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Serious misplay captured in Worlds stream

Welcome to Stimhack, @Kage! Good to see you commenting on your first day as part of the Stimhack community. Always great to see new voices join the discussion. Best of luck in this brave new meta, too!



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When to call a judge has a little bit of nuance and I think you are asking a really good question here. I feel comfortable enough with the topic to respond to it, but know that I am only speaking as a person who has played in a few tournaments and someone who has judged at a GNK and store champ level, not as someone who has judged at a premier level event.

You should always call a judge if you want to. I think when I went to my first big tournament I was really wary about calling a judge, and it felt really good to get over that. A tournament is more fun when you can call a neutral party any time there are any rules problems you need to clear up.

There is merit to call a judge when your opponent makes a mistake, especially when it benefits them. If the mistake warrants a warning, those warnings are documented and it might let a pattern of suspicious behavior to emerge.

That said, assuming the mistake was easy to rewind (no hidden info was gained, we both remember what the game state should be) I usually wouldn’t call a judge just because the opponent made a mistake. A few reasons, some of them good-hearted and some of them lazy:

  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.

  2. I prefer to trust the goodness of my opponent.

  3. I wouldn’t want my opponent to get a game loss if it is something I don’t feel like is a big deal.

I think if you and your opponent are doing some serious rewinding of a game state, or you can’t figure out how to rewind a game state, you really do need to call a judge for that and sometimes it results in game losses being issued. That’s not ideal but it’s a necessary negative of Premier level events: sometimes there is no fair way to rewind a game state and in the interest of fairness there’s nothing else you can do.

I recommend reading through the Floor Rules. They are really well thought out and should make you feel better about when to call a judge and when you don’t really need to.


When in doubt, call a judge. We recently discussed this here: Judge Calls and Etiquette


Incidentally, if we are talking about improving the floor rules:

What about fixing the discrepancy between how the floor rules refer to different tournament tiers (Casual, Competitive, Premier) and how the fundamental event document refers to different tournament tiers (Relaxed, Formal, Premier).

This is clearly what we should be talking about.


Thx Sanjay! Very helpful. Just read through the floor rules you posted right before your response here:)

The reason I brought it up here is that I wasn’t fully satisfied with the discussion in the Judge Calls and Etiquette thread. I tried writing a post several times to express my ideas, but I couldn’t get it out right. The judge call in this clip is a good example of what left me uneasy with the other thread. So let me try:

Everyone draws their own line on what is reasonable to “just rewind” versus calling a judge. But there are clearly different motivations for judge calls. One possible motivation is to keep the game going along as fairly as possible…and when that cannot happen then a match loss may be given. Some folks–w/ greater executive functioning than I–may draw their fair-to-rewind line at zero mistakes. Good for them. That’s an excellent standard for the game and not necessarily cynical in the least. Against that standard judges should be called often. I don’t know anyone who actually subscribes to that standard, though, and I know many people who would be forgiving of benign misplays. But yes…each player gets to set their own standard of fairness.

An entirely different motivation is to call a judge even if you feel that the misplay was benign and you’ve not lost any meaningful advantage. That would be cynical rather than sporting.

Usually we can’t distinguish player motivations because we can’t read minds. But here we have a player who verbally reveals the motivation behind the call…and it’s the kind of motivation that will sustain the stigma around calling judges. In an ideal world, judge calling would have zero stigma. But that will never happen when some players pursue opponent misplay as a worthy win condition for our game, even when they (apparently) consider the misplay benign by their own standard.


I like to think that this particular event has been a bit high profile because it is out of the ordinary. Just as I would like to trust in the goodness of my opponent with regard to game play errors, I would also like to trust in the goodness of my opponent with regard to judge calls.

I mentioned in the last post that sometimes whether or not you should call a judge is a bit nuanced. But if you are tired, unsure, or haven’t thought through the exact situation you are in, the question is not nuanced: absolutely call a judge. It’s hard enough piloting two decks through long rounds of swiss; additionally keeping the floor rules crisp in your mind is not your responsibility as a player.

I think stigma against calling a judge should be combated and you can do some things to help:

  1. Always be respectful and open to an opponent calling a judge.
  2. Offer to call a judge or just call a judge when you sense your opponent might be put more at ease with a judge’s help (ex: “No, this is definitely how the card works.” “Are you sure?” “Pretty sure, but let’s call a judge and double check.”).
  3. Call a judge on your own errors as vigilantly as you would your opponent’s errors.

I spoke with both players from this game and both agreed that no further discussion of the incident was necessary. Please take anything further to the more general judge call thread.