Magic Judge Monthly: April 2015

Dear Judges all around the world!
As the long-awaited Modern Masters II Grand Prix are slowly nearing, we’ve prepared an overview of last month’s top happenings. Shorten your wait and have a read through your favorite magazine. Be sure to get to the end, you might find something surprising.
Happy reading and enjoy the upcoming Modern, multi-continent GPs!


Suspended Players Page Updated

The cases for February 2015 have been processed and added to the Judge Center. The Suspended Players page has been updated accordingly. Details about the disqualification process can be found of the Official Resources site, along with a players’ FAQ.

Judge Conduct Committee Update

The first quarterly report from the Judge Conduct Committee (JCC) has been posted. Similar to the Player Investigation Committee, the JCC follows up on feedback about Judges. The Committee looks at allegations of misconduct among Judges under the Magic Judge Code. For more information, please contact any of the JCC members.

Announcing Mystical Tutor

A new project called Mystical Tutor sees the light of day! It is an online judge education platform with narrated presentations each week covering a wide variety of topics. Thanks to Joe Hughto and the team, you can follow directly on the webpage or via RSS.

 Announcing the Magic Judge Hall of Fame

We would like to introduce you to the new level of recognition in the Judge Program, the Magic Judge Hall of Fame. The first five members are already in the Hall, but you still have time to vote for the 2008 class! Discussions can be found on the relevant part of the forum or on twitter using #mtgjhof.


Judge Articles April 2015

  1. International Travel Tips by Leonardo Martins and Arick Dickerman
  2. Wear // Tear at Events by Luís Guimarãis
  3. Backing Up to the Future by Riki Hayashi
  4. A Guide to L1 Post-test Interviews by Joshua Feingold
  5. Keeping Floor Coverage Active and Player-Focused by David Lyford-Smith
  6. Let There Be Dragons… and Judges on Camera by Riccardo Tessitori
  7. Why Decklists Are More Important Than Ever by Jason Flatford
  8. The Noble Art of Note Taking by Stelios Kargotis

Find a list of all the articles on the Judge wiki. In case you would like to discuss an article, visit our forum.

 Judge Blog and Wiki Updates- April 2015

  1. Blog Whats Up, Docs: Back to basics and Efficiently Watching Magic
  2. Blog The Battlefield Forge: Owning One’s Failures and Anchorage Alaska
  3. Blog Judge Conference:  Inspiration
  4. Blog Bearz Repeating: Bearz’ Guide to Bribery, Pareto’s Counsel, Alphabet Soup, The Power of Stories and You’ve Got Mail!
  5. Lems Blog: 5 Myths About Level 5 Judges

Knowledge Pool April 2015 

  1. Missed/Realized?
  2. Thalia’s Chalice
  3. Placement Effect
  4. I Have Made Fire!
  5. Line ‘em up, knock ‘em down.

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

Judgecast April 2015

  • Judgecast #117 TO Talk with Turner
  • Judgecast #118 Missed Triggertunities
  • Judgecast #119 Broganlord Brolumbro and other stories


Happy Anniversary! April 2015

Keep up to date with Johanna Virtanen new April anniversaries thread featuring Sophie Pages and  Toby Elliott!

Judge Advancements April 2015

Michael Wiese: Hello everyone. It’s time to say welcome to the new judges worldwide and to everyone who advanced to a new level last month. With exactly 250 advancements for last month we have a new record, well done everyone. 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 wont miss anyone.

Judge of the Week

New RC in Spain and Portugal

Congratulations to Sergio Perez whose shoulders now carry the weight of RC for Spain and Portugal! Find out more in this update from RC Coordinator Cristiana Dionisio.

GP travel guides

This April guides for  Sao Paolo, Florence and Paris were linked by every traveling judges’ best friend, Antonio Jose Rodriguez Jimenez in his trusty travel guide thread.

Standby vs Activated Judges

Check out a very relevant discussion about the logistics of handling standby judges and their statuses, what to do when they’re activated, should they remain in the event and more.


Questions asked in the month of April and an [O]fficial answer, just for you!
1. Nancy controls Illusory Gains enchanting Alice's Wall of Ice. Alice plays Profaner of the Dead, and after Illusory Gains takes control of it, she decides to exploit the Wall of Ice that was just returned to her. Does Profaner of the Dead trigger to bounce the remainder of Alice's board?

A: Yes, it does. (Assuming Alice doesn’t control anything else with toughness 7 or greater.)

A creature was sacrificed to Profaner of the Dead‘s Exploit trigger, so the Profaner has exploited a creature, which triggers its second ability. Nancy currently controls the Profaner and will therefore control the trigger, which means that the ability will return all creatures with less than 7 toughness that Alice controls to their owner’s hand.
Note that sacrificing for Exploit is optional; a much better course of action for players in Alice’s situation would normally be to choose not to sacrifice anything.
Approved by: Callum Milne, L2, NetRep, Nanaimo, Canada

2. You're the head judge of a Regular REL Draft in which Alfred and Nolan are both 2-0 going into the final round (they are therefore both aware that they will be playing each other). Alfred knows that Nolan has a powerful rare, Citadel Siege, in his draft deck, and decides to change the configuration of his own deck to include a Naturalize in order to defeat the Siege. What, if anything, would you do or say in this situation?

