So my friend played in a PTQ recently and was disqualified after going undefeated through the first half of the tournament. This is the situation he described:
I cast Talrand, then cast Thought Scour targeting myself. I resolved Thought Scour then went to put a drake token into play. My opponent said, "No", and I immediately realized I'd done it out of order. I said "right" or "ok" or something like that. I'm not sure exactly sure what words I said. I re-read Talrand and saw that it's not a may ability, so I called a judge. The judge asked my opponent and I what happened, and my opponent said I'd passed the turn after Thought Scour. I told the judge I was fairly certain I didn't, but that I didn't remember exactly what I said.
The head judge ruled that I had actually passed the turn and was lying about what I'd said to gain an advantage, and he DQ'ed me from the tournament.
Being undefeated and then getting disqualified on a sketchy ruling is really harsh. First, he was resolving the Talrand trigger when his opponent says “No.” Sure, you did it out of order, but your opponent is, knowingly or not, misrepresenting the ability. Is that along the same lines as, say, misrepresenting your life total, or the number of cards he or she has in hand?
Second, the head judge was not watching the game. He just arbitrarily decides that a person is lying and disqualifies said person? This is a situation where one player says he passed the turn, and the other player says he did not pass the turn. From the judge’s perspective, either player will gain an advantage based on the ruling: my friend gets a creature if the judge rules he did not pass the turn, the opponent doesn’t have to deal with said creature if the judge rules he did not pass the turn.
If the opponent hasn’t even started untapping, I think it’s extremely loose to say that the action is not within the turn cycle, as defined in the IPG. Regardless, I don’t want to be afraid to call a judge for a ruling in case the judge declares that I am lying and disqualifies me. Axe the trigger, fine, if that’s what you think is right, but your position of power is also a responsibility to be fair and prudent towards the players. I don’t know what my friend did to look like he was deliberately lying, but I can’t imagine his argument was any more suspicious than his opponent’s.
This was quite a horrible thing to have happen for my friend. Even if the DCI investigation rules that the head judge misruled, he lost the chance of winning the PTQ for the blue envelope. Personally, I’m just getting into a habit of rereading cards and rechecking life totals whenever anything is close or unclear. “You’re attacking me for 10 damage? And you have me at 11 life, correct?” I don’t want to lose a game because I forgot to mark down a random point of damage (Vapor Snag?) then opt not to block or something. Basically, I’m done with assuming things are clear. We have judges, and we have physical cards in front of us, the time lost from double-checking is miniscule compared to the headaches caused from weird/complicated judge rulings.