Magic Judge Monthly: Jan & Feb 2015

Welcome to the combined edition of Magic Judge Monthly!
After a good break it’s been busy busy busy getting into the New Year(s)! Make sure you take a few minutes to catch up with everything that’s been going on in January and February, and don’t forget all the exciting things that are coming up!
Until next month, happy judging and enjoy the pre-releases!


Updates to the L3 process

There have been three new changes implemented in the L3 certification process as well as new requirements for candidates and supervising judges, all described in the  Supplemental Activities – Policy Updates.

Tournament Operations Reforged

As you all know, the Tournament Operations are used to assist judges in running tournaments as smooth as possible. A new organization of the Tournament Operation area will provide a more interactive feedback system with judges and tournament organizers, it will have regular updates, add links, tools and useful statistics all overseen by  Riccardo Tessitori. For more information please visit the forum.

Exemplar Updates

The second wave of recognitions is done. Keep your eyes peeled for a FAQ and remember that recognitions can be submitted by level 2+ judges through the judge apps interface.

Judge Booth

The Judge Booth program is on the lookout for Standard format (Theros Block, M15, Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged) questions. If you would like to submit a question, please enter it in this google doc. Please have in mind the following guidelines.

Suspended Players Page Updated

Eric Shukan has processed the Sept, Oct, Nov, and Dec cases and updated the Suspended Players Page. A player and judge FAQ is out to help you after issuing a DQ. If you would like to find out more on investigations, please read his three part series called The Search for Collateral Truths.


Judge Articles January 2015

Judge Articles February 2015

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

Knowledge Pool January 2015

Knowledge Pool February 2015

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


  • JudgeCast #109 More FNM Format Fun
  • JudgeCast #110 FAQ Reforged
  • JudgeCast #111 Sylva Linings Investigationsbook
  • JudgeCast #112  Be Kind, Don’t Rewind
  • JudgeCast #113  Zoned Out
  • Exemplar Ruminations (text blog entry!)

Judge Article of the Year 2014 -Winner

Christian Gawrilowicz: “Investigations – The Search for Collateral Truths by Eric Shukan is the best judge article of 2014! Thanks to everyone who voted and keep an eye out for the 2015 contest!”


Happy Anniversary! January and February 2015

Scores of our co-judges are celebrating their anniversaries this month. Check out the list here and see where you should be doling those high-fives. Featured this month are Justin Turner (Florida) and Thales Bittencourt (Brazil). Special cheers to the SEA RC – Wearn Chong who celebrates his 15th year this month!

Judge Advancements January and February 2015

Michael Wiese: “Hello everyone. Welcome to 2015 and the first advancements list in this year. You might have noticed that we are more then 6000 Judges since some weeks. This reflects of course in the increasing numbers of advancements each month.

Welcome to the February edition of the judge advancements. This month we a new record with 237 advancements and for the first time since months, that we don’t have a new L3 according to DCIX. I am often asked what kind of date I use to determine this list. The date entered the advancement review is what counts for this list, because that ensures that I won’t miss anyone.”

Judge of the Week


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

1. Abe attacks with a random creature. Then he cast a non damage based removal on Nelson's Soulfire Grand master to which Nelson answer with a Channel Harm targeting Abe's creature. All spells resolve. Will Nelson gain life when Abe's creature will deal damage?

A: Channel Harm had lifelink at the time it left the stack, and that Last Known Information is what is used to determine whether or not Nelson should gain life. The fact that the Grand Master has left the battlefield in the interim is irrelevant.
Approved by: Callum Milne, Level 2, Nanaimo, Canada

2. Are layers applied an effect at a time or on an object at a time?
With Blood Moon and Glaciers together on the field, with basic mountains, are the effects, while dependent, applied one effect at a time on all objects, or at each object one at a time?

