” play, which is allowable and correct : “Ill O-Ring your baneslayer (amongst 30 other creatures)”. It either just happens or your oppnent has some protection or bounce effect. You are shortcutting right to the trigger.

    If you said ” I cast O-Ring, does it resolve?”

    Opponent : Yes

    You : Ok, I target your Banelsayer

    Opponent : In response I will BTElements – chosing white.

    The trigger then fizzles and o-ring remains in play.

    In Ochoa’s case, he maybe cast O-Ring on turn 2, with the help of Heirarch mana. There was only a heirarch and a White weenie in play.

    Ochoa casts O-Ring and it reolves and the trigger goes on the stack. In response, his opponent gives his creature protection from white with BTElements and that trigger resolves before the O-ring.

    Now, Ochoa MUST still chose a target for the Exile and there is only 1 legal target since the White weenie isnt targetable (Protection from white).

    Therefore he MUST exile his Noble Heirarch in this situation.

    The reason this order of operations differs from the shortcut method of a multi permanent board is that a naya player might have white and green creatures out and if he responds to the o-ring trigger and gives his white creatures pro white, then when the o-ring trigger gets to go to town, it can just choose a green creature.

    I hope I explained it well enough.. it is sort of complicated but once it makes sense it is simple. I don’t normally ever try explaining magic rules as I haven’t mastered them myself !

  6. LotusHead: Web’s opponent savvily played Brave the Elements while Oblivion Ring was on the stack, naming White. When Oblivion Ring entered the battlefield, the only legal target to be removed was Web’s Hierarch. (Oblivion Ring doesn’t target anything until it has entered the battlefield.)

  7. When the O-ring is on the stack, you play Brave the Elements picking white, wich forces the O-Ring to take a legal target. Or so I assume.

  8. Oh. Forgot this part: Nice article. Shame it didn’t go to well in the main event, hopefully it will in the future 🙂

  9. **"He played Brave the Elements in response to my Oblivion Ring which made me remove my second Noble Hierarch."

    I don't understand this. Are you saying that you announced Oblivion Ring (picking targets, paying for spell, etc) then are forced to O-Ring your own Hierarch?**


    You do not choose targets with O-ring until it resolves (it’s an Enchantment, non-Aura). If Brave the Elements is played in response to O-ring being cast, then the only legal targets will be Web’s creatures.

  10. So the moral of the story; dont negotiate with people who are trying to have you concede to them for no consolation.

  11. A slight correction to what KaGGo says:

    “Ochoa casts O-Ring and it reolves and the trigger goes on the stack. In response, his opponent gives his creature protection from white with BTElements and that trigger resolves before the O-ring.

    Now, Ochoa MUST still chose a target for the Exile and there is only 1 legal target since the White weenie isnt targetable (Protection from white).”

    What actually happens is that Web plays O-Ring. His opponent has two choices:
    1. He can let the Ring resolve, in which case it triggers, and Web chooses a target (probably his opponent’s guy) while putting the trigger on the stack. If his opponent now protects his guy in response to the trigger, the Ring’s ability will be countered and nothing will happen.
    2. He can protect his guy in response to the O-Ring spell. Then when Ring resolves and triggers, Web must choose a legal target for its ability (one of his opponent’s unprotected guys, if there are any, or one of his own guys, if there aren’t). Then the Ring trigger will resolve and the targeted guy will get exiled.

    The moral of the story is that if you want to make your opponent pick his own guy, you have to protect all your guys in response to the O-Ring spell, whereas if you just want to save your guy, you protect that guy after the O-Ring spell resolves, in response to the trigger.

  12. I don’t think it was a dick move at all. I mean imagine you are David Ochoa, and you are a professional Magic player on the train etc. Now someone wants to “bribe” you with a top 8 spot, by saying they will give you the requested concession if you pay them later.

    You have 2 choices:

    1. Do what David did and cover yourself.


    2. Accept the 25% offer and take the concession. If you do this, you have so much to lose. Especially as a pro player. Who knows if someone overheard, or if the person recorded it on their cell phone or something. You would be entering blackmail city, with your own Magic career and aspirations hanging over your head. It just wouldn’t be worth accepting under these conditions.

    I would probably have just given the concession, but I would also like to think that someone I gave a concession to would actually pay it forward later. With product or dinner or something.

    I am sure these things (concession deals) happen all of the time without incident, but when these offers go on among strangers, it leaves a lot of space for things to go awry.

  13. 1st thing 1st. This was the best article I have read covering the PTSD weekend. Great stories and great incite. Please keep them up.

    Second. It was a dick move by his opponent to offer the concession. If you actually read the floor rules a DQ would of happened at any sanctioned Tournament.

  14. This was definitely not a “dick” move. It was the only correct move!! Explain to me why following the rules is a “dick” move ?!

    Imagine him taking the bribe and then some guy, or the guys playing at the table next to them, also hears the offer and calls a judge. Not only would they have both gotten DQ’ed, but his reputation will take a huge dent.

  15. the cookie monster

    I’m probably missing something crucial here, but what exactly is the difference between agreeing to split the Top 4 for $750 and agreeing to concede a match for 25% of your winnings?

  16. Well, I find it a bit akward.
    David starts the subject, and when the opponent replies that he cannot concede for nothing, David could have told it is out of the question to ask something in return, as it would be considered bribery, which is not allowed, an stop the discussion. And then just play….
    But then again, I think this is the reason I will never be a professional player, as I will never be so cruel as David was.
    I think it is more humane to warn a person when he is about to cross a line…

  17. I agree with Gerwin….
    why would you first ask him for a concession and then turn him in?

    I can see how you would not take the bribe, as you wouldn’t want to run the risk of a DQ yourself. But then turning around and calling a judge seems a bit harsh…

    Wouldn’t saying ‘no thanks’ and just playing the match have been an option? I can see turning him in when he approaches you unsollicited, but since you’re the one starting the conversation….

    Anyway good job on making the T8 and getting the split 🙂 Hope you have better luck in the main event next time.

  18. It’s funny that you highlight your friends, yet they couldn’t be bothered to wait for you for dinner. What was so pressing to get back to, a cube draft? Couldn’t draft at the restaurant waiting for you?


    Anyways, gratz on the draft win, I enjoy your articles most because unlike other people you give PLAY by PLAY / DRAW by DRAW descriptions. Reading other coverage articles is like trying to figure out what happened in a chess match without any notations or records.


    Amazing how ppl still don’t understand a simple card like Oblivion Ring…

  19. We all would do well to remember this little lesson. The next time someone asks you to scoop cause you’re a lock to “make it in”, think twice. I understand exactly where the guy was coming from, but he went about it the wrong way. He wanted something in return, most people would. The only problem was that it is against the rules to ask for such things. It’s a good rule, to keep shadiness out of the game. At the end of the day Ocho got $750 and he who shall not be named got DQed. Most of these guys run in their own little circles, and won’t do jack to help out you or I. We are the randoms Gerry and so many others love to constantly put down because we have other things in our lives that take up time: jobs, wives, kids, or just other hobbies(discgolf anyone ;-). Unless you are a friend of mine, I am dreamcrushing FTW all day. Ocho is good enough to beat most randoms anyway, and the guy got screwed and humiliated because he had the audacity to ask for something in return for this “favor” he was being asked to do.

  20. @SlowRoll etc – He got screwed because he suggested bribery to fix a match result.

    The “will you concede to me, here are the reasons” conversation happens ALL THE TIME at every 5+ round tournament I go to. I’ve had that conversation (I’ve even talked the guy who asked the concession into conceding to me). The moment one person makes a material suggestion of a financial incentive, it’s bribery, and the conversation has become toxic. If left alone, it could easily leave to a double DQ.

    Consider an earlier PT event where two players sat down and agreed to a prize split, then started talking about which of their deck choices was likely to do better in the PT. The person who felt he had slightly weaker odds then conceded to the other — and that was a heard, and lead to a double DQ.

    There may be an implied understanding of future goodwill in any conversation about concessions, but the moment either player introduces a material incentive, it suddenly becomes dangerous for both players. It’s not safe for David or anyone else in his position to decline the suggestion of bribery — then you’re already engaging in a negotiation about bribery.

    It’s also silly to think that David was going to pre-emptively warn the guy to not suggest bribery. That’d be like running through the Infraction Penalty Guide with your opponent ahead of each match to make sure they didn’t rack up any Warnings or Losses.

    @cookie monster — The tournament rules allow prize splits in the single-elimination rounds. Here’s the actual text covering that:

    “Players in the single-elimination rounds of a tournament offering only cash and/or unopened product as prizes may, with the permission of the Tournament Organizer, agree to split the prizes evenly. The players may end the tournament at that point, or continue to play with only ratings points at stake. All players still in the tournament must agree to the arrangement. ”

    The key is that the prize split isn’t being used to influence match outcomes (I suspect you’d still be in trouble if you suggested something like, “Hey, if we all split prizes in the top four, I’ll concede to you in our semifinals match”).

  21. Before you read this, please realize I’m not trying to be harsh on Ochoa or any professional players. I just want to help you guys see why this is confusing for casual players and fans of the game.

    These types of situations coming up at all should suggest how bad collusion is for non-professionals. Yes, asking for and giving concessions is currently an acceptable part of the tournament structure, but to this guy it really sucks.

    Imagine you’re sitting there, possibly in your first pro event, and a professional player starts listing off all the reasons of why it’s in your interest to do something nice for him for nothing in exchange. You simply ask if he will do something nice for you in exchange, and bam, you’re disqualified. I understand WHY the rule exists the way it does, but this type of situation wouldn’t even come up in the first place if you were not allowed to ask for concessions, or if it was required that the player asking for the concession was required to say “I can’t offer you anything, but will you concede?” Essentially Ochoa (accidentally) Jedi-Mind-Tricked his opponent into a DQ. That may be part of being a superior tournament professional, but it’s not part of being a better Magic player.

