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Vorpal Sword

Tournament ethics: watching a game

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I'm currently siting through a first-round bye at a store tournament, and wondering idly what the "right" decision is when you notice a (small) rules issue at a table--say, a missed opportunity to use Gunner, or someone forgets that crossing an asteroid costs you your action.

Do you let it happen, or speak up and affect the outcome?

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Well, Gunner is not a requirement, so no one besides the player owning the gunner should ever mention it.  But for things like an asteroid, or Rebel Captive, or Wedge's ability, those are the rules.  But unless prompted, I try to keep my mouth shut on stuff like that because I feel like I'm being a bad sportsman interrupting someone else's game, especially if I'm only watching part of it, and they've been playing the same way all game.

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If you spot something you feel you really feel is important, ask if you can point it out first. Nobody'll object to that, but some people will take what they view as backseat gameplay very badly.

That's been my experience in the past, as well, which is why I default to staying quiet--and neither of the issues I've seen has ended up making any difference. But it's bugging my OCD...

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Being the host of many tournaments for many game systems, nobody likes outside opinions. In my experience it leaves both the offender and the victim of the mistake feeling as if they were cheated or singled out. Players in competitions are supposed to be experienced at the rules they are using, and mistakes that are not corrected between the players should not be brought to light until after the event. Even a post game discussion when there are still rounds to play could put either player in a poor mood for future games making the experience for other players bad.

 

Best to just keep it to yourself and remember not to make the mistake yourself.

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You could always drop a reminder of mistakes you witnessed AFTER their game is over so that you aren't causing any outside interactions or distractions during their match. But be wary, some people may be put off by it and might not appreciate it, even after the game they were playing is over.

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If it's a violation of the rules, it's perfectly ok to point it out.

If it's a missed opportunity (like gunner) it's outright cheating.

In magic I saw someone violate the rules (nothing major, just an interaction that doesn't come up often) and I asked them to stop while I called the judge. It's no harm to anyone unless one party is actually trying to break the rules. (In the situation olabove I explained to them what happened while the judge walked over. There were a chorus of "ohhhhssss") it's important that you point these things out soon so that they don't get lost.

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I generally share the opinion that it is better to stay quiet unless asked, but there is one time where I did speak up about a rules issue.

 

One tourney player was running Blout+Assault Missiles+Failsafe and was abusing the combination to get repeated splash damage by ignoring that Blout's always hitting keeps Failsafe from working.  I felt that besides getting an advantage this (first) game, he was also going to get an unfair advantage for the rest of the tournament.  It didn't stop me from feeling bad afterwards.  I should also point out that I felt the player honestly didn't know that the two do not work together.

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I generally share the opinion that it is better to stay quiet unless asked, but there is one time where I did speak up about a rules issue.

 

One tourney player was running Blout+Assault Missiles+Failsafe and was abusing the combination to get repeated splash damage by ignoring that Blout's always hitting keeps Failsafe from working.  I felt that besides getting an advantage this (first) game, he was also going to get an unfair advantage for the rest of the tournament.  It didn't stop me from feeling bad afterwards.  I should also point out that I felt the player honestly didn't know that the two do not work together.

This is an example of when you should interrupt.

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I would avoid watching other games for a tournament you are participating in. You could be seen as scouting the competition. 

 

Scouting is an unavoidable consequence of having eyes and a brain. Unless you're going to force people to close one or the other - or kick them out of the store between rounds - it's probably best not to worry about things you ultimately can't police.

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I would avoid watching other games for a tournament you are participating in. You could be seen as scouting the competition.

 

Scouting is an unavoidable consequence of having eyes and a brain. Unless you're going to force people to close one or the other - or kick them out of the store between rounds - it's probably best not to worry about things you ultimately can't police.

It can't be policed and it provides only a questionable advantage. But I ask both players anyway if I'm going to watch a match.

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In a perfect world where everyone's ego and self esteem were healthy and well-formed, then speaking up about a miss-played rule wouldn't be a big deal.

In the actual world we live in, I think my rule of thumb is "if it's bad enough to take over to the TO for them to deal with, then it's worth bringing up." I'd preface it with "I don't feel comfortable interrupting the game, but..." when talking to the TO.

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I wouldn't interrupt the match, I'd merely inform the TO and let him act on it. Only if it's an actual rules violation, however; informing a player about missed opportunities would be coaching, and that's a no-no so far as I'm concerned.

 

I don't know.  In my experience I think both players would be glad for the asteroid example to be corrected so they play it right.  

 

I know in one of my first tourneys, which happened to be a regional and my opponent and I were 3-0, my opponent and I played the injured pilot crit wrong.  I wasn't using Jax ability but continued to use PTL.  Jax,  single-handed, was dancing around wiping out the last half of the swarm and it was down to just Jax and Backstabber.  Things did not look good for Backstabber.  I was on my way to 4-0 when a friend of mine started watching the game and pointed out to me that I shouldn't have been using PTL.  We reread the card and realized he was correct.  

 

At that point I conceded the game and we called a TO over to discuss how we should figure out the points.  Had my friend not pointed it out, I probably would have won and neither my opponent nor I would have noted it. I would have felt horrible had I realized it after the fact.  I'd also have much preferred someone point it out right away so that we could have more accurately finished the game.

Edited by AlexW

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I wouldn't interrupt the match, I'd merely inform the TO and let him act on it. Only if it's an actual rules violation, however; informing a player about missed opportunities would be coaching, and that's a no-no so far as I'm concerned.

 

I don't know.  In my experience I think both players would be glad for the asteroid example to be corrected so they play it right.  

 

I know in one of my first tourneys, which happened to be a regional and my opponent and I were 3-0, my opponent and I played the injured pilot crit wrong.  I wasn't using Jax ability but continued to use PTL.  Jax,  single-handed, was dancing around wiping out the last half of the swarm and it was down to just Jax and Backstabber.  Things did not look good for Backstabber.  I was on my way to 4-0 when a friend of mine started watching the game and pointed out to me that I shouldn't have been using PTL.  We reread the card and realized he was correct.  

 

At that point I conceded the game and we called a TO over to discuss how we should figure out the points.  Had my friend not pointed it out, I probably would have won and neither my opponent nor I would have noted it. I would have felt horrible had I realized it after the fact.  I'd also have much preferred someone point it out right away so that we could have more accurately finished the game.

 

 

I still don't understand why this is hard to understand:  This is a rules violation.  Not an opportunity that was missed to use Gunner.  

 

Typically: 

You have to remember your own cards for beneficial triggers.  Also "may" triggers may be missed.  

Positive or negative triggers that are required and do no say may should not be missed if they are seen and if its a sanctioned event. 

In watching an event, it is most courteous to make no noise or comments, or even ridiculous facial expressions (this completely destroyed a game i had waiting on a surprise card in Magic, think of it like making a great but unexpected move on your dial and someone goes OOOOOOH).  

However, a bystander could politely point out a rules violation or ask the TO to do so.  They are not allowed to say: "You forgot to use Gunner."  

 

--

 

In cases where the bystander cannot understand this, they should be asked to stop watching the game, as per either the players or the TO's or another bystander's request.  

In line with this thought, players at a non-publicized (televised) event should be able to at least request that they not be watched, however should also recognize that its likely inevitable that people will come watch, for whatever purposes of scouting or boredom. 

Edited by Blail Blerg

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If you see them making large mistakes (like the Blount-Failsafe one), talk to the TO first and have him come over.  If it's a small thing (forgetting Gunner, taking an action after running over a rock), just mention it after the game.

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