The Riki Rules – Insufficient Randomization– err… Shuffling



Last week, I promised to bring you an article on Insufficient Shuffling, that is the infraction formerly known as Insufficient Randomization. Those are long infraction names to type out, so for the most part I will just abbreviate them as IS and IR in this article. The short version is that in addition to the name change, the penalty has gone down from a game loss to a warning. Let’s discuss why.


At first, I found it very odd that the name had changed to Insufficient Shuffling, mostly because the infraction was expanded to include partial deck randomization effects (read: cascade) that most definitely are not shuffle effects as far as the game (read: Psychogenic Probe) is concerned. Psychogenic Probe won’t trigger even if you miss on cascade and randomize your entire library; it still isn’t technically a shuffle. It’s one of those technicalities that judges like to get other judges with, even though we will likely never see it happen in a live game. No, not even in EDH.

When the new infraction name doesn’t make much sense from a strict game rules standpoint, it’s time to turn to the human element. As explained to me by the headstone of the policy pillar Toby Elliott himself (that sounds more morbid than I intended), the word randomization was a problem for many judges who would look at the end result of a deck.

Let’s say you deck check a player. Flipping through the deck you notice a pattern of land, spell, spell, land, a classic mana weave pattern. Except that you watched the player shuffle their deck, and they definitely did not do a mana weave unless they have David Copperfield-like powers. So what do you do with this perfectly stacked deck? Absolutely nothing. It is possible for a well-shuffled deck to end up in a mana weaved pattern.

This is where some judges would try to fall back upon the concept of Insufficient Randomization because look, the deck is clearly not randomized. This misses the point. The randomization that judges must look for is a process, not an end result. It’s been proven by mathemagics that the amount of shuffling that the average player does is not mathematically sufficient to produce true randomization, whatever that means. Judges, and by extension players, don’t care about true randomization. We’re not going to buy a bunch of casino shufflers for tournaments. Besides, I’ve heard that those things tear up cards like crazy, and you wouldn’t want to put your Baneslayer Angels through that.

The true desire is not for the deck to be perfectly randomized, but for players to make a good faith effort to randomize their decks, which is why IR focuses not on the end result but on what the players do. There are a few things that are flat out bad in this respect. The first is the face up riffle shuffle. Point blank, this is pointless. In the industry, we call it a “null operation.” If you do a hundred face up riffles, your deck must be close to mathematically randomized. However, a judge should hit you with IR (or IS now) every time because the true point of shuffling is to make it so that you and your opponent don’t know the positions of any of the cards. With face up riffles, you can see the bottom card of each half at the very least.

While it’s true that many players look up, up, and away from their deck when shuffling, this doesn’t guarantee that you can’t see those bottom cards. Try looking up while you shuffle a deck. Depending on the positioning, you can still see your deck with your peripheral vision. Ah, that tricky eyeball. What a marvelous piece of engineering. This is similar to the infraction Looking at Extra Cards. When I give this to people for flipping over a card from their library or starting to pick up two cards on their draw, their defense is often “But I didn’t actually see the card.” That’s great, and I hope players are being honest with me, but in terms of the infraction, we need to rule based on the possibility of the card being seen. If you riffle face up, it is just too damn likely that you can see those cards.

The pile shuffle is one of those nebulous actions. Just doing one pile shuffle isn’t sufficient because it isn’t so much a randomization as it is a reordering. If you know what the bottom card of your deck is when you start a pile, you are going to know exactly where that card ends up, in that very last pile whatever its position may be. And that amount of knowing goes against the spirit of shuffling. If you do ten pile shuffles, it’s still very possible that you can track the position of one or more cards, and indeed there are some methods of cheating that play off of this fact. I won’t get into them here, but suffice to say that piles alone don’t cut it.

However, this doesn’t mean that pile shuffles are completely worthless as some people seem to think. If you give your deck four or five quick riffles (or mashes, or side shuffles, or whatever new-fangled name you kids have for a shuffling method), it’s likely that you don’t know the position of any one card. Do a pile off of that and you’ve reordered a bunch of cards whose position you didn’t know. Sure, you can point to one of the piles and say “the top card of my library is on the bottom of that pile,” but if you didn’t know what the top card was going into the process, we’re good. Thus, ending with a pile shuffle is not a crime unto itself provided that sufficient shuffling happened beforehand.