    In this case, it’s probably to the unnamed player’s advantage to play Ochoa and try to win, so that way he’s less likely to have to face against a Pro in the Top 8.

    Team play / future good will / collusion concessions are very confusing to the casual player. I still have a question about this. What if Player X had said “I’ll concede to you now, but if we’re paired off in the Top 8, you have to concede to me then.” Is that permissible, is it enforcable (i.e. would Ochoa get in trouble if he did not later concede if he did make such an agreement), or is that also considered “bribery”?

  22. As an addendum: I think one of the reasons this is frustrating to non-pros is that they are not approaching these events with a team or with friends. If Alex concedes to Ochoa, with no talk of “bribery”, there are no DQs and the tournament moves on, even if Ochoa later buys Alex dinner to thank him for the concession! To put this in extremely harsh language, having friends is an end-around the bribery rule. To people who don’t play frequently enough to accumulate the good will (or get invited to dinner with) the other pros, they don’t receive the off-site in-kind bribery.

    The same thing happens all the time in professional poker, but it actually affects in-game play. Pros are less likely to get involved in hands with other Pros unless one of them would be knocked out as a result, thus strengthening the likelihood that one of them will be able to continue in the tournament.

  23. @ Alex, quoted – “It's also silly to think that David was going to pre-emptively warn the guy to not suggest bribery. That'd be like running through the Infraction Penalty Guide with your opponent ahead of each match to make sure they didn't rack up any Warnings or Losses.”

    One of these things has to do with tournament rules themselves (bribery). One of them has to do with the way a tournament chooses to enforce penalties for breaking game rules (infraction for failure to maintain a clear game state, or whatever). It’s a player’s responsibility to know all these rules, sure. However it’s been pretty well established at this point that it is Fraud if, within a game, you intentionally deceive your opponent into breaking a rule. Game rules can’t be rewritten to prevent confusion though, because so many cards do so many different things.

    Tournament rules though, can be re-written for clarity at any time. It would make sense if the tournament rules that have nothing to do with actual game play were written to proactively discourage fraud or the suspicion of fraud.

  24. When you are a lock for Top 8, it is always +EV to scoop your opponent in. My friends and I have argued this plenty. Even if you’re playing Finkel the last round and can knock him out, IMHO, you always scoop them in.

    Obviously, without talking about prizes / exchange of goods.

    Similarly, if you are drawing dead, and your opponent is on the bubble, unless you have some kind of “beef” with the person, you probably ought to give it to them.

    Does it really make you feel THAT much better to have taken someone down with you?

    Fostering good will with your opponents is a good thing. You are probably going to play them again some day in the future. Why not make an attempt to have a good reputation? And yes, reputation matters in this game.

  25. Anyone talking about Jedi Mind Tricks, or saying that David did the wrong thing — that’s crazy. If you’re in a competitive level Magic tournament, you need to know the rules, and no bribery is one of the rules. It’s not even a particularly complicated rule, or a hidden one. It’s not worth the risk for any serious player not to call a judge in that situation, especially someone with a good reputation on the line like David. It’s a tough lesson for the unnamed player, but the rules are not a secret, and part of playing competitively is knowing them.

  26. “When you are a lock for Top 8, it is always +EV to scoop your opponent in. My friends and I have argued this plenty. Even if you're playing Finkel the last round and can knock him out, IMHO, you always scoop them in.”

    No way. If you’re a lock, and your friend is on the bubble, you dream-crush your final-round opponent to better the odds for your friend.

    David is in no way at all in the wrong for this situation. There’s nothing wrong with asking, and he cannot legally offer any consideration, so all he can do is point out that his opponent doesn’t need the win. His opponent solicited a bribe, which is clearly against the rules, as well as against ethics. Sucks that his opponent decided to use his position to try to gain something from David, but dude’s got to protect himself.

    A judge call is NEVER something someone should be chastised about. The culture of harassing people about calling a judge is wrong, and it serves only cow legitimate players into letting cheaters and sloppy players get away with shit. I do my best to even call a judge on myself when I screw up, specifically to set a good example for other players in my store who are less experienced. Calling a judge isn’t like calling the cops on someone for littering. They’re there to make tournaments run smoothly, and make game states right.

  27. The simple truth is that people who are not REGULARLY finding themselves in the deciding rounds of the swiss (i.e. fans, cansual players, the occasional PTQer), want to believe that the people in the Top 8 got there because they were the best pilots of the best decks and not because they gamed the tournament structure.

    The people that do find themselves regularly in the deciding rounds know exactly how important it is to 1) understand and game the tournament rules and 2) foster a lasting reputation.

    Pros seem to forget that when they tell these stories to non-pros, they will appear to some people as being “less good” of a player because they had to / chose to do something other than win a game of Magic in order to get into the Top 8.

    That’s just reality, it’s just how tournaments work, and it’s just how fans’ minds work.

  28. what would lsv do? X-0 dream crush. I feel bad for the kid who was robbed of probably 9+ hours and a chance at $750 all because he heard out someone who was in need of a win.

  29. Not a dick move at all. Cheaters should be DQ’d, and that the honest can benefit from the harshness of the penalties is just gravy.

  30. @Josh – I’ve realized, on reading this and other discussions around this topic, that the fundamental issue is that a lot of players don’t actually know most of the major Tournament rules. This isn’t their fault — it’s not like the “go play in FNMs/PTQs/GPs/public events” ad copy from Wizards goes on to say, “…and there’s what you need to know about the Tournament Rules.” I don’t think it occurs to a majority of players to even ask for or offer concessions, and then most players don’t know that you can’t ask for stuff in return for a concession.

    The rules probably don’t need to be rewritten for clarity. Players need to know they exist in the first place.

    With that in mind, I’ve put together a post over on my blog (I didn’t think it really fits my CFB column) with a brief checklist of dos and don’ts for tournament play. You can get to it by clicking on my name in this comment. I’d like to hear what people think about this.

    I think it’s probably incorrect to suggest that the DQed opponent was a cheater; they probably just didn’t know that asking for stuff in exchange is against the rules. The solution is certainly not to vilify David for trying to protect himself, but to make sure that everyone who comes in the door is given a high-level briefing on the tournament rules so these uncomfortable situations don’t accidentally occur.

  31. @ Jeff Stewart
    “Cheaters should be DQ’d, and that the honest can benefit from the harshness of the penalties is just gravy”

    You sir, are ridiculous.
    I normally don’t ever make personal attacks in forums, but this is one of the dumbest comments I have ever read.

    Look guys, like I said above, the rules are how the rules are. Wizards works hard trying to create a fair playing field for those who pursue the game at a higher level. They cannot however, tell you how to live your life.

    I personally feel that it is unethical to ask for a scoop. It disrespects the tournament and all the other competitors who got their wins by actually playing out their games. It also enables those who have personal relationships with fellow competitors(read buddies) to have a leg up on say"¦ a guy who just moved to the area. No one will lay down for him just because he's 6-1 and they are all but out at 5-2, is that fair? It also encourages pre-arranged deals between team members who may have a split already lined up pre-tournament. Player A's deck has a better matchup against 5 of the other decks making top 8 so B scoops him in, knowing that they will both be benefiting due to the probability of increased earnings. But"¦

    It is completely legal. That doesn't make it right, or ethical. When I read it earlier this morning, my first instinct was not only that it was a D move, but that they both should have been DQ'd if any penalty at all was applied. The guy responded with the same type of question. Ocho asked "Will you do this for me?" And the guy responded with "Will you do this for me?" Currently the rules state that that the 2nd guy be punished. This rule needs to be reevaluated.


    You're kidding right? Every big name that has played in my state that has entered the work force has dropped off the radar. I stayed top 10 in my state until 6 years ago by play testing with friends while holding my oldest son in my lap. When the second son came, all bets were off. I assure you; the more activities/responsibilities you introduce into your life will have a direct impact upon how much time and how well you are able to do the things it takes to succeed at Magic. This is not even up for debate.

    And yes, I am bitter today. I have been writing data loads with external sources that have several variations in the format, and I have to code for all these stupid errors that wouldn't be necessary if the good people at FedEx just practiced a little data integrity on the front end.

    Real world stuff, sorry to be so bitter.

  32. Dick move with the DQ, period. “Protecting yourself” is not what happened, a “free win at the expense of a stranger” is what happened. You would have been just as safe if you said “no thanks, let’s just play it out”. No foul play from your end of the table, so nothing to have to protect yourself from.

    But, then again, the rules are there, and the guy didn’t seem to know about them, so if you want to win, it doesn’t get much easier than that. I just wouldn’t be happy with myself knowing that the 6-0 guy would hate me forever.

  33. @Alex

    Nice writeup on the Do’s and Don’ts. The real problem I see is that there isn’t anyone informing newer players about these rules. I could feign ignorance and say that the players should be reading these rules ahead of tournaments and that they’re “morons” if they don’t. But, c’mon, who really is telling the players to do that in the first place? I would lay some of the blame on the players themselves. Some… Newer players are a bit ignorant when it comes to floor rules/game rules, but that isn’t necessarily their fault. When you or me buys product today there isn’t the handy dandy rulebook there used to be. And if my friends play magic and are trying to get me to play I most certainly am not going to go read the vast comprehensive rules guide just to play casually at school or the local FNM. I’m going to learn from my buddies because, well, they’re my buddies and I assume they know what they’re talking about.

