Judge Calls and Etiquette

If there’s something strange, in your tournament, who you gonna call?



Just got some time to look at the floor rules, and you’re correct. This seems like it is covered here:

Looking at Extra Cards—Warning
A player looks at a card without being instructed to by a rule, game effect, or ability; a player is instructed to look at a card, but looks at more cards than instructed; or a player resolves an effect that requires a choice between looking at a card and another effect, and the player resolves both choices. Looking at Extra Cards can occur in any game zone, including but not limited to R&D, HQ, the Stack, the Grip, and in play. If a player looks at multiple extra cards in a single action, this penalty is applied only once. If a player puts a card into HQ or their Grip, this is Game Error —Drawing Extra Cards.

Shuffle the extra seen cards with all other unknown cards in that card’s zone until sufficiently randomized. Ice should be replaced in the location it was previously. Be careful to first set aside any known cards from earlier effects, such as Precognition, Test Run, or a run on R&D. After the unknown cards have been shuffled, return all known cards in the appropriate order.

If it is impossible to return the game state to a legal state and it is a premier-level tournament, the penalty should be upgraded to a game loss. For example, if the Runner completes a successful run on HQ and accesses two cards instead of one. There was no legal method for the Runner to access two cards, and so the game state has become illegal.
(p. 8-9, 2016 Floor Rules, emphasis mine)

It’s unfortunate that you got a game loss when the infraction and resolution were so clearly spelled out in the Floor Rules. It’s clear to me from the information you gave that this was not impossible game state to resolve, so the game loss upgrade does not seem warranted.

I guess for the future (at competitive or premier events), it’s good to ask the judge if they can show you in the floor rules what they based the ruling on.

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Side question based on “There was no legal method for the Runner to access two cards, and so the game state has become illegal.”

Do unused counters on Turning Wheel factor in if the runner looks at extra cards in HQ?

For instance, say I have 10 counters on Turning Wheel and I single access HQ but see two cards instead. Is a suitable fix to just take two counters off Turning Wheel and say “let’s just say I accessed 2”?

My instinct is to say no, but that’s an interesting question.

Right? I’m feel like the “there was not legal method for the runner to access two cards” was just there to make the example seem absolutely clear, but Turning Wheel makes it somehow less clear.

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Spending TTW counters after the fact to correct the game state seems open to abuse. As in, “oh, I accidentally saw 2 cards and one was an agenda, oops, let’s just retroactively spend these counters to make it ok”

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This kind of ruling could lead to a new theory of play: be sure to maintain a board state that can retrospectively support your “misplays”. Sinister.


I don’t think it is that open to abuse… if you “accidentally” see two cards you are spending those counters whether you like the cards you see or not.

Whether that is the appropriate ruling is another question.

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I would actually say yes and still give you a warning after the board state is fixed, given that the situation matches the Infiltration example than relying on the author’s knowledge of the cardpool for that statement. The data pack with Turning Wheel was release a few months after the first published Floor Rules, so I’m thinking there was a good chance that they missed updating the specifics of those examples with the following release.

I’m not as concerned about abuse, given that’s the reason for warnings:

Warnings are a verbal admonition to a player that is recorded by the scorekeeper. If a player receives multiple warnings for the same infraction, the penalty may be upgraded. A warning is the most common type of penalty. Warnings are preferred unless the infraction is a serious offense or can be abused easily to give a player an advantage.

If a player receives three warnings for any one infraction during a tournament, that player receives a game loss and the judge should investigate why the player is committing the same infraction so many times.
(p. 5, 2016 Floor Rules, emphasis mine)

That’s why it’s a good idea to check with judges for something shady that may look like a misplay in case it is a pattern.


I find this reasonable.

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Huh. I would have thought the last paragraph applies here. If you see a card in R&D that you aren’t supposed to, you’ve now gained information (“this card is in R&D”) that you didn’t have before and it’s impossible to return the game to a legal state. Isn’t that the same as accessing an extra card in HQ? Since Worlds is a premiere level event, I would think the penalty would be upgraded to a game loss, since you can’t unlearn that information.

Change in game state includes seeing cards, doesn’t it?

I’m curious how you saw the bottom of R&D.

