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Competitive REL » Post: Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

Oct. 7, 2018 06:36:27 AM [Original Post]

Jan Grottel
Judge (Level 2)

Europe - Central

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

A controls Underrealm Lich and draws a card normally. Be it either from the draw step or a spell/ability effect. This is not a triggered ability. Assuming (a) no cheating occurred, (b) it's Comp REL and © the drawn card cannot be identified by the opponent, what is the infraction and what is the fix?

As discussed with other judges at the prerelease and PPTQ this weekend four options emerged:

1) This is a GRV, A receives a Warning, a random unknown card from A's hand is returned to the top of A's library, A performs the UL replacement effect action.

While this seems to me the letter of the policy if this is GRV and a backup is performed, it is open for abuse. If my hand is 2 blanks for example, I draw my card for the turn, there's 66% chance a judge will move a blank to the top and I'll get the chance to put it into the graveyard with the Lich's ability.

2) This is a GRV, A receives a Warning, no backup.

This is more “safe” for the game state than 1), number of cards in A's hand is correct, they just denied themselves card selection from UL by forgetting the replacement effect.

3) This is a GRV, A receives a Warning, put 2 cards from top of the top of A's library to their graveyard.

While a clear deviation, this was suggested by two independent judges. This would closest fit the game state if the ability was resolved correctly, similarly to the scry/surveil shortcut. While I realize they are not the same thing, it kind of fits. As this is a deviation I'm not leaning towards this option, but I'm including it since it came up more than once.

4) This is a HCE. Following the rule of thumb one judge cited - If it fits a narrower definition than GRV try to use that instead. As A put a card from this library to their hand illegally when they were supposed to use the replacement effect of UL instead of drawing, they drew instead. Only hidden information was used and cards were in a hidden zone and moved to a private zone without opponents permission (one assumes).

If this is HCE - opponent chooses one previously unknown card from A's hand. The card is put in a set with 2 cards from top of A's library and A performs the UL action on that set.

Oct. 29, 2018 10:20:54 AM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

Scott Marshall
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Regional Coordinator (USA - Northwest), Hall of Fame, L3 Panel Lead

USA - Northwest

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

Sorry for the delay!

Short version: GRV, if the top two cards haven't changed, mill them now.

Longer:

Investigate: did the player know either of those top two cards? and, maybe, want (need?) to keep them on top? Most likely, this is just as innocent as a forgotten trigger (but not a trigger, obv!); in rare cases, this could be an opportunistic cheat.

The error can be corrected with public information, as the location of those cards is known; we don't have to know the identity of the cards, just their physical location. Consider an example, where I have a Morph, you use Run Aground to put it on top of my library, and I forget to reveal it before I set it on my library: we just reveal it, because it's physical location uniquely identifies it.

If either or both of those top two cards have moved, the partial fix may no longer apply, except in obvious cases - you make me mill three cards before we realize I forgot the Lich, so we just mill two more, no harm done. In general, use your best judgment to apply the remedy; perhaps a simple backup, perhaps we have to leave it as is.

d:^D

Oct. 7, 2018 09:15:59 AM

Leonardo La Marca
Judge (Level 1), Scorekeeper, Tournament Organizer

Italy and Malta

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

I really like the rule of thumb = if you can be more specific about a GRV, then don't just GRV, so I'm leaning heavily towards the 4th option.

good question as usual!

Edited Leonardo La Marca (Oct. 7, 2018 09:16:23 AM)

Oct. 7, 2018 09:17:32 AM

Chris Wendelboe
Judge (Level 2)

USA - Northeast

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

You forgot an option….

5) No penalty, have player finish resolving the effect by putting the top two into the graveyard. Note this is only applicable if nothing has happened since the card was drawn.

I'm not sold on which of these options is the most correct, but this is one that had come up in local discussions. I don't recall getting a final answer there, either. Is this a request for an (O)fficial answer?

Oct. 7, 2018 09:49:38 AM

Scott Marshall
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Regional Coordinator (USA - Northwest), Hall of Fame, L3 Panel Lead

USA - Northwest

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

This is also being discussed among the L3s, and once we get an ‘O’fficial answer there, I'll share it here. Meanwhile, locking this, for the sake of those who don't like all our speculation…

d:^D

Oct. 29, 2018 10:20:54 AM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

Scott Marshall
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Regional Coordinator (USA - Northwest), Hall of Fame, L3 Panel Lead

USA - Northwest

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

Sorry for the delay!

Short version: GRV, if the top two cards haven't changed, mill them now.

Longer:

Investigate: did the player know either of those top two cards? and, maybe, want (need?) to keep them on top? Most likely, this is just as innocent as a forgotten trigger (but not a trigger, obv!); in rare cases, this could be an opportunistic cheat.

The error can be corrected with public information, as the location of those cards is known; we don't have to know the identity of the cards, just their physical location. Consider an example, where I have a Morph, you use Run Aground to put it on top of my library, and I forget to reveal it before I set it on my library: we just reveal it, because it's physical location uniquely identifies it.

