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Casey's Guide to Missed Triggers



 
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Desmonthesis



Joined: 20 Aug 2007
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:19 pm    Post subject: Casey's Guide to Missed Triggers Reply with quote

Our trigger policy has changed quite a bit recently, and in the interests of consistency, I would like to offer a primer on how exactly the new missed trigger policy works, how to handle various types of triggers, and how to penalize for this particular infraction. The current method of doing things is (in my opinion) the best, as it emphasizes the key philosophy behind missed triggers, that they are invisible and easy to miss, and we don't want to force players to play the game for their opponents.

When handling a missed trigger call, the very first thing that needs to be determined is whether or not the trigger was actually missed. The line of demarcation in this case is whether any game actions have taken place after the point at which the trigger should have RESOLVED. This is very important - as long as the game has not progressed past the point where the trigger should have resolved, that trigger has not been missed, even if many game actions have happened in between when it triggered and when it should resolve.

Examples:
  • Player A casts a Thragtusk. Without saying anything else, he then proceeds to cast a Farseek. When he goes to mark his life total change, Player B stops him, saying that he has missed the trigger.

    In this case, Player A has taken an action past the point at which Thragtusk's trigger should have resolved (casting a Sorcery). Therefore, Player A has missed his trigger.

  • Player A controls a Counterbalance and a Sensei's Divining Top. Player B casts a spell. Player A, without saying anything, activates the first ability on Sensei's Divining Top, and once he finishes, says, "resolve Counterbalance trigger." Player B stops him, saying that he has missed the trigger.

    In this case, Player A has not missed the trigger. Activating Sensei's Divining Top's first ability can be activated while other objects are on the stack, so there is no evidence to suggest that the game has progressed past the point where Counterbalance should have resolved. Player A will be able to resolve his Counterbalance trigger.

Once you have determined that the trigger has actually been missed, then you need to determine what kind of trigger it actually was. There are now two categories of triggers that we will have to be dealing with:

  1. TRIGGERS WITH A DEFAULT ACTION - These triggers are identifiable by the fact that the player who controls the trigger has the option to do something, and if they do not, something else happens.
    Examples:
    • Pact of Negation - "At the beginning of your next upkeep, pay {3}{U}{U}. If you don't, you lose the game."
    • Transguild Promenade - "When Transguild Promenade enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you pay {1}."
    • Albino Troll - "Echo {1}{G} (At the beginning of your upkeep, if this came under your control since the beginning of your last upkeep, sacrifice it unless you pay its echo cost.)"


  2. ALL OTHER TRIGGERS - If a trigger doesn't fall into the above category, then it falls under this one.
    Examples:
    • Pyreheart Wolf - "Whenever Pyreheart Wolf attacks, each creature you control can't be blocked this turn except by two or more creatures."
    • Aven Squire - "Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)"
    • Jace, Architect of Thought - "+1: Until your next turn, whenever a creature an opponent controls attacks, it gets -1/-0 until end of turn."
    • Academy Rector - "When Academy Rector dies, you may exile it. If you do, search your library for an enchantment card, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library."
    • Vendilion Clique - "When Vendilion Clique enters the battlefield, look at target player's hand. You may choose a nonland card from it. If you do, that player reveals the chosen card, puts it on the bottom of his or her library, then draws a card."


Which type of trigger that it is is going to affect how we handle the resolution of the problem. You should also ask, at this point, when the trigger was supposed to happen, and how far past that point the game has progressed.

In the case of a Trigger With A Default Action, we are going to resolve the default action immediately without using the stack. Any abilities that might trigger from resolving the default action will still trigger and go on the stack as normal, but players will not get to respond to the resolution of the default action. This will happen regardless of how long ago that the trigger was missed. This is the one section of this policy where there is no time limitation.

  • Example: Player A casts an Avatar of Discord ("When Avatar of Discord enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you discard two cards."). Three turns later, both players realize that Player A never discarded any cards for the Avatar's triggered ability. The default action of sacrificing the Avatar should be done immediately, and then the game should continue.

When handling all other missed triggers, you need to determine how long ago in the game that the ability should have triggered. If it was more than a turn ago (a turn being from the phase in one player's turn to the end of that same phase in the next player's turn), then the trigger is considered as though it never existed. This also applies in the case that the duration of the effect created by the trigger has expired.

