Rhythmik Study – The End of Ambiguity

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  1. I have read about the Cedric Phillips esper charm situation so many times now. This is the first account that I have read of it being like this. (The judge comes over and watches the player and stops him from trying to draw) I assumed that the player had tried to draw after saying “target myself” and Cedric had asked for clarification, THEN called a judge. In either case, I would say that in a tournament scenario (especially any tournament bigger than an FNM), I would agree with the judge’s ruling and do not think Cedric is a bad person for doing what he did.

    About the spreading seas thing, it might be easier to ask them to set the land apart from the other lands just a bit further, without havin to turn it upside down, though there are many ways to try and keep that kind of stuff straight!

  2. Personally I think the Cedric thing is hilarious. I wish I could have been there to see it. I mean sure it’s kind of a dick move, but it’s tournament level magic, his opponent need to get it together. Good article though. I alays like reading things from a judge perspective.

  3. I think the Cedric thing is a HUGE dick move, and I’m always disappointed when I hear people doing that. The intent was obvious, the error miniscule. To jump on that and ruin someones day seems just terrible to me.
    Would the world really crumble if people just acted like decent human beings when they’re PLAYING A CARD GAME?

    The dude obviously wanted to draw two with the Esper Charm, if Cedric was really confused, he should have asked “what mode are you using?” This is really poor sportsmanship in my mind.

    That said, loved the article. I agree players should be as clear as possible. Though I wouldn’t want to turn around my Spreading Seas’ed lands myself, because that’s information you want to have out in the open (if you have an oblivion ring, for example, it’s good to know what lands you can ‘free’). But it’s obviously just a tip, others may like it. Good article!

  4. meh, if it was casual playing and someone did this then it would be a dick move. This was a tournament cedric’s opponent should have been more careful. Just because a phrasing maybe accepted by friends doesn’t mean it’s proper. Players should make themselves are clear as possible when doing anything in a tournament. They are playing for a prize. Cedric followed the rules and the judge agreed. Maybe his opponent learned something.

  5. Good article! Though it does make me feel pessimistic about how cynical some some tournament-level players clearly are. What gets me about the Esper Charm scenario is that Cedric clearly thought something was up when he repeatedly asked his opponent for clarification, so why didn’t he just ask ‘Which mode of the spell are you using?’ and have done with it? He phrased his question in such a way that he could choose to interpret the answer in a way his opponent never meant him to. I think he was spectacularly unsporting; he might not care about that, which is his right, but I know I’d never do it, even with $5k at stake. Having said that, if my opponent asked me the exact same question twice and then called a judge over, I’d like to think I would be especially careful about what I did next!

  6. Yeah the Cedric move was horribly cheap, come on the guy is a “pro” player he knows what the card does and what the intent was he just manipulated lack of communication to get the advantage. It would of been alright to do it in the finals because your trying to win no matter what, but in the early rounds it makes you look like a chump.

    And to be honest this is why I don’t play paper magic anymore because of all the shortcuts and people trying to sneak ways in with cheating and card stacking. Plus I never liked having a 8 year old kid scout my deck out and go tell his dad everything I have in my deck, followed by being paired up with him next round. Anyway good article

  7. I would have done what cedric did. Its not cheating. Is it ethical? who cares, im not playing for the nobel prize, Im playing for more a nice some of cash.

  8. In regards to your Spreading Seas bookkeeping, I would caution against turning your lands upside down. This type of workaround can lead to their own problems. What I have found to work is have the lands that have been ‘converted’ in a separate land row, which is sufficient to differentiate. Another option, and one that is highly likely to preclude any problem with which land is ‘converted’ switching, is to jot down (on that same pad as your life total) what lands got Spread.

    Level 1 Judge, CT

  9. I don’t think it matters what this makes of Cedric’s character. For those who think Cedric should’ve been a “nice guy”, it makes no difference. There will be opponent who use these advantages, and they should try. Its up to the player to make sure he doesn’t fall into these ruling traps.

    I also think ruling by intent is a horrible idea. The rules are there to be as definitive. By allowing an “intent” call, the rulings become much more subjective. I do not remember all this ruckus over countering a demigod of revenge. Clearly, if you go to counter it you don’t want it in play, but when the player wasn’t clear, he got “punished” for it. This is the same situation. If ruling by intent was established, then the play mentioned above would always lean towards the favor of the player countering the demigod.

    Mistakes happen and minimizing mistakes is part of what makes players good.

  10. Ugh, sorry for all the horrible grammatical errors. I wrote it piecemeal and didn’t proof at all. I believe the meaning can still be deciphered.

    (This seems ironic to me, but it was not intended to prove a point.)

  11. On one hand it is a bit of a dick move to call someone on a wording like that. But on the other hand he is 100% correct in the ruling and even if it’s not in the ‘spirit’ of the game to call something like that, it is also a contest that contests quite a large sum of money at the end of the day, and rules need to be followed to keep the integrity of the game at that level.

  12. Regardless of how much “in the right” cedric was, it doesn’t make me like him as a person any more -_- Even at a PTQ or Pro Tour I would let the guy draw cards, because i knew what he -meant-.

  13. Those who know me know that I don’t care much for Cedric, but in this situation I don’t think Cedric is at fault. Considering that it was tournament level magic, not FNM, and that he confirmed with his opponent before calling the judge and then asked for his opponent to clarify again to the judge what he was doing. The player had multiple instances to make clear his intent and each time stated the same play. I don’t think his opponent should get a free pass for sloppy play.

  14. Zwick — It’s not really relevant what rule violations you would let slide. This discussion is about the rules of MtG and how to play better yourself at events governed by those rules.

  15. As Snafu mentioned… sometimes you have to read the card. As Rhythmik said, the opponent could have said I choose to draw. Instead, he simply said “targeting myself.” Because the only mode that targets is to discard, it makes sense that the opponent had to discard.

    I don’t to add fuel to the fire so to speak, but I ask you this. If an opponent has a Dark Confidant in play and chooses not to reveal the card that he draws with the Dark Confidant during his upkeep (or fails to even resolve the trigger), this use to be a strict game loss. Then it was a warning.

    Now consider you’re in the top 8 of a GP, and this happens. A judge is sitting right there watching the game. Your opponent fails to reveal with Dark Confidant. There’s a warning.

    In the third game of the match you have absolutely no outs, with two Dark Confidant’s on board. The first trigger resolves as usual, but your opponent misses the next and simply draws a card rather than resolving that trigger… the judge stops the match for a ruling.

    The intent is clear- the opponent simply wants to draw his cards, and finish you off. But because of a game state error, he’s rewarded a game loss, and loses the match because of it.

    Of course, stranger things have happened: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/eventcoverage/gpchi09/welcome#16

    But does winning this game mean I’m a poor sportsman? Does this one sloppy play by his opponent make Cedric a shady player?

    I think not. Rules govern how we all interact, otherwise, with takebacks, etc. we’d all have a much larger mess to contend with….

  16. Wow!!! What a jerk. Getting all picky over a cards text like that to help win the game. This is good to know though for when I go to events. Never knew such thing happened.