Magic Judge Monthly: May 2015

Dear Judges!
We hope you have all enjoyed making Magic history!
The numbers are truly astonishing, as we will show you a bit later. Now it’s time to relax and take a little break with your favorite magazine for the busy judge. Catch up with all the happenings that occurred in the last, very bustling month.
Happy reading!


Magic Judge Hall of Fame

Judges, ballots close on June 19th!  Rules for voting can be found here. If you’re Level 3 or higher, you were ever a Judge Manager, or you’re a member of the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, make sure you’re submitting your vote!  Check out what it takes to make it to the Magic Judge Hall of Fame and discuss your vote on the forums.

Exemplar Wave 3

Wave 2 is wrapped up and changes are happening to the Exemplar program, but the details on exactly what haven’t been released yet.  In the meantime, Jack Doyle has written a blog about the path to approval and the pitfalls that lead to a recognition being rejected.

PPTQ Winner Document

A handy document for handing out to all PPTQ winners, courtesy of Alex Mullins. Be sure to print it out for your players, it will certainly help them with future RPTQs.


Judge Articles April 2015

  1. Working with Unfamiliar Stores by Jeffrey Vandenberg
  2. The Anatomy of a Recognition by Jack Doyle
  3. A Coworker is a Coworker, No Matter The Level by Sara Smith
  4. 12 Years of the Pro Tour (Part 3) by David Hibbs
  5. Modern Rules Problems – Act on Impulse by Nathan Long
  6. PPTQ Winners FAQ doc – Winter 2016 Season by Alex Mullins

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

Judge blog/wiki updates- May 2015

  1. Blog Bearz Repeating: That shirt doesn’t matter, Entwining Experiences, Three Tales and A Tale of Two GPs: Part One
  2. Blog Whats Up, Docs: Reporting a Looking at Extra Cards penalty and GP Florence Appeals Judge report
  3. Blog Mystical Tutor: New blog for online learning
  4. Wiki Missed trigger guide: Missed Trigger Guide for Modern Masters 2015
  5. Blog Battlefield forge: Adventures in Team Leading, Regionals Weekend – Philadelphia

Knowledge Pool May 2015

  1. Schrödinger’s Satyr
  2. When Speeds Collide
  3. No Pain, No Gain
  4. Rebound swinging

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


  • Judgecast #120 Judge Hibbstory
  • Judgecast #121 Mastering Modern Masters 2015 Edition


Happy Anniversary! May 2015

This month’s anniversary roll is up! Curiously, Ronald Thompson posted the update – pitching in for Johanna Virtanen – usually she has the honor of posting. Check it out and see if you’ve got a name or two to look up and greet with cheer. Jeremy Behunin and Jose Nazareno are featured this month. Cheers to them!

Judge Advancements May 2015

Michael Wiese: “Hello everyone, sorry for the delay, which was caused mainly because of the MM 2015 GP Weekend. I hope you enjoyed that weekend as much as I did, regardless you were judging, playing or watching coverage. By the way last month we had 216 new judges or advancements 🙂
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.”

Congratulations to L3

Christopher Richter’s ever reliable update thread throws the steady clap towards Sophie Pages on her L3 promotion.

 Judge of the Week

137 Michael Grimsley level 2, from South Carolina, USA
138 Miquel Moya level 2, Spain
139 Frank Chafe level 1, from California, USA

 GP travel guides

Antonio Jose Rodriguez Jimenez presents a new batch of fresh guides to make everyone’s GP trips much-ier! Here’s a rundown of the new guides:
Singapore, Hongkong, Providence, Lille, and Montreal.
Check out the travel guide blog at

 Improving as a judge in a remote location

Norway’s Espen Skarsbø Olsen started a thread asking about how he could keep his judging edge sharp while faced with the context of being relatively isolated from other judges via proximity. Replies encouraging the utilization of online sources (mostly through chat and forum use) sounded like the most recommended fix. Check out the said thread here and see how you can help or learn from it.


Questions asked in the month of May and an [O]fficial answer, just for you!
1. I copy my opponent's Foul-Tongue Invocation. My opponent revealed a Dragon card when he cast it. However, I never revealed a Dragon card and yet I control the copy. Do I get 4 life?

A: When a spell on the stack is copied, the copy acquires (among other things) the choices made when casting the original spell, such as modes, targets, the value of X, and so on. One of those choices is the choice of paying optional additional costs, such as Kicker. Revealing a Dragon card from your hand as you cast a “dragon bonus” spell is one of these optional additional costs, so if your opponent chose to pay that cost and reveal a Dragon from their hand, your copy will copy that choice, and you will also get the Dragon bonus.

If your opponent did not reveal a Dragon card, you will not get the Dragon bonus from your copy, even if your opponent did control a Dragon as they cast the spell. This is because “whether or not you controlled a Dragon as you cast this” is not a choice the spell’s caster makes as they cast the spell, so it’s not copied. The copy checks for this condition for itself as it resolves, and will never find the condition true, since the copy was never cast at all.
Approved by: Callum Milne, L2, Netrep, Nanaimo, CA

2. A controls Horn of Greed, which is enchanted by Song of the Dryads. A plays Vesuva and have it as a copy of the Forest(Horn of Greed) entered battlefield. Vesuva now is an artifact copy of Horn of Greed. The question is: Would the Horn of Greed (Vesuva)'s trigger ability been triggered by playing Vesuva?

