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Knowledge Pool Scenarios » Post: Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

April 29, 2015 04:05:31 PM

Michael Zimmerman
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy))

USA - Central

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

Greetings, Judges!

Welcome back to another exciting Silver-level Knowledge Pool scenario. As usual, L2+ judges should wait until their FNMs before they reply. The blog post can be found here.

During a Competitive REL event, Albus is at 15 life and has a Terra Stomper in play. Neville is at 2 life with an Alabaster Kirin, an Arashin Foremost and a Serra Angel in play. Albus declares the Stomper as an attacker and passes priority to Neville. Neville, annoyed, picks up his creatures and puts the Angel, the Kirin and then the Foremost in front of the Stomper, saying “triple block.” Albus glances at the board state and says “sure” and goes back to writing some notes on his score pad. After finishing with the notes, Albus looks at his hand and proceeds to cast Coordinated Assault, targeting his Stomper. Neville considers for some time and then casts Anticipate. Finding an Ajani's Presence, Neville finishes resolving the Anticipate and then casts the Presence, targeting the Serra Angel. Neville then asks, “Trade the Kirin for your Stomper?” Albus responds with, “No, kill your Kirin and Foremost.” Neville responds with “But that's not how they are lined up… Judge!”

What do you do?

Edited Josh Stansfield (April 29, 2015 05:15:33 PM)

April 29, 2015 04:33:56 PM

Talin Salway
Judge (Uncertified)

USA - Southwest

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

Before reading other responses:

The initial problem here is that Albus should have explicitly declared a damage assignment order for Terra Stomper, before either player got priority. Once he casts Coordinated Assault, he's failed to do so. So, he's committed a GPE - GRV. Neville had a chance to clarify the order of blockers before Coordinated Assault got cast, but also failed to do so, and so has committed GPE - FtMGS.

But, did they really? Neville apparently believes that he placed his 3 blockers in a certain order, suggesting this damage assignment order to Albus, and Neville believes Albus is using this as the damage assignment order. It's worth investigating here whether Albus believed he had actually ordered the damage assignment as Angel, Kirin, Foremost and is now changing the order, whether he hadn't considered the order and is now picking it, and how well he understands the rules - did he think that damage assignment choosing came after players got a round of priority?

In any case, this is likely to remain a GPE - GRV for Albus. There's a partial fix available - Albus picks the damage assignment order now. Albus will also receive a warning. Depending on my discussion with Neville, he's probably receiving a warning for GPE - FtMGS.

Customer-service wise, we have to consider how to deal with Neville here. This ruling does not go in his favor. I would explain the situation as follows -

“While the blockers were physically on the board in a certain arrangement, it was you who put them in that order, not Albus. Albus hadn't declared an order for blockers when he started to cast Coordinated Assault. If you're unclear about what the actual damage assignment order is, you'll need to clarify that with your opponent. I understand you may have played differently had you known what the damage assignment order was. However, the only rule that was broken here is that Albus didn't declare his order before casting Coordinated Assault, and the policy is for that situation, to not rewind the game, and just declare an order now.”

After reading other responses:

There's no responses yet. :)

Incidentally, I think this scenario might be based off of a call I had during GP San Jose. Or it could just be coincidence.

April 29, 2015 06:07:10 PM

Elaine Cao
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy))

Canada

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

I'm not really sure what the answer is, but I'm curious why the notes are mentioned. I would want to know what AP scribbled down.

April 29, 2015 06:57:47 PM

Mcrae Hott
Judge (Uncertified)

USA - Midatlantic

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

I would explain how the declare blockers step works and maybe the whole combat phase works if any additional questions arise. Albus attacks with his Terra Stomper and Neville blocks the Stomper with his three creatures. Albus gets (must) choose which order his Terra Stomper deals damage not Neville. This failed to happen at the appropriate time. Albus cast Coordinated Assault making his Terra Stomper a 9/8 with first strike. Neville responds with Anticipate then casting Ajani's Presence targeting his Serra Angel, making it a 5/5 with indestructible.

