Magic Judge Monthly: January 2016

Greetings Judges!

First of all, we’d like to wish you a Happy Chinese New Year (albeit a bit late) and Valentines Day! Check out what has happened over the last month, such as the updates on suspended US Judges and Exemplar promos.

Enjoy and see you soon!


Judges on LinkedIn

Have you ever used your Judge status on a resume? It shows leadership, teamwork, commitment, and many other things employers find desirable. They may not know what Magic cards are, but they can respect the job that a Judge has to perform. If you’re interested in using this hobby professionally, a LinkedIn group has started and they’re expanding quickly.

Updates on Suspended Judges

Even if you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard about the recent Judge suspensions in the South-East region. Fortunately, most of the affected Judges have been reinstated. If you’d like some explanation of what went down, the episode of JudgeCast titled “The Great Judge Suspension” tells all from the Judges perspective and Sean Catanese has an in depth article detailing the reasoning behind the suspensions.

Exemplar Wave 3 Foils

The Exemplar program is still fairly new. Tweaks and changes are still being made to how things work. Bryan Prillaman explains the distribution process and what to expect out of future waves, and includes the promos for this wave. Oooh Shiny!

Disqualification FAQ Available in Multiple Languages

The DQ FAQ has been updated to include 12 different languages. A big shout out to Yuval Tzur and Zohar Finkel for the addition of Hebrew.

Judge Conduct Committee and the Magic Judge Code

Sean Catanese has posted an article detailing updates to the Magic Judge Code, members who are leaving, and Judges that were added to the team. Take a look at the updated Magic Judge Code.


Judge Article and Blog Posts January 2016

  1. Articles: Introducing the Global Judge Project Org Chart, OGW Policy Changes, The Hidden Corners of HCE, Looking Back at 2015
  2. Bearz Repeating: Year in Review, Pieces of Feedback, Pieces of Reviews, Radical Candor, Ruinous Empathy and Obnoxious Aggression
  3. Mystical Tutor:  Lessons
  4. Judge Conferences: BeNeLux Judge Conference Report, Europe North Winter Conference Report, Europe-East Leadership Conference Report, Conference Content Blog – January 2016 update, The ‘Tells’ of Body Language – Part 1: Importance and The ‘Tells’ of Body Language – Part 2: Being the Sender
  5. Battlefield Forge: Owning Your Mistakes – SCG Open Somerset, Of Star-Crossed Lovers and Evil Giraffes (GP Brussels Nov 13-15 2015), Mastering Legacy, or How I Learned to Question my Assumptions and Logistical Adventures in Prereleases!
  6. GP Travel GuidesGP Nagoya 2016, WMC Barcelona 2015, GP Houston 2016, GP Bologna 2016, GP Detroit 2016, GP Albuquerque 2016 and GP Paris 2016
  7. Judge Games: Treasure Hunt
  8. MTGScorekeeper: Preparing for Events,  SCG Charlotte Open: On Questions (Saturday Edition),  SCG Charlotte Open: On Questions (Sunday Edition), WER: Editing Matches (aka How to Not Repair the Whole Round) and  WER: Editing Matches 2 — Cascades
  9. What’s Up, Docs: Whispers of the Muse, The new Limited Day 2 Grand Prix, part1: Preparation and The new Limited Day 2 Grand Prix, part2: Running the draft
  10. Oath of the Gatewatch: Two-Headed Giant Release Notes

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

Knowledge Pool January 2016

  1. MisClique
  2. I Landed on a Mountain
  3. Four-gotten Cards
  4. Mulled Over

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


Best Articles:

October – Presentation Design Principles – Part 1 and Tweaking the new DEC Rules

November – PPTQs: Head Judge-TO Communication


Happy Anniversary! January 2016

Check out the January Judge 2016 Anniversaries, featuring Zohar Finkel and Rafael Dei Svaldi. Not to mention there are a lot of 15-year-old Judges, congratulations! 🙂

Judge Advancements (from November 2015)

Michael Wiese: “Long time ago since my last posting. Working on the script took more time than expected and afterwards no one was asking for this list :(. Fortunately some judges started to ask some days ago, so I was motivated to finish the work on the script and here is finally the list of October 2015. Sorry for the delay, November and December 2015 will follow soon.”

