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 Post subject: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 4:09 am 
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Joined: 2010-Jun-13 5:13 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Midwest USA
In my time of playing EDH, the rule that has most confused me is whether or not players are allowed to know where your general is while it's in a library. This rarely ever even comes up while I'm playing, but it did end up causing a situation in a game I was playing the other day. I Chaos Warped his general which he had in a different colored sleeve than the rest of his deck. I seemed to remember a post by Genomancer that said you were supposed to know where your general's location was at all times, so I didn't have a problem with it. Then players started complaining that he was purposely shuffling his general close to the top of his library and they wanted to cut it, to which he started complaining that they were purposely cutting his general to the bottom of his deck. We ended up having a neutral party do a blind cut, but that still got me wondering if there is actually a hard rule on that.

I've searched around this forum as well as others for the answer. After reading through many threads, it seems to me that there are a lot of people that are just as confused as I am on the subject. Mostly it seems like some people are certain on one way, and others are certain on the other. The relevant posts I've found are from Genomancer and Sheldon -

Genomancer wrote:
Long story short, the location of a General is known to all players at any time no matter which zone it's in, or whether it's face down/face up. That includes being in the library or face-down from something like Tuck+Grimoire Thief, and it means a player has the option to Command-zone their General instead of it being exiled face down.

This behavior dovetails, as mentioned, with the common approach of putting a general in a unique sleeve. And while it's unique for a card's position to remain known across SBA checks, there are some related precedents in the CR where a card's location remains known in the library during the resolution of a spell (extremely arcane precedent)

So what changes does this mandate for players? Not many... it only comes up in corner case scenarios. The only trick is shuffling. Shuffling is considered an atomic action in magic... it's indivisible and the player is not aware (technically) of any intermediate states. The deck goes from unshuffled, to shuffled, and the position of every card is randomized. So knowledge of the General's starting position shouldn't have any impact on the shuffling process. To implement that, a player shuffling his or her General into a deck in a different sleeve should take some steps to make sure he/she doesn't know where the General is going to end up. The easiest way to do so is usually a "blind cut" or two.

(If the General is in an identical sleeve, there are other minor steps players can take to make sure it doesn't get "lost in exile")

So, long story short:

* Generalness is more like a status than a characteristic, however we just call it a 'property' to match player intuition.
* The location and identity of a General is known to all players at all times, no matter what its status/effects/location.
* It's only relevant in corner cases, but this is the implementation which causes the least rules headaches.

G


Sheldon wrote:
Yeah, Toby and I talked about this today. If the General is in the library in a random location, then there's no rule that lets anyone identify it. The card still has "Generalness," but that has no real impact when it's in the deck. I play with my General in a toploader but also in a sleeve that matches the rest of the deck, just in case it gets tucked, which seems to me to be the right thing to do.


Genomancer's post is older, and from Sheldon's post, it seems like he's since changed his stance to being that the location of a general in a library is unknown. Should I take Sheldon's post as the current rule on this situation? That's the way I've always figured it should be done, but I've since been confused, and it seems like many others are as well.


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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 4:23 am 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I take it as Sheldon is updating the stance. Nothing in the comp rules, since EDH was added, allows for players to know where the general is in the library.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 5:16 am 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-19 12:15 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Sacramento, CA
That's cheating. As soon as you Chaos Warped his general he should have removed his general from the green sleeve and put it in a sleeve that matched the rest of deck.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 8:05 am 
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Joined: 2011-May-02 11:07 am
Age: Elder Dragon
The player can just look up when they shuffle. That's what we do in our group.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 8:42 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
"Cheating" is a strong word, especially for a casual format. I'd say it's "undesirable." Dr B proposes a perfectly reasonable solution for a kitchen table game.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 8:57 am 
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Joined: 2012-Sep-19 1:30 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
If your general is in another sleeve, you could always swap the sleeves with a land or something, then swap them back at the end of the game.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 8:58 am 

Joined: 2009-May-05 9:45 pm
Age: Dragon
Location: Acworth, GA
crokaycete wrote:
"Cheating" is a strong word, especially for a casual format. I'd say it's "undesirable." Dr B proposes a perfectly reasonable solution for a kitchen table game.



Oddly enough, cheating is cheating.

Casual or competitive do not calculate into the equation of cheating. If you break the rules, you are cheating. Honestly, I have a MUCH GREATER issue with someone cheating in a casual environment, since the lack of stimulus of a prize leaves the only motivations to be internal.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 9:16 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
That is a mildly absurd view to take of putting your Commander in a different sleeve. Actual cheating requires intent to gain advantage. (At least that is the view official Magic policy documents use, and I think it fits pretty well with the common usage.)

If having your general in a different sleeve is convenient and non-detrimental to the game 99% of the time, and a minor issue that you don't intend to take advantage of 1% of the time, you simply aren't cheating. You are just doing something that is technically incorrect.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 9:35 am 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
I'd hate to interrupt a good brawl, but there's a pretty easy way to handle this: Put your commander in the same sleeve as the rest of your deck, then put it in a toploader. Your commander won't accidentally get shuffled in, and if it gets tucked, just remove it from the toploader.

Toploaders aren't expensive, and many online stores use them to protect your cards when shipping them.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 10:48 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
I cant believe its such an inconvenience to look for your commander if accidentally shuffle it in.

The position that a commander was trackable through the library was tenuous to begin with is currently complete bupkiss. I think the toploader is the best solution if you must seperate the commander.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 11:20 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I can't believe you would be that worried that your friend would cheat his general to the top if he put it in a different sleeve.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 1:50 pm 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
crokaycete wrote:
I can't believe you would be that worried that your friend would cheat his general to the top if he put it in a different sleeve.

me neither...?

I've had a situation where the sleeve the commander was in was noticeable in the deck when the deck was just sitting there. It was a little upsetting that every draw I knew it wasn't my Animar... :(

On the other hand, I tucked a thraximundar with a bant charm once that was killing me only to have it get ripped off the top after a fetchland shuffle. That was the worst/greatest surprise that would have been ruined with a different sleeve.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 3:33 pm 
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Age: Elder Dragon
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Malekoda wrote:
I'd hate to interrupt a good brawl, but there's a pretty easy way to handle this: Put your commander in the same sleeve as the rest of your deck, then put it in a toploader. Your commander won't accidentally get shuffled in, and if it gets tucked, just remove it from the toploader.

Toploaders aren't expensive, and many online stores use them to protect your cards when shipping them.

This is what everyone does in my play group. I'd rather not have to worry about whether someone is intentionally or unintentionally gaining an advantage from having their general in a different sleeve.

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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 3:34 pm 

Joined: 2011-Aug-18 3:35 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I've had a few decks with different sleeves for the general and if they're ever tucked, I just swap the sleeve with one in the graveyard til he comes back out... Most are in the same color sleeves though. It's not hard to dig out if you accidentally shuffle him in and after doing it a few times, you pay more attention to stop it from happening again...

If anything it's detrimental for your general to be identifiable in the deck. "Hey there's that odd color sleeve, lets cut it so that your general is on the bottom".


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 Post subject: Re: General's Location in Library
AgePosted: 2013-Mar-11 3:52 pm 

Joined: 2010-Sep-11 12:19 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
I put my generals in these:
Image

Not a lot of shuffle effects in my group..but the sadists love to hit my generals when there is.





Off topic even more:

I want to make a EDH deck and put it in 99 of those ...lol it would be just a 99-land general, like oona, ashling or something.


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