(I will also briefly point out that mana weaving or any other kind of deck stacking is not only pointless, but could get you into very dark depths of trouble.)

At the most rudimentary level, the change to IR/S (acronym pun unintended) is good news all around for players and judges. Players don’t like getting game losses, and believe it or not, judges don’t like giving out game losses. The IR game loss was particularly vexing to judges because of its subjectivity. Off the top of your head, what would you consider a sufficient amount of shuffling? Put a number and a style to it. I’ll bet your definition is different from mine, which is different from the next reader’s, which is different from most everyone else.

Hopefully we can agree that one riffle is not sufficient. On the flip side, twenty riffles is. Between that is a lot of gray. Mix in multiple shuffling methods and things get grayer. Two piles and two riffles? My guess is that’s about the 50/50 point in the spectrum where you will get a lot of debate. So ten judges watch a player do two piles and two riffles. Five of them give the player a game loss while the other five see no problem and do nothing. Interesting.

Actually, the first five wouldn’t necessarily give the game loss, which is where the infraction ran into even more problems. Judges were afraid to assess the penalty even if they believed they witnessed insufficient randomization. Some might hem and haw and end up doing nothing, while others would step in and tell the player to shuffle a little bit more. Now if you’re asking a player to shuffle a bit more, wouldn’t that mean that you don’t think what they just did was enough? Perhaps we might even call what they did”¦ insufficient.

I actually had one instance where I gave a game loss for IR (I think it was something like two riffles after a fetchland or similar), and not only had it appealed and overturned by the Head Judge, but the HJ told the player to shuffle some more. I was confused. Point of fact, I have never issued an IR since that day because frankly I didn’t know what to do anymore.

Having a lesser penalty will probably lead to judges calling it more often now, thus raising awareness that such an infraction exists, and in turn leading to players calling it more often on their opponents. I don’t think it will lead to any kind of wholesale change in judge-calling behavior. Heck, I’ve been trying to get you guys to call us over for far simpler things. I’m guessing that we might see one or two more instances of it per PTQ, and that seems about right. Where it will really save us some headaches is towards the end of the day, especially in a Top 8 when players are tired of all the shuffling. A player picks up his deck, searches for a land, riffles once and presents. At the SCG event in Dallas, this resulted in a controversial (but absolutely correct) game loss in the Top 8 even though it was highly unlikely that the player was trying to pull something shady in front of a crowd and on camera. Now we can say “Hey, I know you’re tired, but we still need you to shuffle a bit more. Here’s your warning. Thanks.” Seems better.

Finally, this change to IR/S has been part of a downward trend in penalties. Two years ago, Outside Assistance was dropped from a DQ to a match loss (and was more recently loosened yet again by allowing sideboarding notes between games). Drawing Extra Cards is still a game loss, but a vast majority of cases have been moved into the realm of Game Rule Violations, warnings.

Marked Cards – Pattern (game loss) and No Pattern (warning) have been collapsed into one infraction, unsurprisingly called Marked Cards (warning). This change was made for a similar reason as the IS change; judges (like me) were spending too much time debating whether 4 [card]Brainstorm[/card]s and 3 Islands constituted a “pattern.” There is still the option to upgrade MC to a game loss in cases where there’s some potential for abuse if the player were to notice the markings, but overall I’m guessing we’ll see fewer of those than the old Pattern game loss.

It seems like the IPG is losing its teeth. In the short term, this seems like a good thing all around, and it speaks to the health of the game and clean play that is going around. But is this kind of thing cyclical? I had planned on waxing nostalgic about the Wild West days and speculating a bit about how things might return to such a state if we grow too lax, but it seems I’ve run out of time for this week.

