I just talked to a friend who went to Minnesota to play in the Fantasy Flight Game week end. So we are new to Game of Thrones and he decides to play in the tournament after he played in the Warhammer tournament. In the warhammer tournament the new cards that came out last week were legal. So my friend just figured that the new GoT cards must be legal as well. So becau8se we has a very small card pool he puts them in not knowing they were no legal.
In his very first game he plays one of the illegal cards an the guy he is laying say6s it is not legal yet. So my friend explains to him that he is new and did not know, but the guy makes the huge deal of it. He calls over a judge and makes sure my friend gets disqualified and is very rude to my friend. My friend would have easily gave him the win because he was not there to win, but just to learn the game.
So now my friend has about the worst experience he could have had in this game. We were both looking forward to going to Gencon to play GoT, but know I just don’t know.
I'm sorry your friend had a bad experience - and I'm sorry that his opponent pushed the issue in such a negative way.
It sounds like there were a bunch of misunderstandings that got carried away. The first thing I'd want to know was when, where and if FFG had announced the legal cards for the event. Did your friend have enough time and warning to "clean" his deck before the event? And which cards did your friend have that were illegal? From your comment that they weren't legal "yet," I would guess they were from the most recent Chapter Pack (The Wildling Horde). New players should not have been expected to know the old FFG rule that cards that had been in retail release for less than a week (as The Wildling Horde pack was at the time) are not legal for tournament events. And with a CP less than a week from release, they should have had a reminder announcement when people were registering. Sounds like if the staff at the Event Center had been on the ball with this issue, it could have been avoided.
I'm not sure from the information here what the reaction was when your friend's opponent noticed and asked about the illegal cards. What did your friend do? Did he offer to remove the offending card from the game? Did he offer to forfeit the match and then go talk to the TO? Or did he just shrug and say "I'm new; I didn't know. Your move." Honest mistakes in deckbuilding are not unheard of - the two most common examples are forgetting to check the banned list and putting a "House X only" card from a different House into the deck. Sportsmanship is usually the primary indicator of how "honest" the mistake is. The usual policy at AGoT events has been that when the first honest mistake is are found in a player's deck, the individual game is forfeited, the offending card(s) are removed from the deck and the player is only disqualified from the event completely if that then brings the deck below the legal minimum of 60 cards. Rebuilding the deck between rounds is usually not allowed, but there have been some instances where compromises have been made. If after these efforts, a second mistake is found, that's when the player is usually "summarily" disqualified.
Point being, there is precedent for a way to handle the situation that could have been used before anything hurtful or offensive happened. It sounds like the opponent may have over-reacted and that the judge may not have defused the situation very well. It should never have gotten to the level it did, and the judge should not have let the opponent "make sure" your friend was disqualified.
Anyway, sorry for that little rant here, but as someone who has judged many AGoT events, including GenCon, it bothers me that the TOs let it go this far. AGoT players usually display a great deal of understanding and sportsmanship and the situation you describe is not unknown or new. Most work with the judges and the player who has made an honest mistake to come up with a fair solution for everyone - and allows all players to continue in the event if at all possible. I've seen a lot of incredible sports in AGoT. For example, I've seen someone lose their deck between rounds and their opponent help them find it and start the round late instead of taking the automatic win. I've seem people forget to stand their characters in the Standing phase and their opponents remind them half way through Marshalling. I have seen veterans help newbs rebuild their decks between rounds in draft tournaments (where rebuilding between rounds is legal).
Usually, this community looks at "friendly competition" and emphasizes the "friendly" instead of the "competition." It is one of the things that has long attracted many of the more mature players from other CCGs to the game. I'm sorry this experience was so distasteful to you and your friend. It sounds like a couple of small things went wrong and added up to a big thing. I hope you will not let the one experience sour you on AGoT events or the community. It really is the exception more than the rule in my experience.