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Careful Consideration – Ambivalence Breeds Foul

 

I’ve been cheated before, and I bet you have been, as well.

Maybe you didn’t realize it. Maybe your opponent was sly when they shuffled their deck, or they drew an extra card, or they simply didn’t say anything when you marked your life total down as 8 when it should have been 9, setting up their lethal attack the next turn.

The first time I realized I had been cheated, I was pretty livid. In a PTQ a few years ago, the judge in the area was not on top of things, and my opponent got away with blatantly marked sleeves, which he used to beat me by casting Riddle of Lightning at precisely the right time to kill me in both games one and three (flipping the two highest casting cost spells in his deck off the top). I missed out on that Top 8 by mere fractions of a percentage point by virtue of my terrible tiebreakers. Needless to say, I was pretty upset by the whole thing. And of course, my opponent went unpunished.

It happens. There wasn’t much more I could do about the situation at the time. I alerted the judge, I got a bad ruling, there was no head judge to appeal to (as there was only one judge for this particular PTQ), and life went on without me having a chance to play in the elimination rounds for the slot.

But it’s the way people treat cheaters that really bothers me, and that motivated me to write this article. But first, let’s clear up what exactly I think cheating is, as people have different definitions.

What is cheating?

Magic has an element of deception in it, and that’s going to muddy the waters a bit when trying to determine what cheating is, since most dictionary definitions involve some degree of deception.

There are different flavors of deception. I could very carefully make sure to leave up 1UU to represent Cancel even though I don’t have the card in my hand. If someone asks the question, “How big is your Knight of the Reliquary?” I could answer, “His power and toughness is 2/2 plus the number of lands in my graveyard, and I have four lands in my graveyard,” which would be true – but I wouldn’t have to remind my opponent about the Honor of the Pure in play, and my statement is definitely worded in a way that is both technically true and intentionally misleading.

I’ve written about Bill Stark’s Mogg Fanatic bluff before, but it’s such a good example of the kind of conduct that a lot of people find unsporting, that it’s worth mentioning again, as written about on thestarkingtonpost.com (used with permission):

“Here was the situation: my opponent, Sam Tian, and I were mired in a Zoo mirror match. The winner would get to double draw into the Top 8, and we were deep into the third game. Sam’s Domain Zoo was behind to my Ranger Zoo/Naya build when time was called. He was at just 1 life when I untapped for my final of five turns. Unfortunately for me, Sam had had just enough removal to kill all of my attackers on his turn. Sam couldn’t win, but as I cracked a sac land to maximize my draw step, I mentally calculated a small number of outs. I needed to hit any of the remaining burn spells in my deck in the form of a singleton Keldon Marauders, or a combination of Seal of Fire and Lightning Helixes (though I had already used some of them up over the course of the game).

What happened instead, as the crowd pressed in and I carefully peeled the last card from the top of my deck, was me drawing Ranger of Eos. For a split second my heart sank at the realization that I was about to get a draw where I felt I should have gotten a win had we had infinite time to finish our match, particularly considering my Ranger topdeck. For a second I considered playing Ranger, tutoring up two Wild Nacatls, then asking my opponent to concede to me as I was going to kill him if we had just one more turn.

Instead, I realized I had another plan. I could play Ranger, point out the Mogg Fanatics I had in my graveyard, and say something to the effect of “I play Mogg Fanatics, you’re at 1.” It would be a stone cold bluff as my list had only two Mogg Fanatics in it (the two in my graveyard) and all my opponent would need to do was say “Okay, show me” to earn a draw. At that point, I’d still be left with my original plan (try to earn a guilted concession which my opponent was under no obligation to provide and which I, in the same position, would not grant) but would have taken the opportunity to improve my lot in life with an additional grab at victory. In the course of a few seconds after drawing, that’s what I decided to do, confidently dropping the 3/2 on the board, pointing out a Fanatic in my graveyard and indicating my ability to tutor up another for the win. My opponent bit, opting to concede rather than force me to go through the motions, and I was able to double draw into the Top 8.”

I know that this caused a bit of a stir at the time, and again when I wrote about it in an article a few months back.

Here’s another example of potentially unsporting conduct, Patrick Chapin’s “Profane Command bluff,” which Riki Hayashi wrote about here. To quote from his article:


The crux of his play is that he said, “Profane Command, you lose 6 life and all my legal targets gain fear.” He then attacked with all of his creatures, including a Chameleon Colossus that did not have fear due to being an illegal target for Profane Command because of protection from black. His opponent tried to find a block that kept him alive, but because he thought that Colossus had fear, he could not find the game-saving block.

I won’t get into why this was indeed a legal play, as Riki already did an excellent job in doing so in the abovementioned article.

So let’s spare the debate for a second. We can get into the ethics of what Bill or Patrick did, and whether or not it was sporting, but know that according to the rules of the DCI, what they did was completely legal – without question.

Should what they did be legal? Is it really sporting? Should they be disqualified for skirting the line between legality and illegality, though it’s obvious they stayed on the correct side of that line?

The DCI has a lot of discussion that goes on between the judging staff, and feedback, improvement, and re-evaluation are always happening. It’s safe to say that with the amount of discussion goes on, situations like Chapin’s and Stark’s have been discussed, hashed, rehashed, discussed some more, debated, and chewed on some more, before finally reaching a well-informed conclusion. I don’t necessarily agree with everything the DCI does, but they have a system of rules, and if conduct falls within those rules, then according to them, you are not cheating.

I think it’s somewhat arrogant to say things like, “While technically legal, what he did was cheating, and should be punished,” which I’ve heard people say before. There is a giant governing body that has determined what they feel are the best rules and regulations to abide by, but you think that your own personal standards should be applied on top of those rules. I’m not saying that you should passively accept every rule you disagree with; taking it to the DCI and questioning the merits of the rules in order to get the rules changed creates healthy debate and the kind of change that keeps an organization like the DCI healthy. But to simply say, “I don’t like what he did because it violates my own personal standards of ethics despite it adhering to the official standards, and therefore some penalty should be applied,” is the wrong way to go about it.

So my personal definition of cheating is simply this: If the DCI thinks it’s legit, then it’s legit. If a miniature John Carter (who is my standard of judging excellence along with the lesser-known but equally awesome James Lee) stood on my shoulder and knew what I was thinking and could see what I was doing, and he is okay with my actions, then no penalty should be applied.