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45 thoughts on “The Riki Rules – Insufficient Randomization– err… Shuffling”

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  2. About marked cards/sleeves. Let’s say I have a few marked sleeves. No pattern. I’d receive a warning. What happens if I don’t change sleeves? I continue to have marked cards…

  3. I’m glad that the rules are being downgraded (rather than relaxed). In competitive tournaments this allows people to make mistakes and then tighten up their game without being slammed by them. It makes winning a game based slightly more on making correct plays than losing because you accidentally screw up.

  4. Is there also a factor of “knowledge” of the ordering that matters, as well? To me, there’s two kinds of purposes of shuffling:

    1) To prevent the deck from being stacked, and make the game random
    2) To remove knowledge about the ordering about cards in the deck.

    Some of these can affect how much shuffling the deck “needs” in my opinion. At the start of the game, your deck is generally stacked in some manner, due to the previous game having all of your lands in a row, or sideboarding all the cards on the top of the deck. In this case, it takes the normal 9 riffle shuffles to completely randomize a 60 card deck (googled from here: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2665604).

    However, when the ordering isn’t changed, and a small subset of the cards are viewed (say, ponder, or a fetchland found at the bottom), I think a fewer number of shuffles are required to “randomize” the deck, as it’s already mostly randomized, and it’s somewhat difficult to track cards through shuffles . Three or four should be good in this case, in my opinion at least.

    That being said, cheating is still a DQ, so things like actual stacking your deck and magician card tricks will be dealt with under those other rules, I would assume.

    Does what I say jive with the official stances?

  5. I’ve noticed that a great many people have no idea what the word random means and a good portion of those people actually think that “randomized” is a synonym for well-distributed.

    With that in mind, as I understand it, the goal most players have when they pile shuffle is to distribute their spells and lands as evenly as possible. Whether or not this is actually the case is a fairly esoteric matter and if there is anyone interested I can explain the math behind it (No, Evan Erwin, it has nothing to do with Mersenne Primes).

    I like that there’s a distinction made between “insufficient randomization” and “insufficient shuffling” now, because the people who just pile shuffle a specific amount of times are trying to cheat, whether they know it or not. I guess it doesn’t matter because I can just shuffle their deck anyway, but it’s still annoying.

  6. One key reason why I think pile shuffles are a good idea: while 9 ‘theoretical’ riffles are enough to randomize a deck, in practice cards that stick together through one riffle shuffle will stick together through additional riffles — particularly sleeved Magic cards, where the sleeves both tend to stick themselves and also encourage a less violently disruptive shuffling process. Piling then becomes less a means for separating lands and spells and instead simply ensures that all cards exhibit properly stochastic, disruptive motion (even if further motion eventually brings them back to their initial spot).

  7. Penalties are a double-edged sword. On the one hand I am of the strict liability mind that thinks game losses, match losses, and DQs should be handed down more frequently. But on the other hand, I would be super pissed if I got one of these penalties for something I was unaware of (e.g. my sideboard sleeves are less worn than my maindeck sleeves, for obvious reasons).

    Also I’m curious what ever happened to the ‘ejection’ penality (i.e. disqualification, but not without prize)? Back in the day there was a time when match losses could be upgraded to something other than disqualification without prize. Not that it matters, but I’m curious about it.

  8. I think these changes make a lot of sense. Wizards is working hard to make the letter of the law match the spirit of the law. As long as judges have the authority to upgrade these penalties in cases of clear intent to gain an advantage(such as a very obviously marked card), then I think it makes a lot of sense to not punish people for unintentional mistakes. This lets people focus on what really matters: Playing Magic.

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  10. I’m relatively new to the game but I am was hoping to play a GP. So what is the most “proper” way of shuffling your deck during competitive play. I usually do a one pile and a ton riffle shuffles. Care to help. Thanx.

  11. Exactly how many shuffles is necessary to actually achieve a randomized deck varies a lot on your decklist and your shuffling technique. You do not want your riffle or weave shuffles to be “perfect”, it’s better of you have some 2-3 card clumps. For example a 52-card deck returns to it’s original order after 8 perfect riffles. Since perfect shuffles are hard to achieve this is usually not a problem.

