Magic Judge Monthly: December 2015

Dear Judges!

We hope you all had wonderful holidays and that the New Year 2016 started on a high note! As always, we have prepared all the interesting and important information in our Magic Judges world. We hope you will enjoy it!

Happy reading and until next month!


December Suspensions

You may have heard that some suspensions occurred in December that included some Judges.  James Bennett has provided a statement and Wizards Director of Organized Play Helene Bergeot has also provided one. Hopefully everything will be resolved peacefully soon.

New Colorless Mana

If you haven’t been asked how the new Colorless mana symbol works you may have been living in a cave hiding from Eldrazi for the last few months. Matt Tabak has got you covered with all of the Oath of the Gatewatch mechanics.

Reporting DQs

If you need to report a DQ and aren’t sure how to do it.  Brian Schenck and Alejandro Raggio have a few tips on how to go about it in this forum post.  If you’re Head Judging an event this document would be a good thing to look over before an event.

2015 Judge Article and Facebook Update

If you want to read some of the best articles produced this year or vote for your favorite, head over to the Judge Apps forum and follow the links that Christian Gawrilowicz has provided.

David de la Iglesia has blogged about the Magic Judges Facebook page.  Highlights from the past year and what to expect in the future

Exemplar Wave 3 Recognitions and Highlights

It seems like rewards were just issued for Wave 3 and now Wave 4 is ending.  Don’t forget to submit recommendations for judges you have had excellent interactions with.  If you’re looking for inspiration Eric Levine has an article with some “particularly awesome” recognitions. What’s next for the Exemplar program? A tentative outline is included in this article here.


Judge Article and Blog Posts December 2015

  1. Articles: Campioni Del Mondo!, Middle East countries now part of the Europe-East region, Conference report: Nordic region winter 2015 conference
  2. Bearz Repeating: Flossing, On the LevelYou Make the Ruling #3: Fabulous Las Vegas Edition and Smaller Things
  3. Mystical Tutor: Lessons
  4. Judge Conferences: On the Road – Part 2 and Presenters Training Team – 2015 in Review
  5. Battlefield Forge: Swap, Drop, and Roll? A GP Sydney Tournament Report, Learning by Doing and GP Kobe 2015 – An Introduction to Last Chance Trials in Japan
  6. GP Travel GuidesGP Oakland 2016, GP México 2016 and GP Vancouver 2016
  7. Judge Games: Five Fulfilling Fillers and Bonus: Judge Letter
  8. Flashcards: New updates available
  9. MTGScorekeeper: 2015 Mid-Atlantic Judge Conference: Teams and Leading Them by Ryan Stapleton and WER: Local Player List
  10. What’s Up, Docs: GP Madrid Appeals Judge Report and GP Kobe 2015 HJ Report

In case you would like to discuss an article, visit our Judge forum.

Knowledge Pool December 2015

  1. Zurgoing to have a problem…
  2. A swing and a miss
  3. A Forgetful Brain

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


JudgeCast #134 – The Wonderful Thing About Triggers

JudgeCast #135 – E-mails Away

JudgeCast #136 – Two Men and a JudgeCast


Happy Anniversary! December 2015

Check out the December Judge Anniversaries, featuring Evan Cherry , Alexis Rassel , Edwin Zhang , Joel Bantiles , Monsuporn Lauhaphand , Nathan Brewer , Fabian Peck and Eric Levine.

Judge of the Week December 2015

Remember you can always nominate a judge!

News in Northwest and Southeast USA, Middle East and East-Europe

From the US, please welcome back Dan Stephens  as the RC of Northwest! Dan will replace the interim RC Scott Marshall. Scott will however be assuming the duties of ‘RC ad interim’ of the USA Southeast region for 90 days.

The Middle East area has grown a lot over the last months, so thanks to support from David de la Iglesia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait are part of Europe-East whose Regional Coordinator is Giorgos Trichopoulos.

Fun Formats

If you love playing a variety of strange and silly Magic formats, than the Player Experience blog is just for you! It will be updated every two weeks, so stay tuned!

Judging as a Professional Skill

Continuing a previous topic, a new question has surfaced. Does one put MTG judging in a CV as volunteer work or past/current employment? There are a few factors to take into account, so if you wish to boost your resume, these suggestion might be useful.


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

1. I cast three copies of Pyretic Ritual and a Manamorphose(making at least one blue mana), then cast Empty the Warrens, leaving one blue mana floating. My opponent responds to the Storm trigger with Voidslime (my opponent's first spell of the turn) to counter it, but I counter Voidslime with Dispel. Neither of us has any more responses, so the Storm trigger resolves. How many copies are made: four, since I cast four spells before I cast Empty the Warrens, or six, because six non-Empty the Warrens spells were cast before the Storm trigger from Empty the Warrens resolved?

A: Storm counts the number of spells cast before the spell with storm was cast. It will not count any spells that were cast while the storm trigger was on the stack. In your case, the storm trigger will make four copies of Empty the Warrens, since four spells were cast before Empty the Warrens was cast. It will not count the two spells that were cast with the storm trigger on the stack, since they were cast after Empty the Warrens was cast.
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2, Netrep, Durango, CO, USA

2.A store owner, and very good player, let's call him “Willy”, usually plays in prereleases he hosts.
He organizes a “game within the game”, called “Hunting Willy”, i.e.:
a) who gets paired with Willy, wins a booster
b) who gets paired with Willy, and beats him, wins two boosters (one for being paired, one for winning)
I really like this idea, and I would like to propose it to my LGS (we have some good players there), but before doing that, I want to be sure that everything is legal.

