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Silvestri Says – The Issues of Slow Play

With the rise of CawBlade and RUG as the top decks in the format, playing Jace mirrors has become more common and the common sight of WU Control decks going to time every round has returned. Because of this I felt a quick refresher on slow play would be useful for the newer generation of players. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover so let’s get started.

What is slow play?

From the Universal Tournament Rules:

Slow Play
Players must take their turns in a timely fashion regardless of the complexity of the play situation and adhere to time limits specified for the tournament. Players must maintain a pace to allow the match to be finished in the announced time limit. Stalling is not acceptable. Players may ask a judge to watch their game for slow play; such a request will be granted if feasible.

When to call a judge
Call a judge to watch for slow play when you feel your opponent is taking advantage of the clock whether it’s purposely or inadvertently through slow play.

Myths about Slow Play
That complexity affects the amount of time you should be given: It’s spelled out quite clearly in the definition of slow play that it will in fact not take this into account when levying penalties. Now since these warnings and penalties are doted out by judges who are (as far as I know) human, this means more often than not you will get a slight benefit of the doubt when it comes to this. Just my experience, but I find many judges hold off when giving slow play warnings when they themselves get caught up in the flow of the game. However the rule is quite clear about this and you shouldn’t bank on it saving you from a warning.

If I play quickly throughout the match, I should be able to use some of that time I’ve saved to tank on extra hard decisions!: See the above. In an ideal world this is the case and in fact when two competent players are playing a brisk pace, often one will allow the other this luxury with the understanding that they’ll receive the same. If their average pace of play outclasses another match and they have some extra time to burn, who cares if they take advantage of it? Unfortunately the judge has no way of knowing any of this and if he sees you take too long to come to a decision, it falls under the previous discussion point.

Additionally quite a few people who don’t actually play quickly will abuse this liberally if you give them the opportunity. So unless you have an understanding with your opponent, don’t count on this courtesy and if you have to call a judge this option won’t be on the table. Sorry guys, chalk this one up to MTGO having the superior system in place for personal time management.

If I don’t mean to do it, I can keep playing slowly: What this really means is, even though I constantly go to time and get unintentional draws, it isn’t really my fault! Just because a lot of people are nice about this or aren’t exactly masters of time management themselves does not mean you are playing in the boundaries of the rules. Slow play is notoriously difficult to penalize and just because you aren’t racking up slow play penalties it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Remember that you aren’t just hurting yourself or your opponent, but you could be slowing down the entire tournament single-handedly. Just something to keep in mind…

Looking in the mirror
Now that CawBlade is king of the hill, we’ve moved to the point where many players are in the unenviable position of dealing with going to time nearly every single round. The biggest thing you can do other than the obvious planning ahead is to stay on top of the game state as it evolves. So many people take until they’ve untapped and drawn to fully reassess their board position and while sometimes this is appropriate, often it’s just time wasted because they were too focused on whether or not they would potentially do something on the opponent’s turn. You have to be able to plan ahead and still keep abreast of what’s going on or you’ll fall into a slower pace without even realizing it.

Not using shortcuts is one of the most annoying things you or an opponent can do in a CawBlade mirror. When you play a Stoneforge Mystic or Squadron Hawk on turn two and the opponent can do nothing, pass the turn to them so they can continue while you search and shuffle. Sometimes when appropriate I’ll also group actions like cracking a fetchland and another search effect so I don’t have to shuffle and present twice in a turn. If you feel that the opponent is somehow gaining an advantage from seeing what your play for the turn will be while searching, make sure they clearly announce what or how many cards they’ll be finding while searching.

One of the more annoying habits you can have is fiddling with your dice on a planeswalker after announcing the ability when you plan to immediately end your turn. Announce it, move to change the dice number and say go, there’s no need to waste ten seconds while you look for the proper number on your D20. Speaking of planeswalkers, Jace, the Mind Sculptor is one of the biggest offenders in terms of time wasted during the course of a match.

Eternal players can vouch for the difference between someone skillful wielding a Brainstorm and someone too nervous to make a decision using one. The people you really need to watch out for are those with only a semblance of a clue, these people will hem and haw and drain minutes off the clock constantly checking between cards they may want to put back and the board. Gentle nudging or a judge call is a must if this happens more than once, otherwise you’ll be hurting yourself. Worse still is often the slow player has no understanding of how slow he plays while the more competent player will speed up and play worse in order to compensate. I know of at least four players in the last two major standard tournaments that ultimately missed top eight due to a loss they racked up by playing too quickly to avoid a draw. One rather notorious slow player actually just made the top eight of Northern California Regionals this past weekend and I have little doubt had his opponents called judges in a timely manner he wouldn’t have placed.