    Concerning the “proper” way of shuffling, something like 7 riffles/weaves is typically enough, but before each starting hand you might as well do a few extra ones to calm your opponent or to protect yourself from your own poor technique. For mid-duel shuffles 7 should definitely be enough. Pile shuffles accomplishes absolutely nothing that riffle shuffles doesn’t and are very time ineffective. Stay away from that waste of time (yes, even after double mulligans) and you have a lower chance of going to time in your rounds.

  12. If I take my deck and riffle shuffle it a number of times I can get it back to the same order. I am to lazy to practice, but you can see it with riffle using chips. It’s not that hard.

    So between rifles, I would suggest you cut your deck at least three times (taking a part of the top, and again an put that on the previous taken off part and again.) That makes it much harder to riffle them in the same order.

    So I think it’s a good thing you opponent can shuffle your deck one final time before you can use it again, that makes it much fairer.

  13. Mike, part of issuing a Marked Cards – No Pattern penalty is obviously de-marking the cards. I think I would DQ someone for cheating if I gave them a warning for marked cards because of their sleeves and then they didnt change the sleeves after the round. (any marked card penalty assumes there was no intent and/or knowledge, otherwise it’s cheating).

    All of you guys talking about the “9 shuffles” rule missed the point of this article entirely. Emtee makes a good point that with perfect riffle shuffles that your deck will actually unrandomize at some point. From a judges perspective, there is no number that constitutes a threshold where above that is ok and below that is a penalty. If you truly want to make sure your deck is randomized then shuffle in different ways and when you riffle shuffle, always shuffle the top of one stack somewhere towards the middle of the second stack so that the cards on top and bottom will move. If you’re really worried that you’re going to get a penalty then shuffle some more.

  14. Wescoe: The “DQ with prize” penalty is still present, but it is only issued as the result of repeated penalty upgrades. For everything that isn’t a Game Rule Violation (which covers a ton of ground), the upgrade path is (Caution) -> Warning -> Game Loss -> Match Loss -> DQ. GRVs have an extra Warning step before becoming GLs.

    If you continue to perform the same illegal action after receiving a MATCH LOSS for it, you clearly shouldn’t be playing that day.

  15. Hmm. Upon checking the IPG again, I guess that all DQs are standardized now. If you’ve already received prizes when it happens — no matter why it happens — you get to keep them; however, if you’re DQd you don’t take up a space in the final standings. That must have changed without my noticing. 🙁

  16. @Naxnaxnax: That’s pretty similar to what I do for almost all competitive Magic. In fact, I really like to do at least one pile shuffle before each game for another reason than randomization: You get a chance to count your cards. Assuming you lay out your cards in a certain pattern, just figure out where the last card should be for a 60- or 40-card deck.

    Most commonly, card count errors are off by one or two (Opponent still has your Pacifism, etc), so this should be sufficient.

    Also, you should be shuffling (not only cutting) your opponents’ decks at GPs. I’d recommend a pile shuffle and several riffles for the all the same reasons.

    I’ve never felt a need to pile shuffle for in-game shuffling. Does anyone disagree?

  17. Flabbergasted by the statement that two piles and two riffles is the example presented for “half of judges might split on this”. If I did four quick riffles and presented, you’d call me on it, right? So why would changing two of them into piles change anything? But then, I want judges to be hardasses about shuffling, because it’s easy to fix if you’re not cheating and very useful if you are.

  18. I’ve always used pile shuffling to count my cards after sideboarding. Six stacks of ten just to make sure I don’t mess up and have a card get stuck or misboard. It’s hard to know what constitutes enough shuffling from the judge’s perspective. It’d be nice if there was a more straight forward guideline (9 shuffles pre-game and 3 in-game). An arbitrary minimum would help clarify.

  19. @NerdyNathan

    Yep exactly what you said. So many people try to steal my Spreading Seas! Forgot that’s the other good reason to count.

  20. If Ricky were a cop, he’d be the kind that hides in the bushes with binoculars waiting for a kid to cross a quiet residential street. He’d charge full on, sirens blazing at the individual and slap a j-walking ticket down confidently because hey, a rule is a rule and you broke it.