    This is where the problem lies.

    Who should be informing players about current rules? Frankly, I don’t expect players to know the comprehensive rules guide backwards and forwards; even some judges have been shown up on occasion because a player did and they understood the rules interaction more precisely than whatever judge they decided to argue with. But, I do want players to know floor rules. Not so much for their own benefit, moreso for their own protection when at local GPT/PTQ. At an FNM lots of stuff can just be ignored because it really is a casual environment, but that won’t be the case at any higher REL event. The local FNM judge/TO isn’t going to go over floor rules because, again, they let a lot of things slide to save time or just because they want players to keep coming back every week and spending money at the local store.

    Again, who is supposed to educate newer players? Even veteran players are sometimes not completely literate on every floor rule. And I don’t expect them to know every single floor rule and infractions that follow. But, I do expect them to know the most common floor rules and the penalties that ensue. Such as bribery, cheating, stacking, reporting, conduct…etc

    Should the judges at events be the ones to do it? Many floor rules, you’d think, would come as common sense to many players; as these rules are just some of the things a ethically responsible person should follow. But, you and me both know, that common sense is lost in the general population.

    Personally, I think WoTC needs to address the issue of floor rule education a bit more and work with local TOs/Judges to see if they can better inform the community while not holding up entire tournaments to do so. Maybe do player training on off days or cancel one FNM every couple months to do a seminar/class. That doesn’t sound fun, but what would you rather have: Informed players or “jackasses”?

    The better informed the community is the better off it is as a whole. You can’t blame just one part of the community either. This issue is brought up time and time again and I feel the entire community has played the “ignorant” card far too many times to let it go on much longer. Magic has been out for 15+ years. If the game can come to the social media circle via twitter, FB, blogs…etc. Why can’t they figure out ways to better educate the player base?

  34. The benefit of giving and receiving concessions or even draws is the 40 mins or so you have not playing someone to go and find food. After 7 rounds of magic, no matter how avid a player you are, you want to conserve your energy for the matches that in the end of the day matter. That’s really the primary reason for asking for concessions or even giving someone one.

    Its perfectly reasonable to ask, ‘look, we both have a long day, you could play me and probably beat me, but you won’t know how much effort it’s gonna cost you and your not going to benefit any further for doing so, whereas I have nothing to lose by just playing out this game, so if you concede to me, we both end up happy’, in a summarized ‘will you concede to me’?

    His opponent, if he feels it is remotely unethical, can simply say no instead of being greedy and asking for a cut. I highly commend the Webster for calling down the judge on him, because bribery cannot be encouraged on any level. Asking for a concession might be ethically questioned, but offering a match result for a price should not really even be up for a debate on how wrong it is.


    I have no personal qualms about giving a team mate, a person you have tested with, played with, worked with for weeks, maybe years for that tournament a leg up. I have no real issues with a person who would concede a match to another opponent simply because he has known the guy for years on end and he deserves a shot.

    While I understand where you are coming from, friendship plays a strong role in the tournaments, teams play a very strong role in how well a person does in a tournament.

    While it is probably a little bit unfair to the John Doe with his whacky homebuild that’s cruising into the 7-1 bracket and only needs a draw into the top, but can’t get it because someone on say, Team Channel Fireball is dream crushing and would have given the concession to another Team Channel Fireball member instead, John Doe did not put the time, effort and energy into contributing to your 8-0 winning streak. John Doe is not the friend you have spent ages playing magic with, sharing laughs, tales of bad beats, or spending 16 hours on a bus traveling with you to a tournament site. And if John Doe has the gall to ask me for a cut of my winnings if I asked him for a concession so he can take a break from the tournament and rest up for the top 8, a top 8 which /he/ would have a chance at the prize money (and a potentially bigger profit, if I say, he got second and I got 1st), then [email protected]#*)([email protected]* him. JUDGE!.

  35. @The E

    The first place most magic players are educated on the rules of the game are at the kitchen table with some semi-serious friends.

    The first place most magic players are educated on the rules of the /tournament/ are at an FNM, where the rules are casual, yes, but often also in the presence of a certified judge. (Often varies… some places are fortunate to have one, some places don’t)

    The first place most magic players start educating /themselves/ are when they start regularly frequenting GPs and get their asses handed to them by a dick.

    Wizards can only do so much, because at the end of the day, it is a ‘casual gaming hobby’ that’s meant to be played for fun. Every GP has a line indicating the floor rules and tournament rules are in effect. What more can you ask them to do that would not turn this game more into a job (I mean, c’mon, cancelling FNMs for SEMINARS? wth?) then a casual past-time?

  36. In my opinion it´s a really Dmove to ask your opponent for a favor and then turning him in after he asks you for a return. Sure, that´s the rules and you can do that. But there is no way you can tell me that you need to do that. D.O. could as well have said something like: “Nice joke, as you sure know I would never bribe anyone…” and just have proceeded to play it out. Why didnt he just do that? Maybe getting your opponent disqualified is much easier…

  37. @Jin – I don’t think seminars are necessary, but the “learn because something bad happens to you” method sucks.

    So, at GP Oakland, every player received a Magic score pad and a free FNM pen. The score pad could easily have a top sheet with a summary of key tournament rules written on it (sort of a bulleted version of the blog post I’m linking to in comments here). The fact that a player who is new to this level of play can just be blindsided by some of these things is not good, as it can convince them that GP/PTQ regulars are all unpleasant people.

    Which, I assure you, I’m not…but if a new player accidentally start a bribery conversation, I still have to call a judge, and they may leave thinking I am, and that makes me sad. Especially if they never come back, since i think PTQs and GPs are awesome.

  38. @Jin
    Interesting world we live in where 2 different people can look at the same thing and see 2 completely different things.

    Sorry I didn’t spend years riding buses with you and sharing plates of spaghetti like those 2 dogs in that Disney movie. Like I said, the team thing in an individual “sport” is what it is. They do it all the time in NASCAR and Track and Field, so why not here. I'll tell you why not, because our games and races break down to competitions of 2. There aren't 38 of us at the same table with equal opportunity. There are 2 people, and one may have friends telling the guy what his next opponent is playing before they even sit down, while the other guy goes in blind. Sometimes you make top 8 playing CounterSliver against Hatred, and the guy's friend stands right behind you and gives him a little nod to let him know when you don't have the FOW in hand and it's safe to pay 19 to Hatred. Teams are great fun for everybody, thank GOD for teams.

    I never once understood why people can be so nice when they want something, yet be such pricks when they already have everything they want, and you’re the one in need, but your team Channel Fireball example summed that whole thing up pretty well. Dreamcrush cause you've seen me in my jimmies and we've spent so many long nights together. Sounds like you may be taking this team concept a lil too far.

    Long story short kids, if you’re not in the club, then the club has no respect for you, so feel free to take it out on every “team member” you can. This also puts a nice little bow on top of my previous point about how unless you are willing to devote huge chunks of your time to this game, and forsake many other aspects of your life, then you will never be elite. Sorry father of 2 that works 50 hours a week and gets the kids ready for bedtime. You’re not in the club because you don’t ride 15 hours with me…oh never mind. I don’t even care anymore…

    It’s a game, and anytime people play anything for money, they start acting like monkeys slinging poo at each other. Good day.

  39. nice article, I also don’t fault you at all for getting the guy DQ’ed. If somebody sitting next to you decides to call a judge for what he overheard, you will both get possibly suspended and definately DQ’ed. I would rather wreck the guy who suggested it and save my own ass.

  40. I am grumpy today, but let me say this. If I’m grumpy it’s because I’ve played against teams over the last 13 years. I’ve had a 1900+ rating for over 8 of those, so I’m no LSV, but I have a general clue about how to win a game now and then. I know many of the things I’ve said today will be discounted because I’ve said them in an angry tone. They should be, but before I leave for the day I wanted to reiterate that I think the rule is BS. They can't outlaw conceding, because people have the right to scoop up when they are in hopeless game states, but the whole will you draw, or will you concede thing has always seemed like a dirty part of the game. With teams playing such a huge role in the success of players now, I really wish Wizards would reevaluate that rule to see if maybe both parties should be penalized. Asking people to concede to you puts people in a weird place where they will have to interact in negative ways at tournaments. I've had several people who I refused to concede to get profane, and usually it only gets worse if you follow through and beat them anyway. Thoughts?

  41. It is the responsibility of any tournament player in any game/sport/etc to learn the relevant rules. The difference here is that players aren’t taking the extra step to educate themselves beforehand, and end up learning the hard way. I’d argue that this is nothing more than people’s sense of entitlement at work. They don’t do their homework, and still feel slighted when penalized for their own failures.

    For every critical penalty/foul/etc you see in a professional sports game, hundreds of games were probably lost across the players’ collective pasts as they first learned that you’re not allowed to do X. The difference is that since these learning experiences presumably take place early in one’s career, there wasn’t the same level of media exposure.

    Yes, this is unpleasant. No, it doesn’t make the rules themselves wrong. If you’re serious about this game (or likely any other game), then you ought to know that unfortunate learning experiences are just a part of the journey(Demigod of Revenge, anyone?). Grit your teeth, maybe grumble a bit, sure. Most importantly though, take the lesson to heart and move on.

    Bonus points if you take fledgling players under your wing and help them avoid the same mistakes you did. I’d say bonus points for actively seeking out and learning from other people’s experiences, but that’s presumably the reason you’re on this site in the first place.

  42. @Dennis: If I told my opponent, “please draw an extra card” and he did, I would call a judge too. Why not turn in your opponent when he is cheating?

