Magic Judge Monthly: December 2014

Welcome to the last edition of Magic Judge Monthly 2014!

We hope your New Year started out fantastic and that it will be even better! Now it’s time to sit back, relax and find out what was happening in our Magic community during the holiday season.

Until next time, enjoy the pre-release and happy judging!


Player FAQ and HJ Instructions Documents for DQ

A new edition to judge documents is a specific guide for both players and judges after issuing a DQ. Please note it is also available in Spanish and French, and will be translated to Italian.

Update to the L3 Certification Process

If you’re interested in becoming L3, please read carefully the significant changes to the certification process. In case of any question, please e-mail Daniel Kitachewsky.

Judge Conduct Committee and the Magic Judge Code

We have a new official document regarding aspects of the social contract between Magic judges and the rest of the Magic community – The Magic Judge Code (pdf link). A new body, The Judge Conduct Committee, is responsible for addressing concerns raised in this new system. Feel free to familiarize yourself with the new feedback system available to players, organizers, and judges. There are also a few relevant forum links found in the Official announcements and Community Corner.


Judge Articles December 2014

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

Knowledge Pool December

If you would like to submit a Knowledge Pool scenario, here’s how to do it.


Judgecast is the only podcast by Judges for Judges.

  • Judgecast 107 – Code of Conduct
  • Judgecast 108 – Fireside Chats


Happy Anniversary! December 2014

More than a dozen celebrants for this month’s edition of anniversaries. Featured this month is Germany’s Philip Schulz who celebrates his 15h with the Judge Program.

Judge Advancements December 2014

Michael Wiese: “Hello everyone. With 174 advancements, we are closing the year 2014. I never expected to have the average number of advancements that high. When we (Carlos and afterwards myself) pulled the lists for the first time, we had less than 70 advancements each month. Thanks everyone to make the last year that successful when looking at the advancements. I am looking forward to have a even higher average number in 2015 :)”
To see the list of advancements, check out this link.

Judge of the Week

 Congrats on L3

Christopher Richter relays the news on the level-up of two outstanding judges: Jara Karban and Khanh Le Thien (who I personally congratulate given the current opportunity). They are now newly minted L3s.


Questions asked in the month of December and an [O]fficial answer, just for you!

1. NAP controls Containment Priest and Nature's Revolt. AP tries to play a land. The question is whether the land is exiled by Containment Priest.

A:Nope, they aren’t exiled. When we’re performing the enter the battlefield event, we apply replacement effects (like the Priest has), then we apply continuous effects (like the Revolt). When we check to see if the Priest’s effect would apply, the lands are not creatures yet (since we haven’t apply the Revolt’s effect yet), so the Priest doesn’t apply. Then we apply the Revolt’s effect, and then the land enters the battlefield.
In short: the lands will enter the battlefield like normal.
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2 Netrep, Durango, CO, USA

2. Let's say that in a two-player Modern game, both player have achieved the combo of Archangel of Thune + Spike Feeder. AP says ‘I want to gain a million life’, NAP says ‘OK, I want to gain ten million life’. When do these players need to stop looping?

A: Sometimes you’ll get players whose argument about such a loop becomes a loop of its own. Simply have each of them write a number on a piece of paper, then reveal those numbers – and then move on with the game. They are not allowed to continue to waste everyone’s time by escalating their loop of responses to each others’ loops… 🙁
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

3. You are judging a Comp REL Legacy event, and are called to a table. You see a graveyard pile on one side of the table with at least a dozen face up cards in it, fanned out. The player's library is next to that graveyard. There is a single face down card on top of the graveyard.
“We don't know where that card came from. It was either accidentally knocked off of the library, or it's a graveyard card that was accidentally turned over. We don't want to look at it and risk a Looking At Extra Cards infraction. What do we do?”
The graveyard pile is messy enough that both options seem realistic. Both players agree on the story as they told it to you, and you see no reason to doubt their story. How do you handle the situation?

A:The players have done the right thing here, and it’s fairly clear that neither of them know what that face-down card might be. However, the definition for L@EC goes on to specify “This includes errors of dexterity…” – which is the most likely explanation here.

So, let’s take a moment to reassure them that a L@EC infraction isn’t the end of the world; find out why they’re trying to avoid it, educate them a bit about infractions, and then point out that bit about errors of dexterity.

If it’s just not feasible to review the game state and actions taken, to determine if it’s a GY or Library card, and if the player doesn’t notice anything missing from his/her graveyard, and your investigation & understanding of the game state & knowledge of that mystery card don’t lead to Cheating, then it’s fine to assume it must belong in the library, and the L@EC remedy should be used here, for all the reasons it makes sense when a card is seen, or **might have been** seen.