    At a small PTQ, I was in the restroom when pairings were announced. I found my seat as Judge Ricky yelled “Players raise your hand if your opponent is not in their seat.” My opponent raised his hand and he came over. I sat down. He said I was late and hadn’t even written anything on the slip yet; round clock hadn’t even started. I was literally 10 seconds late. He issued a game loss when both I and my opponent just wanted to play. My opponent gave me a free game win and we played 1 game 3. I won the round after playing 1 game because Ricky was the only person happy about throwing the book at us. Is this necessary?

    I don’t understand the whole issue with IR. If my opponent does IR when he fetches, isn’t it my responsibility to shuffle his deck when it is presented to me? If I don’t, aren’t I in jeopardy of IR? Bottom line is both players have the opportunity to protect themselves from IR and if they do not exercise that right, let them suffer the consequences in that the opponent topdecks like a sack.

    Ever heard of “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.” Don’t bring a judge to a randomization topic. Ricky will want to bring a bazooka to a knife fight.

  21. @Jason

    There’s always going to be power tripping judges. It’s unfortunate (obv) b/c I really believe the bulk of the judging community does a pretty good job… but I’ve had bad experiences myself.

    Shortly after M10 came out, I played in a Standard FNM and I was running a deck that had Sign In Blood in it. For reasons I’ll never be able to explain, I thought SIB was an instant (whoops.) I played it at the end of my opponent’s turn and had drawn two cards face-down when my opponent informed me of my error. I felt like a complete idiot and called over the judge myself. I fully expected and deserved the penalty I received, but the FIVE MINUTE LECTURE on “read your cards” was condescending and unnecessary – what are you trying to accomplish? I already feel like an ass for making a bonehead mistake, I don’t need some level 1 judge up in my grill. 🙂

    On a related note, I eventually decided to switch stores. RIW Hobbies was a longer drive for me, but turned out to be completely worth it. It is THE place to play in SE Michigan, in my opinion (with a nod to the friendly gents at Get Your Game On in Ann Arbor as well, they just don’t have as large a crowd.)

  22. Seeker: Are you just talking about the initial pre-game shuffle, or do you think 100% of judges should give a game loss if someone cracks a fetch and does 2 piles and 2 riffles?

  23. “I fully expected and deserved the penalty I received, but the FIVE MINUTE LECTURE on "read your cards" was condescending and unnecessary ”

    Nah, he was just stalling so he could call you for time later. 🙂

  24. @Mike Stewart: Repeated Marked Cards are not upgraded because we understand that sleeves get damaged, sometimes even shortly after they are opened. However, the judge has most likely issued you a direct instruction to change your sleeves. Not following said instruction would be USC-Major, a game loss. The only way it would escalate to a DQ situation is if I felt the player intentionally did not change his sleeves to gain an advantage (instead of just forgetting to). If the markings are severe enough that such would be possible, I would make the player change sleeves right then and there rather than after the match.

    @Kevin H: There has been a lot of discussion about this internally, to go along with the discussions that led to the IR/S change. For example, top card (swamp) is revealed by Vampire Nocturnus and you crack a fetch land. If the rest of your library is random, there is actually zero “need” to shuffle if you just put that swamp into play. This would be similar to the Mind’s Desire no-shuffle shortcut. Although it’s probably best to put in some kind of token effort, and of course, the opponent always gets the option to shuffle/cut.

    @Cody: I forgot to mention that the lack of you getting a final cut was one subtle reason behind this change. Now it is much less likely that you can use bad shuffling to manipulate your own deck. And yes, as we see in some of these comments, some people think that “randomize” means “distribute evenly.”

    @April: I didn’t take a poll on the issue, but it seemed like a gray enough zone at least for pre-game shuffling, mainly due to the nebulous nature of the pile shuffle. For a mid game, depending on how much searching you did, four riffles could be acceptable (see: Nocturnus fetch above).

  25. Is there an actual hard and fast rule for how many times you need to shuffle after a library search?

    Must I really shuffle 9 times after getting a fetch to avoid a penalty? What is the minimum?

  26. I usually pile shuffle my deck and then do some Weave/Faro shuffle. I never riffle shuffle because that method damages the cards A LOT

  27. @ Jason: The benefit of cut and dry policies is that they are exactly that. There is no subjectivity involved. Just look at all the arguments that develop over “did soandso deserve a DQ?”

