Deck Tech: Four Horsemen with Jeff Liu
This deck's functionality came into question as a result of the IPG guidelines regarding Slow Play and loops. The Head Judge, Josh Stansfield, composed this statement later on Sunday, regarding a ruling early during the Legacy Open.
"During Round 3 of the tournament, I was made aware of a Four Horsemen player on the feature match table. I went over to watch the match, knowing that I was likely to see a problematic line of play according to the IPG. When the player started to flip cards from the Basalt Monolith/Mesmeric Orb combination, he quickly ran into Emrakul, and was forced to shuffle his library. After doing this again, he was left in an identical game state: An empty graveyard and no other change to the game state. By performing the same loop of actions without changing the game, he was violating the shortcut policy outlined in the Magic Tournament Rules and the Slow Play policy in the Infraction Procedure Guide. These state:
MTR 4.2 – Tournament Shortcuts
'A tournament shortcut is an action taken by players to skip parts of the technical play sequence without explicitly announcing them. Tournament shortcuts are essential for the smooth play of a game, as they allow players to play in a clear fashion without getting bogged down in the minutia of the rules. Most tournament shortcuts involve skipping one or more priority passes to the mutual understanding of all players; if a player wishes to demonstrate or use a new tournament shortcut entailing any number of priority passes, he or she must be clear where the game state will end up as part of the request.'
The shortcut to loop Monolith/Orb until you reach a game state with a specific graveyard composition does not qualify as a being 'clear where the game state will end up as part of the request.' You are looking for a random configuration of cards that includes three specific cards in any order: Dread+Return, Sharuum, and Blasting+Station.
IPG 4.3 – Tournament Error – Slow Play
'It is also slow play if a player continues to execute a loop without being able to provide an exact number of iterations and the expected resulting game state.'
This is where we run into a problem. The player is executing a loop (Monolith/Orb until Emrakul flips, shuffle, repeat, any unknown number of times until the magic graveyard exists). To attempt to repeat this loop constitutes Slow Play, and that upgrades from a warning to a game loss on the second infraction.
In the end, I instructed the player to make a different game choice to advance the game state. Manually tapping/untapping instead of shortcutting doesn’t fit the bill.
The game ended shortly after I made this ruling, and I was not called to any of his other matches.
Los Angeles Legacy Open Head Judge"
Essentially, the game actions are all legal until the Four Horsemen player hits an Emrakul, at which point the loop is indefinite and constitutes Slow Play (unless you advance the game state).