So, I know this guy

So with all of that said, there are people who do cheat, and would get busted by mini-Carter on the spot. Actual, legitimate (illegitimate?) straight-up cheaters. And they are the scum of the Magic world. They have no place in the game, and they should be removed immediately.

They hurt the integrity of the game by altering match results in ways that have been defined as illegal, and they are actively bad for the game. Getting cheated is one of the worst experiences a player can have, and cheaters are nothing more than self-serving parasites who are willing to break the rules to get an advantage that they did not earn honestly. I have no patience for this kind of vermin. Cheaters drive away players, they steal packs and foils at FNMs, they steal packs and slots at PTQs, and they steal money at Pro Tours and Grands Prix. But at least in my community, there is a cavalier attitude about cheaters, and people who are known scumbags and cheaters are still tolerated for reasons like:

“Oh, he is who he is.”
“He’s a pretty good player, though, and he works hard.”
“He’s fun to be around. He’s loveable. And he tells great stories!”

Some guy’s stealing from you, but hey – at least he tells great stories!

It is one of the most ridiculous defenses of anything I’ve ever heard, and maybe it’s specific to just the Seattle area, but there are some real scumbags where people look the other way and welcome thieves, liars, and cheats into their community even when it’s well-known what they’re doing.

I don’t know what percentage of cheating gets caught, but I’d be shocked if it was over 2%. It’s going to happen, and they aren’t going to be punished in all likelihood. Even worse, cheating involves intent; if I Crib Swap your Baneslayer Angel and I don’t know that this interaction doesn’t work, then I’m not a cheater. If I do it and I know that it doesn’t work but I assume correctly that nobody is going to notice this and I can claim innocence, then I most certainly am a cheater.

If you did not intend to cheat, you didn’t cheat! I was having the following conversation with someone (heavily paraphrased):


Me: I’m disappointed, because it sounds like shuffle tutored when he knew his opponent wasn’t cutting his deck. Did it right in front of like three other people – guess he thought nobody was watching him shuffle.

Person: Well, everyone’s cheated at some point. Haven’t you ever accidentally missed a trigger or thought a creature was bigger than it was?

Me: … That’s not cheating!

Person: Well, technically it is.

Me: Go set yourself on fire.

Even if you have some weird definition of cheating as being a violation of any rules (which is not how the DCI sees it, for whatever it’s worth) regardless of intent, it’s like putting murder in with jaywalking, because “technically they’re both crimes.” Call it something else. But please, for the love of all that is good, stop calling unintentional mistakes “cheating.” Just stop.

Ostracize, ostracize, ostracize.

So they’re out there, and they will probably not get caught for the vast majority of stuff they do. You are not the police, and you are not the DCI. So you can’t bust them. But if someone’s a cheater or a scumbag, you don’t have to accept them into your community.

Whenever you lend them cards, you’re helping them. Whenever you have them over for testing, you’re helping them. Whenever you invite them over for a draft, or cube with them, or encourage them in any way at all to continue playing Magic, you’re helping them, and in doing so, you’re making your community worse. They are actively bad for Magic, and you are enabling them to be actively bad for Magic.

So don’t lend them cards. Don’t draft with them. Don’t talk to them at events. Don’t test with them. They are scumbags, and the less you, your friends, and your community have to do with them, the better off everyone is. If the player’s a good player and can provide some value in way of decklists or strategy, it’s still not worth having that negative influence around, and you are now at fault for encouraging this behavior. I don’t care if LSV himself moved to the neighborhood – if it turns out he was a cheater (which I can’t imagine being remotely true, for the record), I wouldn’t have anything to do with him.

Just make sure you don’t go on a witch hunt. Be certain.

One of the great things about Magic is that there are naturally built-in mechanisms for getting a sense of who is honest and who isn’t. If you hang around someone enough in a Magic setting, you learn a lot about their character, especially when it comes to card lending. The greater community does a pretty good job of weeding and singling out the shady people. It’s hard to be a scumbag and hide it for very long. Interacting at the table, borrowing cards, trusting someone with your cube – these are all things that require a certain degree of honesty, and dishonest behavior stands out and gets talked about, and over time, the bad apples become known.

Just make sure you don’t go on a witch hunt. Be certain. Sometimes someone will get a bad reputation because of one thing that happened, and maybe they made a mistake or maybe it was just a weird situation that happened – I wouldn’t leap to the “YOU, SIR, ARE A PARIAH AND MUST AT ONCE RESIGN!” stage the second someone Crib Swaps a Baneslayer Angel, but if it fits into a consistent pattern of behavior, then oust away.

And if a freezeout is effective, is it cruel to shut someone out of having any sort of community bond, driving them away from the game entirely? No, and for this reason: People don’t need Magic to survive. They can still buy food, go to school, have shelter, and enjoy other hobbies. Magic is not essential in any way to living (although it doesn’t always feel that way).

But if you passively tolerate these people to infiltrate your Magic scene and you’re putting up with it and letting it slide, then you are being bad for the community. You bear some responsibility, as well.

Get the cheaters out. Take out the trash. The game that we know and love will be better off as a result.

Yours disinfectingly,
-Zaiem
zaiemb at gmail dot com
zbeg on Magic Online
zbeg on Twitter

60 thoughts on “Careful Consideration – Ambivalence Breeds Foul”

  1. If you were paired in a tournament against someone you know is a cheater (and has cheated you before) what would you do?

    I was faced in that situation not too long ago and I wasn’t really sure how to approach the situation. Up until that point I had refused to even speak with them, let alone play with them, but I didn’t want to scoop and give the guy a free walk to the next round.

    I eventually settled on playing the game but keeping a razor sharp eye on him and the game state, I don’t know what other option there is to be honest- refusing to play against someone on principle looks great on paper, but in a tournament I think that letting them have a free pass is the greater evil.

  2. @Jesse – I don’t think Zaiem (or anyone) is suggesting scooping to cheaters. Rather, the idea here is to not tolerate them in the other contexts. You’re not supposed to scoop to them, but the suggestion is that you don’t loan them cards, or test with them, or generally facilitate their ability to do well at tournaments.

  3. Great article. I had never encountered people that I thought were cheating until I played at one of the bigger events in the Bay Area. I was at first shocked and didn’t think the other person was cheating, but realized after the fact that they were. My small local store doesn’t seem to have that problem.