    @cookie monster: read the rules – prize splitting is legal if it doesn’t involve concession: basically it has to involve everyone still in the tournament – if it’s just you and your opponent, you are screwing the other people trying to make top 8 – if it’s the top 4, you aren’t screwing anyone else, you’re just redistributing wealth among yourselves.

  43. Alex,

    Thanks for your commentary and for your blog writeup. That’s the kind of thing that would make for a useful primer for Wizards to provide at each tourney to avoid problems like this.

    Although neither your or I think this is Pros vs. Joes, there are two facets of this situation that tend to come down in favor of Pros much more frequently due to their familiarity with the system rather than with merit.

    First, while most tournament rules are about Integrity (i.e. bribery is bad, don’t cheat) some are about logistics (time limits, table assignments), and many of these rules in both categories have NOTHING to do with how the game is played. For example, DCI could make a rule that if you wear a yellow shirt to the tournament, you’d be DQ’d. While this is a ridiculous example, it shows the point that if you didn’t know that rule, too bad for you.

    Sure you’ll know it the next time around, but if you’re a Joe and not a Pro, it will be a lot longer before you get the chance again. And then if you get screwed by some other arbitrary rule change, well, back to the start with you!

    My thought here is that even if something is a serious, DQ-able offense, I think more credit should be given to the idea that it was an honest mistake if it’s something that takes place entirely outside of the game (i.e. interacts only with tournament rules and not game rules). For this specific situation we won’t know unless the judge or other player chooses to comment on the intent, but the people here saying he’s an evil cheater just don’t have enough info to back that up.

    Second, and this is a really big deal, is that people seem to think that “Team Play” or “Helping a Friend” has no conflict with the bribery rule. Again, this is ONLY because of a specific interaction with the way the Tournament rules are written and NOT because of what is actually occurring at the table of play.

    Lets say my friend and I get seated together to play for the last spot in the Top 8. While at the table:

    If we talk about who would do better vs the other 7, we’re fixing results.
    If he offers to split his prizes with me, he’s bribing.
    If he offers to buy me dinner, he’s bribing.
    If he asks me for some of my prizes, he’s asking for a bribe.
    If he says he won’t drive me home after I concede, he’s asking for a bribe.

    Now lets say that, instead of at the game table, he and I finish our game before that final round and go get a bite to eat.
    While eating together:

    If we talk about who would do better vs the other 7, we’re teammates discussing strategy.
    If he offers to split his prizes with me, he’s being friendly.
    If he offers to buy me dinner, he’s being a friend or perhaps paying me back.
    If he asks me for some of my prizes, he’s telling a joke.
    If he says he won’t drive me home unless I concede, he’s telling a joke.

    This sucks for people that don’t get paired with their friends because they don’t get to have those private conversations. If I left with a stranger to have dinner and someone over heard us, they might tell a judge we were discussing fixing the match. With friends, they’ve already had that conversation so many times that they don’t need to use words to choose who should concede.

    So with a nod and a scoop, you’re not breaking the tournament rules, even though you are planning on doing so privately at another time. Essentially, you’re trading “Friendship”, which DCI does not currently consider to be a material good.

    For good or for bad, or whatever you think this does for or against the game, it is certain that this current implementation of the rule heavily favors people that play in lots of tournaments as a larger, cohesive friend-group over those that play in fewer tournaments or in smaller groups. And whether that is wrong or right, it gives people a chance to say, “They got to that point by colluding,” and it sours their experience and it reinforces the Pros vs. Joes divide.

  44. Remember thought that this isn’t the fault of the players, but of tournament structure. You never see Venus and Serena Williams give each other free byes or draws because the tennis tournament structure doesn’t work that way.

  45. @Slowroll (1:17pm post)

    The big problem with trying to address something like that via rule changes is that it’s practically impossible to enforce. As you stated, pre-arranged agreements are always a possibility, and imposing penalties on both parties will just lead to people going through the motions of playing a real (if rather sloppy) game. There’s extra work for player and judge alike, and the desired result still wouldn’t be achieved.

    Regarding your other point, my belief is that nobody inherently deserves a scoop. If the guy across the table decides to dreamcrush me, sure it may be a dick move, but it’s his perogative and I need to accept that. People who get rude over their mistaken sense of entitlement deserve every sportmanship penalty they get and more.

  46. @ Delha:

    One way you could *try* to enforce the rule would be to arrange pairings each round by who had the least cards in common between their deck lists. That way if you wanted to get paired with your friends, you’d all have to be playing a different deck, which would make it harder to divide and conquer during your deck testing phase.

  47. Looks like the novella of a post I wrote up before my last one got eaten by the internets somehow, enjoy the TLDR version.

    It’s the player’s responsibility to learn the rules of the competition. This is true of any sport/game/etc. People are just being too lazy to do their homework, then whining when it comes back to bite them later.

    For any critical penalty you see in professional sports, players have probably lost hundreds of games across their collective pasts in this exact manner. We just don’t hear about those games as much becuase they generally happen before them became pros.

    Anyone serious competitor (in practically any field) ought to know that hard lessons are just a part of the journey (Demigod of Revenge, anyone?). Grit your teeth, grumble a bit if you need, but at the end of the day, take the lesson to heart and move on.

    Bonus points for mentoring noobs and saving them from duplicating yoru mistakes. Bonus points for actively seeking out other people’s experiences and learning from them. That’s why you’re here in the first place, right?

  48. Delha, while you are certainly correct, I think it’s more of a question of

    1. Does the punishment fit the crime?
    2. Does changing the punishment or the rule benefit the game as a whole?

    Yesterday a Danish speedskater would have won a gold medal but was DQd because his coach told him to skate over into the wrong lane. If the penalty for that was +4 sec., he still would have won Gold. If it was +8 sec, he still would have won silver. He got the penalty that was on the books, and he won’t get a chance to try again for 4 more years. That seems like a place where a rule change would help the sport.

    The situation described here seems like a similar one, but maybe there is no good fix.

  49. @slowroll:
    if you have two (healthy i hope) children, there is no need to be bitter. And if you are, because you do not like your job, you should change that.
    Nevertheless, the way D.O. is just assy. No doubt you can say this stuff like “as a pro you have to take care of business and it not my fault, if someone is so foolish to walk into this trap (not the one that is associated with playingskill)” and that “you have to gain an edge (within the rules) while you can” – that´s just one part of the story. Some kind of sportsmanship should exist as well. but I guess that´s what it needs to be a pro: some kind of ruthelessness (+knowing when you are within the rules/nobody can prove you´re not à la kibler, ruel or as we no know D.O.)
    What can we learn from that: maybe all the John Does (how arrogant is this – but better a John Doe in the Magic-Universe than in real life) should never ever concede to some of the super-pros as well…

  50. @Delha — The problem is that if only serious players turn up, we don’t have 2,000-person GPs in Paris. Seriously, the vast majority of all GP and PTQ attendees are “dead money” the moment round one starts, but they come because they (1) think they have a chance and (2) want to game. When they lose to tournament rules they weren’t briefed on, that sours them, and they go home. If they go home, then the GP no longer serves its purpose as a promotional tool for the game, and it goes away.

    Professional sports isn’t a good analogy here, as that only really maps well onto the Pro Tour itself. For an actual PT, I expect all the players to know the tournament rules thoroughly, and it’s their own fault if they screw that up. But for a public event held in parallel with the PT, or a PTQ, or a GP, it’s unhealthy for the game if people can be ambushed by tournament rules.

    Honestly, I’m already careful at GPs and PTQs to explain to my opponent that it’s not a big deal when I call a judge on them, because I don’t want them to think I’m trying to game the system. Check out some of the comments on my column about GP Oakland, where some readers thought I was fishing for a win by counting out my opponent’s deck (when in reality, I just wanted to make sure he didn’t present an illegal deck AGAIN, and I count out the deck each time it is present as a matter of policy).

    There’s a big difference between not understanding how the Demigod trigger works and not knowing that suggesting a prize split for a concession is a DQ offense. The first one is a bit of a “WTF?” moment you can share with your friends later, and take home as a valuable learning lesson to your kitchen table of FNM game. The second one is a bitter loss of your day and your $30 entry fee that happened just because you made a casual suggestion that you thought was okay.

    It’s good for the game if you learn that there are pros who are “end bosses” in terms of their superior skills. It’s bad for the game if you learn that there are bastards who are going to screw you out of wins with tournament rule tricks.

  51. now that was a low blow

    ya since you needed a concession or the win to get in and you straight up asked for the concession in return for nothing, i think it would have been at the very least “noble” of you to explain that bribery isn’t tolerated but if he would look out for you, you could in return grant him that same favor. instead now you shape your image in the eyes of the general public as 50% the guy who does the right think and 50% total DB! personally i consider you in the latter category!!

  52. I would say that if the bribe offering happened to me in a PT or a GP, I would call a judge. If it happened in a side tournament like in this article, I would just explicitly say no and inform him that bribery is very illegal. Certainly Ocho has the right to call a judge, but it doesn’t seem necessary.

  53. but maybe that’s why Ocho spent the last two weekends at GP Oakland and PT San Diego while I scrubbed out of PTQ’s…

  54. @TheWholeDiscussion

    You can say “Players should educate THEMSELVES” or “If a player comes to a tournament not having read the floor rules beforehand then they’re an idiot”…etc…etc. But I feel, you're being ignorant then. I don’t care IF players SHOULD do that. I care that THEY DO do that. There’s a big difference between what someone should do and then what actually happens. And I’m going to assume anyone commenting on this discussion knows that.