Ultimately after a bit of digging I found the best advice coming from my friend and level three judge, Eric Levine.

“Players not playing blue spells and players who are tapped out on their opponents’ turns are frequent offenders because they zone out on said opponents’ turns. They’re not casting spells, so obviously there’s not thinking to do, right?”

Wrong. You should be planning your next turn (and really, turns) not just because it encourages speedy play, but because it encourages better decisions. The best players see decision trees that extend beyond what many of us can comprehend, certainly further than I can comprehend. That’s part of why we can’t take your hand into account. If we were good enough to play on the Pro Tour, we probably would be doing so. judges should not have to evaluate your hand – we already have enough to look for!

One of the complaints I hear a lot when I give a slow play warning (or even a prod/caution) is that “I’m trying not to lose the game!” I am well aware that you don’t want to lose, and I sympathize, but if you can’t identify which play is the best one in a reasonable amount of time, it is my job to give you the prod (or penalty, depending.) Turn 3 or turn 33 is the same to me, as I have to think about the health of the tournament and not just your match.

Food for thought: Many players slow down when they hear the “that’s time, play 5 more turns” announcement. What many people don’t think about is that slowing down at this point is holding up the tournament for the other 100+ players in the room. This isn’t because players are inconsiderate. In my experience up here in Nor-Cal, quite the opposite is true; people are nice! It’s just that people are not programmed to think that way when things are down to the wire. 5 turns does not mean we suddenly don’t have to get the round turned around quickly.

When discussing slow play, I always remember something Sheldon Menery said about slow play in a fairly famous judge center article: “If you think it might be slow play, it already is.” It’s hard to call Slow Play well across an entire room full of players at a PTQ, GP, or PT, but we try very hard. Arguing the ruling won’t get you anywhere, trust me. We’re doing our job and keeping the tournament healthy. You should do yours, which is having fun and winning!”

Speeding your own play up
I cannot stress enough about knowing all the basics of your deck and making sure you have all the actions down pat. It shouldn’t take thirty full seconds to find something off a Stoneforge Mystic, you shouldn’t need to only consider your Valakut targets after the triggers go off and you should have a basic sideboard plan in mind for every match. Past these another thing people do that wastes infinite time is shuffling their hand when it’s their turn and they start to think. Don’t scoop your lands up and play around with them when trying to tap things for mana (I fall into this trap often), it just slows you down. If you want to put them into neat rows wait until you’ve passed the turn to start playing with yourself.

If you ever want to know how quickly you play in a non-MTGO setting, take out your phone, set the stopwatch and actually time your turns and average it out. The results may surprise you.

Trying not to be an ass
The number one reason people get away with slow play is because you’re nice or your opponent is nice. It feels bad to call someone on something like time over something that feels arbitrary like time, without an exact breakdown who am I to say that you’re the slow one? There’s no easy way to call a judge on some people, but if it’s any reassurance I have only twice seen anyone call a judge for slow play out of spite versus actual thoughtfulness for finishing games on time. The fact is while you worry about reducing your opponent’s fun, especially at lower level events, the fact is their sapping yours and possibly stalling the entire tournament.

Typically I follow the one tank a game rule unless we have a large excess of time and are in no danger of timing out. What this means is if my opponent pauses to make a difficult decision and takes 60-90 seconds I’ll let them have it, but if they slow down again I’m going to ask for them to make a decision and/or speed up their play. I also modify this rule based on general pace of play; I’m less content to let certain people tank than others when I feel like they’re wasting that time on other parts of the game. If people shuffle a lot when going through the motions and do the same to my own deck I’m also far less likely to give them this exemption. Why? Because at some point you just waste time in the round over any possible randomization or anti-cheating benefits you may receive.

See even I’m not super quick to call a judge even though I know on some level it’s usually the right move to make and would save me some grief. Even with this knowledge though, I still call judges faster than the majority of people I’ve run into and this includes pro players. At some point it becomes a necessity for politeness to move aside and let THE LAW take over, be civil about it of course, but you need to make your worries known to the opponent and a judge.