    At the end of the day, a good portion of those debates tend to be over whether or not a particular situation falls under the criteria for violations. Subjective judge calls means lack of consistency, which I’d hope we can agree is a bad thing. Checking with a judge and being told something is fine, then getting penalized for it by a different judge is just not cool.

    Look at the flip side of your argument. Say your opponent is unquestionably and significantly late, but the judge feel it wasn’t really that long and lets it go. If you had game 3 wrapped up but needed one more turn for lethal, you’d probably be ranting about how you got screwed b/c the judge didn’t follow the clearly documented procedure.

    The cleanest way for judges to avoid this is to stick to the line, and not make exceptions. The cleanest way for players to avoid this sort of thing is to not be lazy. Make sure you’re at your table early. Make sure you double check your list before submitting. Pile shuffle once to make sure you’re at 60 before presenting. All the trivial stuff people get burned for that could have been easily prevented.

  28. thank you riki i’ve been ib the top 8 of a 5k and got called for insufficant randomization after two pile shuffles and aregular shuffle. and then presentation for more shuffling i wish the lack of shuffliong would quit being used as a weapon people should understand two hours of sleep and a 5 hour drive into10.00 hours of magic and if your not exhausted welll i guess yoour superguy s oi appreciate your leiancy for ythe shuffling and understanding that eventually fatigue sets in

  29. If anything, people should be more heavily penalized during the top 8 of a tournament, because that is where there is the greatest incentive to cheat.

    If you care at all about your standing in the tournament, you should put every effort in ensuring that you follow all game procedures. How easy would it be to claim fatigue for every possible infraction?

  30. @ Zturchan: I disagree. Yes, finalists should be more careful, but becuase they don’t want to get knocked out over stupid little mistakes.

    The penalty for cheating is already that we boot your ass out onto the street, and the finals are the worst place to try it, because EVERYONE is watching you.

    People can claim fatigue all they like. I’ve yet to hear a story where a judge accepted that as an excuse and waived a penalty.

  31. I think the name change is important, because shuffling is not real randomization.

    In Mike Flores’ article, he says that a perfectly randomized deck looks stacked and compares it to marbles in a jar and shaking it. In fact, that is not randomization but homogenization. If the end state result is “always” even distribution it is not random because a random end state can not be predicted.

    If you flip a quarter 1000 times, you will NOT get 50/50 heads/tails every time even if there was no weight bias in the head’s side. Getting a 1:1 on a coin flip after a many iterations will be the exception, not the norm.

    In Mike’s marble analogy, shaking is actually un-randomizing the marbles. If you look at each color individually, they become homogeneous in their position. If it were random, there would always be clumps. For example, if you mix red and white paint, you will get pink. Once you get pink, there’s no way to shake the can to get a bit of red here, or white there. Since there are no alternate states available, it can not be random.

    Shuffling does not have a method of introducing entropy, as the shuffler controls the distribution which is why people can stack a deck through shuffling. Magicians/charlatans do this all the time. To actually randomize, you’d need to… drop them from some critical height, or something that removes control of the redistribution. So, the best we can really do for practicality is “insufficient shuffling”.

    I suppose the “least biased” method without real entropy would be to have the judge or some other person that does not have a stake shuffle for the players thereby eliminating any influence a player has on the order of their own deck.

  32. @thedustin & zturchan

    If you care at all about your standing in tournaments you should put every effort into insuring you win! Not only should you follow the rules, but you should also get some rest and decent food prior to the event. I certainly have little sympathy for anyone who’s claiming fatigue at a big event because they planned their trip poorly, or went out drinking with their buddies the night prior, or have eaten nothing in the past 48 but fast food and pizzas, etc.

  33. Even well rested and with good nutrition it isn’t that hard to imagine being at least somewhat fatigued after like 10+ rounds of high level magic. It obviously would help but it doesn’t completely eliminate the issue.