Judge of the Week January 2016

Image of a Magic Judge

Both literal and figurative. Please make sure you (and candidates you’ve certified) have a Judge profile picture, both on Judge Apps and on Judge center. No need to be in Judge uniform, just that it looks relatively professional. Think of it as an ID in the Judge world. On the other hand, a Judge of a certain level should have certain qualities and characteristics – more on that in the unofficial Judge Law and official Judge Code of Conduct (JCC) .

Judge Candidate Information Leaflet

A nice idea for you local game shop or similar event, the Judge candidate information leaflet contains information on useful online resources with regards to judging Magic events. Currently available in English, French and Spanish.


Questions asked in the month of January and an [O]fficial answer, just for you!
1. AP has Anafenza and Kalitas. Anafenza is cast on turn 3, Kalitas is cast on turn 4. NAP has Nantuko Husk. In turn 5, AP cast Grasp of Darkness (target creature gets -4/-4) to Nantuko Husk and resolved. In this case, Does AP take zombie token or not?

A: Both Anafenza, the Foremost and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet have replacement effects that are trying to replace the same event: one of your opponent’s creatures dying. If two or more replacement effects are trying to replace the same event, the player who controls the permanent that is affected by the event being replaced chooses which of them is applied. (The other effect is only applied if it’s still relevant after the chosen effect has been applied.)
Approved by: Callum Milne, L2, Netrep, Nanaimo, CA

2. If you copy a spell that was cast with Surge, does the copy of the spell have its Surge paid as well?

A: Tabak has posted about this on Twitter. The release notes were in error and copies of cards cast for their surge cost (such as Crush of Tentacles) will also be treated as having their surge costs paid.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO

3. What happens with Elemental Resonance and the generic part of a mana cost now? I'd say as you can't generate generic mana it adds the same amount of colorless to the mana pool, is this correct?

A: Yes, that is correct; nothing has changed here.
Elemental Resonance works with generic mana costs exactly the same way it always has: if it tries to add an amount of mana represented by a generic mana symbol to your mana pool, it adds that much colorless mana to your mana pool.
Approved by: Callum Milne, L2, Netrep, Nanaimo, CA

4. Let's say we're playing at a competitive REL event and the table next to us calls for a judge. We're between games and we're judges, so we listen in and the floor judge gets the call wrong. Neither player appeals. Is it OK to suggest the players appeal? Are we obliged to step in? What should we do here?

A: The definition of outside assistance does not include the statement to the players, “you should appeal”. That said, there are other ways to manage this- maybe ask to speak to the judge away from the table, to make your point, or ask the players to pause and then do that. However, with time constraints and focus, you are completely fine with telling the players simply that they should appeal.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO

5. Am I correct to interpret that the distinction between Looking at Extra Cards (LEC) and Hidden Card Error (HCE), in the context of picking up cards to draw/scry/whatever and accidentally taking too many, is that dexterity issues noticed immediately are intended to be LEC (the first card will be drawn or scried, the second card will be shuffled into the random portion of the library), and it only becomes HCE once a player has added the cards to his hand or has potentially changed their order (at which point the Perish the Thought fix will be applied to the hand or the set of cards)?

A: The examples are still pretty helpful, I think:
A. A player accidentally reveals (drops, flips over) a card while shuffling her opponent’s deck.
B. A player pulls up an extra card while drawing from his deck.
C. A player sees the bottom card of her deck when presenting it to her opponent for cutting/shuffling.
D. A player activates a Sensei’s Divining Top that is no longer on the battlefield, and sees 3 cards before the mistake is noticed.