A similar scenario occurs much more often – a player drops a card while shuffling his opponent’s deck. He immediately freezes up – we’ve all seen this! – and calls for a judge. He explains that he knows he dropped a card, but he doesn’t want to look down – you can almost see his neck muscles tense up, making sure he’s looking up & not down, and not looking at anything.

At this point, I usually say something like “here, I’ll get that for you” and then, after carefully putting it back into the deck unseen, I’ll continue “you know, L@EC is really only a problem if there’s a suspicious pattern to how and when you’re doing that; since I can’t KNOW that you didn’t see it – even though I believe you! – I’ll have to record the infraction. Just be careful shuffling the rest of the day, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

A similar explanation would be in order in the original scenario – but the infraction probably does need to be recorded. After all, the people we do need to worry about – i.e., those repeatedly angle-shooting various infractions – are also the most likely to beg you to NOT record a “silly little mistake” like this… honest players have nothing to worry about.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

4.The attacking player had declared his attackers; the blocking player had decided where his only creature (an Abzan Falconer) was going to block, and then attempted to cast a Mardu Charm to create two first-striking soldiers. At this point, a judge was called. Is this OoOS?

A:Players are expected to know the game’s rules—but not to a technically detailed level” (IPG’s definition of Competitive REL)

I suppose we could derail this and argue about the “technically detailed level” – but let’s not. Clearly, the NAP didn’t understand the rules at the necessary level.

So, what about Section 4.1 of the MTR? “The philosophy of the DCI is that a player should have an advantage due to better understanding of the rules of a game, greater awareness of the interactions in the current game state, and…”
Does that imply that the NAP should NOT have an advantage here, due to a lack of understanding of the rules?
And, for that matter, do we eliminate OoOS, just because the player can’t clearly communicate the correct sequence?

To me, that fifth example of OoOS (block, animate, block) is a pretty clear indication that we can and probably should apply OoOS to this scenario, too – even if the player can’t grasp the correct sequence. To exaggerate and thus illustrate:

AP: attack like this
NAP: OK, block here, Charm, use those tokens to block there and there
AP: nope, you can’t do that – Judge!
Judge: I’m sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
NAP: Oh, how does it work?
Judge: nope, not gonna tell you – figure it out!
NAP: $#*&%????????

If a player did exactly what that fifth example says – block, animate, block – and the opponent called us, we’d say “OK, that’s out of order, but we got to a legal point; next time, animate before you block, OK? Carry on…”

So why not do the same thing here?
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

5. Star City Games is offering byes at their Open Series events to winners of Open Trials for the upcoming season. Are byes able to be awarded by a TO for any Magic event, or did SCG get permission from WOTC? If so, what are the limitations and rules surrounding awarding byes?

A:TOs should work with their WPN representatives, if they want to explore awarded byes. In general, they’re not allowed for sanctioned events. clearly sought and received special dispensation from Wizards for their Open Series.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA


The Dummies Guide to PPTQs

Two judges from Asia put together a guide for anyone experiencing the new (R,P)PTQ system for the first time.  It starts out with some details for Tournament Organizers as well as for Head Judges – invite policies for the events themselves; eligibility requirements for TOs; legal formats; and so forth. It then goes on to provide pretty reasonable checklists for judges of all varieties, and even the scorekeeper.

The document itself can be found on dropbox here.

If the link has moved, or if dropbox is otherwise not an option, or if you just want an official source for the policies, you can always refer to the Premier Event Invitation Policy itself.  The 2015 version of this document hadn’t gone up by the time this went to press, but the last 2014 version can be found here – see sections 14 and 15, in particular.

Would You Like Byes With That?

Players tend to think of byes as being something for Grand Prix, but in fact there are ways for other Tournament Organizers to arrange for a Bye structure leading into their events – generally speaking, all and only the Premium-level events are going to be eligible for a Bye structure.

Monthly WER Issues Update

As usual, the offline mode is flaky at best.  If you need offline mode, and have a computer that can successfully run WER in offline mode, then it’s still probably best not to update it.


Find out which Judge Conferences, Pro Tour Qualifiers, Grand Prix and SCG Opens have available worldwide staffing positions! You still have time to apply for GP Las Vegas, GP Krakow and GP Utrecht.

Check out the Grand Prix Solicitations and Selected Staffs such as GP San Jose and GP Mexico City.

Public projects (such as the Article Research for Holidays) are looking for translators, writers, programmers and general contributors. So if you want to get more out of your Judging experience and give back to the community, sign up to something that interests you to help out!