In my opinion too many spells have been cast to consider a back up (as well as cards drawn). I would issue GPE-GRV to Albus and have him choose the damage assignment order now. It seems both players passed priority and proceeded to the Damage step. I would watch to make sure the damage step(s) play out correctly as Terra Stomper will deal its damage before and of Neville's creatures and it doesn't seem that Neville realizes this.

April 29, 2015 11:09:49 PM

Dave Tosto
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy))

USA - Midatlantic

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

My guess is that Albus gets a GPE- GRV for forgetting to specify blocker order in the declare blockers step, and Neville gets a GPE-FtMGS for failing to point out this error.

As for the fix, backing up the game is out of the question. Both players revealed some very relevant hidden information with the Coordinated Assault and Ajani's Presence. Plus, the idea of trying to back up through a resolved Anticipate makes me cringe. How would you even do that? The card taken with Anticipate is unknown to the opponent, so you'd have to return a random card from hand and the bottom two cards of the library to the top of the library, potentially leaving him with the Ajani's Presence in hand and letting him choose a different card while putting an unwanted card that was in hand on the bottom. If the idea behind backups is that players' line of play remains the same minus the error, then this sounds like a complete nightmare.

So no backing up. But we have a new partial fix that applies. The DTK policy changes as laid out by Toby Elliott here tell us “If someone forgot to declare blocker order and it's become relevant, just do it now.” I think this is what judges did anyway because it makes the most sense, but now we have an official source to support it. Albus gets to now declare the blocker order. This is a potential feel-bad for Neville since two of his creatures are going to die, but I would explain that there is no reasonable way to back up the game to the point of the error, and we need the blocker order to be specified to continue with combat damage. Also that he too is responsible for catching errors in game play made by his opponents, in order to avoid sticky situations like this.

April 30, 2015 12:18:49 PM

Thiago Perígolo Souza
Judge (Uncertified)

Brazil

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

I agree almost completely with Dave Tosto, AP commited GPE-GRV for not declaring the damage atribution order as soon as the blockers were declared and NAP didn't pointed out this mistake at the first opportunity (when the AP casted Coordenated Assault), so he receives GPE-FtMGS, warnings for both.
Only point I desagree is that we only consider backups when there is no partial fix for the situation, and now we have a partial fix for these situations: “If someone forgot to declare blocker or attacker order and it's become relevant, just do it now.”

April 30, 2015 12:35:44 PM

Andrew Keeler
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy))

USA - Southeast

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

Correct me it I'm wrong, but isn't the policy to apply relevant partial fixes first, and then (maybe) back the game up? If so, why are people at such pains to explain to Neville why we aren't backing up the gamestate? If he specifically asks why the game is not backed up, we would probably be best served by responding like this:

“I realize that it's disappointing that you are losing two creatures instead of one, but it is Albus' decision in which order he wants to assign damage to your creatures. You should be careful to make sure that he clarifies in which order he is assigning damage to your creatures, so that you can make a fully-informed decision before making any plays that might change the combat math. As things stand right now, we need a damage assignment order to proceed with the game, and our policy documents (the IPG) state that in this kind of situation where a damage assignment order has not been specified, the attacker should specify that order now. Rewinding the game is a discretionary decision that is applied in situations where there are no specified remedies (called partial fixes) to the gamestate, and then only if rewinding would be fairly simple and unlikely to affect how the re-started game plays out. Combats like this, where multiple decisions have been made, are the reason why we have a partial fix for this kind of error.”

Approaching the matter in this way lets us explain the policy and remedy to Neville, explain how he can avoid this situation in the future, and also avoid giving the impression that there was a possibility that a rewind could have happened in this situation (otherwise he will feel like it's the judge's fault he lost two creatures this combat, since the ruling might have ‘gone his way’ in another instance).

April 30, 2015 12:40:48 PM

William Hughes
Judge (Uncertified)

USA - South

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

Active player gets GPE-GRV for not assigning blocker order. Due to number of decisions and complex/imperfect nature of rewinding through anticipate I would not backup.

Non-active player gets GPE-FtMGS for not immediately calling attention to this error.

Because AP stands to gain significant advantage from this line of play I feel some very brief investigation is warranted. I find it curious that notes were mentioned and would definitely want to see them. This error was most likely accidental.