A: I wouldn’t say anything, what Alfred did was legal provided the naturalize was part of his card pool. At Regular REL without decklists we have the concept of “continuous constructed”, which allows players to change the composition of their deck at any time. That includes the time between determining who their opponent is and preparing for their match. It might be worth having a quiet word with the player later to point out to them that even though what they did is legal, it might not be considered particularly sporting and might lead to other players having a negative opinion of them.
Approved by: Kim Warren, L4, London, United Kingdom

3. How does Geist of Saint Traft work with the new trigger policy? Do you always have to place a physical token or are there still scenarios where you can shortcut the damage?

A: IPG 2.0, last paragraph:

If the players are playing in a way that is clear to both players, but might cause confusion to an external observer, judges are encouraged to request that the players make the situation clear, but not issue any penalty.

I’d be fine with AP saying “attack with Geist and the Angel token” or “attack, get an Angel” – something that’s a fairly obvious attempt to communicate.
We certainly are not going to insist that they use a physical representation of the token, unless it appears that there could be confusion that would compromise the integrity of the game state. Yeah, that emphasis isn’t quite the same as what the IPG says – but let’s be realistic here. If both players know there’s an Angel token attacking, and both players record the correct life total changes, or NAP blocks the Angel, or kills it, etc., then it really doesn’t matter that an external observer never saw an Angel.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, Colorado, USA

4. When is it ok to give just a caution to a player for a small fix rather than a GRV warning?

A: If it’s a quick reminder, go ahead and give a caution if you feel it’s appropriate.
From the Annotated IPG:

“If a play error takes more than a few seconds to correct, assign the appropriate infraction/penalty instead.”

Philosophically, it’s kind of like minor violations of traffic laws. Most of the time, nothing bad happens, and you won’t get a traffic ticket from a cop. However, if the violation is at least partly to blame for an accident, then you’re likely to get a ticket. Also, if you persist in ignoring a law, or do so in a way that could endanger others – even if no accident actually occurs – you’re likely to get a ticket. And, of course, if the cop is having a bad day, feeling grumpy, or just a real hard-nosed enforcer of every little violation – you’re going to get a ticket you probably don’t deserve.

Let’s not be that grumpy, hard-nosed cop, OK?
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

5. If a player casts Dig Through Time and looks at 8 cards from the top instead of 7, notices the mistake and calls for a Judge, what infraction did he commit? Is it L@EC ou GRV? What fix would you apply?

A: It’s a Looking at extra cards infraction because the 8th card was something the player was not entitled to see.
We probably don’t know which was the 8th card, so we’d choose one at random to shuffle in. If there’s no doubt about which card is the 8th card, we can use that knowledge.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA


Handling Altered Cards and Deck Checks

Deck checks may discover altered cards that aren’t known to have been approved by the Head Judge, slowing things down while the situation is resolved. One suggesti[O]n is to have the Head Judge consider delegating alters’ approval to the Deck Checks lead. It may also help to record which alters have been approved, though as noted in the thread, giving the player this written record may have ramifications beyond the current event.

Scheduling Restrictions for PPTQs

The only hard restriction is that they can’t be scheduled on prerelease weekends (full fact sheet here).  Scheduling them against premier events such as local GPs is allowed, though perhaps not advisable.  As noted in a recent thread, if the stores in an area coordinate their PPTQ schedules, it’s easier to collectively notice conflicts such as this so stores can avoid them.  It may also help the group remember non-Magic factors that could impact attendance, such as major sportsball events.

Judge Center Issues – Lack of PPTQ Support

The events field of judge center still doesn’t list PPTQ as an option for the event type. Depending on the form being filled out, using either PTQ or Other can be appropriate. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s clear in the description and/or location that the event is in fact a PPTQ.

WER Issues – Updates, and Maintaining Local Player Lists

A common safety tip is to frequently export your local player list so that you can import it again if needed. This is normally only needed if switching machines, or deliberately reinstalling.

However, it is possible for a WER update to erase the local player list, or even to erase tournament history as well. When this happens, uninstalling WER and reinstalling it can sometimes recover the files.

Handling Possible Cases of Fraudulent Card Sales

If you are concerned that a store is selling cards that it shouldn’t be, contact the fraud department at Wizards. Two examples of this have come up in the last month. First, reselling promo cards such as FNM promos without having given them out first is a problem, but reselling promos which have been bought “back” from players is generally OK. Second, any suspected counterfeit cards such be reported, even if it seems unlikely that anyone would want to counterfeit the cards in question.


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 Prague, GP Atalanta, GP Indianapolis and GP London.

Check out the Grand Prix Solicitations and Selected Staffs such as GP Florence and GP Copenhagen.

Public projects (such as GP Travel guides  and Mystical Tutor) 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!

Sugar on Top- Mount Judgemore

The First Class of the Judge Hall of Fame. From left to right :Jaap Brouwer, Gijsbert Hoogendijk, Collin Jackson, Sheldon Menery and Michael Guptil. Courtesy of Uncle Scott