    That being said, I feel it would be in the best interest of the community as a whole to be better educated. And I WILL NOT put all that responsibility on the “newbie” player who has just signed up for his first GPT. These players usually come to the bigger tournaments because they did decently well at local FNMs and their buddies convinced them going to a GPT or PTQ would be fun on a Saturday. What was not mentioned to these “newbies” is what they should be aware of. And, frankly, at most GPT/PTQs the judges aren’t doing an amazing job at making sure players are well informed on the topics of floor rules. The only time most new players ever find out is because they broken a floor rule and are being penalized for it. And, I’m not saying the judges should have to be the ones doing all the educating. But, as a Judge or TO I would do MY BEST to educate MY COMMUNITY because a better educated community is a healthier community; and in the long run it makes my job easier and leaves less “bad taste” in the mouths of those new to the tournament scene. If players leave happy they'll tell others which in turn gets more people to come to tournaments. If players leave unhappy then they won't come back and/or will tell all their friends it isn't worth their time to go to the tournaments. This game is about having fun"¦

    I feel that the people who keep mentioning that it’s the player's responsibility have a hidden agenda. Because if all someone cared about was healthy competition and “fun” play then that shouldn’t matter. But, if all someone cared about is “winning” then that would matter. A person who only has one thing in mind “to win” would love every one of his opponents to be “scrubs” and not have a clue about any rules so he could get them DQd later. But a person who is more interested in healthy game play and fair competition should have no incentive to tell someone “It’s your responsibility, figure it out”; this person would do their best to educate those around him because then his competition would become healthier and he’d feel that he wasn’t winning games simply because his opponent was an idiot. That isn’t to say you should inform your opponents that they’re making mistakes during games. But if both opponents sat down with the same knowledge, and same information, and same understanding then the game would be better off.

    This is what WoTC was aiming for when they put forth “the Guru” system back in the late 1990’s. It didn’t sell well, but that was more marketing and just general interest in the game at the time.

    We need an informed community. We need a healthy community. We need everyone to help one another. If someone is being a dick, sure I’d love to stick it to them like anyone else. BUT in the service industry the one thing you’re told to do when handling a jackass is to “Kill them with kindness”. Frankly, that saying still holds true here. Not everyone can be saved. But do your best to not be a prick and help the newer players learn the game.

  55. @Followup

    Alex is on point. Be nice, don’t be a prick. And try to explain to your opponents or fellow players what they may be doing wrong. Help them correct their issues and both you and your fellow players will be better off.

  56. Am I the only person who thinks that Web’s opponent probably knew what he was doing when he asked for a 25% concession fee? I mean the guy had the only undefeated (6-0) record in a pretty challenging event — one that also takes enough inside info to even know that you have to wake up early and get on line for a big chunk of time. And it’s not like the guy was bumbling and fishing for some sort of compensation from Web. . . he had a clear picture of his price tag: concession = 25% of your winnings. Now I may be a simple country lawyer (I’m not), but to me this sounds like premeditated cheats.

  57. First of all I want to say that the rules for professional level of play are readily available due to this crazy thing called the Internet. I know because I played in my first big tourney (SCG $5k Dallas) this January but before going I made sure to read all DCI Sanctioned Tourney rules, the rules for SCG tourneys, and general helpful tips at tourneys before I ever even packed my bags to go to Dallas. With that said, it’s unfortunate this unnamed player broke the rules. I doubt Gerry asked the guy to concede for any malicious reason. Clearly he just wanted to win something!! And in case you didn’t know asking for a concession is the easiest way to defeat an opponent (learned that from Equilibrium). Anyways I made sure to not break any rules at my first tourney so anybody else should be able to do the same otherwise why are they even there?? And the other dude could have conceded and built a reputation with Gerry the pro and in doing so maybe Gerry would have done the same for him someday. The kid got greedy and he paid for it. Good article you did the right thing maybe someday I’ll see you in a tourney but don’t ask me for a concession I’ll be there to dream-crush 🙂

  58. Agree 100% with everyone who says we need to find some way to make sure players know this stuff. It’s always unfortunate when something like this happens instead of David’s opponent knowing the rules and very likely ending up getting exactly what he asked for. Couple quick things I didn’t see anyone else say yet:

    If both players in a match want one player or the other to win, it is very easy for them to play such that the desired winner wins. The DCI knows this, and has no interest in trying to gauge the legitimacy of match results to that degree, so they just allow concessions. Making concessions illegal forces an easy-to-execute, hard-to-prevent workaround, nothing more.

    People concede to friends. You can make moral arguments about who deserves to be in the top 8, but they are moot. Neither human nature nor the DCI’s policy on scooping are going to change.

    Having friends is a big advantage in magic, for innumerable reasons. In this way, magic parallels life. I recommend attempting to make friends. Sorry to be glib, but there is simply no other rational approach to take. Whoever said people without friends are at a disadvantage was correct, but legislating to combat this advantage is not going to happen.

    There’s a perception of Pros and ringers as some sort of exclusive club, when my experience has been overwhelmingly the opposite. If you aren’t an utterly horrible person, most pros will give you the time of day, chat with you about your deck, their deck, formats, etc. They will not buy you dinner persay because that would be weird, but more often than not they will express their gratitude for a scoop via product or money after all is said and done. If that’s unseemly to you, I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. You are never obligated to scoop, and if someone gets ticked at you for not doing so that’s his/her issue, not yours. If you do scoop, that is obviously a big ol’ favor you’re doing for your opponent. They are in turn never obligated to reward you for it, but again, odds are that they will.

  59. I like pros. In general most pros are super nice people who would rather just have fun than constantly win win win. But this is why I hate a lot of tournament players. They feel it in their best interest to tell everyone “they’re dumb if they didn’t know the rules ahead of time.”

    Either put up or shut up. Help the new players. if you don’t want to help others then GTFO. I’m sick and tired of this ignorant mentality that only cares about “winning” and not “educating.”

    I sound upset. For obvious reasons, though. Everyone should be helping one another give MTG the best name possible in the public eye. I guess this is what makes the difference between true “professional” magic players and the “dicks” who go to all the local tournaments and stroke their ego on a regular basis.

  60. @ Josh G. – What happened to Kramer (who is Dutch btw, not Danish) was certainly terrible (and to a lesser degree so was Mancuso’s restart on grand slalom). Sure, that particular penalty may be worth closer scrutiny. I’d have to read up a lot more on speed skating to decide. That said, I think we can also all agree that attempted bribery within a tournament should certainly be met with disqualification. Before someone suggests it, lesser penalties for involuntary breach are a bad idea. It just leads to more subjective judge decisions (ie. Kibler & Gindy – “may” triggers), and we’ve seen how inflammatory those can be.

    @Alex – Agreed that rookies getting ambushed by the floor rules is bad. That said, I strongly believe that the best answer is educating them and that veterans players are in the best position to do so (hence my comment about mentoring noobs). I suspect that the image of the “cutthroat tournament ass” is already established among many FNM players. Increasing the number of veteran tournament players that interact courteously with the newcomers and giving them a positive experience sounds like a good way to address both issues at once, no?

    When one breaks the rules, it is our responsibility to enforce the rules by informing the judges. What falls to us as fellow players is softening that impact by explaining the infraction to the unknowing player without being a jerk. I’d argue that people are simply too quick to point fingers at the system rather than accepting that they’d be more effective as part of the solution.

    Note: Although I don’t remember seeing details, I assume that David was courteous about the whole thing. My impressions from here and TMD are that he’s quiet, composed, and polite. Just wanted to avoid anyone assuming that my last paragraph was in reference to him specifically.

    @ The E – I think you misunderstood my position. As per my response to Alex, I think we’re at least generally on the same page: Mentorship is the way to go in creating and sustaining a healthy community. At the end of the day though, I’m making a distinction which may admittedly be a too fine. I believe it is the responsibility of the individual player to prepare adequately for a given event. I believe is it the our responsibility as a whole (including WOTC here) to make the resources for that preparation readily available.

  61. Great article .. Nice going on Sunday!! to all those haters on here. You guys are morons seriously keep playing at FNM cause youll never be able to handle anything remotly competitive.. If I ever get matched up with one of you Im just gunna draw ten cards then berate you for callin a judge. What the heck its a dumb rule anyweays dont be sucha dick… Very happy you called a Judge on the briber Web, seems most people woulda just let it slide then after loosing the match regretting on not calling a judge for a breakage of the rules. Stating “thems the breaks” most likely… Good luck in Texas!!!

  62. Factually correct but getting the guy DQed is just acting like a dick really. Offcourse bribery shouldn’t be allowed but asking for a concession from your opponent, while allowed, isn’t really nice play either.
    There is a fine line between the two and while the rules as they are are the only practical solution it’s still a delicate problem. Unspoken bribery and rewards happen all the time but when someone says it out loud its worth a disqualification. Ocho didn’t violate factual rules here but he did violate ethics in my opinion, it’s basically evoking the other person into a violation.

  63. Pingback: MTGBattlefield

  64. Total dick move. It doesn’t matter that it was within the rules, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    What’s even more pathetic is you pretending that you were just trying to do the right thing, and that you REALLY wanted to play. If you really wanted to play, and didn’t just want a free win, you would have just told your opponent that you weren’t allowed to to offer him anything. This protects you from any potential sanction, and doesn’t get your opponent who’s a lock for top 8 kicked out of the tournament.

  65. Dick move: What was done.

    Non-Dick Move: “Come on, we both know bribes are illegal. Do you just want to concede to be nice or should we play?”

