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Competitive REL » Post: Choose any number of target

Choose any number of target

June 10, 2019 07:25:19 AM [Original Post]

Che Wei Sung
Judge (Level 2)

Greater China

Choose any number of target

In a MCQ tournament, AP castsl Command the Dreadhorde and ask NAP “OK?”, then NAP replies “Sure”. AP starts to choose creatures and planeswalker he wants to animate and NAP stops him and calls the judge.
NAP says “Since AP asks OK? that means he pass his priority and choose no target for Command the Dreadhorde. I think it is legal without any targets and let it resolve.” AP tries to explain that was not he meant, it is not make sense to play the spell but not choose target.
If you were the HJ of this tournament, you would let Command the Dreadhorde resolve without target and let them continue playing or let AP rewind the spell casting (if you believe AP is not cheating)?

Edited Che Wei Sung (June 10, 2019 07:25:53 AM)

June 10, 2019 02:07:15 PM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

Emilien Wild
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Grand Prix Head Judge

BeNeLux

Choose any number of target

We had this situation three times at MF Taipei.
We made AP chose their targets (if any), and did let NAP responses if they chose so.

Magic tournaments test players ability for superior planning, not pointless technicalities. We don't allow this kind of angle shooting, and we're far from the time of infamous tricks such as the Harrow one (“Player A plays Harrow, sacrifices a land and puts the Harrow into his graveyard. Then he wants to grab his library and search for lands. From a strictly technical point of view it’s too late for that. Because the last thing you do during resolution of the spell is put it in the graveyard, the player has implicitly chosen to search for zero lands.”)

If we want a default choice in case of ambiguous or no communication (such as “Ok means a spell resolves” or “Not announcing the number of targets means you choose 0 targets”), we put that in the Shortcut rules in the MTR. There is no such things for this scenario, so we can't assume or enforce a default choice, but only make the players clarify what is going on.

- Emilien

June 10, 2019 10:27:56 AM

Erin Murphy
Judge (Level 2), Scorekeeper

United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa

Choose any number of target

Originally posted by Che Wei Sung:

AP castsl Command the Dreadhorde and ask NAP “OK?”

I'm personally not a fan of associating “Ok?” with “Does this resolve?” unless explicitly stated. When I play Magic, I want to make sure my opponent knows what card I'm playing so that we're all in the loop and will frequently ask “Ok?” to mean “You know what this card does?” and give my opponent the opportunity to ask what it does and whatnot.

My first port of call is to ensure that both players communicate more clearly in future and be more explicit about what they're asking, while trying to get across the message that it's okay to ask if a player knows what a card does.

I'd be happy to allow AP to continue choosing targets.

June 10, 2019 10:44:07 AM

Milan Majerčík
Judge (Level 2), Scorekeeper

Europe - Central

Choose any number of target

As Erin stated, there can be more meanings to “OK”. There are cultural ditterences and player community differences. While handling such situation I would try to find out what are the local customs and whether Command has been cast before in the match and how did that look like.

It can also happen that the player just may not know how spells work in general…

Also note that it may be beneficial to separate the players as soon as possible in such situations.

June 10, 2019 01:25:07 PM

Isaac King
Judge (Level 2)

Gainesville, Florida, United States of America

Choose any number of target

The vast majority of competitive players in the US use “ok” to mean “resolves”. You should always investigate whether it's been used differently prior in the match (especially if you're in a different culture that may have different customs), but our rulings should reflect how Magic is actually played. Defaulting to “ok is just ok, it doesn't mean anything” allows players to angle shoot by making the opponent think a spell is resolving and then not being held to that statement by a judge.

Especially in this scenario, NAP didn't just say “Ok”, AP asked “Ok?” and NAP confirmed it. I think that makes it pretty clear that the spell is resolving, since AP does not need NAP's permission merely to cast it.


However, AP did not declare 0 targets, AP missed that step altogether. I'd want to investigate to see how well AP knows the rules and determine if I think they were trying to trick NAP into losing their chance to respond. If I think it was an honest mistake, I'd be giving AP a GRV and backing up to casting the spell properly.