Dealing with casual / FNM level slowplay is a difficult topic to discuss for this very reason. Calling a judge for nearly any reason can be seen as a dick move by some people and implying that perhaps they have a time problem can really push some people over the edge. I find many players are receptive to nudging them along with a “please” followed by asking for them to make a decision or to speed up their play a bit. If you can point out in a civil way how speeding up helps them as well as you, then they often take it better than other approaches.

Honestly I think the best way to handle it is just to nudge them along and if you’re lucky and have a good judge, they take notice and point it out to the player on their own. Not coming off looking like a jerk is tricky in these situations, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and finally say it. It isn’t just you worrying about the opponent’s reaction, the judges are too!

From judge Kevin Desprez:

“Dealing with player reactions:
You have to keep in mind the difference that exists between a player involved in the game and the judge noticing from an external point of view that player is playing too slowly. Time passes much quicker for the player than for the judge. This is why the judge should expect reactions from players who are issued penalties for Tournament Error — Slow Play. Most of time, they will not understand what’s happening to them. That is, of course, not an excuse for any unsporting behavior. It seems better to explain calmly the reasons why you intervened than issuing a penalty for Unsporting Conduct – Minor (slight disruption of the tournament).”

One of the best descriptions of this dilemma comes from a judge, Nick Fang.

“But I’m not doing it on purpose…”
Let’s get this one out of the way right off the bat. When a player is confronted with a charge of slow play, their usual first response will be that they didn’t do it on purpose. Because it wasn’t on purpose, players (especially new ones) tend not to understand why there’s an issue at all. The mere fact that we’re talking about slow play, however, dictates that we know that it’s not happening on purpose. If we believed that we were talking about an intentional offense, we’d be talking about Cheating / Stalling, not Slow Play, and the potential ramifications would be dire.

This is actually one of the simplest and best demonstration of one of the core principles of the Magic penalty guidelines in general, a violation of some rule is penalized in accordance with the possible advantage gained, assuming that the violation wasn’t intentional. A violation that was committed willfully (generally to gain some advantage, though this isn’t strictly necessary) by a player that knows that they’re committing an infraction, however, is cheating and is usually grounds for disqualification. Simply put, rules violation + intent = cheating. In this case, playing slowly with the intent to gain advantage = stalling, which is a disqualifiable offense.

Like slow play itself, stalling is not as rare as it should be. In fact, many of the cases you’ll hear about and many of the cases that judges get called for under the guise of slow play are actually about stalling. The usual case—somebody is up by a game in a match and the round is almost over and suddenly their play slows down (not to be confused with playing at a reasonable pace, but in a way that makes it difficult for their opponent to win). In general, lacking extenuating circumstances, we’re talking about stalling —playing excessively slowly (the rules violation) in a willful fashion (the intent) to force the round to end in order for this game not to be finished (the advantage).”

Accepting the reality of the situation

Unfortunately what may happen is that you call a judge over, the opponent plays quickly for a few minutes and then returns to his slower pace once the judge needs to answer another call or wanders away. In these situations it can be crucial to either tell a judge to watch for slow play without alerting the opponent or, if necessary, recall for a judge if you’ve lost him. If you push it too far you’ll be skirting the line of unsportsmanlike conduct and the same goes if you begin acting condescending or sarcastically toward the opponent and his speed of play.

You also need to accept the idea that someone may be willingly preying on the natural reaction many players have to not call a judge and is stalling you. The recent high-publicity banning of Saito raised awareness of this type of cheat, but it remains one of the most difficult cheats to catch. If you aren’t protecting yourself then it’s all too easy for the opponent to do little things that many players won’t think out of the ordinary. These include:

Taking more than three minutes to sideboard and shuffle between games
Taking an excessive amount of time with mulligans
Pretending to take a long time with every combat phase
Excessive in-game shuffling
Trying to ‘bluff’ excessively after he runs low on cards

Players innocently do all of these at every single tournament and in fact everyone is guilty of doing so at one time or another. The key is that this player goes out of his way to abuse the clock and only speeds up when it benefits him which makes it very annoying. I remember one local player who used to play at a subdued pace, within acceptable range, but very deliberately. However once time started to run down if he held the advantage in games won or had a deck that had better chance of winning within turns than his opponent he would speed up for game three. Eventually this was settled and it may not have been intentional (though I doubt that was the case), but it fit all the stalling tropes to a T.

