Head Judge's Statement About Chris Marple's Disqualification from GP Denver

Posted in Event Coverage

By Dan Gray

On Saturday, during round 6, several players came up to various judges and reported that a player was playing a deck using "all foil lands and no other foil cards" and that they thought he was cheating with them.

Upon further inquiry, the judges determined that the player in question, Chris Marple, was playing using opaque-backed sleeves, and one of the players who reported the foil lands situation believed he had witnessed Marple touching the top of his deck to feel what his next card was. The judges agreed to keep an eye on Marple.

At the beginning of Round 9 on Sunday, Steve O'Mahoney-Schwartz came up to me (Head Judge Dan Gray) and stated he was playing the "all foil land guy." The judges proceeded to perform a routine deck check on Chris Marple and Steve O. During this deck check, it was discovered that Mr. Marple's deck contained all Urza's Saga foil mountains, all Invasion foil islands, and a foil Shivan Reef (the other 3 Shivan Reefs and a Terminal Morraine were the only non-foil lands in the deck). Mr. Marple also had 3 foil Opts and a foil Fire/Ice, but no other foil cards in the deck. (Opt is frequently used as a "land substitute" to reduce a player's land count.)

The judges elected to allow the Marple/Steve O. match to begin, and two judges kept an eye on Marple's actions during the match. During game 1, which Steve O. won easily, Marple seemed to feel the card he was about to draw, and he constantly picked up his library by the sides and moved it over slightly to the right or the left.

At the beginning of game, Marple shuffled his deck, and, after Steve O. had shuffled it thoroughly, proceeded to draw a hand of 2 Islands, a Fire/Ice, and 4 red cards. Looking angry and clearly thinking about taking a mulligan, Marple reached for his deck and touched the back of the top card. He immediately (while his hand was still on his deck) said, "I'll keep these."

Marple took his first turn, playing an Island. Steve O. then took a turn. Marple then drew his first card, which was one of his foil Mountains. At this point, the judges stopped the match, and, convinced that he was cheating by utilizing the differences in the thickness of foil and non-foil cards, which can be felt even through opaque sleeves, I disqualified Chris Marple without prizes.

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