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Competitive REL » Post: Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

Dec. 2, 2018 09:53:05 PM [Original Post]

David Lachance-Poitras
Judge (Level 2)

Canada

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

Hi everyone,

Example for the sake of the discussion:
Ashton (a Golgari Midrange player) activates the +1 ability of Vivien Reid, looks at the top four cards, reveals a land card and quickly put the remaining 3 cards at the bottom of their library without shuffling/presenting them to his opponent.

This situation can be adapted to any card with the template “Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order. ” like Militia Bugler

On a pure technical standpoint on policy, this falls under MTR 3.9 - Insufficient Shuffling because he forgot to shuffle part of his library (the remaining cards to be put on the bottom). To be noted that the Cascade ability has the same wording (When you play this spell, remove cards from the top of your library from the game until you remove a nonland card that costs less. You may play it without paying its mana cost. Put the removed cards on the bottom in a random order.)


However, I have trouble strictly enforcing the penalty for those cases for many reasons :

1. Many players (especially the ones with lots of experience) are so used to the use of the older template “put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order” that they hadn't noticed the detail on Vivien's ability text. I observed today at the PPTQ I head judged that even when these players are taught about this, more often than not, they still forget to do the shuffle/present. When asked about this, many players mentioned to me that going through the motions is quite counter intuitive considering the low number of cards that are put back on the bottom this way and they don't see how they could hopefully gain an advantage from putting 3-4 cards in a non-randomized way at the bottom for the vast majority of the cases. I also observed that almost all players do not actively change the order of the cards seen by the ability before putting them back on the bottom. What is even worse in the case of Vivien Reid, is that players can go through the motions on multiple straight turns).

2. Insufficient Shuffling is a tournament Error, which means that the 2nd+ occurence of the infraction gets upgraded to a Game Loss. Considering my previous point there is a reasonable risk that any player who knew about the policy could choose to “Rules Lawyer” their way into playing “Gotcha” with their opponent. What helps is that this infraction used to be so seldom used that most players are not really aware of this infraction or the mention about shuffling part of a library. (And I can bet that some judges weren't aware neither ?)

3. I suspect that the way the infraction was worded before regarding “shuffling/present part of a library” was mainly because of Cascade, which has a higher ceilling of potential abuse when Cascade reveals a great number of cards (Examples: Living End, Restore Balance decks). However, most cards with the new “at random” template operate with 3 to 4 cards to be put back at bottom, limiting risks of abuse to very specific situations, but the tournament policy did not change so mistakes like those can be seen as punished way more harshly than they should.


Should the policy be adjusted to take account of the template seen on Vivien Reid, Militia Bugler and other present/future cards that will adopt this “put the rest on the bottom of library at random” template ?

Edited David Lachance-Poitras (Dec. 2, 2018 09:54:45 PM)

Dec. 3, 2018 08:33:26 AM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

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

USA - Northwest

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

Since no one's playing cards like Cellar Door, it's easy to dismiss this Tournament Error as inconsequential. However, as the game progresses with lots of cards going to the bottom, and fewer & fewer cards left in the library, the ordering of cards on the bottom becomes more relevant.

The first time you see it, it's probably fine to remind them they have to shuffle those cards. After that, TE-Insufficient Shuffling does apply.

However, please don't get stuck on “sufficient shuffling” when there's only a few cards going to the bottom. If they make an effort to mix up the cards, let it be.

d:^D

Dec. 3, 2018 02:52:27 AM

Milan Majerčík
Judge (Level 2), Scorekeeper

Europe - Central

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

Hi David,

While I agree that most players do not care about the randomization in such cases, we have been issuing Warnings for such errors for quite some time. Aetherworks Marvel is an example of a card with the template which saw a heavy Competitive play (2 years ago!).

This is Competitive. Just issue the consistent Warning and the players will learn the lesson…

Dec. 3, 2018 04:22:15 AM

Matt Braddock
Judge (Level 2), Scorekeeper

USA - Midatlantic

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

Many players (especially the ones with lots of experience) are so used to the use of the older template “put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order”

If these players have “lots of experience,” should they also be familiar with Cascade? It is formatted to put cards on the bottom of the library in a random order. The reminder text even has the wording. Edit: I see you mention Cascade in your third point, but I still think it's important to mention since it's counter to your first point, especially since the wording is identical.