  4. SeattlePlayerAnon

    Me: I'm disappointed, because it sounds like shuffle tutored when he knew his opponent wasn't cutting his deck. Did it right in front of like three other people – guess he thought nobody was watching him shuffle.
    Person: Well, everyone's cheated at some point. Haven't you ever accidentally missed a trigger or thought a creature was bigger than it was?
    Me: "¦ That's not cheating!
    Person: Well, technically it is.
    Me: Go set yourself on fire.

    I think I know what you’re talking about, yeah it was kinda sketchy.

  5. There was once this guy who played at your move games a few years back. He had the same kitars wrath every week. Needless to say he didnt play there anymore after odessey block. And I’m pretty sure it wasnt his choice

  6. pasionate. well worded. and probably a very necessary article. i have known cheaters. maybe not in magic, but in other card games. dishonesty is sickening, and it has caused me to lose my interest in yu-gi-oh. not because of the game, but because of those who i played with at the time before i developed the socializing skills, and willpower to find friends elsewhere. being stolen from, being cheated from victory, hurts. and it hurts bad. ostracizing hurts as well, and is a punishment fitting the crime. i like this article, and i am sorry to see that it needs to be published. i have found that the, general, magic community is a kind, courteous, and honest group. which is why i fumbled into it and fell in love with the game. keep writing.

  7. I’ve done somewhat shady things in the past (Crystallization on my 5/5 dude, the turn before my opponent kills me I say “I play Soul’s Fire, targetting my guy and you”, which would have been lethal, if it weren’t for the Crystallization, and my opponent concedes). Sure, I don’t like doing it (although this would depend on the opponent), but I do like to win.
    As a judge, I make sure that everything I do is within the rules, even though morally quesionable.

    Let me ask you a question. I completely agree that cheaters are bad for the game, but don’t tricks like the example above (and I have quite a few more) have the same effect on people? If you get tricked, you would feel the same anger and/or disappointment you have when you’re getting cheated out of a game (or so i’d imagine). Shouldn’t these legal tricks be banned as well, as they aren’t “good for the game”, so to speak?

    -Modus

    PS: What are you thoughts on mr. Kibler?

  8. Modus, regarding your crystallization play, if your opponent were to so much as write 0 on their scoresheet before they concede, then you would be unquestionably cheating. This is notably different from the Mogg Fanatic example in that the killing spell has not been cast, and the Profane Command example, where the final damage has not been dealt, so the opponent writing a 0 on the scoresheet would be premature.

  9. @DSA: The profane Command example was diffent, cause the opponent simply didnt block a creature he could block. In that example, the damage was dealt and he really did die.

    I think the ranger/mogg example is shaky, because it really depends on what you say.
    If you say “I play fanatics and you’re at one” it is legel, but saying “ranger, fetch fanatic” is not because you cannot actually fetch the fanatic.

    I really like the soul’s fire/crystalisation play. Mostly because it involves and opponent needing to know his own cards and how they work.

    To bad stuff like that never works on MTGO. 🙁

  10. The Fanatic and Profane Command examples are what I refer to as “Jedi Mind Tricks”. You are doing the thinking for your opponent and they are just doing what they are told to do. This isn’t cheating; this is them playing the game as you suggest they do.

    Most people who consistently cheat are pretty good at it; if they don’t want you to know they are cheating they won’t let you. If they do, they usually know how to ensure that you can’t prove it. If they know you’re suspicious, they won’t do it around you. Don’t go on a witch hunt, you’ll just look like a baby who throws a tantrum because of bad luck.

  11. Ok, It has been a week filled with talk about cheating and shady situations. The true and simple fact is that it is every players responsibility to protect themselves from being cheated. If it is something like the Mogg/Profane situation you should stop there. This entire game is based on edges and if you can get your opponent to concede it shouldn’t be frowned on.

    How many times have you been so far behind in a game and decided to fight through it instead of conceding and actually got there. What if you decided to concede because all hope seemed lost? Is this not the same situation they are trying to put into their opponents?

    The most important thing to do is know what cards do and make sure you know how many cards your opponent should have in hand and to shuffle there deck. It is as simple as that. The more you think about if you are getting cheated in this game, the more you will lose. Play smart, play tight.

  12. The crystallization play is an intentional game rule violation and so is definitely cheating. You’re a judge and you know it’s illegal, so there’s no wriggling out of it. You cheated.

    If you just reveal the soul’s fire from your hand and say something like “is this enough?” and your opponent scoops that’s ok. Intentionally breaking the rules in order to win the game is definitely cheating.

  13. Zaiem,

    Is it true there is no deck registration for sealed deck PTQ/GP’s in the Seattle area?

  14. All of the ‘questionable’ plays talked about here are perfectly legal. And that’s what matters.

    It really bugs me when people compare play like this to cheating. It just isn’t. If you want to take some kind of moral high ground, great for you. But it’s not mandatory and it doesn’t give you the right to look down your nose at skilled players doing everything they can within the rules to squeak out a tight game. There’s a rulebook that clearly defines what is and isn’t within the rules. Read it. That’s the important line, and those who cross it should be shown no mercy.

  15. @ Sebastian

    Actually, its perfectly legal to target both your opponent and your crystalized 5/5 with soul’s fire, and in fact I remember targeting my own crystalized critter a couple of times in response to an opponent trying to bounce his pacifism.
    Following the rules, all that would happen is that your 5/5 is exiled, the crystalisation is put into the yard, and the soul’s fire wouldn’t do anything since the creature is no longer in play. Nothing illegal going on there.
    It gets tricky when you make this play to try and confince your opponent that you win, and I believe it is his responsibility to ‘not die’ in this case, I mean, he only has to point out that the creature is in fact exiled and that soul’s fire deals no damage. I don’t see how this play is more illegal then showing the soul’s fire to him, asking if its enough. In both cases you need the opponent to not figure it out, and scoop as a result.
    In a hypothetical case where you have a 5/5 shroud creature though, there would be a difference between these plays, because targetting your own 5/5 would indeed be illegal, but showing the fire and hoping for the scoop would not.

    The more relevant point here is if these plays should be frowned upon, and I believe they should not be, because as long as you don’t break the rules in any way, your opponent only has to make you go through the motions, and call your bluff, and if he does not, it’s his responsibility, as Brad pointed out.
    Sure these type of plays are a sort of grey area, because you are in fact trying to trick the opponent, trying to make them believe something that isn’t there. But as long as your opperate within the rules of the game, is there really a difference between these types of plays and , say, bluffing the whiplash trap, hoping they don’t alpha strike you for excacties. I don’t think so, as in both cases you need your opponent to believe your bluff. And since the mental game is a big part of magic, these sometimes sneaky and cunning plays should be accepted, and seen as one of the area’s where a ‘good’player can outplay the ‘bad’player.