June 10, 2019 02:07:15 PM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

Emilien Wild
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Grand Prix Head Judge

BeNeLux

Choose any number of target

We had this situation three times at MF Taipei.
We made AP chose their targets (if any), and did let NAP responses if they chose so.

Magic tournaments test players ability for superior planning, not pointless technicalities. We don't allow this kind of angle shooting, and we're far from the time of infamous tricks such as the Harrow one (“Player A plays Harrow, sacrifices a land and puts the Harrow into his graveyard. Then he wants to grab his library and search for lands. From a strictly technical point of view it’s too late for that. Because the last thing you do during resolution of the spell is put it in the graveyard, the player has implicitly chosen to search for zero lands.”)

If we want a default choice in case of ambiguous or no communication (such as “Ok means a spell resolves” or “Not announcing the number of targets means you choose 0 targets”), we put that in the Shortcut rules in the MTR. There is no such things for this scenario, so we can't assume or enforce a default choice, but only make the players clarify what is going on.

- Emilien

June 10, 2019 02:20:16 PM

Samuele Tecchio
Judge (Level 2)

France

Choose any number of target

I had an opponent tried to pull this on me back in 2015, asking that my Life from the Loam should be resolved without any target. The judge asked him “Why do you want to force your opponent to make a bad play decision?” and allowed me to choose targets.
Since then, I applied the same logic to rulings of this kind.

June 10, 2019 02:53:24 PM

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

USA - Northwest

Choose any number of target

Emilien's answer is excellent, but Isaac did touch on an important point: it's possible that AP was trying something sketchy. Not very likely, at least from the original description - but, as I've said many times, every call is an investigation, even if it's just a 3-second sanity check.

d:^D

June 10, 2019 04:41:22 PM

Elaine Cao
Judge (Level 2)

USA - Central

Choose any number of target

Originally posted by Isaac King:

The vast majority of competitive players in the US use “ok” to mean “resolves”. You should always investigate whether it's been used differently prior in the match (especially if you're in a different culture that may have different customs), but our rulings should reflect how Magic is actually played. Defaulting to “ok is just ok, it doesn't mean anything” allows players to angle shoot by making the opponent think a spell is resolving and then not being held to that statement by a judge.

Especially in this scenario, NAP didn't just say “Ok”, AP asked “Ok?” and NAP confirmed it. I think that makes it pretty clear that the spell is resolving, since AP does not need NAP's permission merely to cast it.

However, AP did not declare 0 targets, AP missed that step altogether. I'd want to investigate to see how well AP knows the rules and determine if I think they were trying to trick NAP into losing their chance to respond. If I think it was an honest mistake, I'd be giving AP a GRV and backing up to casting the spell properly.

At MF Kansas City I played 4c Dreadhorde in the main event, and my standard procedure for casting this spell would be to tap six mana and put a Command the Dreadhorde on the table, then pause and look at my opponent. I'm fully aware of how the card works, but I did this for a few reasons:

1. I don't want to pick up my opponent's cards (out of their graveyard) without their permission, and its often difficult to know what valid targets are in the opponent's graveyard without picking them up.

2. I want my opponent to confirm that I tapped the correct colors of mana for the spell (which in a four color deck is not trivial)

3. I want to confirm my life total with my opponent before choosing targets.

4. I want to see if my opponent will simply concede without me having to spend several minutes choosing targets and resolving the spell and associated explore triggers.

My point is that just because you're casting the spell without picking targets doesn't mean that you're trying to sneak something past your opponent; there are several other reasons why you could be doing this. In particular, with this spell, its very unlikely that you would try to trick your opponent in this way because the “correct” targets are almost always known to both players- since its mostly public information- and its much more likely that the player is sacrificing technically correct play to make the gameplay easier..

I understand that my situation is different from the situation in the OP (I didn't explicitly ask “is this okay”) but I would still be wary of a line of questioning that resolves around whether a player knows how the spell “technically” works, versus asking what their intent was.