If either or both of those top two cards have moved, the partial fix may no longer apply, except in obvious cases - you make me mill three cards before we realize I forgot the Lich, so we just mill two more, no harm done. In general, use your best judgment to apply the remedy; perhaps a simple backup, perhaps we have to leave it as is.

d:^D

Oct. 29, 2018 04:55:51 PM

Isaac King
Judge (Level 2)

Gainesville, Florida, United States of America

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

Thanks for the answer Scott, that makes a lot of sense. I'm a little curious why it's still a GRV if the game hasn't progressed past the draw. The way I'm looking at it, the player has done part of the required action and called you over before doing the rest, so why can't we just say “no infraction, finish milling two”? Similar to if a player draws 6 cards for their starting hand- we don't call that MPE, we just say “please finish drawing your hand of 7.”

I'm also a little confused by calling “mill two cards” a partial fix, as it doesn't seem to fit any of the fixes in the IPG. (Specifically, it doesn't fit the "If an object is in an incorrect zone " fix because the identity of the cards is not known to all players.)

Oct. 29, 2018 05:32:07 PM

Eser Unger
Judge (Level 2)

German-speaking countries

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

Originally posted by Isaac King:

Thanks for the answer Scott, that makes a lot of sense. I'm a little curious why it's still a GRV if the game hasn't progressed past the draw. The way I'm looking at it, the player has done part of the required action and called you over before doing the rest, so why can't we just say “no infraction, finish milling two”? Similar to if a player draws 6 cards for their starting hand- we don't call that MPE, we just say “please finish drawing your hand of 7.”

I'm also a little confused by calling “mill two cards” a partial fix, as it doesn't seem to fit any of the fixes in the IPG. (Specifically, it doesn't fit the "If an object is in an incorrect zone " fix because the identity of the cards is not known to all players.)

Hello!

I have had that exact situation happen at a pptq last week.
The HJ and I rules HCE and the players accepted that and understood.

I think why it fits the GRV more is that taking the card into your hand is no illegal action itself, we just assume you coose that one card out of the 3. because of that the other 2 cards need to go to the graveyard as fixing the situation. of not puting two cards into the graveyard.

At least this is how a few judges and I talked about it and agreed why this makes actually more sense as HCE and the thoughtseize fix.


Originally posted by Scott Marshall:

Short version: GRV, if the top two cards haven't changed, mill them now.
What to do if they changed? leave as it is?


Greetings,
Eser

Oct. 29, 2018 09:51:57 PM

Eli Meyer
Judge (Level 2)

USA - Northeast

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

Originally posted by Isaac King:

I'm a little curious why it's still a GRV if the game hasn't progressed past the draw. The way I'm looking at it, the player has done part of the required action and called you over before doing the rest, so why can't we just say “no infraction, finish milling two”?
I'm confused on the exact same point.

With triggers, I like to repeat advice I've been given on the topic: there's no such thing as a “forgotten” trigger, only “missed” triggers. That is to say, if we've advanced the game past the point where the trigger could happen, then it's gone. However, if nothing in the game state has has proven the trigger impossible, then the player can still benefit from the trigger's effects, even if they tell us they “forgot” it at an earlier point in the turn.

Of course, Underrealm Lich isn't a trigger, so that's not applicable directly. But I don't understand why here, we'd decide a rule has been broken based solely on a player's mental state, even though nothing in the cards is anyplace it couldn't legally be. Scott, can you help clarify?

Nov. 2, 2018 12:22:54 PM

David Hibbs
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Regional Coordinator (USA - South)

USA - South

Underrelam Lich - HCE or GRV

To answer the question on “why is it still a GRV if the game hasn't progressed past the draw?”

This comes down to the rules text of Lich:
“If you would draw a card, instead look at the top three cards of your library, then put one into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.”

The instruction is not “draw a card.” The instruction is “look at 3 cards. Pick one and put it into your hand and mill the other 2.” The player did not follow the instructions (to wit, did not follow a game rule put in place by the card).

If you truly feel that the player knew about the top card and intended to take that one and mill 2… so be it. I would not argue with that ruling. For example, they had already scried and knew they had Banefire on top for the win… ok, I can get behind that. On the other hand, if the player simply DID NOT FOLLOW a game rule… that is a GRV. The bottom line is that there are cards in a zone where they should not be after properly applying the (modified) game rule: one card should be in hand, and two other cards should be in the graveyard.

There will be times that forgetting this ability (e.g. RULE) is an advantage, and times where it is a disadvantage–just like many other rules violations. We do not generally worry about how beneficial the mistake is, except for using it to decide how much to investigate for intent or cheating. Assuming this was accidental, we still give the warning to remind players to play carefully, to educate on following procedures, and to document that things went wrong (in case we later find a pattern). There are many cases where we could say “no big deal” yet we still give warnings, and there is nothing here that warrants an exception; a rule was not followed.

Note that this is quite different from how we handle triggered abilities, because our policy on triggers is written such that you are very specifically allowed to miss many triggers without penalty. Lich, as noted, is not a triggered ability. That takes it to a place where you must follow the rules. When you don't, there is a penalty (and often a fix).

To address the question from Eser, as to “What should we do if the top cards changed?” : Our policy on GRVs answers this pretty clearly. For a GRV without a partial fix, we have two options: perform a backup, or leave the game state as-is. While it is conceivable that a specific situation may make it possible to perform a backup, I find it much more likely that I will leave the game state as-is. We must be careful to not take the mistake already made and turn it into an even greater error or advantage.

Regards,
–David Hibbs
L3, Regional Coordinator, USA - South