    Just my 2 cents

    Daan P
    (lekker bezig Peter F!;))

  16. I’ve come across cheaters before and one thing I like to do is start by pile shuffling their cards when the deck is presented. This does a number of things. First you get to count how many cards are in their deck and if it is more than 60 it is perfectly legal to call a judge for a deck check to make sure you aren’t being swindled. The second thing it does is that if your opponent is up to something shifty chances are they are nervous about doing it and you’re establishing yourself as someone who will be difficult to fool because you go the extra length to insure their deck is randomized. The third thing it does is allows you to check each card for markings. If something doesn’t look or feel right then call a judge. Another good piece of advice advice is to constantly ask your opponent questions. How many cards are in his hand? How many lands are untapped? What colors do you have open? Did you make a land drop? My personal favorite is asking someone – “cards in hand”, upon their response – “good cards?” This throws people off guard as they arent always sure how to respond. It doesn’t matter if the question is relavent or not it keeps your opponent on their toes and if they are going to try something fishy they are less likely to do so if they think you are rigorously keeping track of game state. The best question is asking the number of cards in their hand as drawing extra cards is probably the most common form of cheating.

  17. Sorry for the double post, but I forgot to mention a few things:
    If ModusPwnens opponent would respond with a life gaining spell, such as sylvan bounty, then you would of course have to accept that it is time to exile the creature and probably as a result pick up your cards and move to the next game.
    In the case that your opponent should write down 0 on his life pad, it becomes at lot more tricky, because that implicates that the soul’s fire actually resolved, instead of your opponent scooping with the ‘lethal’ fire still on the stack. I actually don’t know what I would do in that case, and I think this is an interesting question for qualified judges to answer. It boils down to if there is a difference between conceding in this case, and going to 0 and thus losing the game.

    Another issue is rules-lawyering. Sure, winning by knowing the rules is also an edge you can have, but as a as of yet unsuccesful PTQ-ringer here in the Netherlands I think there is a huge difference between abiding by the rules as opposed to ‘using’these rules to get your opponent gamelosses and such.
    Anyway I don’t believe actively shunning players exhibating questionable behaviour is not the solution, except maybe for extreme cases. Getting rid of any player in a community is a bad thing, as there are just fewer people buying packs and spending money on the game, which is important in the long run in keeping this game afloat. Confronting people with the shady acts they commited is probably more effective in setting them straight then just excommunicating them.
    Just a couple more of my cents,

    Daan

  18. @morkje – It is legal to say “Ranger, fetch Fanatic.” Statements about future game activities don’t have to be true in any way.

    @Sebastian – The crystallization/soul’s fire play is 100% legal. If his opponent doesn’t scoop, crystallization will RFG the enchanted creature and soul’s fire will do nothing, but the actual play (and implicit stacking of the crystallization trigger) is well within the game rules.

  19. you can technically say that your ranger fetches fantaics and if he asks you to show him then you just fail to find and you fetch nothing because you’ve chosen your targets before you’ve searched. or you just fail to find and get something else regaurdless you can fetch a target and fail to find it.

  20. Technically, also from a judges perspective, the soul’s fire\crystallization play is only illegal if his opponent acknowledges the resolution of the spell before conceding. At this point Modus would be obligated to correct him or he would be intentionally misrepresenting the game state. It is perfectly legal to target his crystallized creature and his opponent with soul’s fire and for his opponent to concede. If his opponent concedes before the spell actually resolves then Modus is not rule-bound to let his opponent know that that he would not have died as the game had not advanced to that state yet. It is a very thin line, but as he states it, it is not illegal. If his opponent were to write down a change in life totals or anything at all, even saying “ok, I take it” and Modus does not correctly explain the true game state, that is cheating. As long as his opponent just scoops without any further comment or action regarding the game, it is assumed the spell and crystallization’s triggered ability are still on the stack, Much like the beleaguered Demigod of Revenge trigger that some people didn’t understand, the active player is not required to announce triggered abilities, both players are required to know the abilities of the cards that affect the game state and know what happens when. It is only when the game state advances that he is required to let his opponent know if the game state has changed and his opponent is unaware of what has occurred. A VERY thin line indeed.

  21. Regarding the Mogg Fanatics play, in the article months ago you wrote:

    “Note the wording here. He didn't misrepresent anything. He simply said, "I play Mogg Fanatics, you're at 1." Both statements are true, […]”

    “[…] Had he said something like, ‘I'm going to get Mogg Fanatic and kill you,’ […]”

    Assuming that “I play Mogg Fanatics” is the phrasing he actually used, it sounds to me like Bill Stark was guilty of an unintentional lie that may be a gray area, but in a totally different way. The issue is the ambiguity in the word “play”. Normally it’s used when casting a spell (E.g. “I play Goblin Guide and swing for 2.”) Here, however, Bill Stark likely was using ‘play’ to mean ‘in the decklist’. (E.g. “Your Jund deck plays Explore?!”)

    For example, in a parallel situation, someone plays, eh, Beseech the Queen, and (with red mana open) then says “I play lightning bolt, you’re at one.”. If the opponent says “Ok, I Cancel it”, and the first player tries to say, “oh, um… actually, I search up Banefire, instead”, then (I think this is how the rules are, not quite 100% sure) a watching judge would logically say that, no, you already declared that you played lightning bolt, that’s a binding declaration.

    So, going back to the Bill Stark case, saying “I play Mogg Fanatics” is a specific statement with a specialized game meaning that in context ought to be completely equivalent to “I tutor up Mogg Fanatics and play it” and a binding statement that, if intentionally a misrepresentation, would be cheating. The gray area, I suppose, is that presumably Bill did NOT mean what the words sounded like, and just meant that he has Mogg Fanatics in his deck.

  22. @John: No, tapping a mountain and saying “I lightning bolt you” when you don’t have a bolt in hand is a (binding) statement about future play and completely illegal. Similarly, saying you fetch a specific creature that you can’t actually fetch is illegal and IF intentional is cheating.

    It’s all stuff that I’m sure falls under the Magic shortcuts area of tournament rules. Stating what you are doing as you are doing it is a oft-used shortcut. That doesn’t mean you can lie about it, or change your mind if your opponent reacts in an unusual way to what you just said.