Examples A and C seem pretty obvious?
Example B, it’s important that extra card might be seen, but definitely is not added to another set of cards – typically, the hand, but not always.
Example D might trip us up, since we’re following an instruction that creates a “set of cards” – so it seems like it could be HCE.

Say you’re resolving a “reveal the top 5” effect (say, Commune With the Gods), you flip over 1, 2, 3, 4, and then two more stuck together. At this point, we know what the 6th card is, just shuffle it as usual and issue LEC.
Sensei’s Divining Top gives us a fun example: you’re activating a Top that is still in play, you pick up the top 3 cards and start to look – and realize there’s 4, one stuck to the others. These cards are not public, the order isn’t known (per the HCE Definition), so we have a set of cards with an excess, and hidden, card. I’m calling that HCE, and fully expecting players to say “hey, isn’t that just Looking at…??!?!?”
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO

6. Matter Reshaper dies. Player announces the ability, then draws without revealing. What would you do?

A: The error probably “cannot be corrected by only publicly available information”, and – as far as we can tell from the original scenario – this was done “without {the} opponent’s permission”. Matter Reshaper

So, the player reveals their hand, and the opponent selects zero cards – there are no “excess or unverified” cards in this example. Since no cards are being returned to the library, no shuffle is required.

If there’s only one card in hand, then “the zone in question contains only a single card”, in which case a simple correction is “reveal that card, please”, and this is a GRV.

Nissa, Sage Animist‘s +1 ability was brought up frequently in the discussions that crafted the new policy. This ability gets kind of weird, depending on whether there’s zero, one, or nothing but lands in hand – and we certainly can’t have a fix that depends on that, even though we are revealing the hand and thus eliminating that concern.

And, the IPG text actually handles this:
Originally posted by IPG:
…opponent selects a number of cards equal to the number of excess or unverified cards. Those cards are returned to their original zone.

Nissa’s ability requires that you verify that the card should go to your hand, instead of the battlefield; since that can’t be corrected by only publicly available information, we apply this remedy – reveal the hand, the opponent chooses one card, that card is shuffled into the random portion of the library.

For things like Keranos, God of Storms “reveal the the first card drawn each turn” instruction, the error fits the HCE criteria, and there are zero cards that are either “excess or unverified”. And, as noted, the player didn’t reveal a land or non-land “this way”, so neither trigger fires.
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO


Use of Proxies and DCI Sanctioned Tournaments

Following the recent ‘crackdown’ on proxy cards by Wizards, various discussions had sparked up about whether something has changed in the way that Wizards view the use of proxies. To summarize, Wizards only police the illegal use of proxies in DCI-sanctioned tournaments. There is no intention to police proxies designed for playtesting, or those used in unsanctioned tournaments. Read all about it here. You can also refer to the official statement on Proxies, Policy and Communication by Elaine Chase.

Running WER on Linux or Mac

Get informed on new developments regarding running WER on Linux or Mac using the commercial Crossover software in this forum post.

Judge Center Issues

We would like to point you towards a compilation of the most common judge center issues such as such as browser display problems, use of certain characters, and display of mana symbols amongst others, alongside with recommendations on how to deal with them.

PPTQ Winners Document

Seeing as there has been some confusion with the new PPTQ’s, a document has been put together to be handed out to winners of PPTQ’s to explain the system and answer some common questions. It is similar to the document that used to be handed out to PTQ winners, and also goes on to explain the details of the invite to the RPTQ. Read all details and find the links on Judge Apps.

Running Multi-Format, Multi-Day Events in WER

What is the best method to run a competitive REL event that combines multiple formats over two days, with no cut in between the days and the possibility to pair the same players twice? Read the discussion and suggestions in this forum thread.

Mobile Apps Updates

Mobile Docs have been updated with Oath of the Gatewatch. The IPG, JAR, MTR, Oracle, CompRules, MTR are available in various formats.


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 and the MKM Series Frankfurt Judge Conference.

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!