Scenario: This is the second time in recent weeks that I've been paired up in the final rounds of the Vintage Challenge. In both cases, my opponent was X-1 in the 5th seed. I was X-2 in 19th and 29th place (literally the lowest ranked of the X-2's). I scooped to my opponents in both instances, playing out the first match and "winning" before scooping, then scooping immediately in the second match. This wasn't by design - it's when I figured out seedings and realized the discrepancy is when I conceded. At no point were prizes discussed prior to a scoop. In the second case, the person in question happened to be a good friend and teammate, though the first person was a complete stranger. My question is do you consider this to be acceptable behavior in a tournament with prizes?
Caveats to consider:
- This is typically quite common in competitive Magic. Frequently on the PT and in GPs, you will hear of people scooping to others based on Pro Points and locking up the various tiers of recognition (platinum, etc.). In these cases, one player has much more to gain by winning than the second player. It doesn't make it ethically sound, but does provide perspective to players that do not follow competitive Magic.
- The pairings on MTGO are done differently from Paper events. In the last round of a Paper tournament, players are paired down as much as possible with #1 playing #2, #3 playing #4, etc... This means that in general you are paired against someone of similar standing as you and are competing for roughly the same gain. For instance, 7th and 8th are playing for a top 8 spot, 15th and 16th are playing for top 16, and 31st and 32nd are playing for top 32nd (with some ambiguity based on the nature of tiebreakers). The current system of random pairings used on MTGO was designed for Daily Event play. Seeding doesn't matter as prizes are given based on final record in the Swiss, with no top 8 creating a significant disparity in potential prizes.
- Intentional draws are not enabled on MTGO and will not be enabled according previous statements by WotC officials. The chess clock means that there will always be a winner and loser if the game is played to completion. Prize splitting in the last round of an event is considered legal on MTGO, though not guaranteed by the client. People attempting to split do so at their own risk. As always, a player can concede a game or match at any time for virtually any reason (though bribery or concessions tied to prizes or random chance are grounds for a DQ).
Edit: This has come up in a couple of metagame threads and I'd rather it have its own post than become a topic for discussion in those events.