  23. The crystallization play is perfectly legal, but just does nothing (crystallization trigger goes on the stack and resolves, exiling the targeted creature and then soul’s fire does nothing). No rule was violated in that play Sebastian, and thus it was a perfectly legal play.

    Jedi mind tricks can certainly make someone feel cheated, but they do not involve intentional, illegal manipulation of the game state or a zone, and thus are not technically cheating. At PTQs and other tournaments, a certain level of play and knowledge of the game rules is expected, so the profane situation is just your opponent choosing not to block colossus as he is expected to know that it is not a legal target for profane command. A simple way to dodge the ranger trick is to ask your opponent to play it out. I certainly don’t like falling victim to Jedi mind tricks, but they are part of the game.

    Sometimes at a tournament (including a few where I have judged), a judge cannot devote a lot of attention to your game to catch a cheater. However, if you are playing against a suspicious opponent, keep an eye on the game state and his hand, and it is a good idea to check for markings on his sleeves when he presents.

    Above all else, play correctly and make sure that you do not cheat.

  24. There is a way to prevent a lot of “cheating”.

    I had the opportunity to lose to a Scapeshift, to lose to a landfall creature while my opponent plays a fetch, him/her needing to fetch certain kind of land with his fetchland, casting a dragon storm, playing the combo elves or using the old lark/gargadon bounce permanents combo. If they say “I just do it and win, ok?” looking for a concession, I just say “ok, do what you have to do”.

    It’s simple. Sometimes they dont have the right cards to win, sometimes they mess up, or sometimes they just don’t know how to combo you out!

    I still dont understad why people concedes, even when they can bluff a removal with one creature out agains two creatures. There is always the chance that your opponent is going to consider lots of things, cause if they don’t, they may lose their advantage about it. Obviously, there are special cases where time is crucial and letting them do the combo takes a lot of time, or they are just “pros” and they know hot to combo perfectly.

    Chapin’ and Stark’ play are so easy to not lose against. If you just say “ok, show me your mogg and I concede” or “ok, point your targets, and go for the attack” theres no problem. The worst thing that can happen is that hey kill you, same thing as conceding. The other is them getting embarassed, cause they realize you found their willing to “cheat”, and Gerry Thomson went that way recently as he said in one of his articles.

    What I say is, what the hell, if your opponent plays Scapeshift, let them go for the win, just dont concede.That way if they only have 2 mountains in their deck, they will get powned.

  25. I had a blatant example of cheating occur a few weeks ago. Tell me your thoughts on this situation, as it’s interesting.

    For reference, I get to my store in the middle of a snowstorm for the Worldwake prerelease. I find out they didn’t get their product, so I call another shop. They had started an hour earlier, but allowed me to come and take a loss in the first round and build my deck. I do so, and precede to then go 3-0, to have a 3-1 total record.

    In the fifth round, I lament to my opponent about how I’m disappointed to be paired down. He tells me he is 3-1, to which I respond the score sheet shows him only have 6 points. This leads to an eventual discussion with the judge and the player who played him in the last round.

    Apparently in their last match, which went to time, Player A (Who was matched against me) said he had won on Turn 5 of extra turns. The other guy (Player B) claimed this didn’t happen and that he had won. The judge looked at Player B’s life sheet and it showed him being at 3 life and then the 3 being crossed out, like he had died, as Player A had claimed.

    Player B then pointed to the fact that Player A had signed the match slip. Player A, being a guy who seemed genuinely upset that Player B was denying his loss (I think Player A only showed up to a few events and hadn’t been in a situation like this before). Player A said that Player B became very upset at the end of the match and just threw the match slip at him, which he signed without much thought.
    During the investigation, Player B continually pointed to the fact that Player A had signed the sheet.

    Player B has had one or two previous “sketchy” incidents with the store.

    How would you rule?

    The judge ultimately DQ’ed Player B. It was clear to most people there that B had cheated, but there was no definitive proof, and Player A did sign the match sheet certifying Player B’s victory.

    P.S. I ended up 4-1 on the tournament, but due to the tiebreaks I received because of arriving late I ended up in 8th place instead of 2nd, costing me half a box. Sad times.

  26. Geez man, High Horse much?

    I really honestly doubt “cheating” is that rampant in magic cards.

    Stealing? Sure, but cheating?

  27. at my store the TO makes sure to state before each tourney in clear and no uncertain terms that if you sign the match slip you are certifying the results written on said slip. There has been one or two incidents, even then, with people refuting the results. The TO states again that you have to check it before you sign it…and states that he made sure to say it before any game began.

    If you sign a contract without reading it then you are still bound to the contract….

  28. Once a friend of mine had a big shroud creature and revealed soul’s fire to his opp saying “is this enough?”. I think this kind of play is legal and should be allowed. Many times I have lost to people playing poorly that anything that isn’t illegal but makes them pay attention seems better for the game to me.

  29. Haha, way to be subtle Zaiem. I already knew who you were referring to in this article, but as soon as you reference the crib swap/baneslayer incident, all doubt was removed.

    Since this is in reference to a friend of mine, I should take offense, but I just find it mildly amusing.

    I did enjoy the article, sir. Well done and I do share your feelings on cheaters, but can you honestly say you have never, ever, ever done anything questionable? It’s a lot harder to realize you made a mistake in a PTQ that you know will get you a game loss, do you call the judge on yourself and take your game loss, or do you hope your opponent doesn’t notice and then play stupid if he does catch it?

    As an example, in a Ravnica sealed PTQ, I played a Last Gasp on my opponent’s 3/3 creature. The problem is that his other guy was a Veteran Armorer. As soon as I cast the spell, I saw my punt. My opponent puts his 3/3 in the yard. I don’t say a word. Yeah, not proud of that one.

  30. so like, there’s this one guy, who cheated with scapeshift and vesuva all the way to a t8 of a ptq, but he “didn’t know” how his own cards worked, and he didn’t have the “intent” to cheat, so clearly he didn’t break any rules and violate the integrity of the game.

    right

  31. @bug – it seems to me like when the judge asked player B about the situation that he lied about the win and then tried to get out of it by repeatedly pointing out that A had signed the slip. Normally the slip is the final say in a disputed match. In this situation IF I had felt that B had lied to me I would have DQd him for lying, but the match would stay as it was signed. Is it fair? No. But I have two players disagreeing on something that they both signed. I would hope that if player B admits to wrongdoing post DQ that we can fix the slip, but I think that’s unlikely.