April 30, 2015 08:10:46 PM

Kai Clark
Judge (Uncertified)

Greater China

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

After:
I seemed to have mixed up my rule knowledge and forgot about assigning damage… In this case I would agree with the others. Albus should have assigned his damage, he didn't thus GRV and Neville would get FtMGS for failing to pick this up.

I would still ask Albus some questions to see if he was taking advantage of this situation, as his actions seemed a bit confusing.

Before (Dead wrong, feel free to skip Not so dead wrong as I thought :P):
I think its safe to say that a back-up is no longer in question, as an anticipate was played along with two combat spells. Whilst it would be possible to back up the actions, there is too much information known to both players, hence I would leave it as it is.

I would award Neville a GRV - Warning for failing to announce order, however this would depend on how the creatures are ordered. If they are ordered in a clear distinct fashion (Angel, followed by Kirin, followed by Foremost), then I might not give him a penalty, and focus on asking Albus questions.

However assuming that it is not ordered in a clear manner, then the GRV stands, and Albus would also receive a FtMGS as he considered the order and had enough time to ask what the order would be (considering he played a combat trick).

I'm might also ask some questions to see if Albus knew if the order had to be announced, and what he assumed the order was and why. If so I would consider awarding him USC - Cheating if he knew it had to be announced and was taking advantage of that.

I would then leave the game state as it is, ask Albus to announce the order to block, and award the penalties.

Edited Kai Clark (May 1, 2015 03:41:12 AM)

May 1, 2015 01:10:30 AM

Jon Lipscombe
Judge (Uncertified), Scorekeeper

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

While A would have to specify the amount of damage assigned to each creature, the GRV committed is earlier than that. Failing to announce the order of blockers in the Declare Blockers step means that the subsequent spells were played with an unclear boardstate and thus lead to confusion.

I agree that the fix here is to get A to clarify the order of blockers, and I really like the way Andrew phrased his ruling to present it in the most gentle fashion - this is a good skill I'd like to model :)

Originally posted by Kai Clark:

After:
I seemed to have mixed up my rule knowledge and forgot about assigning damage… In this case I would agree with the others. Albus should have assigned his damage, he didn't thus GRV and Neville would get FtMGS for failing to pick this up.

I would still ask Albus some questions to see if he was taking advantage of this situation, as his actions seemed a bit confusing.

Before (Dead wrong, feel free to skip):
I think its safe to say that a back-up is no longer in question, as an anticipate was played along with two combat spells. Whilst it would be possible to back up the actions, there is too much information known to both players, hence I would leave it as it is.

I would award Neville a GRV - Warning for failing to announce order, however this would depend on how the creatures are ordered. If they are ordered in a clear distinct fashion (Angel, followed by Kirin, followed by Foremost), then I might not give him a penalty, and focus on asking Albus questions.

However assuming that it is not ordered in a clear manner, then the GRV stands, and Albus would also receive a FtMGS as he considered the order and had enough time to ask what the order would be (considering he played a combat trick).

I'm might also ask some questions to see if Albus knew if the order had to be announced, and what he assumed the order was and why. If so I would consider awarding him USC - Cheating if he knew it had to be announced and was taking advantage of that.

I would then leave the game state as it is, ask Albus to announce the order to block, and award the penalties.

May 5, 2015 08:52:51 PM

Michael Zimmerman
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy))

USA - Central

Line ‘em up, knock ’em down - SILVER

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's Knowledge Pool!

As was noted, the initial problem here is that Albus failed to declare the order of damage assignment for the 3 blockers used by Neville. As such, Albus has committed a GPE - Game Rule Violation.

Additionally, since Neville didn't notice this and correct it at the appropriate time (prior to the casting of the Coordinated Assault), Neville has committed a GPE - Failure to Maintain Game State.

Both players will be assigned a Warning as a result.

The recent changes to the IPG provide us with a simple partial fix to this situation - simply have Albus declare the order of the blockers.

We would like to give a shout out to Andrew Keeler for the very well worded answer, explaining why everything is happening and being very understanding for the players.

Again, thank you for participating and stay tuned for the next Knowledge Pool scenario!!