Discriminated at Prerelease?

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Hello. I really hope this is in the right section; if not, I'm very sorry.

Basically, I feel like my LGS has violated some of my rights as a paying customer at a prerelease, and I want to know if what they did was actually wrong.

There are two issues. First, for every prerelease, I always would comb over my girlfriend's deck after I finished constructing mine, to weed out bad cards (I spend a lot more time pre, uh, prerelease, evaluating cards and discussing them). I picked this habit up because, when I learned to play, people did this for me. Apparently, for the past three years (as long as I've attended my LGS), people have thought I was rigging her deck with my cards. But nobody told me, said there was an issue, or issued a warning. So come this release, we get half an hour in, and I look at what she wants to run. And we're both instantly banned from the store forever.

Now, I know, it's the owner's discretion on who they let play, but that's not the end of the story. If it was, I wouldn't be here.

After a guy sitting at our table vouched that I did not put any cards into her piles, and numerous character witnesses said we'd never cheat, they allowed us to play out the rest of the night. And then they come down and yell at my girlfriend for taking too long in her turns. They threatened her with an instant loss, but her opponent said it was fine. It turns out, they were watching both her and me, exclusivly, on camera, because some players have said she takes too long. She never takes more than anyone else, and once the tournament was over, she only had 1 draw out of 6 matches, and she was done nearly twenty minutes before each round ended otherwise (win or lose).

Once it was all said and done, they said we were still banned, but not for the "cheating," but because she takes too long.
The reason I feel this is discrimination is that she has a medically documented disorder which makes it harder for her to think while under stress. It doesn't effect her often, but it was still enough to get her extended time in college for tests, since test anxiety triggers it. As does crunch time in a really close game of Magic, where she wants to sit for one minute and think about the possiblities of what she can do.

Did they do anything wrong? They turned away two loyal customers who attended three prereleases per set, and who have gone out of their way to buy packs and support them.
Honestly, I think you should just find another shop to play out if they are being like that. yes, they were in the wrong because taking too long should not come into play unless is causes the games to go past the time limit. Its normal for sealed games to take awhile depending on the 2 playing decks. And its not cheating if you help out during deck construction as long as you are just giving deck advice, and not trading/giving cards as that is illegal in sealed tourneys.  Also if you watch some of the pro tours on youtube some of the pro players take a min to think, because each play could win or cost them the game. 
As for looking through eachs other decks my shop I went to didn't have any problems with because lot of us looked through each others deck after our rounds, and talked about out decks, and what we felt was lacking or our opponents for future use in constructing new decks after the tourney.  
It is blatantly apparent that this store does not want your business, so don't give it to them. Find another store. As much as that sounds terribly inconvienent, you and your girlfriend deserve a good place to play Magic.
Honestly no one should be helping someone during deck construction.

At my store that would be unheard of as we deck check another deck of the same guild and then the judge randomizes and we all pick out a random one of our guild.

Then we go construct our decks and no one can go and chat about, or look at the other decks until both players have submitted their deck lists.

This eliminates a lot of cheating and is exactly how things are done at GP.

I would also find it suspicious that your girlfriend plays three pre-releases per set plus whatever other events and you still feel the need to fix her deck.

Since you are an item it definitely is a form of collusion for you to help her improve the build. You are increasing the odds that your girlfriend will win more packs (potentially).

This may seem like rules lawyering but it's all pretty standard. If she can't evaluate cards she should be taught, if she didn't take the time to learn the cards before the tourney then that's her own fault.

You are correct on the time issue though(if what you're saying is gospel and not one side of the story.)

I can see why people were upset and your habit and I think you should play at a super casual store where nobody cares about cheating, or prizes, or fairness.
bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
Thanks for your responses. They've obviously lost our business.
I've talked to many magic players in the area, and went to a few other prereleases, and recieved nothing but shock from even the store owners.

^Urza, yeah, I know what you mean. I definitely see how it can seem suspicious--it's more that nobody ever told us, which is the issue. We'd have instantly fixed the problem, had we known it was one. And as to why, after three releases, I still comb--she's a Timmy and loves to play overcosted stuff just for the fun of it; I'm the stern hand which says no lol.
I've known a few people who've gone to releases and been shocked we don't do a huge group switch, to prevent cheating. Are the ones you go to, Urza, very large with massive turnouts? I'm only talking about a 30-40 player event, which the owner claims is "The most fun and relaxed place to play around!"
Thanks for your responses. They've obviously lost our business.
I've talked to many magic players in the area, and went to a few other prereleases, and recieved nothing but shock from even the store owners.

