Magic Judge Monthly: August

Hello and welcome to the August edition of Magic Judge Monthly!
This month we’ve kindly been given a month off from program altering announcements, so we’ve taken the time to go some extra depth in our [O] Answers section and have recharged for the incoming awesome Exemplar Program and whatever else important will happen in the future.
It’s time to relax, catch up on the last month, prep for the busy prerelease time and the rest of the year.
Until next time, happy judging!



Find the list of articles on the Judge Wiki and feel free to join the discussions on JudgeApps.

Rules tips

The top three tips from August:

Knowledge Pool


Happy Anniversary!

In this edition of anniversaries, check out who you owe toasts to and be sure to check out the feature on a Stelios Kargotis – who is celebrating five years with the program.
Also, a quartet of L3s are celebrating their decade-and-a-half years of service to the M:tG community: John Carter, Johanna Virtanen, Eric Smith and James Lee. Read the very special array of tales on these four – whose combined total of years as judges ramp up close to 60 years! And, cheers to MJM’s very own Sean Roffey who turns five years old as a judge this month!

Judge Advancements

Michael Wiese “here are the August Advancements. Again we are facing close to 200 advancements, once again this is very good. I am looking forward to the month with more then 250 (300?) advancements.” Check out all the advancements on the forum here!

Judge of the Week

Judge Conferences Blog

Introducing the new blog exclusively focusing on the topic of Judge Conferences – Conferences Sphere! Read from Damian Hiller as he describes what has led to the birth of this new blog.

Passing score bug fixed

In other news, Brian Schenck is pleased to announce that the bug with passing scores in certifications have been resolved. He outlines some reminders for certification paperwork that are bound to further reduce errors in the said respect. Check out this useful resource here.


1. Is streaming the Pro Tour during a limited event (during limited portions) considered outside assistance?

No, since it’s not directed at a specific player, it is not. Enjoy your pro tour.
Approved by: Christopher Richter, L4, Madison Wisconsin, USA

2. If a player commits DEC with the confirmation of opponent, it is not DEC but a GRV instead. But is the opponent issued a GRV as well (double GRV)?

No, basically, Non-active player is not committing a game rules violation just because they incorrectly confirmed their opponent incorrectly drawing. FTMGS is more appropriate here.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, Colorado, USA

3. A team of players sets up a secret agreement. Before a tournament, they create a ranking list among themselves (based on whatever criterion they like, i.e. amount of lifetime PWPs, age, length of socks…). Then, when two members of the team face each other in a tournament match, they play their match, but in case the lower ranked player would win a game, he/she automatically 2:0 concedes to the higher ranked player (for the greater good of the team). After the tournament, the team splits the prizes won in a way that the conceding players get more (i.e. get compensated for their sacrifice).

To me, the key phrase is “secret agreement”. I do know that such things occur; I usually do not know about them, nor the specifics of them, when I could actually do something about them.
If, after an event, you obtain solid evidence of a bribery situation, you can file an Investigation via the Judge Center, and/or contact Eric Shukan through the Judge Center. If something comes to your attention during an event, then apply policy.
Even if we were to learn that a team has such an arrangement in place, so long as no discussion or offer is made on site or at the match, we simply consider it a non-issue and outside of our policy.
Approved by: James Do Hung Lee, L3, Seattle, WA, USA and Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

4. I control Thassa, Nightveil Spectre and Opalescence. As it stands I know Thassa is a 3/3 regardless of timestamp. Now, say I play a Bident of Thassa. I know the Bident is a 4/4, that much is easy. However we now have two effects trying to make Thassa a creature, and two trying to set her power and toughness. From what I can ascertain, timestamp comes into play here. Thassa will be a 5/5 if he has the earlier timestamp, and a 3/3 if Opalescence does?

In short: Thassa will be a 3/3 creature, unless Thassa entered the battlefield after Opalescence and your devotion to blue is less than four, in which case Thassa will not be a creature.
In long: Source-
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2 Forum Moderator, Durango, CO, USA.

5. Gilded Drake enters the battlefield, and targets Glory Seeker with its ETB ability. In response, Faith's Shield is cast, targeting Glory Seeker and naming blue on resolution. Is the ability countered?

