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The Silph Scope

Cut or shuffle your opponents deck, or hold your tongue!

Rating: 5 votes, 4.80 average.
"He was stacking his deck. That's how he got those quick wins."

In 7 years of judging I've heard that a lot.

Is it true? Maybe.

You know, sometimes stuff happens. Stuff like: Draw, discard Rare Candy to evolve Horsea to Kingdra, attach water energy to Kingdra, place Buck's Training, draw 2, attach plus power, discard 2 cards for Kingdra's attack, "Good Game".

More than once in a tourney? Maybe not exactly like that each time. But, when a player has a well tuned deck, it sure seems like it.

In one instance, a player and a parent had mentioned to me that another player was probably stacking, based on number of quick wins. I watched the person in question. Despite another two quick wins, the shuffles during setup were clean and the cut was offered. There was no stacking ...and I did watch the player discreetly between rounds to check for 'arranging cards' in his deck.

Do people stack and weave their decks? Sure. We've caught them at it. In my experiences, just a few young kids obviously stacking in their laps at the table. An older player could be expected to be more subtle.

So, what's the point? Am I warning you that deck-stackers are on the loose!?

No, I'm telling you I wish I had a buck for every time I've heard that stacking complaint in the last seven years. I could buy my wife a nice prime rib dinner. For each and every complaint, I ask, "Did you cut?", but I already know the answer... "No."

In these moments I sometimes want to shout: "Well 'fer the sake of my sanity and your enjoyment of the match, why in the world didn't you cut!!" But, I usually patiently explain the benefits of cutting or shuffling to the player. Unless its a pal, then I just roll my eyes, like this:

A quick shuffle of your opponents deck during setup has other benefits.

A season or so ago, there was some discussion amongst judges and players about some decks having 'extra' cards. This was actually seen at some events and apparently 'discussed' as a strategy online. Just 61 or 62, even the odd 66 (love ya bro' ), but enough to not have to make the choice between sufficient energy and killer techs. Players were discussing 6-pile shuffling as a way to combat the 'extras'. It was around that time that I started recommending 6-pile shuffles to start the match at my tournaments.

To 6-pile shuffle, deal the cards of the deck into six piles, in a set order. You end up with 10 cards in a pile. Now, you know the cards have been really shuffled and you also know how many cards are in the deck. Sweet!

A 6-pile shuffle doesn't bend the cards, which helps your opponent's mood. And, if you practice, it can be really fast, which will keep you out of trouble with the TO and HJ.

By the way, if you're going to do this, you should be familiar with the tournament rules, which say,
Quote Originally Posted by 2008-2009 Tournament Rules
Instead of cutting, the opponent may choose to shuffle the deck. This shuffle should be brief, and when
it concludes, the deck’s owner is allowed to cut the deck once as described above. Players should take
care when shuffling an opponent’s deck, as the cards in that deck are not the shuffling player’s property.
At this point, the deck should be sufficiently randomized to both players’ satisfaction.
Last year I got to play in two City Championship and one State tourney. I haven't gotten to play that often since 2002, so, I was determined to have a good time. No spectre of stacking or extra cards for me. I cheerfully pile shuffled every opponent, friend, son, son's friend, or some player I just met. I explained that I do this with everyone I play. Some of my opponents gave me a taste of my own medicine, but only one had a problem with it out of about 23 or so matches (counting top cuts). I had a grand time playing and never was concerned about my opponent's deck.

My point?

You CAN shuffle your opponents deck to start the match. You SHOULD cut your opponents deck, at least.

You SHOULD NOT come up to me after a match and say... 'he stacked his deck' if you didn't at least cut.

Remember, unlike on the Journey or in the Laboratory, the view through the Silph Scope here at the Plateau is:
I'm not stubborn. My way is just better!


Updated 11/09/2008 at 10:18 PM by bulbasnore

The Plateau