  34. What El Presidente said — consider that I’d had a good night’s sleep and was eating all day for the last ChannelFireball 5K, but as I’d qualified in the main flight that day, I played my top eight match at about midnight, after having woken up at 7am to make it to the event. That’s nineteen hours later, with about nine and a half hours of Magic already done by the time I sat down to play the match.

    Would it be weird to imagine someone in that position might be a little loopy? It’s nice for judge to be able to issue a first-offense Warning here instead of having to DQ some poor bastard who’s in the finals of one of these marathon events and is just trying not to make horrible misplays due to fatigue.

  35. I know some people who will like this. I have seen people thrown out of a tournament for insufficient randomization.
    After they AND their opponent had shuffled the deck. (quite a bit too)

  36. @Delha

    There are benefits of cut and dry policy, but the judge is still left to administer the policy. If I lost an arm as a war vet, do you think I deserve insufficient randomization because I didn’t shuffle enough times in 3 minutes, but rather handed it to my opponent and expected them to shuffle to their heart’s content? There are rules and then there are the spirit of the rules. Same reason cops don’t pull everyone over going 42 in a 40 zone. They ought to have something better to do.

    If both players agree there is no problem with the situation, it’s not one player getting the best of the other and manipulating them. It’s nitty gritty details that should be ignored and there is no reason for the judge to get involved. Let two people that want to play magic, PLAY! If I don’t want my opponent to get a game loss, then don’t give them a game loss!

  37. @Jason the reason cops don’t pull over everyone going 42 is because of margin of error for the speed guns- not because they have something better to do, but that’s besides the point.

    I can relate to fatigue, even after one round of high level magic, it’s a real strain- but that doesn’t give you an excuse to relax the rules, succk it up and do it right, or drop if you can’t handle it.

    I think this change really benefits casual players playing in competitive, as there’s not reason to cheat playing with friends at FNM- so a few shuffles each is fine. This way the player can be warned first that this won’t cut it at competitive events.

  38. I actually do not support the change it encourages cheating. I think the judges should man up and enforce the rules. My last 5k I played in my opponent insufficiently randomized his deck (he only pile shuffled his deck no riffle) in a feature match and then presented cut. The judge pulled us both aside and then said that there was no evidence that he did that. So if I want to stack my deck its fine because if you get caught its only a warning. I think that's the wrong message to send. As for the casual players"¦if your playing at a competitive level you are no longer casual so you should be aware of what the rules are. Pat Chapin said it best"¦. "it's your responsibility to know what the rules are not what you think the rules are."

  39. “if your playing at a competitive level you are no longer casual so you should be aware of what the rules are.”

    I agree. And now you know what the rules are regarding randomization. So call a judge over when your opponent insufficiently randomizes and get him started on the warning train. Then shuffle your opponent’s deck, or ask the judge to do so. If you’re a competitive player there’s no excuse for not shuffling your opponent’s deck.

  40. @foobar
    Coin-flipping is a bad example. After 1000 flips it’s extremely likely that the ratio of heads to tails would be close to 50/50.

  41. I realize that this is a bit neurotic, but there seem to be a few comments here about “almost randomized” and “unrandomized.” A finite set either achieves a random ordering or it does not. Once a set has achieved a random status, any possible permutation afterwards will result in another random ordering. Hence, it can not ever be “unrandomized” by a shuffle.

    The pattern created by a deck of cards returning to its original order in a small amount of perfect riffles is a function of the fact that 60 (nor 40) is a prime number. The only way to fix this would be to change the size of the decks to the next largest prime (although the decks would still reset after a number of perfect riffles equal to the size of the deck). I think we can all agree that registering 61 cards decks (on purpose) would suck.

    For those of you who are not as retentive as I am, please disregard this comment, and I apologize for the time you spent reading it.

  42. ugh. so much non-sense. if i happen to draw a great hand and some jerk tries to game loss me for it i’d be none too happy. isn’t a great hand or even ‘pattern’ or ‘perfect pattern’ completely possible in a random environment? in fact if something is completely random wouldn’t you have the exact same chance of having a pattern as not having a pattern? it’s like the lottery, rt? you have the same chance of all 3’s popping up on those balls as you do your anniversary, birthday, old bike combination. too much focus on this stuff in the current game.

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