A:The effect of Glaciers is dependent on Blood Moon, because Blood Moon will change what Glaciers will apply to. Even if there are Mountains already on the battlefield, we will always apply the effect of Blood Moon first, then we apply the effect of Glaciers (on the Mountains and the nonbasics that just became Mountains).
613.7a An effect is said to “depend on” another if (a) it’s applied in the same layer (and, if applicable, sublayer) as the other effect (see rules 613.1 and 613.3); (b) applying the other would change the text or the existence of the first effect, what it applies to, or what it does to any of the things it applies to; and © neither effect is from a characteristic-defining ability or both effects are from characteristic-defining abilities. Otherwise, the effect is considered to be independent of the other effect.
Approved by: Nathan Long, Wizards.Com Boards NetRep, L2, Durango, CO, USA

3. At what point do you step in and issue an infraction?
Example 1: Player A makes a mistake and Player N points it out a few seconds later. No penalty.
Example 2: Player A casts a board wipe, and Player N puts his Erebos in the graveyard. After a few seconds, the judge steps in an fixes with GRV penalty.
Example 3: Player A casts stoke the flames targeting a creature, player N casts a foreign Deflecting Palm, which they resolve incorrect. Judge steps in with GRV-FTMGS.
Are these rulings correct?

A: First and Second situations – an infraction doesn’t happen until the players try to take other actions without realizing and preventing the mistake. In the first case, you did fine. For the Second, it sounds like they weren’t going to notice and prevent the error, but you want to wait until it’s certain.

Last situation, your initial infraction was OK; they resolved a spell incorrectly.
Also, it is kind of surprising how many players have some degree of ignorance regarding penalties; just one more thing for us to teach the world! Players don’t understand Warnings, try to explain their significance to them nicely!
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA.

4. Player A says Gush, returns 2 islands to his hand and draws 2 cards.
Player N says “What Gush?” Player A says “Oh sorry! I forgot to reveal it, here it is” and places it from his hand into the graveyard. There was no knowledge of the top cards of his library and the cards in hand were not identifiable.

A:This could still be a GRV-no upgrade. We don’t apply the Hidden Information upgrade just because they forgot to put the spell card on the stack.
The opponent does have the opportunity to notice that there’s no Gush on the stack, and say something before the cards are drawn. We can easily back this up; set aside the two Islands and the Gush, put two other random cards on top of the Library, and put the Gush on the stack. Assuming the opponent didn’t have a response, the Gush resolves, and those two randomly chosen cards end up back in hand.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

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

1. I cast Soulflayer and delve Horde of Notions, which is the commander, then send it to the command zone. Does that pay for delve? Does Soulflayer get Horde’s abilities?

A: Yes, you paid the cost of exiling the Horde. It didn’t end up in exile, but that doesn’t mean the cost wasn’t paid. So you can exile the commander, then choose to put the commander into the command zone, and that will count for one towards delve.

2nd question: Soulflayer does *not* have a linked ability: it only checks the cards that were exiled by delve while you were casting it. It doesn’t matter what happens to those cards after they’ve been exiled, so removing cards that were exiled via delve will not affect what abilities Soulflayer has. It also means that if you delve away your commander (and put your commander into the command zone instead of exile), it will still be able to gain the abilities that it has (so Soulflayer would get vigilance, trample, and haste from the Horde).
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2, Netrep, Durango CO, USA

2. I have Library of Leng in play. I cast Thirst for Knowledge. Can I discard an artifact and put it on top of my library instead?

A: Nope, you cannot. The game can’t see that the card you discarded was an artifact card, so you can’t choose to discard an artifact card and then put it on top of your library with the Library of Leng. You either need to not apply the Library and let the artifact card go to the graveyard, or choose the option of discarding two cards (and you can put one or both on top of your library if you want). Calling a judge to verify the identity of the card does not work – that is not the purpose of a judge in a tournament, and the game still cannot verify the identity of the card, even if an outside source could.
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2, Netrep, Durango CO, USA

3. If I attack with a Rakshasa Death Dealer and actually say “I attack for 2” have I stopped myself from pumping it to 4/4 or higher as I have announced its damage value?

A: As others have noted, it’s very clear that there are regional, cultural and/or language differences re: how we interpret “attack for N”. That confirms what I was saying before – this is not, and can not become, an established shortcut.

Just as with triggers, there’s a burden on both players to confirm uncertainties before making decisions. Saying “no blocks, so I take 2?” is exactly that – NAP confirming where they are in the game state. AP can agree – they’ve now accepted an informal shortcut to Combat Damage – or can interrupt after Declare Blockers with a pump effect, etc.

