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My thoughts on "angle-shooting"

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dylan

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Tonight on Twitter, I had an conversation tonight about the recent discussions on angle-shooting with some people that I talk to quite a bit. Twitter is not a very good place to have discussions, especially for me when I try to be as clear as possible and use proper punctuation, so I decided to get my thoughts down on paper so to speak. For context, this discussion and many others got started by an incident this weekend by Kent Ketter in round 10 of the SCG Modern Open. The clip is here for reference. Keep in mind that I am not a judge in any capacity for the DCI. I was a Rules Advisor last year, but that holds no power and is irrelevant.

I want to get my opinion on that incident out of the way first then go into my overreaching point. The judge call as was reported on the /r/magictcg thread about the situation was handled as best as it could be. Neither player brought up the fact that Kent physically moved his graveyard that could easily be interpreted as exiling it. There's nothing the judge could've done in that situation. They can't read minds. Was it arguably scummy? Sure it was, but I won't fault anyone that uses the rules as they currently stand to their advantage when a significant amount of money is on the line. There's a fine edge there though.

There's been a long history of angle-shooting and feel-bads throughout the history of competitive Magic. A game as complex as this can't possibly eliminate all the corner cases and feel-bad situations. The rules attempt to be consistent across all cases. The current trigger rules are that triggers can be missed and the opponent is under no obligation to point them out for you. They haven't always been that way though. The rules used to be that all triggers must be pointed out either by the person who "owns" the trigger or the opponent. These led to arguably more feel-bad scenarios. It also lead to more suspicions of cheating and it's hard to determine intent versus they just forgot that it was a mandatory trigger. The rules now are much more sensible and reasonable  I will focus on competitive rules enforcement level and not regular rules enforcement level in my arguments.

Why should a player be forced to essentially "help" their opponent remember their own triggers in a competitive game? They have to waste brainpower making sure their opponent is using their cards to it's fullest potential while still ensuring that they are playing by the rules and also at a high strategic level. What is the difference between an opponent missing a trigger, and forgetting to activate an ability? Should we remind our opponents of what their cards do? Where's the line there? Should we force to ask our opponent if they wanted to do a "may" trigger when they didn't acknowledge it?

One "feature" people have is that we are really good at pointing out problems, but we are terrible at pointing out reasonable solutions. Are the current rules perfect? Of course not, but I think these are as close as we can get to emulating realistic human behavior and intuition. It just doesn't make any sense logically to force players to basically help their opponents with their cards in a competitive event. Forcing people to do so is way worse than any angle-shoot or feel-bads that can happen. It's unreasonable to enforce "feelings" or ethics in the rules of such a complex game Magic is. Magic has millions of players all with different views on different topics. It's entirely subjective, and subjective-ness should not be a feature of the rules of a game. Things need to be consistent and be intuitive and work naturally and they do as they currently stand.

Now, with that being said, I don't want angle-shooting to be a part of the game, but that's why I got out of competitive Magic. I recognized that it was unreasonable to ask that of other people especially in a competitive scene with real value on the line. Not everybody will have the same sense of ethics as each other. That's why they have no place in actual rules. It inevitably leads to more situations like the one that spurred this conversation in the first place. Not everybody will agree on what's right or wrong ethically. I want to focus more on legality than if something is proper to most people's ethical code. The rules are this way for a reason, they've changed over the history of the game. These rules work intuitively and don't force unreasonable expectations on both players.

 


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I agree that it shouldn't be a part of the game and it puts Judges in a bad situation.  Wonder if @Molimo has seen this before while judging 

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Problem with feature matches:

You are required to keep all card on camera for the most part.

You'll see judges tell people to move a pile if it isn't on camera a lot, but this plays an issue with dredge because you need to splay your grave across the mat a lot so you don't have a huge room to play.

 

That's all I saw because the card went off camera which can be considered cheating also.

Competitive is not a fun format.

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I'm not too familiar with angle shooting other than what little I've read and this article, but it seems like in this case the player intentionally tried to cheat by hiding his graveyard.  The judges can't read minds but it appeared to be intentional

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Ketter got away with one, and his sponsor made a lame-ass 'apology'. You don't move your graveyard like that by accident. Notice how it's generally not the very best players, but the wanna-be pros, that often have to act like this. It's pretty sad, and I wouldn't want to be on a team with somebody who has to stretch the rules. 

I really hate that every single trigger has to be announced so blatantly. If it's not a MAY ability, it should just resolve. Period. The card has an obvious ability. 

This is one reason I don't want to get into competitive magic.

FWIW, I do often help people at our casual games, or even pre-releases. If they miss a trigger or misread a card, I am fairly forgiving (unless they are a prick) and let them fix the situation. I don't necessarily actively think for them, but I can notice when a card or ability has not been done properly. It's going to affect me, one way or another, so it's worth it to me to spend that mental energy. 

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2 hours ago, JesGolbez said:

Ketter got away with one, and his sponsor made a lame-ass 'apology'. You don't move your graveyard like that by accident. Notice how it's generally not the very best players, but the wanna-be pros, that often have to act like this. It's pretty sad, and I wouldn't want to be on a team with somebody who has to stretch the rules. 

I really hate that every single trigger has to be announced so blatantly. If it's not a MAY ability, it should just resolve. Period. The card has an obvious ability. 

This is one reason I don't want to get into competitive magic.

FWIW, I do often help people at our casual games, or even pre-releases. If they miss a trigger or misread a card, I am fairly forgiving (unless they are a prick) and let them fix the situation. I don't necessarily actively think for them, but I can notice when a card or ability has not been done properly. It's going to affect me, one way or another, so it's worth it to me to spend that mental energy. 

The whole thing is if the OP misses a non-optional trigger too many times in a game you win the round.

Thats why they do it.

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It's rare to see, and most people up here are good about catching stuff like that, but I myself missed a trigger at Tuesday modern that almost cost me a game (forgot my Chalice of the Void trigger on an overloaded spell with appropriate CMC as to be countered by the trigger).  Something like that I often just beat myself up over as a learning experience.  I mostly judge at regular REL, where a missed trigger, if caught within a turn, can be placed on the bottom of the current stack with an undocumented warning unless it becomes pattern.

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On 10/27/2016 at 9:02 PM, Molimo said:

It's rare to see, and most people up here are good about catching stuff like that, but I myself missed a trigger at Tuesday modern that almost cost me a game (forgot my Chalice of the Void trigger on an overloaded spell with appropriate CMC as to be countered by the trigger).  Something like that I often just beat myself up over as a learning experience.  I mostly judge at regular REL, where a missed trigger, if caught within a turn, can be placed on the bottom of the current stack with an undocumented warning unless it becomes pattern.

Which just leaves corner cases like Chalice of the Void where the spell it would have countered is no longer on the stack, so the trigger being put on the stack is meaningless- the spell isn't there to be countered any more. Round 4 or 5 of the Eternal Weekend legacy tournament, this happened two turns in a row, the owner of the Chalice "forgetting" that his spells would get countered, opponent also not noticing, the forgetful Eldrazi player winning the match, finishing number 1 seed heading into top 8

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