Until next time, may resolving a [card]Brainstorm[/card] not take three minutes.

Josh Silvestri

References:
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=judge/article/20070924a
http://www.wizards.com/wpn/Events/Rules.aspx?category=all
http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/16960_The_Riki_Rules_Anatomy_of_a_Slow_Play.html
http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/12514_Ask_the_Judge_08112006_Feature_Friday.html

47 thoughts on “Silvestri Says – The Issues of Slow Play”

  1. I remember talking about this with you at regionals good call on the article, very interesting.

  2. Haha in Dallas, there was some guy yelling for a judge to come prod his opponent along like every 10 minutes, despite him moving at a decent pace.

  3. I had a very rude opponent in a trial at GP Dallas. I’m not sure if he was building up an elaborate scheme, but it seemed that way. Anyway he was scoffing and accusing me of slow play throughout the entirety of the match, but never called a judge, just let his voice be heard throughout the players. It was the cawblade mirror, and I hadn’t played a game of standard yet, but I am very familiar with control. So I apologized, said I would try and speed up, and to myself started timing our turns. We both were taking the same time on our turns, but I noticed he was taking an extremely long time shuffling when he searched, and even sometimes pile shuffled after a search or pile shuffled my deck upon presentation. After ranting for the first 35 minutes or so he went and asked a judge to watch us. Since we were in the 3rd round the judge was able to stay the entire time. Once the judge came over, he only quick shuffled. When we ended our 5th turn, he was still scoffing, and asked me to concede since I was cheating him. The judge said that I was playing at a reasonable pace, and probably more reasonably than him. I had never had such a miserable match of Magic in my life, but rude people don’t really put me on tilt. I simply said no thank you, filled out the slip 2-1 and shipped it to him to sign. I was actually getting tired, and had he been a decent person I might have scooped, but it felt better to dream crush someone like him. After I found out my finals opponent was playing U/B control, the hall was closing soon, and I wanted to hang out with my wife, I just scooped it to him. I would advise anyone reading this to be courteous to other players, because making the game enjoyable for your opponents can give you benefits you might not have realized were possible. I’ve said to much, but don’t be afraid to call a judge. I would rather be informed now of what I may be doing wrong so I can correct that for the future.

  4. Nice article, I need to work on some of this stuff myself.

    When I went to time in a UW mirror at regionals a few of these things were happening simultaneously – I was playing faster than usual to compensate for my opponent taking forever (and ended up punting because of it), and I was not overly familiar with the deck’s interactions. Also I don’t think you mentioned this, but another problem was I should have conceded g1 way sooner than I did… after Gideon’s at 15 and Jace has brainstormed 5 or 6 times, it’s probably time to just pack it in.

    Guess I should stick to Questing 😉

  5. Cameron Simmonds

    Good read, need to show this to one of our regulars, my worst experience was going to time in a Jund mirror, completely not my fault.

  6. I believe getting to know your deck and the meta is the greatest way to prevent yourself from being a victim of slow play, also… on a smaller note “confidence.” I find that in many circumstances, i.e. San Jose regionals, I did not pace myself on hard plays and always made bad decisions to avoid slow play. This was a result of being extremely nervous, while at my local store that isn’t a problem. It is however a different story when it comes to playing at a local FNM where you’ll most likely encounter younger and more Casual players. I can’t tell you how many people have quit playing at our store because one of the regulars complained of slow play and in that respect was rude. When a judge is called over on slow play in every tournament I’ve seen(not called in any of my matches) the accuser was always rude. This is where the judge’s behavior is crucial and I think that every judge should be professional and pleasant, this is never the case when they place themselves on a pedestal. So in conclusion I agree with everything you have to say regarding slow play but sportmanship goes out the window when you aren’t treated right. Keep that in mind and when you go to tournament or judge, don’t be an ass.

  7. “Many players slow down when they hear the “that’s time, play 5 more turns” announcement. ”
    Haha, I knew the second i saw the article topic this would get brought up. I actually thought you’d use the Jimmy/Wilson 20 minute overtime from one of the recent 1ks as an example.

  8. that was actually unreal and terrible, JQP also didn’t help things along at that tournament. If extra turns averages 4 minutes a turn, you should both be DQ’d unless somebody is piloting storm combo.

    as an aside, seriously, realllly make sure you aren’t adding to the problem guys. humans are very bad at keeping time.