Consider this scenario:
AP: attack for 2
NAP: no blocks, I take 2?
AP: no, Giant Growth, take 5
NAP: oh, then I’ll kill your dude with ___

Very common, and perfectly acceptable. NAP wants to shortcut to damage, AP interrupts, so we’re not in damage yet and NAP can still kill the attacker before damage.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

4. Albert and Niels are playing their second game and there is only ten minutes remaining in the round. Albert is playing burn and has won the first game. He is at 2 life, has a Eidolon of the Great Revel in play, and 48 cards in his library.
Niels is playing Splinter Twin. He is at 2 life, has a Deceiver Exarch in play, 42 cards in his library. There are 3 Splinter Twin and 2 Cryptic Command in his graveyard.
Both players are eager to save time, and Albert is willing to concede now if his opponent has a fourth Splinter Twin in his library. Can we help?

A: Albert says “if you’ve draw another Splinter Twin, you got this – are you playing 4? If you are, I’ll concede.”
Niels says “yep, I have a 4th one – I don’t like the lists that only run 3, too inconsistent for me.”
Albert says “OK, you got it” and scoops.
–> That’s fine, no reason for us to get involved.

Albert and Niels start with the same first two statements;
Albert turns to us and says “can you check his list, and tell me if…”
We say “Sorry, that’s information that I can not provide for you.”

Albert and Niels start with the same first two statements;
Niels turns to us and says “can I just show him the 4th Twin in my library?”
We have to say “no, and please don’t intentionally look at cards that the game won’t normally let you see…”
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

5. During round 2 a player received a bye. Then in round 4 while they and two other players had the lowest points at 3, the player was awarded another bye by WER, with our Game Day being a low turnout this meant that the player would make the top 8 without actually winning a played match. Should you repair to not have a player receive a 2nd bye? Or manually repair to fix what seems to be a WER error?

A: Receiving 2 byes is very unusual, but it can happen.

Manually manipulating pairings to get a “more desirable” result – no matter what criteria you use to define “desirable”, nor who it benefits or hurts – is likely to be considered Tournament Fraud. Don’t do that.

I’m cautioning everyone against the dangers of manipulating pairings to achieve a “better” result. The risks include having the event invalidated, as well as being investigated for Tournament Fraud.

Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA


On Counting Deck Lists

The L4+ judges have recently been steering policy away from counting up every single deck list at Competitive REL events.  The judge staff should of course should make sure that all lists have been turned in for the start of the event.  However, some experiments conducted at Grand Prix have indicated that carefully counting every single list is not worth the cost of keeping judges off of the floor, for a round or more.  Judges should instead be fielding calls, or at least conducting additional actual deck checks, which are what turn up the problems we’re most concerned about.  It’s probably best to eventually count them all – it’s especially awkward when the coverage team discovers a problem – but it may be better to do this when minimal floor coverage is needed.

Notable Bugs in Windows Event Reporter and Judge Center

If you have multiple accounts within Judge Center, this can lead to weird things happening. There is currently no way to fix the situation.  Having multiple accounts commonly results from trying to use multiple DCI numbers. This has become more common recently, possibly as a result of moving to the new Wizards Account System.

Casual events, such as many of the new FNM formats, are in fact worth planeswalker points even with just 2 players. However, there are reports of WER making it difficult to enter such events.

Assessing Tracking Penalties without Infractions

The Infraction Procedures Guide covers a lot of ground, but inevitably we encounter situations where a player’s behavior isn’t quite shady enough to disqualify them, but also falls outside the infractions.  In these situations, it’s acceptable to enter a penalty anyway.  Just be sure to mark the penalty as FOR TRACKING ONLY to make it clear that it shouldn’t contribute to an upgrade path for that particular event.

Smart Phone Apps

Most or all of the smart phone apps have been updated with Fate Reforged, and the corresponding changes in DCI documents, so be sure to update your favorites if you haven’t already.


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 Utrecht, GP Toronto, GP Atalanta, GP London and GP Florence.

Check out the Grand Prix Solicitations and Selected Staffs such as GP Las Vegas and GP Kyoto.

Public projects (such as Arbol Genealogico LatinoAmericano and Battlefield Forge) are looking for 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!