^Urza, yeah, I know what you mean. I definitely see how it can seem suspicious--it's more that nobody ever told us, which is the issue. We'd have instantly fixed the problem, had we known it was one. And as to why, after three releases, I still comb--she's a Timmy and loves to play overcosted stuff just for the fun of it; I'm the stern hand which says no lol.
I've known a few people who've gone to releases and been shocked we don't do a huge group switch, to prevent cheating. Are the ones you go to, Urza, very large with massive turnouts? I'm only talking about a 30-40 player event, which the owner claims is "The most fun and relaxed place to play around!"



Ours was around 30 but the owner and I are both on and off (when we have the time and money) Grand Prix players. He runs pre-release with deck swap, deck check with one assistant.

I live in China, where cheating at anything is the norm, do foreigners are always fond of some over site over here.

Think about it this way, a pro player is at your local store, he has three friends who you will play against that are good players but weak at deck construction, he then goes to each one and helps them make their deck...would this be fair?

A lot of people play like your girlfriend...if she evaluates those cards as being part of her maindeck then that's just the way it is. YOu need to help her before tourneys...give her a group of cards and tell her to make a dck then take out some and tell her why.

It's actually just as serious as someone helping someone during the actual game...maybe more important, depending on the circumstance.

I understand that no one told you, and at pre-release there should be casual warning WAY before banishment...that is pretty obvious, but store owners don't like losing loyal customers that spend that much money every set...so I gotta think there's another side to this story...



bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
Ah, I see. That makes sense you guys would do it more strict then; the stores I go to are just casual.

And I do see your point. My only issue is people help constantly during the prereleases I go to! Win or lose, I know of a group of people from my other store who open their decks and go through them after round one. The owner of that store is also a player, and he loves helping with construction issues. The kid who placed 12th there (out of 40+. I got 14th) completely thrashed me--he's only been playing a month, but had his deck looked over by the owner. A friend of mine, his girlfriend almost always places top--she's a good player (like my girlfriend), but he's more experienced and makes sure her deck isn't too bulky (like I do).
And, ironically, I wasn't doing very well at the prerelease which caused all the problems, so I asked a guy I knew who's a pro player to evaluate my pull, and he told me to make a few changes (which did help). I later found this was the guy who complained about me. So even then, nobody is having issues with the helping, it's that they thought we were cheating, when we weren't, and had no proof.

And it's not like I hand craft her decks. It's more like "I don't think you should run Biovisonary. You only have one. Yeah, you might get Stolen Identity into play with him too, but you need to hit them twice to make the tokens, and by that time, will you really need the alternate win? Also, the splash of black looks weak. Either bolster it--you have a Killing Glare, so maybe that--or put some more green creatures in." Everything is a suggestion.

Because of the owner's decision, he has already lost six+ people, not including me or my girlfriend. People just can't understand why they would do that to us; if they did it to us, who's to say they won't do it to someone else? Many had already been put off by some "shady" things they do (run FNM with fake names to bolster the attendance, apparently), and this was the final straw.
It sounds like this store owner isn't thinking about the "business" part of being a store owner. Sounds like his store is a glorified clubhouse, and you just happen to not be part of his little club.

I've seen many smaller stores run this way; the store is just an extension of the owner's hobby. He has a cluster of regulars who spend enough money that he can cover operational expenses(i.e. "the club"), so everything else is just extra.

Spread the word, and find a new place to play. I don't think I'd go to the extent of taking legal action, but word of mouth can be devastating to a brick-and-mortar store.

I find signatures incredibly distracting. If you read this, then you too have found them distracting. 

Jeez, what a screwjob... I agree with Jandrem, sounds very 'club-ish', a lot like a store I used to play at but stopped because of it... (though most small shops are like this) also because the the store is so laid back that NO deck checks or anything like that happen and ive seen whole tables of guys deckbuilding with each other and overheard them talking about swapping cards, though i dont know if they did...Shady things can definitely happen at small shops with small events.
Also bull is your girl taking too long, she can't possibly be as bad as a certain guy I've played against who wins game one, then purposely takes waaaay long turns to run GAME TWO out to time so he wins... and he gets away with it cuz hes part of 'the club'. Sorry that happened to you both, they definitely should have said something a long time ago.
Probably better off stayin away from em anyway...
Man I would name and shame that store. It's like when some businesses do well, they think they can treat the client as they please... and then can't understand it a few years down the line when noone rocks up for tourneys... Firstly, if anyone spoke to my girlfriend like that (shouted at her for taking too long) they had better start running. I don't tolerate that and neither should you. Secondly, like you say, they should have sat you both down and sorted the issue out as adults.


The owners of that store as well as some of the players it seems suffer from childish and disrespectful behaviour. Wether you were right, or wrong (in their eyes) this should have been delt with in an entirely more suitable manner.