Gilded Drake’s triggered ability can only be countered by spells or abilities. It cannot be countered by the rules of the game, which is normally what would happen if all of an ability’s targets are illegal. So the Drake’s ability resolves and you can’t make the exchange (since the other target is illegal due to protection). Since you didn’t make an exchange, the Drake will be sacrificed.
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2, Forum Moderator, Durango, CO, USA

6. Can a player bestow (i.e. Hopeful Eidolon) onto creature that has “Protection from creatures” (i.e. Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts)?

Yes, you can bestow onto Teysa (or any other permanent with protection from creatures). Although protection from creatures prevents targeting by creature cards or by abilities whose sources are creature cards, regardless of the zone they’re in, a card cast via bestow is not a creature spell at the time its target is chosen. Since bestow is an alternative cost, the choice to cast the spell for its bestow cost happens in the second step of the casting process, at which point the card becomes a noncreature Aura spell, and the choice of target occurs afterward in the third step of casting.
Bonus- If you return an aura to the battlefield with an effect like Sun Titan (i.e. Pacifism), you could attach it to a creature enchanted with Spetra Ward, because it says: This does not remove auras.
Approved by: Daniel Kitachewsky, L4, Paris, France, Rules NetRep, and Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA.

7. If someone Bile Blights a land that is a 4/4 Elemental from Nissa, does it change its name to ‘Elemental,’ or only affect the creatures that are the same land name? (This then won’t affect all the creature lands from Nissa's ability?)

Yes, the name of the land is unchanged, only the creature type is changed by Nissa’s ability.
Approved by: Daniel Kitachewsky, L4, Paris, France, Rules NetRep

8. Zur the enchanter attacks and AP searches for Animate Dead, can they bring back the Obzedat, Ghost Council in the Graveyard?

Yes, that works. Zur tells you to search for an enchantment with a converted mana cost of three or less and put it on the battlefield. If an aura is being put on the battlefield from anywhere but the stack and that effect doesn’t specify what to attach it to, you choose something to attach it to. The Dead’s requires a “creature card in the graveyard”. The Obzedat in the graveyard is a legal option for the Dead to attach to, so you can choose to attach the Dead to the Obzedat in the graveyard. Since the Dead entered the battlefield, the Dead’s ability will trigger like normal and Obzedat will return to the battlefield.
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2, Forum Moderator, Durango, CO, USA


Proxying cards at a player’s request

Every judge periodically gets requests to proxy cards. As with any policy, it is important to keep in mind that the proxy policy is there to maintain the integrity of a tournament, specifically when circumstances outside a player’s control renders their deck unplayable.  It is not meant to protect the integrity of a player’s collection.
For example, a player who drafts an expensive card that fits the deck should expect to play with that card, not a proxy drawn up by the judge. At regular REL it may be acceptable for the Head Judge to allow a player to substitute a version of the card from the player’s collection, as long as it doesn’t detract from the integrity of game play. The typical example is to replace a foil card with a non-foil copy of it.  But, even if you do want to allow this, make sure you’re not hurting the integrity of the event.  A damaged replacement could lead to marked-card issues; allowing a replacement that was printed in some other language is probably asking for trouble; and so on.

Was that your third strike?

All Game Rule Violations, and most Tournament Errors, have upgrade paths that are applied when a player has committed multiple infractions in a category on the day of a tournament. The question is, what to do about this when answering calls on the floor, late in the day. You probably aren’t in a position to know about all the penalties that have been handed out. Asking the player only goes so far – the player probably knows whether they’ve received a non-zero number of warnings, but anything after that is suspect.  You shouldn’t assume that they know the number and category of penalties they’ve received, and certainly shouldn’t assume they understand upgrade paths.  And unfortunately, if you get it wrong, you can’t just go back and upgrade the penalty after the game is over.  The best thing is generally to ask whether a player has been getting warnings at all.  If yes, then look into whether an upgrade is appropriate.  Note that, if the upgrade would end the match, you may want to instruct the players to keep playing in case the upgrade path is not appropriate.  Just make it very clear that this is only to help move the tournament along, and that the upgrade will be applied if appropriate, even if that player “wins” before this can be determined.


Judge Conferences, Pro Tour Qualifiers, Grand Prix and SCG Opens have available worldwide staffing positions! You still have time to apply for GP New Jersey, GP Ottawa and GP Manila.

Check out the Grand Prix Solicitations and Selected Staffs such as GP Nashville and GP Santiago.

New GP Travel guide for Stockholm is available! Find a list of other guides right here.

Public projects (such as Articles Blog and Battlefield Forge) are recruiting! If you want to get more out of your Judging experience and give back to the community, sign up to something that interests you and help out.