Please keep the forum protocol in mind when posting.

Competitive REL » Post: Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

June 13, 2019 11:31:55 PM [Original Post]

Jonathan Johansen
Judge (Level 2)

Europe - North

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

At a recent event, a player had brought two different standard decks in similar boxes and sleeves. After having lunch and moving the boxes around, the player took out the wrong deck, shuffled without looking, and drew their starting hand. This was where I was called.

The Judges had some discussion during the event. From what I gather, this should “by the book” be a Deck Problem, discovered during opening hands, with a warning and letting the player swap decks. Then, we should instruct the player to mulligan.

I have heard opinions like“we need to do this to preserve integrity, policy serves its purpose”, “this is an unfortunate corner case and while we should follow policy, it doesn't really need to apply here” and “I'd be perfectly fine deviating from policy here.”

Had the player managed to present a Modern or Legacy deck instead of another legal deck for the format, I would want to deviate from policy. I have a hard time justifying any other ruling (though if you have an idea on how to do so, I'm all ears). Now, I'm less certain.

What's your take? Do you agree with policy? Is this simply significant and exceptional?

June 15, 2019 02:01:40 AM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

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

USA - Northwest

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

This is a Deck Problem, because they presented a deck that doesn't match their list, nor what they intended to play. It's a fairly silly mistake, and - once corrected - won't have much impact on the match, but that doesn't influence the penalty, nor define the infraction.

While there is potential for advantage, it's extremely unlikely that a player would attempt to Cheat in this manner. And, again, potential for advantage (utterly massive or not) neither defines the infraction, nor influences the penalty. Potential for advantage should influence our investigation; nothing more.

As noted above, this is neither significant nor exceptional, so those reasons for deviating don't apply. There's no policy support for us to ignore that part, where we “instruct the player to mulligan”. I applaud those who feel sympathy for the player who makes a minor mistake - but sympathy is not a reason to deviate.

d:^D

June 14, 2019 02:44:59 AM

Eli Meyer
Judge (Level 2)

USA - Northeast

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

I'm assessing a penalty here, but not Deck Problem–I'd treat this as Slow Play. They're three minutes into the match, and they haven't even begun to shuffle their deck. Everything they did with not-their-deck is irrelevant to the match.

June 14, 2019 02:58:04 AM

Brock Ullom
Judge (Level 2)

USA - Northwest

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

I think TE-Deck Problem is sufficient and properly fixes the issue at hand. We can go into the rabbit hole that can cause a whole bunch of other problems stemming from this but for this scenario I think bringing out the correct deck and force mulliganing works.

June 14, 2019 06:07:19 AM

Brook Gardner-Durbin
Judge (Level 2), TLC

USA - Northwest

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

Originally posted by Eli Meyer:

I'm assessing a penalty here, but not Deck Problem–I'd treat this as Slow Play. They're three minutes into the match, and they haven't even begun to shuffle their deck.

While this is a tempting idea, I ultimately disagree. I don't think many judges would want to issue slow play if the player had presented their deck and drawn from it before the round started, and we shouldn't decide which ruling to give here based on the exact amount of time that has passed. If the player presents the wrong deck and draws a hand from it, they should get the same fix, regardless of whether the round started 3, 2, or 1 minute/s ago, or is about to begin.

I agree with calling this a deck problem.

June 14, 2019 10:47:27 AM

John Barkestedt
Judge (Level 1)

Europe - North

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

I'm very disinclined to deviate generally, so I'd be hard pressed to make a deviation from the fix as written here. Perhaps it feels a bit like punishing the player rather than fixing the situation the fix is supposed to fix?
I don't think it is unfair though, because essentially the same kind of mistake that creates most deck problems is what happened - a player wasn't careful with their cards or deck(s) - and just applying the fix that's always applied for the same infraction seems correct to me and fair to every player involved (fair in the sense that the judges go by the book).

But maybe my understanding of ‘significant and exceptional’ is too strict?

June 14, 2019 12:30:22 PM

Federico Verdini
Judge (Level 2), GP Team-Lead-in-Training (TLTP)

Hispanic America - South

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

While I believe this should be issued as a Deck Problem and give the player a warning, this is mainly for educating the player and tracking the mistake.
In my opinion this is actually significant and excepcional enough to deviate. Is significant enough since the player is actually about to play a game with a deck they didn’t intend to play with, and we’re not even sure if this “new” deck was even legal, a draft deck or a vintage one. And I believe it’s also exceptional enough since I don’t expect this to ever happen at an event (even though it just did :)). Also, the player called us as soon as they realized the problem, so there was no potential for advantage, something that could have been really different if for example they got to know the deck their opponent is playing.
In fact, we’re already kind of deviating since the letter of the IPG doesn’t really apply here, but I think we all agree on the basic remedy that we want to apply, by just having the player swap decks and sideboard.

June 14, 2019 02:38:49 PM

Isaac King
Judge (Level 2)

Gainesville, Florida, United States of America

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

Originally posted by Federico Verdini:

Also, the player called us as soon as they realized the problem, so there was no potential for advantage

There is potential for advantage here, the player could choose not to call you over if their hand was good. It's a pretty dumb cheat to try to pull off, but I've seen players do dumber. :)

June 14, 2019 06:16:57 PM

Olivier Jansen
Judge (Level 2)

USA - Northeast

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

The utterly massive potential for abuse of bringing out a “ better” deck to play makes me inclined to say “play the right deck”. Additionally, I’m agreeing somewhat with slow play kind of fitting - player has not presented their deck yet, they’ve presented an unrelated stack of magic cards. Additionally, while not really a factor, the penalty involved roughly matches the level of potential for abuse.

June 14, 2019 11:26:19 PM

Isaac King
Judge (Level 2)

Gainesville, Florida, United States of America

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

Originally posted by Olivier Jansen:

The utterly massive potential for abuse of bringing out a “ better” deck to play makes me inclined to say “play the right deck”.

I think you may be misunderstanding the question here. No one is arguing to have the player keep using that deck, the question is about what penalty they receive and whether their new hand is 7 cards or 6 cards.

June 15, 2019 02:01:40 AM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

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

USA - Northwest

Presenting the wrong deck - Deck Problem & Forced Mulligan

This is a Deck Problem, because they presented a deck that doesn't match their list, nor what they intended to play. It's a fairly silly mistake, and - once corrected - won't have much impact on the match, but that doesn't influence the penalty, nor define the infraction.

While there is potential for advantage, it's extremely unlikely that a player would attempt to Cheat in this manner. And, again, potential for advantage (utterly massive or not) neither defines the infraction, nor influences the penalty. Potential for advantage should influence our investigation; nothing more.

As noted above, this is neither significant nor exceptional, so those reasons for deviating don't apply. There's no policy support for us to ignore that part, where we “instruct the player to mulligan”. I applaud those who feel sympathy for the player who makes a minor mistake - but sympathy is not a reason to deviate.

d:^D