A: This is fine, and a fun way to distribute prizes.
I used to do something similar, when I ran States; all former Colorado State Champions had a bounty on them; if you beat them, you got a booster.
Because it’s skill-based, and especially because there’s no risk of loss for the other players, it’s not gambling.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

3. Active player casts Primeval Titan and with its trigger and found a Vesuva and a Radiant Fountain. He had Vesuva copy the Radiant Fountain. (The only other lands the player had in play was a Simic Growth Chamber and a Forest) The players resolve the triggers and AP gains 4 life total.
At end of turn, NAP casts Snapcaster Mage, and AP responds with a Pact of Negation. The pact resolves and the Snapcaster mage goes to the graveyard. At this point, the game is paused and Judge is called.
I ruled GRV for AP and FTMGS for NAP. I think too much information has been shown to backup. I left the game state as is. When discussing with other judges, an argument emerged whether or not a Partial Fix should be applied here.

A: The partial fix does not apply here, because Vesuva does not create a static ability. This is not just a technicality, it’s an extremely important distinction! A Voice of All naming nothing or “artifact” is clearly illegal, this can never happen in a game, and hence the game can’t continue like this. However, a Vesuva pretending to be a Radiant Fountain is perfectly fine; in this case, the game could not have reached this situation in a legal way, but the current situation is perfectly legal and does not need addressing. Trying to apply the partial fix here leads to huge problems, as we have seen, because it’s never intended to apply here.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

4.Norman played Omnath, Locus of Rageand passed his turn. Norman has one card left in his hand. Alex untaps, and while considering his options, wants to know if Norman played a land the previous turn (the 7th, to cast Omnath, Locus of Rage), or if he already had 7 lands.
For Alex, the fact whether or not Norman played a land matters: If Norman didn't play a land, it's safe to assume Norman has no land in his hand. He would've played the land to trigger Omnath, Locus of Rage right away. If Norman did play a land, it's definitely possible that there's another land in Norman's hand. This land may trigger Omnath, Locus of Rage next turn and produce a 5/5 creature.
In short: If Norman didn't play a land, it's less likely that there will be an Omnath, Locus of Rage - trigger next turn for Alex to play around.
He asks Norman “Did you play a land in your most recent turn?” Is this relevant information that Norman needs to answer?

A: The question is whether this past game action still affects the game state, and I’d state that it does not, since it was a previous turn, and nothing about the current game state cares if a land was played, or not.
Really, the only thing that’s affected by that information is Alex’ evaluation of strategic information. The contents of Norman’s hand is of great interest to Alex – but it’s not (normally) public information.
I think my simple summary, to Alex, is “pay attention”.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

5. AP activates Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, draws and discards into a graveyard with 5+ cards and then passes turn. NAP takes their turn and passes. AP activates Jace again and does not transform Jace. At this point the NAP realizes that the Jace should have transformed last turn and calls for a judge. Investigation rules out cheating. What infraction(s) have occurred?

A: The GRV here is not the activation of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy on the following turn, but the failure to transform Jace from the previous activation. There’s no DEC infraction here. We issue the GPE-GRV to AP and GPE-FtMGS to NAP.
As for the fix, we can either backup, or leave it as is. I would not backup to AP’s prior turn, as too much time has passed. Assuming that nothing has happened since AP drew and discarded from the 2nd activation, have them finish resolving the ability correctly by transforming Jace now. If other actions have occurred since, consider a backup to the point where Jace should have transformed from the 2nd activation.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO

6.How do we handle it when a player plays an effect that causes them to draw a card and they draw that card before allowing their opponent priority to respond? It seems clear that the infraction is DEC, but what is the appropriate fix?

A: This is not DEC, as the card was meant to be drawn; this is not OoOS, as everything was done correctly. This is just playing too fast for this opponent to respond in time. Situations in which that really matters are rare, but – if the opponent really does have a Stifle or similar reason to respond prior to the draw – you can consider a simple backup.

Since AP did not pass priority before resolving they have technically violated a game rule, but you should be able to get someone for that 15-20 times a game, easily, which suggests it’s not the best approach. As Toby pointed out, we must be very careful with something like that. You shouldn’t issue GRVs every time an opponent claims “he didn’t let me respond”. Yes, it’s best to confirm draws before you draw, but not doing so isn’t strictly an infraction.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA


Sealed Process Checklist

There have already been some very good initiatives implemented regarding the better flow of large Sealed Competitive REL Tournaments. The Sealed Process Checklist alongside the introduction of some additional documentations in order to make instructions for players clearer amidst the commotion that sometimes exists during a large event, seems like another sure step in the right direction. Do you agree? Join the discussion and state your opinion.

Japanese Judging Flashcards

For judges planning to do some judge work in Japan! The Japanese Judging Flashcards!


Find out which Judge Conferences, Grand Prix and SCG Opens have available worldwide staffing positions! You still have time to apply for Grand Prix Toronto 2016, Grand Prix Tokyo 2016, Nordic Judge Conference – Spring 2016 and USA-South Spring Judge Conference 2016.

Check out the Grand Prix Solicitations and Selected Staffs for more details on individual tournaments.

Public projects such as: the Articles Blog, Battlefield Forge, Card of the Week, Customer Service, Czech MTR translation, French Projects : Blog and translations and others are looking writers, editors and translators.  If you wish to get more out of your Judging experience and give back to the community, sign up to something that interests you to help out!