    PS – Previous sketchy incidents bears absolutely no weight in this situation at all because as a judge you are not ruling on the person so much as the situation. Player B could have had a 5 year ban that he just finished and it’s still possible that he’s not lying here.

  32. This is an excellent article. I really like this phrase:

    I'm not saying that you should passively accept every rule you disagree with; taking it to the DCI and questioning the merits of the rules in order to get the rules changed creates healthy debate and the kind of change that keeps an organization like the DCI healthy. But to simply say, "I don't like what he did because it violates my own personal standards of ethics despite it adhering to the official standards, and therefore some penalty should be applied," is the wrong way to go about it.

    This is also true in the reverse sense, that just because something is legal according to the DCI doesn’t mean it’s the only decision, which is why you shouldn’t let it fester if you do think it is important. It’s a self-correcting system with a lot of people involved, and you’re welcome to participate!

    Great job!

  33. @froda (or whatever that says): Breaking the rules =/= cheating. Intentionally breaking the rules = cheating.

  34. The easiest way to avoid Jedi Mind tricks is to make them play it out. Unless you’re on a short clock for the remaining games, make them commit to the final swing, tell them “no blocks”, and go into the damage step before picking up. It only takes a few seconds for them to finish tutoring up the lethal Tendrils and cast it.

    Also, habitually scooping early means that the one time you mise an Arrow Volley Trap, the fact that you’re making them play it out telegraphs that you hit an answer.

    @ TugaChampion – If you show them the card and ask if they’ll scoop, that is fine. The easiest way to stay 100% in the clear is to imply that you are GOING to cast the spell, but never actually attempt to do so.

    @ fRoD[A] – You are clearly an idiot. It’s in the best interest of a cheater to remain unnoticed, and highly counterproductive to write an article on a very high traffic website documenting exactly what you did. Alternately, you don’t understand the meaning of “intent” or “cheat”, and additionally failed utterly at reading (since these were explicitly described in the article you’re responding to). Choose your poison.

    @ bug – A couple points of clarification: If there’s no proof, a DQ is unfair. Having several credible witnesses to the situation can constitute proof. That said, I’m with j_klimek on how I’d handle that. I’ve had a case where the guy filled out the slip wrong and didn’t realize he was paired down until the following round was practically over. When he brought it up, his previous opponent confirmed having lost to the guy, but the slip they’d turned in to me said otherwise. No question of cheating there, but my point is that the slip is binding, and you should ALWAYS check to make sure it was filled out correctly.

  35. Re: Jedi Mind Tricks:

    The tough-luck thing with Jedi Mind Tricks is that unless you’re playing in a feature match, you have very little opportunity to learn from your mistake. Your opponent isn’t very likely to talk to you about it afterwards b/c of how many times bad things have happened as a result of post-game chit chat.

    Playing on MODO can be good in that it forces you to play through every interaction, but it can be bad if you go into autopilot and don’t remember those interactions. Personally I find MODO a great way to learn interactions I might otherwise have missed.

    The more resilient you become to Mind Tricks, the better your game will be and the more resilient you will be to cheaters as well, since you will be more prepared to notice the difference between cheating and Mind Tricks.

  36. In the bad old days of Magic I was annoyed when someone allowed me to look at the top three cards of my libary during unkeep with a Mirri’s Guile that I’d forgotten had been destroyed the turn before, after which he called a judge who awarded me with awarded a game loss (and the match) despite several spectators (who I didn’t know) declaring that he had allowed me to look at my libary after quickly glancing at my graveyard, which meant he must have known what I was doing was an illegal play, he didn’t even get a warning.

    I believe nowadays he would have have been in trouble too, which is fine by me, nobody should profit from a mistake that could have been avoided.

  37. @John- You can be held to what you say prior to the actual resolving of the spell. If you persecute and name blue you can’t change it to a different color if your opponent lets it resolve. The same is true if you play O-ring and name a card before it enters play.

  38. Fin: with persecute that is obvious. Even with ring if you target before it resolves it’s assumed you are taking a shortcut so if your opp takes the shorcut too (by not responding to it) the target is choosen. However if your opp tries to counter it and you counter his counter you can change the color of persecute or target of ring (with this I’mabout 90% sure).

    However with things like Ranger of Eos you can imply you’ll search for mogg fanatic (or even say it) but than you can change because it involves searching your library and it’s even something that you might not have anymore, not have at all or even not find them. If you play a tutor that doesn’t demand showing the card you can say “I’ll get lightning bolt now and kill you next turn”. All this is part of bluffing as your opp will be guessing if you are telling the truth or not. Let’s say in a limited match you play Ranger of Eos and your opp has Cancel in hand and you say “I won’t even be able to find anything as I’ve already played all my 1drops”.

    This leads to another topic which is what you are required to tell your opp and what you are not. Some things you are required to tell (you must tell the truth, an exemple would be them asking how many cards in your hand). Others you are not required to tell them, but if you do you must tell the truth (them asking how much is tarmogoyf, you can either tell the truth or allow them to look at your graveyard to find out). Finally when handling hidden information you obv can lie because it’s all part of bluffing. Why shouldn’t you be able to keep 1UU always open and say “play something please I want to finally use my cancel!” wether this is true or not?

  39. I know the person this whole cribswap baneslayer situation is about and he didn’t do it on purpose. If he had he would have bragged about pulling it off, which he hasn’t. I know the guy he was talking about with the shuffle tutor thing too, that one was on purpose.

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  41. @Jesse – I wouldn’t concede, no way. I would watch them like a hawk, and I would have a burning desire to beat them, and beat them good. Concede? Never. Never ever ever. If he got paired down and needed the scoops to me to make Top 8, I wouldn’t do it for anything.

    @ModusPwnes – It is a good point that it’s going to make some people feel “cheated” out of a win. The closer to get to that line, the more it’s going to feel like cheating. At the same time, you can only abide by the rules which are written, and though it may be a little sleazy in the opinion of some (though not me), what can you do? Write a “no-sleazebag rule?”

    I always let the Crystalization resolve. But I don’t concede for any reason unless it’s to hide information or to save time (or to scoop a friend in for whatever reason). Now, if the guy says, “Yeah, that resolves…I guess I die,” then it’s your obligation to make sure the game state is legal.