We should expect players to follow the instructions of the cards, as we do for everything.

Edited Matt Braddock (Dec. 3, 2018 04:24:39 AM)

Dec. 3, 2018 06:59:02 AM

David Lachance-Poitras
Judge (Level 2)

Canada

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

If these players have “lots of experience,” should they also be familiar with Cascade? It is formatted to put cards on the bottom of the library in a random order. The reminder text even has the wording. Edit: I see you mention Cascade in your third point, but I still think it's important to mention since it's counter to your first point, especially since the wording is identical.

Totally depends whether they played Cascade cards competitively on a regular basis or not. Even then, those players (myself included at the time of Bloodbraid Elf standard or early modern) would shuffle the cards ourselves, then put back on the bottom without even presenting and the opponent did not care. From what I have seen yesterday with Vivien Reid, I see the same behavior (albeit players either shuffle without presenting or put the remaining cards back without actively changing their order beforehand).

The policy for shuffle/present is well understood by most players when it comes to full shuffling. But for partial shuffling either players are not aware of it, or they don't see its relevance, especially in cases where few cards are put in the bottom of the library and the potential of abuse from their point of view is minimal.

Even if we were to educate them with the warning during the event, the fact that this is a Tournament Error does not give them much space in correcting their behavior on the fly compared to a GPE infraction. Old habits die hard, especially if they had been proceding the wrong way for weeks without anybody telling them.

Edited David Lachance-Poitras (Dec. 3, 2018 07:00:28 AM)

Dec. 3, 2018 08:13:15 AM

Matt Braddock
Judge (Level 2), Scorekeeper

USA - Midatlantic

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

I do see your point on players not presenting a randomized small set of cards. I do not think I've ever seen a player present them for opponent's to further randomize, and I've never seen a judge penalize a player for that. That being said, I do see players randomize the cards before placing them on the bottom of the library.

There's an argument to be made that MTR 3.9 only references decks for shuffling and presenting to opponents, and while the cards are sometimes still part of the library (with Cascade, they're in exile), this section does not necessarily apply, and it's only necessarily that it be randomized by some form of shuffling by the player, not necessarily the opponent. Though, as you have brought up, maybe a clarification could be used in the MTR and/or IPG for this.

Dec. 3, 2018 08:33:26 AM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

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

USA - Northwest

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

Since no one's playing cards like Cellar Door, it's easy to dismiss this Tournament Error as inconsequential. However, as the game progresses with lots of cards going to the bottom, and fewer & fewer cards left in the library, the ordering of cards on the bottom becomes more relevant.

The first time you see it, it's probably fine to remind them they have to shuffle those cards. After that, TE-Insufficient Shuffling does apply.

However, please don't get stuck on “sufficient shuffling” when there's only a few cards going to the bottom. If they make an effort to mix up the cards, let it be.

d:^D

Dec. 3, 2018 01:51:40 PM

Tim Boura
Judge (Level 1)

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

If the cards come from the top of the library (already randomized), one is removed, and then they are put on the bottom in the same order does that count as random since they never got sorted - or does the fact that they have been seen mean they no longer count as random?

Dec. 3, 2018 02:01:01 PM

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

USA - Northwest

Enforcing Insufficient Shuffling for Vivien Reid's +1 and Militia Bugler

Originally posted by Tim Boura:

they are put on the bottom in the same order does that count as random
No, definitely not random. From the IPG section on TE-Insufficient Shuffling:
Originally posted by IPG 3.9:

A deck is not shuffled if the judge believes a player could know the position or distribution of one or more cards in their deck.

Now, it's possible to read too much into that, and wonder “well, they know the position of X cards on the bottom, just not the exact order, so is that insufficient?” - nope, as long as an attempt was made to randomize the 2 or more cards placed on the bottom, we're probably fine.

d:^D