Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Journey Into Nyx Policy Changes – For Players/Judges and /r/Spikes to complain about.

[Guest post by friend-of-the-blog Lucas Siow.  Send props to him, angry letters to me as usual. FYI - skim this post for context: JOU Policy Changes  -MJS]

Posted on April 28, 2014 by a level 5 commander player

With the latest policy update, there’s a major change to the Electronic Device policy for Competitive and Professional REL. We wanted to make it really hard for casual players to use their phones to keep track of life totals while minimally impacting the ability of serious scum bags to game and abuse the system.
It can be summed up easily: Don’t use them during matches or any other “official” times (drafts, deckbuilds, etc). Its only ok to use them while taking a fake bathroom break, while looking at the pairings board and when appropriately hidden under the table as you pretend to drop things a (aka you are Mike Long). Taking a brief personal call is OK in an emergency – as a competitive magic player you probably have a lot of an important things going on outside of the tournament and we believe that.  If you happen to be in the group of honest, non-emergency suffering magic players, we would appreciate if the 11 of you  could leave your devices in your pocket until the match is over.
We tried having a policy to define what could be done with devices, but like most things which involved computers it ended up having too much downtime. We are committed to Stability, Performance and integrity in all of our decisions. We swear. We were planning on going with the make the same promise year after year until nothing gets fixed route, but the current policy was really out of date with regards to the capabilities of devices. We wanted people to behave themselves, but gamers are finding needle in the haystack exploitable loopholes which is just an unlucky feature of how popular magic is. We had the choice of writing a complex and ever-changing policy and immediately enforcing it without soliciting any outside advice/feedback or taking the cleaner route of disallowing them entirely during matches. Based on our experience with previous: Rules Changes, Pro Player Club Changes, MTGO PTQ announcements, GP rules changes, Magic Coverage, PT invite alterations and prerelease statistics we have decided that mixing both strategies was the safest course. Devices may be used freely at Regular REL; because - seriously - who tryhards at FNM? Outside Assistance rules still apply to those who names don’t rhyme with vidiguris.
A few players have asked about using video cameras to record or stream matches. This is allowed as long as the device is passive, not consulted, and you have permission of the Head Judge and each opponent. In other words we are calling this the Starcitygames.com Classic invitational Player’s Championship exception. For reference, the following is a list of passive mobile computing devices:
Blackberry Anything.
One other clarification that is not a policy change: at the end of extra turns, players are not allowed to flip over the top cards of their decks to do comparisons or see “how things would have worked out” to determine the winner of a match. We really want to enforce the notion that collusion should only take place between  established players that are well versed in the tournament floor rules and magic culture. The rules do not allow players to look at those cards until the game has ended, and, once the game is over, it’s using an outside the game method to determine an outcome. Instead of that we would prefer if both players only colluded when using very specific legal language. We cant tell you what language to use. But if you propose something we might be able to tell you if you got it right. Unless you werent specific enough. Because that would be coaching. 

Wizards feels very strongly that the game is moving in the right direction. Judges are not supposed to use rational subjectivity in making rulings. Instead we are one step closer to our ideal of irrational objectivity. 

[posted by Matt Sperling but authored by Lucas Siow as noted earlier. - clarifying the auto-author-tag that appears below]

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