  66. I really like how only one person has caught the fact that Web’s opponent knew EXACTLY what he was doing. 25% was the price of admission that he probably set prior to the beginning of the round. He, most likely, knew he would be put in a situation where someone needed a “favor” and he was going to make sure he was going to get his. The “dick” move wasn’t on Web. It was on his opponent. His opponent had quite a few options available to him:

    1. Scoop
    2. Say no and crush Web
    3. Say no and then lose to Web

    All are valid choices there and none of them results in a DQ (unless he violates some other rule that is an auto-DQ). Most of the time, people remember the favors that are done for them. I’m sure that Web is one of those people who would pay forward what he got from the guy. Maybe not 25% but, at the very least, something. The fact that many of you seemed to have missed here is that Web’s opponent premeditated and executed an illegal act. Web did what he had to do to protect himself, his integrity as a pro, and the integrity of the game as a whole. Simple question you should ask yourself: What would you do if you witnessed a crime? Turn the criminal in? Or let him walk?

  67. @Slowroll Quit your yappin about dreamcrushing people. I can tell from your endless tirades that you never play anything higher then a FNM and if you did you wouldnt make it far. Quit projecting your anger onto us cause u suck at magic and you’re pissed that in tournies people actually have to follow rules.. How old are u 36 37 , ur pathetic, get a new hobby like tic tac toe or something that doesnt have big purse tounies. You obv cant handle compitition at a high level. Next time I see u at a tournie , how about I help u play your deck so you always make the best play, I mean i wouldnt want you to misplay and then feeeeeeel bad, and proceede to call me a dick…. Grow up

  68. @kevGenocide:
    I sincerely hope you’re trying to be comedic. The channelfireball comments are, in general, presenting arguments and counter-arguments reasonably. Yours… not so much!

    Now, my opinion: “Dick move” is too harsh a statement. It was definitely unfriendly, however. I cannot imagine that a judge would have issued a penalty on Ochoa if he had just said “Let’s stop this conversation RIGHT NOW, start playing!” So, a mised win caused by excellent rules knowledge, definitely not shady, but… unfriendly.

  69. Jim Varney: Offering a bribe is punishable by DQ for a reason, and that is that bribes seriously hurt the integrity of a tournament. I bet you’d probably be ok with people bribing themselves into top 8, cheating to win and all other sorts of shady things since you feel that Ochoa’s very correct judge call was somehow a dick move. It doesn’t matter that his opponent was a lock for top 8 or what Ochoa’s feelings for the game were. His opponent comitted a serious offence and it is punishable by a DQ. If Ochoa hadn’t made the judge call he’d be stepping into DQ-territory as well. He did the right thing.

  70. @Rob Anybody: I’m pretty certain no judge would issue a DQ to Ochoa if he had said “lets stop this blah bla” but I bet most would issue one for his opponent who, you know, had asked for a bribe from Ochoa. Do you somehow think Ochoa was the one responsible for his opponents DQ? He wasn’t, it was the opponents fault.

  71. You all seem to be making the assumption Web’s opponent didn’t know bribery was against the rules to begin with. He could easily have known that bribery would get him DQ’ed if Web called him on it. But maybe he felt like Ochoa wouldn’t, for some reason, and that they could work something out.

    I’ve heard of worse infractions at other tournaments, involving Pros and Non-Pros. Blatant cheating; spectators watching it unfold without a word; bribery and collusion. It’s all gone down before. You can’t assume Ochoa’s opponent was some sort of naive noob or innocent. When it’s not even clear that’s the case. Ochoa can’t trick someone who knows exactly what he’s doing when he asks for a cut.

  72. Web should’ve said, “no, that’ll get us DQed” or “sure, I’ll run the risk”

    Bending over for a bad rule makes you a dick, especially when you were the one who initiated the under the table dealings. Buying someone out of a tournament or a round is a consensual financial arrangement that does not harm any third parties, and it’s no different from a split. DQing someone for that is the equivalent of turning someone in for smoking weed.

  73. @JShapiro

    I did not say that conceding should be made illegal; I suggested that fishing for concessions should be made illegal. It’s a dirty subgame that is played that puts people in weird spots. “Will you concede to me? Come on man, you know I’d do it for you.” …and so on the conversation goes. The guy got DQ'd for asking essentially "what will you do for me?" The only problem is Web asked that question first mere seconds before.


    I know this may come as a surprise to you, but yes, I’ve actually played on the PT and at several GP’s, but no, I did not win any of them. I have a crown royal bag half full of those little top8 pins they gave us from various PTQ's/States/ n such; and yes I am a grown man, with a sweet beard no less. Is that what you want to hear? I can tell that nothing I say will matter to you by the way you didn't discuss the topics at hand and went straight to the personal attacks. That doesn't work in real life, and has shown me that you are not here to actually discuss anything.

  74. There is an important point that needs to be addressed here that I am genuinely surprised that nobody mentioned. If there is a bribery attempt and someone knows about it and does not report it, then that person can be disqualified. There is precedent for that. Hence, not calling a judge to “tattle” on his opponent was itself a DQ-able offense.

  75. To end all this quables both concessions and bribery should be illegal or legal. Havine one legal and the other one illegal let’s many players walk such a fine line. You can argue that when the channelfireball players concede to eachother and play out against others they are abusing the system as well, yet because there are no actual money payouts for such directly but just returning favors it is legal..
    If you concede to a friend and later give him a card or pay him a diner to return the favor it’s legal but if you ask so beforehand it’s illegal, that line is just way too thin. Therefore being strict on the rules here is just being a dick as asking for the concession is just as much as ethical violation as suggesting a payout/bribery scheme.
    Too bad it’s practically impossible to make concessions and the like punishable as they happen without prior agreement all the time (playing bad against a friend). This all is just a big downside of the TOP 8 tournament structure that is in magic roots, if it mattered more what place someone actually ended to get top 8 perhaps there would be less of these problems. For example that higher placing allows you to chose to play or draw in the top 8 itself.

  76. First;
    i cant believe it u turning your opponent in and still somehow justify this.. You’re a Dick! period!! Why just tell him that isnt alowed ánd then play the match.
    Topic about conceding
    I totaly understand that u concede to a friend so he can make top8 aswell.
    But asking a stranger seems weird to me. I find it unfair to player who did win his final match but will not make the top8 because u get a win due to concession.

  77. @Slowroll. Ditto to everything you said regarding these so called “gravy trainers”I do respect the team aspect of the game though but team. Members should not expect to much from non team members.

    That said though even though I don’t really care for the author of this article and have been personally pressured into scooping by him not for a top 8 spot but when we where both on the bubble.With remarks like basically who the heck are you I am a pro scoop to me… I have to say that under the rules he did nothing wrong and following the rules especially at a higher level tourney is never a d move.Knowing the rules is part of the game hands down.And for real the guy probably did not know the rules why would he offer a bribe to someone he did not know if he did.He just screwed himself he was not mind tricked come on why would you ask for anything anyways.

  78. @ehk: You said “Bending over for a bad rule makes you a dick, especially when you were the one who initiated the under the table dealings.”

    Just so we can be clear what is actual rules and not stupid stuff you make up:
    Under the table dealings includes bribery.
    Under the table dealings do not include asking for a concession.

    Only one of the players did something illegal and shady and it wasn’t Ochoa. Bribing not only harms all the other players in the tournament, the tournament itself as well as dcis reputation. You don’t see a lot of other games were you can bribe yourself to a win 100% legally and there’s a good reason for it.

  79. well, I don´t agree with you, if you say that following the rules is never a dmove. Just think about people in school who didn´t let others copy their stuff or were just squealers… – don´t think you never called anyone a dick for something that was “within the official rules”…

  80. @Beeble

    Nothing could have happened to Ochoa if he simply said, “I can’t offer you anything, that’s against the rules.” If he REALLY wanted to play, like he says in his article, that’s what he woudl have done. Instead he saw a legal opportunity at a free win. I think it’s a dick move.

  81. Ochoa did what was in his responsibility as a player to call out the infraction. You are not being a ‘nice guy’ by not calling the judge. You are being a dick to every other player in the tournament by not making the call.

    *If a deal is accepted, you have someone that made it into the Top 8 via an illegitimate deal, and the person who scooped him in is rewarded for it.

    *If the deal wasn’t accepted, it still leaves the notion that it is ok to even try and bribe a player. Even if you warn them they can get DQ’d, another player hears about it and calls you both out and you can both get DQ’ed for discussing it.

    David made a perfectly legitimate proposal, and his opponent took the one fail option among the three (Yes, no, and, ‘What do I get in return?’) Last I checked, a $3K prize and 32K qualifies for a Competitive REL event. Players are expected to be very familiar with the tournament rules at this point. There’s not a lot of excuse for the guy not knowing.

    Put yourself outside the table it happened at. If you heard this going down next to you, would you let it fly at, say, a PTQ (an equivilant REL event)? If you would let someone *offer* a bribe and get away with it, you are a nicer person than I. You are also the type of people that allow this to possibly corrupt events where competitive rewards are at stake.

    For those that think David was a dick, or baited him, or thinks he should have let it slide : I hope to never see you at any tournament I participate in. I can basically assure something fishy that’s going to screw the tournament in some subtle form will be let by because of a player’s apathetic attitude. Maybe getting screwed out of something (prize, T8, anything significant) because you find out later someone cheated may change your minds.

    “I’m not a dick, because I wouldn’t call a judge on him”

    Well, I’m not a dick, because I wouldn’t let a someone trying to bribe me get away with it.

  82. I hear plenty of complaints from people who are upset that someone wouldn’t concede to them or draw with them, and how much “bs” it is or whatever. But is probably sucks bad to be the person playing it out down the line while someone else gets in on an opponent conceeding.