If that window has not passed, then the opponent should be asked if they would like that trigger to be placed on the stack. If they say yes, then place the trigger at the bottom of the stack (or at the appropriate place on the stack, if the stack from when it triggered is still there). If that trigger requires choices, no choices can be made that would not have been legal choices at the time the ability should have triggered. If they say no, treat the trigger as if it didn't exist.

  • Example: Player A forgets his Dark Confidant trigger during his upkeep ("At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost."). At the end of Player B's turn, they both remember that Player A forgot his trigger. Since more than a turn has passed, the trigger is treated as though it did not exist.

  • Example: During his postcombat main phase, Player A casts Yeva's Forcemage ("When Yeva's Forcemage enters the battlefield, target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn."). He passes the turn without mentioning the trigger. In Player B's upkeep, Player A realizes that he forgot his trigger. This was caught within a turn, but since the duration of the trigger has expired ("until end of turn"), the trigger is treated as though it didn't exist.

  • Example: Player A controls a Demonic Taskmaster ("At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature other than Demonic Taskmaster.") and a Dark Impostor. He forgets his trigger during his upkeep, and during his Precombat main phase, he puts a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield. When he moves to combat, Player B notices that Player A forgot his trigger. In this case, since it was caught within a turn, and has no default action, we ask Player B if he wants the trigger to be put on the stack. If he says yes, Player A is not allowed to sacrifice the 2/2 Zombie because it was not on the battlefield when the ability should have triggered, so he must sacrifice the Dark Impostor.

Finally, we need to determine whether we are going to give the player who missed the trigger a warning for Missed Trigger or not. The opponent of a player who misses a trigger can never be penalized for their opponent missing a trigger. The controller of the missed trigger will only receive a Warning if the triggered ability is generally considered detrimental for the controlling player. We do not take the game state into account when determining this; we are going with a general accounting.

How do we determine whether a trigger is detrimental? The general rubric for this is whether the effect is something that the controller of the ability generally wants to happen, or whether it's something that they put up with because the card is really good despite the drawback. Use your judgment, and feel free to consult with other judges before making a ruling if you are unsure.

  • Example: Dark Confidant - "At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost."

    This ability is something that players play the Confidant for, so it is considered a beneficial ability. No warning should be given for Missed Trigger.

  • Example: Azor's Elocutors - "Whenever a source deals damage to you, remove a filibuster counter from Azor's Elocutors."

    Removing those counters is usually something that players will not want to do, so this is considered a detrimental ability. A warning for Missed Trigger should be assessed for missing this ability.


But what about the corner cases where a beneficial ability could be considered detrimental? (Dark Confidant when my opponent is at a very low life total; Jin-Gitaxias when my opponent has fewer than 7 cards in their library) Shouldn't they get a warning? Remember, we do not take the game state into account for whether to give a warning for Missed Trigger. However, the fix for these abilities takes that into account - if they are missed within a turn, the opponent of the player who controls them gets to decide whether they will go on the stack. Also, if a player is constantly missing these types of triggers in these situations, it is a place to investigate, as intentionally missing your own triggers of any kind other than "may" triggers is still Cheating - Fraud.

I hope this was informative and educational, and if anyone has any questions following this, I will be glad to answer them in the topic or in the chat at any time!
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Kabelis



Joined: 27 Jun 2010
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Example: Dark Confidant - "At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost."

This ability is something that players play the Confidant for, so it is considered a beneficial ability. No warning should be given for Missed Trigger.


Quote:
Also, if a player is constantly missing these types of triggers in these situations, it is a place to investigate, as intentionally missing your own triggers of any kind other than "may" triggers is still Cheating - Fraud.


I feel like this is the VERY definition of inconsistency in the rulings...

Saying that "game state isn't taken into account when determining whether the ability is beneficial. No warning should be given for Missed Trigger." and then later making a contradicting statement "If a player keeps 'forgetting' these triggers in these situations it may be considered cheating - fraud" is quite silly..

I'm sure no one would consider it cheating when some new player keeps forgetting their shrine of burning rage counters, but consistent forgetfulness of dark confidant trigger which is defined exactly the same way (beneficial) as shrine of burning rage trigger by the rules can be considered cheating eventually..

Basically I just hate this claim that "game state isn't taken into account" when it, in fact, is..

I also get that wizards are trying to work out this whole mess themselves and we can expect more fixes in the future.. It's still pretty annoying.
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Desmonthesis



Joined: 20 Aug 2007
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kabelis wrote:
I'm sure no one would consider it cheating when some new player keeps forgetting their shrine of burning rage counters, but consistent forgetfulness of dark confidant trigger which is defined exactly the same way (beneficial) as shrine of burning rage trigger by the rules can be considered cheating eventually..