A: Immediately after Vesuva/Horn of Greed enters the battlefield, the game checks to see if any trigger conditions have been matched. The Vesuva/Horn has an ability that triggers “Whenever a player plays a land…”, and you did indeed just take the special action of playing a land, so the ability triggers. (The fact that you taking the action of playing a land resulted in a non-land permanent entering the battlefield doesn’t matter–you still played a land.)
Approved by: Callum Milne, L2, Netrep, Nanaimo, CA

3. A player presented his deck to his opponent. When the opponent began to shuffle the deck (normally, based on my observation), the player told him: “Be gentle with my cards. They are not double-sleeved. Shuffle carefully please.” What is suggested to be done as a judge for this call and shuffle request.

A: I know this seems a bit inconsiderate, but it remains my stance: don’t play with cards you don’t want shuffled.

If the opponent is really aggressive with shuffling, a Judge could encourage him to be more respectful of others’ property, and maybe help him learn to shuffle more gently. They are also allowed to ask a tournament official to shuffle if they feel a reasonable need.

My worry is that a player might say that to discourage an opponent from shuffling enough to undo some mana weave or other manipulation.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO

4. We've all heard the phrase “the policy is for missed triggers, not forgotten triggers”. This means that a player may forget about their trigger when it should have triggered but not advance the game to a state where policy says the trigger has been missed. So although forgotten at the appropriate time, the trigger was not missed.

Now, do you think the phrase also applies to the other case: a trigger is remembered and pointed out, but because the controller thinks the card works differently, passes the point to consider it a missed trigger by policy without acknowledging it?
The example I heard is this: there is a Torpor Orb on the battlefield. Player A casts Emrakul and says “it's a shame, I won't get my extra turn because of the Orb” thinking that Emrakul's trigger is on EtB. Says go, player B untaps, draws, plays something and then they realize their mistake.

A: There’s a difference between forgetting, missing, and mishandling a Trigger.

Generally, forgetting a trigger will lead to missing it – but (as others have noted) it is possible to remember in time.

Let’s also remember that, with the current (most recent) wording, it is possible to remember your trigger as it triggers, then fail to demonstrate awareness at the time it has a visible effect. An example might be like this:
“Combat, Rabblemaster…” – then a bit of interaction where the opponent taps something, you counter, she counters, and finally you turn your creature(s) sideways to attack … and forget to actually put the Goblin token on the battlefield. You just missed your trigger.

Incorrectly handling a trigger – whether that’s resolving it incorrectly, or misunderstanding the trigger itself – is a GRV. Allowing your opponent to commit a GRV that’s to your benefit is not a good way to win the tournament (heh). In this example, it sounds like both players goofed, so it’s a GRV/FtMGS situation, and you decide whether or not a rewind is simple enough.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO

5. layer A casts Aven Mindcensor. Player B gains control of it via Vedalken Shackles. Player B cracks a fetchland, searches only the first four cards of his deck, and doesn't find a land. When do we step in?

A: Please do not confuse the statements of “illegal action” and “resolving in-correctly.”
It is a sub-optimal search, but legal.
Please, don’t work too hard to find infractions and penalties for the players. Instead, direct that energy to improving the play experience.

How many of us would contact that player after the match, and explain how Aven Mindcensor really works? (Hopefully, the answer is “everyone who has a moment & doesn’t forget first”!)
Approved by: Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO


Judge Center Issues and Tips

This month Brian has some tips about avoiding user error, in addition to the usual Judge Center bugs.  Generally speaking, try to keep in mind that Judge Center operates via forms.  If you’re previewing something, hitting back is probably going to erase the contents the fields in that form – so hit Edit Review instead.  If you try to post information, look for a notification like “submitted,” not just “sent,” to make sure it actually went through – and, if you refresh that page, it will probably post that information again, whether you want it to or not.  The main bug that cropped up involves Rules Advisor exams – if someone’s WPN profile has been mangled in such as a way that they can’t create Rules Advisor exams for themselves, it can be permissible to do it for them.

Rules Adviser and Judge Level

Speaking of Rules Adviser, taking the exam is isn’t required to achieve or maintain L1 but can be a useful tool to make sure your rules knowledge isn’t slipping.

Retrieving and Tracking Your Judge History

If you have trouble accessing the Personal Information Center to retrieve your event history, you can probably it from your RC, or your WPN rep if you have one.  Keep in mind that JudgeApps will track your event history for anything managed with it, and it’s easy to add arbitrary events for a more complete history.  Plus, this history can be viewed by other judges (as part of the application process for an event, etc.)

Apparent Rounding Errors in WER

When judging small enough event, particularly a 3-round event, you may find situations where WER pairings surprise you.  Please bear in mind that judges do not have authority to override the pairings, even if they don’t understand them. This thread goes into some of the logic behind results that may seem unintuitive.

Players Dropping Out of Drafts

With Modern Masters season upon us again, we have to once again consider players dropping during a draft – since a 7-player event can’t be sanctioned as a normal event.  The core idea from this thread is to pair the players as soon as they sit at the table – this means that all 8 players have been paired before anyone sees a card, so if someone drops during the draft, they just get stuck with a loss.  In some circumstances, it may also be OK to recreate the event as casual, which requires just 4 players.


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 Detroit, GP San Diego, GP Indianapolis, and GP Atlanta as well as SGC Opens throughout the US.

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

Public projects (such as Flash Cards and Card of the Week) 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


Did you help #MakeMagicHistory?  The Graphic Design Gang put together Modern Masters Weekend Judge Stats slides with some impressive stats about the triple GP weekend. Also available on Magic Judges Facebook.