    Regarding Kibler, it’s about intent, and only he knows what he was thinking. He claims that he thought the Angel of Despair was a “may” trigger, and that he didn’t want to call attention to it. I have no reason to think he’s lying; there’s no consistent pattern of behavior with Kibler as far as I know and has no track record of cheating, so it seems legit, although unfortunate that nobody else caught it.

    @W J Hash – There is absolutely deck registration for PTQs. We haven’t had a Limited GP here yet. There is no deck registration for prereleases, though.

    @Ben – Conley Woods has a great story about someone drawing extra cards against him in GP Denver. I’m fuzzy on the details, but maybe he’ll recount it.

    @Robert – You may be right in that if Bill had said, “I’m going to get Mogg Fanatic and kill you,” he would have been fine. I know FOR SURE that what he said and the way he said it is 100% legal. I don’t think you’re bound by hidden information. But honestly, you’ve played fifty minutes of Magic. Make the guy take the extra ten seconds to get the freaking Mogg Fanatic and kill you.

    I’ve used shortcuts at a PTQ in Extended – I play a turn one Misty Rainforest (on the play), then say “I’m going to get Stomping Ground, play Wild Nacatl, go”. I put the Nacatl on the table, get the Stomping Ground, and play it. I suppose it would be awkward if I accidentally had the only Stomping Ground in my deck in my hand – I don’t know what happens then. I guess that’s why we have judges.

    But I digress.

    @Fmira – There’s a story about Steve Sadin at GP: Columbus, the GP he won. Sadin was playing the Protean Hulk/Flash combo deck, and his opponents were just conceding as soon as he went off. Then one of his opponents said, “Okay, so go off and kill me,” and Sadin realized he didn’t actually know how. He had to figure it out between rounds.

    People took advantage of this in Dragonstorm by boarding out their dragons and just went through the motions of going off. People would say, “show me your hand has no Bogardan Hellkites in it,” they would, and then a concession would occur. Yikes.

    Elves in Extended is the worst. Never concede to them! That deck is pretty easy to mess up; they could forget to untap their Nettle Sentinel (which is a may trigger), they could fizzle on Glimpse of Nature, or simply forget to pay for Summoner’s Pact.

    @Bug – The match slip is what it is, both players have signed it, and that’s final. I know the DCI has a policy of never reserving match slip results, and I think it’s a good rule. The reason is let’s say you beat me, we sign the slip, turn it in. Then afterwards I go outside and hand you a $50 to claim that we signed it wrong. We both go up, confirm that I actually won 2-1, and the match result is changed. This policy is there to prevent that kind of behavior. It’s not an unreasonable expectation to tell your players to be ABSOLUTELY SURE that your match slip is correct.

    That said, Player B is a huge scumbag and it’s exactly that kind of behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated. If he’s being sketchy and pulling this kind of garbage, then HE is garbage. That said, a DQ in this specific instance seems like an overreaction, but I’m not a judge and I don’t know what the standards are for DQing people. That stuff’s tough.

    @Robbie M – Once you learn what to look for, cheating is freaking EVERYWHERE. It’s astonishing.

    @G Pelly – I’ve never tried to hide my feelings on the matter, or how I feel about particular people. As the expression goes, if the shoe fits…

    Though the Crib Swap your Baneslayer Angel thing is just such a great example, because it illustrates exactly what I’m going for. It’s something that could very easily be unintentionally done, but it’s also the sort of that that a sketchy player could try to slip past people, and if they get stopped, oh well. You just back off and then go about your business. That’s why I like the “consistent pattern of behavior” thing. If Loucks tries to go through a PTQ when Vesuvaing his Sejiri Steppe off a Scapeshift and it turns out he was wrong, well…that sucks, but you, me, and everyone who knows Jon knows that it wasn’t intentional. The person we are obviously referring to…not so much. And absolutely, this person is a perfect example of someone who is tolerated despite being a scumbag (and a thief, to boot) for retarded reasons like “he’s lovable!” or what have you. And yeah, you bear some responsibility for encouraging this; lending him cards, testing with him, etc.

    And I haven’t been playing THAT long, but I can say that my intentions have always been good and that I’ve never intentionally done anything sketchy. In one PTQ, when I was X-1, We were heading to game three and I realized my sideboard had 14 or 16 cards (I forget) in it, and I sighed, knowing I’d have to call the judge over and get the game loss, knocking me out. My opponent didn’t even care, and was saying, “Dude, it’s not that big of a deal…” but that’s not really up to me. Sure enough, I got the appropriate penalty and that was the end of my PTQ.

    I know Eric Schaller did the same thing and got himself a game loss for something similar (when nobody would have ever caught the mistake), but he went on to win that PTQ. Karma, or something.

    @fRoD[A] – I’m all about going after the cheaters and destroying them, but there’s no way Jon Loucks cheated. None. If he had, he wouldn’t have written about it. In any case, he’s one of the most honest people I know, and he would never, ever try to do something like that.

    Believe me – he was pretty distraught when he found out that it didn’t work the way he thought it did. That boy was seriously bummed out.

    And yes, absolutely intent matters. If he had a tricky rules interaction which NOBODY CAUGHT all day, then that’s unfortunate, but what can you do? Nobody caught it in testing, either.

    @Fin – Same thing with Pithing Needle. If someone plays a Needle and immediately blurts out the card name they want to name, I can stop them and respond by using my fetchland, activating my Seismic Assault, or wahtever it was they were going to name. If I do that, then they can choose to name something else once the Pithing Needle resolves. That’s happened before, and it’s all fine under the rules. I don’t even get annoyed when that happens.

    @Savant – I’m willing to accept that Crib Swap on Baneslayer was unintentional in that particular instance; see my reply to GPelly above. It does make for an immediately recognizable example, though.

  42. I wonder what happens if there is intent to cheat, but no illegal play ensues. At gp Paris last year i was playing against a guy who called a judge over to get a ruling on his roil elemental taking over a gladehart. He was wondering if he could still gain life from the gladehart for the same landfall trigger that activated the roil elemental. After a lot of discussion this turned out not to be the case. Then after the judges left the table he asked me whether or not his gladehart could still attack. (he was a very capable player with a 1850+ rating and im pretty sure he knew he wasnt allowed to) I kind of laughed at him and told him no, but I didnt call a judge. Im wondering if he should have gotten a penalty for intentionally trying to get an attack in with the gladeheart.