  83. David Lyford-Smith

    Ok, everyone, just to get the start point set- I’m an L2 judge. I found out about this discussion from the judge list. And that’s the attitude from which I’m posting this response.

    I should add that I have also DQ’d a player in the past for a bribery offense. He indicated that he would be willing to concede in exchange for boosters. That was all- but I felt no qualms in DQing him.

    This is because bribery, whilst definitely not cheating (see the MIPG for the difference, but it’s Unsporting Conduct), is not OK. It detracts from the legitimacy of the event by making it about wallets and underhand dealings, and not about quality of play and strategy.

    Now, several people have talked about the difference in the position of conceding- without compensation- versus bribery. The difference in my mind is simple. A concession earns the conceding player nothing. They will do it if and only if they want their opponent to get the win- whether because it’ll get their friend in to the Top 8, or will get them a favourable matchup in the Top 8, or whatever. But they are under no obligation to make that decision and do so freely.

    Once somebody puts them in a position of financial advantage in exchange for the outcome of their match, then that’s the point where I, and where the DCI, have a problem. And offering bribes and offering to accept bribes are not significantly different in this respect.

    Several of the best posts in this thread talk about how players should find these things out- and this is something I definitely care about. I know that many players get caught out by this sort of thing. That’s why my local game store has a poster on the door, right in front of your eyes, that gives a high-level summary of the Really Bad Things ™ and how they can bee avoided. There’s a mid-level summary poster by the judge’s table inside, too.

    I heartily encourage any casual-level TO, judge, or player to copy these practices. One of your duties as a provider of casual tournaments is to provide a smooth and painless transition for those players that later choose to go to a more competitive environment. The idea of a rules sheet with life total pads is a great idea- I’ll definitely look in to it.

    Now, a comment on the idea of ‘friendly bribes’- i.e. things like quietly taking your mate who scooped to you to a meal afterwards- this is a DQ offense, just the same as David’s situation, if the meal was known about at the time of the concession. Sure, it’s damn hard for me to enforce- but if someone records a 2-0 result to a friend early on in the round, I’m not averse to asking them quickly why. Just enough to make me feel that everything’s OK : )

    I’m not a sadist- neither are any good judges- but I don’t want to let someone who is doing something like bribery succeed or benefit from my tournaments. In this particular case, David was put in the awkward position of his opponent starting a bribery discussion. Many people in the thread talk about him being able to deny the offer and play it out safely- that’s not as safe, or as optimal, a path as many believe.

    Firstly, hiding an infraction- yours or someone else’s- from judges is a dangerous game. If you bring it up at a later point, perhaps because the game isn’t looking good for you and you’ve lost your taste for benevolence, then that’s textbook Cheating- Fraud. You can’t sit on these things until it’s to your advantage (although this is more likely for things with lighter penalties).

    Secondly, David has a responsibility, both to the rules and to the tournament, to report this sort of behaviour. We don’t know anything about the opponent- but whether it’s an innocent mistake or he’s a serial offender are not for David to decide. The attending judge, the head judge, and the DCI investigations committee will look into the player’s case to decide whether to stick to the minimum penalty (a DQ from the event), or to enforce a suspension.

    It’s not OK for David to let the player get away with it. The player is expected to know the MTR at Comp REL- and certainly should know to think before trying to offer or accept bribes.

    As a final note, at Regular REL, there is an option to downgrade penalties like Improperly Determining a Winner or Bribery to a Match Loss, when the player genuinely didn’t know it was a problem. The DCI is aware that there is a grey area here- of course we are- but we do our best to draw that clear line as soon as we can know about it.

    Thanks all for a very illuminating and (largely) civil discussion on this topic. It’s been really great to hear what people think about judging issues without excessive trolling / profanity D:

  84. Pathetic. You have lost all my (I know it’s not a big problem) respect, the rules were with you? Not the pride, not the correct way. I really was shocked reading what you have done to win a match and make a top8 … really really sad, enjoy yourself… I hope that the karma will help your luck in the future tourneys.

  85. We can discuss if the rules are good or not good, but if you act by rules there is no reason to be ashamed of your actions.
    On the side note, I agree that intentional drawing/scooping system really needs to be looked into and changed for the sake of game integrity.
    David, keep up with the good work of playing and writing (and knowing the rules).

  86. The Correct thing may not always be the Right thing…

    Rules need to be changed- Seriously. Ridiculous. Someone should never ask another person to concede before the match to benefit themselves into advancing. Play the game. Splitting should not be tournament legal- its also ridiculous. Do you see this in any other professional event where another person concedes to the opponent? No. “You play to win the game.” =)

    Exactly why playing Online will always be in benefit to mostly everyone.
    Has Ochoa been DQd before? If not, I hope he does and can learn a lesson the hard way.

  87. If you wanted to battle, why bother asking for a concession at all? Something doesn’t add up here.

  88. @David Lyford Smith

    Thank you so much for taking the time to thoroughly explain the DCI’s position on this. My stance remains unchanged however. I still feel that fishing for concessions should be entirely taken out of the game. I also find your 8th paragraph near laughable. The rule has no teeth and you yourself admit how it would be near impossible to enforce. We all know that people arrange splits on the ride up and whatnot, and that the “team” works towards the benefit of the team. Be that by scooping in their boy who crushes Jund into the 5 Jund player top 8, or scouting for their friends during the rounds while the actual participants play.

    I understand the rule, and more importantly understand the spirit of the rule as a former level 1 myself, I just don't agree with it. I don't pretend to be an expert, for that we have Sheldon. I just have a unique viewpoint as an older, more experienced magic player who has been all the way around the merry-go-round and seen how great, and how not so great tournament magic can be. I'm not trying to be bitter; I love this game enough that I've spent over $15,000 lifetime buying cards, paying entry fees, hotel rooms, and all the other travel expenses. I've spent over 10 years of my Friday nights, Saturdays, Sundays and countless weektime hours playing and practicing to improve because I care and wanted to improve. Both of my sons have played since they were 3 years old and could say "Inchantmet" and we always made jokes that they were breaking the law because the packaging suggests you need to be much older to play .

    It has always seemed wrong seeing the entire top table(s) draw into the top 8. I have been guilty of doing that exact thing myself, so please don't think that I'm trying to take some kind of high and mighty stance here. I'm just pointing out something that appears to be wrong in our wonderful game. The DCI doesn't want things other than playing magic to determine the outcome of matches; then why the heck are we letting player X mentally work over his opponent to scoop to him at all? Magic is an individual game until we hit team events is it not? Why are rules not in place to ensure that it remains a battle of wits between the two participants? LSV wrote about how important scouting is, and that the best players have their friends do this for them because it is taxing to do in addition to playing countless rounds of swiss over the course of the day. I'm obviously not a fan of that being legal either, but that would be completely impossible to enforce as long as we allow spectators to enjoy our tournaments. It's good for the health of the game to allow spectators, so that is a battle I will leave for someone else to fight.

    I'm not a public speaker guys. I know my argument is not bulletproof, but I think there is merit in this thought. Asking your opponent to concede to you should not be allowed. One of the ugliest things still in the game to witness is the mini drama that unfolds when two self entitled players are explaining to one another why they are more worthy to advance. It's ugly. I hope you will consider these words, and understand that the messenger is flawed but the message is what needs to be considered.

  89. @Bennets
    You’re wrong, David is not a bad guy. I love this website and all the great players that write and Ocho is by far my favorite. What he did was legal (currently ;-), I hope that one day it isn't, but it’s not right to attack the man’s integrity.

  90. David Lyford-Smith

    RE: SlowRoll

    Without getting too deep in to it, a basic idea of the tournament system is to try and encourage players to act in a way which we agree with.

    For example, we don’t want to discourage people from calling out their opponent’s mistakes. That’s why we don’t ever upgrade warnings for missing your opponent’s mistakes- warnings that fall under the category of Failure to Maintain the Game State (FtMtGS).

    There is of course a limit to which we (to which anyone) can defy human nature, or control their actions. It’s for example established that we can’t stop people from choosing to intentionally draw, or from scooping a match. Two players who want to draw could, if pressed, play for the full 50 and not reach a conclusion. It’s farcical to make them do that, so we offer them the shortcut of just filling out their results slip with the result they want.

    The alternative, then, is to make the draw against their interests. Legend of the Five Rings used a Swiss system where a loss was worth 1 point, and a draw 0. The system encourages players to force a conclusion to all games. The intention (as I understand it) was that, when time ran out, a gentlemanly agreement on who was likely to win in the long run would be reached and someone would scoop appropriately. This system is definitely interesting- but it does encourage some things, like die-rolling at the end of time to get to *a* winner- which the DCI doesn’t.

    You do suggest making asking for a concession outside of the rules. I have to be careful here, because as an L2 I don’t want anyone getting confused:


    I think this idea has some mileage in it. Of course, we’d have to differentiate between “Attack you for 30. Got the Holy Day, or do you scoop?” and “Hi! I’m David. Will you scoop to me?”. We’d have to make sure to educate players. But it *could* work. Without a lot more time, I’m not sure that the change would be effective enough to make it worthwhile, but you’ve certainly given me something to think about!