That’s a good point. I assumed that @miek was referring to his own R&D (I think I mentally added “my” when he said “R&D”), but after re-reading, it’s not clear. Since the Corp is generally in control of their own R&D, the details the judge would need is how the runner saw the bottom of R&D and would it fall into revealing hidden information warning against the Corp:

Revealing Hidden Information—Warning
A player reveals hidden information under his or her control without a game effect allowing the reveal.
(p. 11, 2016 Floor Rules, emphasis mine)

But, if it doesn’t fall in that category and it’s a matter where the runner saw a the bottom of R&D (possibly through a mistake cutting or shuffling the deck), than I would agree with you that seeing what card is (still) in R&D is something that is impossible to return to a legal game state (assuming they did not have Showing Off readily available :grinning:).

[quote=“tvaduva, post:32, topic:9429, full:true”]
That’s a good point. I assumed that @miek was referring to his own R&D (I think I mentally added “my” when he said “R&D”), but after re-reading, it’s not clear. Since the Corp is generally in control of their own R&D, the details the judge would need is how the runner saw the bottom of R&D and would it fall into revealing hidden information warning against the Corp:[/quote]

Ah! I assumed it was the runner who saw the bottom of R&D. I would think the Corp seeing the bottom of their own R&D should indeed just be a warning, as they already knew what was in the deck and a shuffle would reasonably randomize it again.


Yeah I was Corp. Playing CI and made the mistake of briefly picking up the smaller pile of cards.


Thanks for clarifying! Sorry about your game loss – that does seem beyond the pale given the rules we’ve seen quoted here.

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I’d agree that so long as judges are being called on these infractions it isn’t an issue since they can identify potential abusers. That said, I think Miek’s case is a great example of a seemingly innocuous but highly abusable misplays. How many times have you been under R&D lock as corp and just want an instant shuffle effect to break it?

While the situations are easily resolvable by players it’s important that judges are called so that abusers aren’t able to exploit this without penalty or infraction escalation.

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I’m not quite sure what you’re saying in your first sentence, but I think we’re in agreement. Hopefully the vast majority of judges rule fairly according to Floor Rules, so that players don’t get discouraged from asking them another time.

I will clarify, that the correct resolution for this issue is to randomize only the unknown cards (see my first quote of the Floor Rules). So, if the runner indexes you, steals one agenda the next run, you would have to set aside the 4 other known cards and randomize the rest then put the known cards back in the correct order. A person that wanted to abuse this infraction would not be able to get out of R&D lock unless it’s the players that came up with their own “creative” resolution.


Good point on the “Known Cards” clause! I had missed that in my reading of the thread and rules.


Another article from a pro mtg player perspective on warnings and judge calls:

Important highlights:

It’s not that I’m trying to “shark” my opponent and get a win because they got their third warning. That has never happened to me and I don’t expect it to.

It seems to me that a large factor in whether or not people call a judge is how likely they think it is that their opponent “should know better.”

Receiving a warning isn’t a statement that you’re a cheater. It simply means that you made a mistake and should try your best to avoid doing it again.

And the top comment from Shea Alexander is valuable:

Asking a judge or telling a judge to give an opponent a penalty is a penalty called Unsporting Conduct - Minor. You are allowed to call a judge. You are allowed to tell the judge what happened. But you are not allowed to lobby for a judge to penalize your opponent in a certain way.


That article is really good and relevant.

On the other thread linked above, I mentioned the reasons why I wouldn’t usually call a judge for minor mistakes that would probably warrant a warning:

  1. Calling a judge every time an opponent makes a mistake sounds tedious and I am too selfish to take the time for that just on the extremely low chance that it will result in some pattern of bad behavior emerging.
  1. I prefer to trust the goodness of my opponent.
  1. I wouldn’t want my opponent to get a game loss if it is something I don’t feel like is a big deal.

While the article is for Magic, not Netrunner, I think it nicely articulates the benefits of a different approach, of calling the judge most times.

I don’t know if my attitude toward calling a judge was changed by it, but I certainly cannot claim any kind of moral high ground with my approach. There are definite goods about being vigilant and not making it easy for people to exploit people’s trust into an advantage that I am skipping out on.