  9. [snip]Myth: That complexity affects the amount of time you should be given[/snip]

    It is too black and white to say that complexity is not a factor in determining whether something is slow play. In fact all of the articles you linked to mention the fact that we judges do take into account the quantity of ‘new information’ that has entered the game state. (Resolving Genesis Wave, an unexpected instant has been played by your opponent, etc.)

    What you do is you take part of the definition (“regardless of the complexity of the play situation”) and conclude that for any play situation you must play equally fast, but that is not how we should interpret this; if we did, we could just as well have an X-second limit for each action, but that is not fair. If something important has happened, it is understandable to think for a bit. If the board is still the same as a turn ago, rebooting your thought process is probably slow play.

    So yes, we take the game state into account. Other than that, nice article that has some valuable tips for UW players :).

    Teun
    L2 – Amsterdam

  10. Watching for excessively slow play is important, but it sucks how arbitrary the guidelines are. I’ve seen many players use an opponent’s slower play as an excuse to be condescending toward them, even when their opponent was playing at a very reasonable pace only slightly slower than theirs.

    That said, one of the major causes of slow play is being unprepared for a tournament – especially in lower levels of play. It’s very important to have tested and know the common decision lines involved in the matchup in order to play at a reasonable pace.

  11. I suffered my first draw instead of a win at the Nat Qualifier. I was on Mono-G Eldrazi and my opponent was on UW cawblade. My 3 previous opponents were a little more seasoned and our matches despite having numerous tanking points (adding up to 15 can be difficult) ended up finishing with several minutes left in the round. My R4 opponent was a weaker player and seemed unsure of what his deck was capable of. I didn’t realize how slow he was playing until midway through G2. He was very far ahead needed only to attack for a couple more turns but was very slow shuffling and making what seemed obvious decisions I should have called a judge over at that point. Our 3rd match ended with me casting Ulamog 7+ times casting Emrakul and the match ending before I could take my extra turn with my 15/15. Very frustrating. Something very easily prevented as well. Playing the game is important but playing the tournament is also important.

  12. Good read.

    It’s definately something that unfortunately I’ll have to be focusing on for future events, keeping up a decent pace in games prevents a lot of sad results and draws that don’t get people anywhere.

  13. A very insightful article. “Issues of Slow Play” sounded like it should have been a dry topic, but you wrote very well with a lot of good examples and suggestions. Everything went better than expected! Thanks

  14. As a new player, I found this article very instructive. I do know that I play a bit too slowly, as has been pointed out a few times by opponents, but without rancor. I find that compared to more experienced players I’m having to take time to see plays and understand possible counter-plays that are ingarined intuition for them.

  15. Great article, I’m guilty of “playing at a brisk pace but take time to tank on certain situatuions”. The problem is when your opponent alters his pace of play depending on whether theres a judge floating near your table.

  16. @Teun
    The critical part of something like Genesis Wave, Warp World, or anything that dumps a bunch of new information on the game at once is that it is a sudden influx. A complex board state in a cawblade mirror has become that complex over several turns, each of which added a little bit of new information that should have been processed at that time. So while complexity itself isn’t grounds for leeway, a huge glut of new information can get you the benefit of the doubt.

  17. The fundemental problem with ‘slow play’ is that it is a vauge rule. Ask 10 judges to quantify slow play is and you will get 10 different answers.

  18. This would be easy to solve by making players bring a chess clock to matches. There not to expensive and there simple to use.

  19. I agree chess clocks are easy to use they should be taken to every chess tournament.
    Magic can involve from 1 to over 20 priority passes per turn chess clocks would require nothing short of telepathy in paper magic.

  20. “Clock management”: My least favorite thing about MtG. I put it in parenthesis because I’ve actually overheard 2 people calling it this openly and discussing shooting for draws when there’s no way that they can win. Things I have witnessed: Looking over someone’s shoulder and seeing they’re holding a land and Negate with no board presence yet their turn takes 2-3 minutes of them mulling over nothing. A guy with 1 Baneslayer in hand taking 3-4 minutes to build up tension and excitement and acting like he lost then slamming it down with a smile. 5 minute sideboarding. 2 minutes of shuffling after playing Squadron Hawk even though there are no more in the deck. Having my entire turn to decide whether or not and what to pitch to Faunua Shaman yet tanking for 2-3 minutes at EOT to make this decision. Control players are the biggest offenders in my experience. Slow motion movements and decisions after a game 1 win so at worst they draw. Karn promises to make things worse.