    On the subject of my 8th paragraph (on ‘friendly’ pre-arranged concessions / bribes)… yeah, I know it’s laughable. We are but human and can’t ever hope to prevent or punish every possible workaround of the ‘ideal’ tournament outcome : ( At least at PTQ level, I try to discourage these sorts of things by giving out booster prizes based entirely on Swiss standing- so that the Top 8 is for the slot only, and if you want more boosters, then get in there and play some Magic : 0

  91. I just wanted to say that it does seem kind of a shady move from Ochoa to me. I have recieved/given concessions before on varying levels of play. The way I’ve always been presented a concession request (and the way I phrase it) is very simple “Now, you understand that I can’t/am not offering you anything, but (insert reasons for concession from opponent here).” The way Ochoa phrased it seemed to basically give him another “out” if the opponent said no to the concession. By phrasing it the way I outlined, it greatly decreases the chance that a new player will not be blind-sided by a rule he/she did not know about.

  92. I keep reading “what he did was legal” and “it’s within the rules” as if calling a judge in this situation is sick tech. It’s quite the opposite. Not calling a judge is not legal here. To anyone who is offended by the opponent getting DQed, go read the Infraction Procedure Guide. It’s a public document and any player who considers themself remotely serious should be familiar with it.

    The DCI has such strict policies in place because tournament integrity is priority number one. If Magic were to devolve from who can earn the most Top 8s to who can buy the most Top 8’s, that would be a sad day for the game.

  93. “The decision to drop, concede, or agree to an intentional draw cannot be made in exchange for or influenced by the offer of any reward or incentive. Making such an offer is prohibited. Unless the player receiving such an offer calls for a judge immediately, both players will be penalized in the same manner. ”

    From the magic tournament rules tha Bosh n Roll was referring too. Ochoa did the only thing he could to that didnt put himself at risk. The first 99 posts on this subject all spoke about reputation and how he could have ignored it without risk. This is not true. The rules say HE HAS TO report it, if it happens, or he can get DQ’ed as well. Towards the end people (David Lyford-Smith, Bosh N Roll) brought it up..but i had already went and found the relevant section of the rules, so decided to post anyway.

    Now, the only argument really left is whether you think David fished to try to get his opponent DQ’ed by NOT explicitly stating beforehand that he cant offer him anything. I doubt it, it would be my guess that conceding happens all the time at his level, and he just didnt consider the fact that his opponent might try to cash in.

  94. In the end, as to the motivations of the two people involved, we’re all just making “educated guesses”, as we’re not mindreaders. My guess would be that Web, a highly experienced tournament player, hadn’t run into the “Well maybe I’ll scoop if you give me something in return” answer so often that he felt a need to adopt “careful wording” when asking for scoops from people, warning them not to say anything offer-like or bribe-like before they so much as say a word. So I’d say odds are he was surprised that it came up, and he DID say in the article he wishes it hadn’t gone down that way. (That said, if the one person saying he rudely pressured them to scoop on another occasion is giving an accurate rendition, THAT is behavior I can’t condone. Politeness, and treating Joes as if they have every bit as much “inherent right” as a shot at day two as you do, are more appropriate.)

    As for the other guy, who we know a LOT less about… I would usually tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they simply didn’t know the rule in a situation like this, unless given reason to assume otherwise. And a LOT of non-pros don’t know this rule. Yeah, he mighta known Web is one of the top-20 rated limited players in North America right now, and figured that mean he was likely enough to finish high that 25% of his winnings sounded tempting enough to break rules to get. But we don’t know if he knew that, or thought that way. And of course, someone who didn’t know the bribery rule might know his opponent was a likely money winner and be motivated to ask for 25% he thought was legal to ask for, too.

    All in all, whatever the outcome here, I have to say that people will continue to learn the “no bribery rule” by being penalized – which is how I learned it, though in my cast on Magic Online. And I also have to say people will continue to find scooping and IDing into top 8 (or day two) to be somewhat unpleasant – though I’m not sure if there is or isn’t a better alternative. Winston Churchill once said “Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all those other forms of government that have been tried from time to time.”

    If we’re reasonably close to “the best rules we could have given the limits of human nature & what is/isn’t enforcable”, I reckon I can live with that. But I’m glad to hear at least one L2 is willing to take another look at whether asking/pressuring for concessions should be revisited, I think it would be good if the higher level judges continue to have dialogs on that policy (as I’m sure they must have already, in the past).

    My experiences, for the record…

    A) In a League on MTGO (oh how I miss leagues!), someone in one of the top slots building up his tiebreaker points sent me a PM offering me a rare (Higure of the Still Wind) if I’d scoop to him. I thought it was legal, and hey, free ninja! I scooped and got a free rare for my collection.

    B) I was in a league where I thought one more win could bump me up a prize bracket (ended up it didn’t, ironically enough). I offered my opponent 1 event ticket, remembering the Ninja I was offered and thinking on that basis this was legal. I did it in the game chat, not a private message – meaning, I suppose, that either my opponent, another player watching replays, or even a Wizards staffer could have easily seen it in the replay. I tried to log on some days later and my password didn’t work. I contacted Wizards customer service in a panic, thinking someone had hacked my password to steal all my cards. They informed me I’d been suspended for 30 days for bribery. I wrote back to say I accepted this penalty and would never do it again now that I knew the rule, but since it was a first offense committed out of ignorance rather than malice, I thought the penalty was very harsh and I would appreciate it if I could be let back online sooner. The penalty stood at 30 days though. I spent more time on “life” that month so it’s not all bad. 😉

    C) In a 256 player 9th edition League, I got off to a really great start with a very strong cardpool. (Loxodon Warhammer + 10-11 blue/white flyers including Blinding Angel and Fleeting Image). Two of my league-playing buddies offered to scoop their matches to me, to help me finish high. I didn’t ask them to, but I didn’t turn down their concession offers and insist they play, either. Normally the top prizes in a league were determined by insane amounts of tiebreaker games being played by people in contention for the top 8 slots, but in this one my pool was so good, I ended up with something like 18 or 19 match wins out of 20, 2 matches ahead of the number 2 guy, so I didn’t need . Had I played out those two matches against people I knew, and won either or both of them, I still would have been the uncontested first place. Which is likely what would have happened. (Even after the first week, each add-on booster I opened had 1-2 more blue flyers, and/or other good cards, I was running hot.)

    I should say though, my “likely didn’t affect anyone else” ending is the exception rather than the rule. To the person who said earlier “If they made a deal for 25% it doesn’t affect anyone else” I have to say “Try telling that to the guy who ended up in 9th place”. That guy might well have made it in if they’d played it out. It always seems odd to me that when a stranger asks you to scoop them into top 8, they’re really asking you to say “Sure, I have a bias towards strangers I got sat down across the table from and talked to, over strangers somewhere else in the room that I’m kicking out by scooping you in”. It’s human nature to be biased towards those you’ve met, even briefly, over faceless anonymous others. Still it’s weird to me that almost nobody thinks of scooping strangers in the “game theory” terms of “helping one guy and knocking out another guy”, which is really what’s happening there.

    D) I was in South Bend, Indiana visiting my sister during the weekend Grand Prix Indianapolis was being held. I figured I could drive down for the first day, then drive back home that night unless I got lucky and made day 2, then I’d find a motel. I made one wrong turn and got there minutes before registration closed. (Mise!) Wore my purple wizard costume, one of the pros asked to have their picture taken with me. (Hi Paulo!) My sealed pools had the Steel of the Godhead I was hoping to open (I wanted two, got one), an Armored Ascension, Windbrisk Raptor (awesome), and some random dudes. Looking back, I should have run Advice from the Fae to dig for the Raptor. EVERY game I resolved that Raptor, I won! Anyway, come round 7 my opponent and I are 4-2, still in contention for day 2 if either of us can win out. He’s also playing white/blue, so the games go longish, and we split the first two. We start game 3 but neither of us gets a blazing start or a manascrewed opponent, and it’s very clear we won’t finish in time to avoid the draw, that knocks us both out of day 2 contention.

    I don’t know if this guy had any prior knowledge of “scooping people in” or such things. Didn’t care. I just asked him – “Did you make travel plans to definitely be here tomorrow, whether you make day two or not?” Yeah, he was from out of state, had hotel reservations, travel plans, etc. I said “Ok, I have flexible travel plans and can drive home tonight. I conceed. Good luck making day two!”

    I felt good about it the rest of the day. Still do. I enjoyed the rest of the evening watching matches with Gabe Walls and Paulo playing, buying 25 cent junk rares from the dealers and a Grand Prix Indy playmate (the green one), even got to do the one magic trick I know for some random magic players outside a burger joint. I didn’t have a business card or any card handy to pluck out of thin air, so one of them handed me a Wolf token and I did the deed.

    I think the purest “concessions to help the other person” come when the guy (or gal) benefitting didn’t ask for it, but the other person spontaneously offered it. I would do that sort of thing again if I were ever in a comparable situation, as long as it remains within the rules to do so.

    One last thought – while I think rudeness detracts from the game, the tournament atmosphere, etc. I think we have to count on “the community” to discourage rudeness more than rules and judges to do so. For every “Someone was rude in how they asked/pressured someone to scoop” story, there’s others like the guy I played in round 8 of a PTQ who was a little rude to me because A) he didn’t like losing, and B) he especially didn’t like losing to something unusual he hadn’t seen before. Me, I just shrugged it off & decided to be happy I beat a top tier deck with my rogue deck and had a good record on the day & 6 prize boosters. Anyway there’s no rules change that could influence his motivation for being rude or polite there, that has to come from his peers in his local gaming scene, and his peers he’s randomly matched up against at tournaments.

    I always try to be polite and friendly to whoever I play at a tournament, and stay that way even when I end up losing. Most people return the sentiment in kind, and have some pleasant conversation during the card game, which is one of the reasons I enjoy this hobby. People who turn themselves into sourpusses over the intensity of their desire to win are really missing out on a big part of the fun of the game, I think!

  95. Pingback: » FFfreaky Friday – Block is Back!

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top