When Ivan contacted me and told me that he needs a HJ for the PTQ i was quite glad. I wanted to start judging higher level tourneys in order to accumulate knowledge experience. This is my first time being HJ at this kind of tournament. I was HJ for a number GPT in the local store or at the GP, but this was a little different.

He told me that they expect about 80 people.

PTQ Challenges

Challenge 1: There were 88 players registered and the location would accommodate up to 75.  The organizing staff managed to squeeze in some more tables and the playing area was ok.

Challenge 2: This was a sealed RTR tournament, so the judges had to check all checklists in the first round. I assigned all 4 of the judges to do that and they finished in time.

Challenge 3: The new IPG and Policy changes for Competitive play. I announced at the beginning of the tournament to the players that these had changed and they need to know their responsibilities, and also the judges (at the judge meeting) of what they had to know. It was a joy to find out that we had no issues on this and everyone was ok with the new changes.

Challenge 4: Judge experience. I had a local L2 aiding me, and he was a great helper. He had vast knowledge on MTG rules, policy and tournament stuff. But the other 3 judges were newly L1, and i was a little unsure about them knowing all the requirements and expectations. There were few issues, but they got it going.

Facts

The tournament started a little late because of the TO’s issues with the logistics, but the players understood that and the tournament went ok. We had few tables in time extensions and the general time was ok. We had a few rounds when we were able to catch up precious minutes, and even had time to have Lunch-break. Things turned out good. Also i had time to talk to each of the judge and note their progress and future development.

The player breakdown by country :

Bulgaria – 65
Greece – 12
Macedonia – 7
Romania – 4

This makes this tournament, the biggest in this area up to date, since Romania had only one PTQ of 60 players, and the previous In Bulgaria was at 70+ Players.

There few problematic rules questions, and the floor judges sorted them out pretty fast and clear. The language barrier was never a problem as all of the players knew English good enough to explain the game state, or to understand the ruling. Also the floor judges were all bulgarians and the could communicate with the majority of players easily.

One of the communications problems were when someone had a multicolored creature cast (i think a Rakdos ragemutt) and had a Lobber Crew on table. He cast the multicolored creature and wanted to tap the Lobber crew for one damage, but his opponent said that the ragemutt already resolved. This was clearly not the case, as the judge making the ruling observed that the opponent did not understand that the Lobber crew’s second ability is a triggered one and goes on stack on top of the multicolored spell.  The issue was sorted out fast, and the controller of Lobber Crew was allowed to tap the creature for damage then untap it when its second ability resolved.

Conclusions

For me, being a HJ, was a new kind of role and i tried to do my best. The new part came out when i am required to watch and delegate tasks to other judges, and see to have the tournament run smoothly. Other responsibilities include resolving appeals, and, in necessary, downgrade penalties or deviate from IPG. Also i have to write reviews for my staff :d

I probably go again in Sofia for judging as it is only a 5-hour drive from my home (<400km).

Another thing i wanted to point out is that, opposite of Romania, where the players trust their own local judges and have little trust for foreign judges, In Bulgaria i sensed that the local judges do not receive the respect they deserve when judging. This is probably because of the relations between the judges and players. I am a strong advocate for the respect of judges and i think that a judge must gain his respect by appearance, clarity of communication, confidence in rules enforcing and knowledge. He also must be a nice person to have a chat, and a clear mind of the roundabouts of the tournament he is judging.

I also want to thank Ivan Stefanov (TO, ScoreKeeper, L1), Georgi Benev (L2), Kamen Kamenov (L1), Vladislav Gankov (L1) and Ivan Markov (L1) for their part in this tournament.