  21. @Jared Chess clocks don’t work for Magic. Magic is not chess. It’s not like you play your turn and their’s no interaction outside the combat step. MTGO clocks don’t exist for paper Magic. Here’s a quick Caw Mirror match. Which player eats more time?

    Player A – Untap – Upkeep – Draw – Main (Equip Sword to Hawk, animate Gideon) – Combat (Animate Colonnade) – Declare Attackers (Swing with Gideon, Sworded Hawk, Colonnade). Player B Crack fetch, Tec Edge Colonnade, Condemn Hawk. Player A Mana Leak Condemn. Player B Tap Mystic put into play Mortar Pod. – Declare Blockers: Player B blocks Gideon with Mortar Pod before damage sacs it to shoot opponent for 1. Gets hit with Hawk and chooses to discard Mana Leak. Player A untaps lands. – Second MainPlayer A plays a Hawk and skips trigger and passes the turn.

    It was player As turn and all they did was untap, draw for turn, animate some stuff, equip, swing with the team, counter a removal spell, untap and play a dude.

    Player B Fetched and shuffled, used Tec edge, cast a removal spell, used an ability to get a blocker into play, block, shoot opponent for 1 and choose a card to discard.

    Hard to tell who is using the time and who’s time it is isn’t it?

  22. I know exactly what you are talking about here, I was playing Boros at Nat Qualifiers and my opponent was playing U/W Caw, after a draw in the boros mirror (board stall) and him drawing in a mirror of his own he kept pressuring me to play faster. I wasn’t as familiar with my deck as I should have been before the tournament and I was trying to get around a resolved Gideon so I had some thinking to do, and he just kept talking about how neither one of us could afford another draw, blah blah blah, while I was trying to think. I ended up losing due to making a misplay and I was pretty upset about it afterward. 1. If you play Caw, don’t complain about other people’s slow play 2. If you think there is a problem, call a judge, don’t scoff and pressure your opponent to play faster.

  23. At my regionals in the final round the guy next to me led with Marsh Flats into Inquisition. His opponent stood up and applauded him for not playing Caw Blade only to have it pointed out that some Caw Blade variants run black. The guy’s record was 4-1-3 and scooped after the first match.

  24. For the record, the Brainstorm that you’re referring to (or at least the one that I think you’re referring to) took closer to ten minutes…and it was caught on video 😀

  25. Luis Scott-Vargas

    @ midas knight

    I’m actually writing an article which kind of relates to that, but from what I can tell, more intuitive players tend to play faster than more deliberate ones.

  26. The moment LSV gets a warning for slowplay, the universe will start collapsing.Something like that

  27. Excellent article.
    It does leave me with a question maybe a judge will be able to answer. Suppose you are 1-0 up and there are 5 minutes left on the clock. You’ve played 2 drawn out games and are in the middle of a complicated game 2. Your opponent is speeding up his play because it is in his interest to finish the game. Trying to finish the game however is probably not in your best interest and you keep playing at more or less the same (reasonable) pace you have been for the duration of the match.
    You make a very deliberate decision to not speed up your pace and might even make conservative plays to draw out the game (like not countering the removal spell that kills your threat to hold it back to counter his), so i guess this could be seen as stalling from an intent perspective, although you are not actually playing at an unreasonable pace.
    What are the guidelines for stalling penalties in these types of situations?

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  29. @Mereltje
    There is no rule in the books to say you have to play to win. If you are playing to draw, and you pull the game to a draw, you accomplished what you were after, so you ‘won’. Usually you’d only do this in game 2 after you won a long-ish game 1. Intentionally not attacking so you have better blocks is not stalling.

  30. Mereltje: As long as you maintain a reasonable pace of speed, there’s no problem. You don’t have to play to win the game, you simply can’t slow down your pace of play. If you started taking arguably unnecessary actions every turn or some such, that may cause issues, but if you are just playing the game in a defensive fashion there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ve played for a draw over a possible win on a number of occasions.