  43. @Mereltje
    In some situations yes. The Gindy DQ is the only example of this actually happening that i can think of. That also relied on judge interviews where the person believed that they were intentionally ignoring a game action to their advantage. When in reality the result of that action would be shortcut by ignoring it(non lethal damage on a creature).
    I don’t believe your example would fall under that. Asking questions at any stage of the game, pro, fnm, casual, whatever should always be fine. Your opp may want to take to heart the fact that the persone on the other side doesn’t always have to answer truthfully however.

  44. Last time I checked there were very few, if any, names on the banned DCI list from the Seattle area. I found your article interesting until you made the generalization that mtg players in the northwest are accustomed to cheating. To the contrary, I have lived up and down the west coast for the last 15 years playing magic against people from all over the world, and I hear it all the time……Washington magic players are among the most educated, fair, and respectful.

  45. @Mereltje – If he wasn’t joking about it, then I’d call a judge. More generally, if you find yourself wondering if you ought to call a judge, I’d suggest calling a judge.

  46. At my store there is one known cheater, it has gotten to the point where his nickname is “the cheater”, I do agree that there is a difference between cheating and shady tricks, and knowing the rules well enough to either call your opponent on breaking a rule that they probably don’t realize they are breaking or by doing something yourself you know is shady but your opponent won’t catch you doing. However, this person also blatantly cheats by either drawing extra cards, or activating a trigger twice when it only should of happened once, or even playing an extra land a turn when there wasn’t a legal reason such as him playing explore.

    One specific instance I have had against him, had me playing my jacerator deck and him playing r/w burn, the first time that he actually tried to cheat was he played a land searing blaze, but I didn’t have a creature so he couldn’t legally play it, however he continued to say he didn’t need a creature to target, but when I wasn’t biting on his lie and said I was going to call the judge to make sure, he told me to forget it because I was right and the play was illegal, the second instance I don’t think is cheating as much as it is misleading, however maybe a judge could clear this up for me, towards the end of our second game, I asked him how many cards he had left in his library, he counted and said 23, now I was keeping a rough count (I lost track a little because of all his burn attempts and my either countering or safe passaging, but I had him marked at around 20 and I knew I missed a couple draws) so after he counted, I thought for a minute, looked at my count on paper and then asked if I could count myself, he paused for a moment, sighed and agreed, I counted and he only had 17 cards left, now as I have said, I am not sure if this is cheating or if it is just a shady move hopping I wouldn’t count myself so if a judge could clear this up it would be great.

    @Fmira, I completely agree with you, whenever an opponent says they have the win or says they have their game ending combo (such as lark/gargadon when it was legal in standard) I always respond with the same thing you do. “Ok, do what you have to do,” As you said, sometimes they are trying to bluff you and other times if they do have it, by making them actually go through the motions, they very easily could mess up, my friend was playing someone who was playing the lark/gargadon combo deck and he made the person go through combo even though the guy said he had it and the guy really didn’t know how to play it out himself, he only knew what the combo was supposed to do if he had the cards but not how to actually do it to win and ended up messing it up and my friend pulled out the victory, I also agree with your other statement, I don’t think the chapin play was shady either, if his opponent took a better look at the board and cards that where played he would of realized he could block the colossus and might of won in the end, especially if chapin counted on him not catching the trick which is what ended up happening, I feel it is a magic players responsibility to know their own cards and the cards that are being played against them.

    Also, to Zaiem’s point, I do not associate with the known cheater at my local store, the only time I really say anything to him is if I get unlucky and get paired against him which hasn’t happened as often as it could so I can’t complain too much, however he is good at cheating and sadly is the reason he does do well every friday night, especially since my local store gets around 40 players each FNM and probably half of that are people who either don’t know a lot of the rules or just don’t pay as much attention as they should to what he is doing, plus he tries to draw your attention away from the actual game, either by talking to you about other things, making stupid comments about your deck choice or about how every card he draws is great, or by playing next to his friends and talking to them during the game as to lax you into a false sense of casual play while he sits there constantly with a full hand of cards while still playing 2 or more a turn from his hand (I have seen him doing this a few times to certain younger players and I have asked our judge to watch him but the player has a few friends that keep an eye out for him so it is hard to get him caught by a judge.)

    Sorry for such a long post but I really felt this to be an extremely good article and a great conversation starter and to hear all of the opinions from other players and their situations with cheaters and how they dealt with it.

  47. I once saw Chapin go all the way into the finals of a vintage tournament with a lifegain deck that actually had no win condition just by constantly asking if people would like to concede over and over. Eventually, he would be over 300 life or so and they would. It took running into me the next tournament to find out about the lack of win cons. I don’t give in. lol It was a really good laugh.

  48. great article, impecable timing.

    mabye you’ve heard the saying if your not cheating your not trying? cheaters can certainly be blamed on non-cheaters lack of vigilance. i think there is very little wrong with bending the rules to your desires but out and out breaking of the rules defeats the purpose of the game. it is our duty as players and as members of the communitys we are involved in to be ever watchfull and root out cheating in everyway and everywhere we can. lest this cancer errode at the very fabric or purpose of cardboard dueling.

  49. Feelings on “rules lawyering”?

    You may remember from gp oakland coverage that someone decked themself via a loop w/ elvish visionary. I was his opponent and knew what he intended to do, he just did his loop wrong (he was trying to gain 100,000 life via essence warden but demonstrated the loop w/ visionary). Ultimately the head judge stuck him to it and he lost.

    Is this “shady” or untolereable? Does it change if I knew I was 100% going to lose that game otherwise?

  50. @Frank – treating this as a hypothetical, and working under the assumption that the first incident occurred exactly as described, the infraction is Cheating – Fraud. Same with the second incident.

    David Zimet, L2, San Diego

  51. @vince – I prefer the expression “If you’re not cheating, then you aren’t a giant scumbag and I won’t feel the need to set you on fire.” It’s not quite as catchy, but more appropriate. Whoever came up with the “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying” expression is a bleeping moron and is probably just a way to rationalize awful behavior.

    @stan – I don’t think that’s shady at all. The guy didn’t know how to play his own
    deck, and you punished him for it. That seems 100% fine.

  52. @stan bessey:
    Why would you think there was anything shady or intolerable about this? Your opponent demonstrated a loop and stated his intent to repeat it a gazillion times. That’s perfectly fine. And you are under no obligation to point out to him that the play he intends to make will actually kill him.

    The fact that you suspect that he really meant to do something else doesn’t change this at all.

  53. I had mixed reviews from people that I talked to. I suppose I feel “bad” for winning that way. Thanks for your insight!

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