If you are honestly forgetting your triggers, you'll never be DQ'd for cheating. Then again, if you have to be reminded over and over again by a judge to remember your triggers, we might just start looking at you to see if either you have short-term memory problems or might be doing it intentionally.

The only way to get DQ'd for missing a trigger is to intentionally ignore your own triggered abilities. If it's not intentional, then no DQ. Simple as that.
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Livermush



Joined: 05 Aug 2012
Posts: 319

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I'm playing a league match on MWS (trial, mini, whatever) and I play Thragtusk, do I have to say "Thragtusk triggered ability etc" or can I just gain the 5 life?
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Desmonthesis



Joined: 20 Aug 2007
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Livermush wrote:
If I'm playing a league match on MWS (trial, mini, whatever) and I play Thragtusk, do I have to say "Thragtusk triggered ability etc" or can I just gain the 5 life?


As long as you don't take any actions that would require the stack to be empty beforehand, then you can just increase your life total and that's fine.
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xJudicatorx



Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 696

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Desmonthesis wrote:
Livermush wrote:
If I'm playing a league match on MWS (trial, mini, whatever) and I play Thragtusk, do I have to say "Thragtusk triggered ability etc" or can I just gain the 5 life?


As long as you don't take any actions that would require the stack to be empty beforehand, then you can just increase your life total and that's fine.


To expand on that answer, the only time you have to *say* something is if the trigger would have been invisible. Pyreheart Wolf's triggered ability is a good example as is the Exalted mechanic - you have to say something to denote that these triggers have happened. If you have a trigger with an action though, doing that action is evidence enough that you didn't forget it.
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YiiiMTG



Joined: 11 May 2012
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you need to mention your triggers, i dont know why counterbalance is not includet. When I cast a spell and my opponent didnt mention that he put the counterbalance trigger on the stack and play another spell, he should missed the trigger since its a may abbility and he can denie to reavel.

Put trigger on the stack
play spell
resolve the trigger

and not.

play spell
put trigger on the stack
resolve the trigger


Niknight quote:

To mirror current paper rules, you are now required to announce all of your triggers... even if they have no visual impact on the game. If you do not demonstrate awareness of your trigger, you will not get it
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Desmonthesis



Joined: 20 Aug 2007
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

YiiiMTG wrote:
Since you need to mention your triggers, i dont know why counterbalance is not includet. When I cast a spell and my opponent didnt mention that he put the counterbalance trigger on the stack and play another spell, he should missed the trigger since its a may abbility and he can denie to reavel.


It depends on what kind of spell they cast. If they cast an Instant spell, or activate an ability that can be used at Instant speed, then nothing in the game indicates that they are past the point of resolution of the trigger for Counterbalance. Remember, you do NOT have to point out the trigger at the point when it triggers, only at the point when it would RESOLVE.
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Fanboy1



Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The new rules are awesome. Everything makes sense. They are close to real play and very intuitive. You are responsible for your own stuff and if you forget something you can only blame yourself.

The Dark Confidant missed trigger example is a perfect example of why the rules are good.
The warning accumulation system made no sense. Why would you ever DQ a player because he repeatedly forgets to draw cards or gain life? Going to the lower bracket because of his bad play is punishment enough.

Sure there are corner cases where you don't want to cards, put tokens onto the battlefield or gain life but thats what judges are there for. Either the player legitimetely forgets, then it is not a warning or he does it deliberately and then he gets a nice talk with the HJ. And don't think it is easy to convince someone that you remembered the first five Confidant triggers without a problem but suddenly forgot when on one life.
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Clariax
Level 3 Judge


Joined: 16 Jan 2006
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fanboy1 wrote:

The warning accumulation system made no sense. Why would you ever DQ a player because he repeatedly forgets to draw cards or gain life? Going to the lower bracket because of his bad play is punishment enough.


The penalty escalation was changed a while back. Not giving DQ's for repeated offenses is nothing new.
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Fanboy1



Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right, my bad. But the point still is that it was a weird system to be honest. It worked but it was not perfect.

- It punished a player who made a mistake that only costed him.
- it automatically let that same player take that same mistake back.
- It punished players for not managing their opponents cards


This new system feels much better in every way. I think this is a great improvement.
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