  31. @ TimsWheelbarrow I clearly had the board advantage and was way higher in life. When it comes to a grinder the player with the higher life total wins the match when time was called. I had scooped the first game when I realized there was no way for me to come back, yet he made me play out to the final damage of the 2nd game when I was clearly ahead. If he had an ailing disease, and was his last Magic tournament I still wouldn’t have scooped, that’s how offended I was, and I don’t become offended very easily.

  32. @Shane, No offense intended but I was in that Grinder and playing next to you and I noticed how slow you were playing. If you didn’t do it intentionally, then you should try to pick up the pace so that it is reasonable for your opponent.

  33. Haha I am indeed the “asshole” this “Shane” is talking about. I find it it funny how you made up most of your post to gain sympathy and I probably wouldn’t even bother to post if you didn’t lie about almost everything… First of all you admitted to never playing the deck before and then you say later that the judge said that you were playing reasonable and “probably more reasonably than him”, totally made up, a judge would never say anything biased like that. Anyone who has played caw blade knows that you can’t just pick up the deck and expect to finish rounds in time so it’s pretty laughable to think you were playing at a reasonable pace. Then you say that I was pile shuffling your deck, another lie. Also you say that I never called a judge and then about two sentences later you say that I called a judge at about 35 minutes in, thanks for proving my point that you made up your whole post . I tried to be courteous to you throughout the match up to a point, despite the fact that you were playing at an excruiatingly slow pace (taking minute turns to play squadron hawks and pass when i have nothing and a planeswalker will be much better) but I remember clearly becoming visibly annoyed when I was tapped out with one white open, no cards, no board and no manlands. You thought for about 20 seconds, tapped 4 mana, thought some more and finally played jace into an empty board. Any reasonable played knows to slam jace without having to think twice. You also forgot to mention how you boarded in your Sylvok Lifestaff, in the caw-blade mirror. No doubt some sick tech to win in sudden death! Oh well got the byes anyways and I got a good laugh out of reading that crock of crap you posted!

  34. Haha I am indeed the “asshole” this “Shane” is talking about. I find it it funny how you made up most of your post to gain sympathy and I probably wouldn’t even bother to post if you didn’t lie about almost everything… First of all you admitted to never playing the deck before and then you say later that the judge said that you were playing at a reasonable speed and “probably more reasonably than him”, totally made up, a judge would never say anything biased like that. Anyone who has played caw blade knows that you can’t just pick up the deck and expect to finish rounds in time so it’s pretty laughable to think you were playing at a reasonable pace. Then you say that I was pile shuffling your deck, another lie. Also you say that I never called a judge and then about two sentences later you say that I called a judge at about 35 minutes in, thanks for proving my point that you made up your whole post . I tried to be courteous to you throughout the match up to a point, despite the fact that you were playing at an excruiatingly slow pace (taking minute turns to play squadron hawks and pass when i have nothing and a planeswalker will be much better) but I remember clearly becoming visibly annoyed when I was tapped out with one white open, no cards, no board and no manlands. You thought for about 20 seconds, tapped 4 mana, thought some more and finally played jace into an empty board. Any reasonable played knows to slam jace without having to think twice. You also forgot to mention how you boarded in your Sylvok Lifestaff, in the caw-blade mirror. No doubt some sick tech to win in sudden death! Oh well I got the byes anyways and I got a good laugh out of reading that crock of crap you posted!

  35. My Buddy is the person this Shane played against, apparently Shane went to time the next two rounds as well.

  36. This Shane guy also forgot to mention he boarded in Sylvok Lifestaff in the caw blade mirror, no doubt some sick tech for sudden death.

  37. Oh I also remember a funny part of our match when you thought for a long time when I had no cards, no manlands and I was tapped out except for one white. tapped two mana, thought some more and then finally played jace, it’s obvious you were either stalling or just had no clue at all, or maybe some combination!

  38. I think a chess clock wouldn’t work well. It does for chess which I play but in magic with physica cards priority passing is often blurred. When I play stoneforge anounce my target and say I’m ending my turn after so they can start who’s clock is ticking when. What if they want to shuffle etc. Also I might have hd to click the clock for the 5 phases and that would just make it worse.

    Question:
    I have a smokestack + sphere lock in place can I just hold my win condition in hand and let my opponent continue to play since they for some reason aren’t scooping which means I can win the match 1-0… unless there is some way to come back when you have no permanents and I have sphere and stack on the table that I’ve never heard of.

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