Magic Judge Monthly: March 2016

Dear Judges!

It is with great pleasure that we bring you the Spring edition of MJM (at least if you’re on the the northern hemisphere)! We’re sure you will find something new and useful in this refreshing issue. Find what’s the buzz about Judge Exemplar nominations and who became L4 just a few weeks ago.

Happy reading and see you soon!

Take care and until next month!


Exemplar Wave IV updates

The nomination have been posted at the Exemplar blog.Don’t forget you still have time until May 1st to nominate your outstanding Judges in Wave V.

Region Name Changes

Two European regions have been updated in a more geographically appropriate way. Spain and Portugal have been changed to “Iberia”, while Europe Mid-East now goes by “Europe Central”. The RCs remain the same, Sergio Perez (Iberia) and  Sebastian Pekala (Europe Central).


Judge Article and Blog Posts March 2016

  1. Articles: Writing L2 Recommendations, Grand Prix Judge Selection, RPTQ Stockholm 2016-02-28, Unexpected Challenges at SCG Regionals, Shadows over Innistrad Two-Headed Giant Release Notes, Rules Enforcement Levels: What are they and what they imply
  2. Judge Article of the Year 2015: The Australian Deck Check Technique by Matteo Callegari
  3. Bearz Repeating: Weekly Rituals, Legacy Updates, Scorekeeping Vignettes, The Token Game and Radical Candor Revisited
  4. Judge Conferences: Picking a Topic and Goal, Eastern European Winter Conference Report and The Art of the Mini-Conference
  5. Battlefield Forge: GP Vancouver – Scheduled Sides, Asking the Right Questions, A Day of Firsts — TR from SCG Tour: Louisville, Day One, When a Thai Got Lost in the United States – (GP Washington DC 2016) and RPTQ San Diego Head Judge Report
  6. GP Travel GuidesPT Madrid 2016, GP Taipei 2016, GP Beijing 2016, GP Toronto 2016, GP Los Angeles 2016, GP Manchester 2016, GP Tokyo 2016, GP Costa Rica 2016 and GP Minneapolis 2016
  7. Judge Games: Charades
  8. MTGScorekeeper: The Two-Headed Giant Post, NE Spring 2016 Judge Conference: Five Additional Turns,  GP DC 2016: Friday,  GP DC 2016: Getting Started and  Walter, Our New Overlord (SCG Philly Saturday, Open SK)
  9. What’s Up, Docs: GP Detroit Appeals Judge Report

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

Knowledge Pool March 2016

  1. Cutting through the Grizzle

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



Happy Anniversary! March 2016

Check out which Judges were “born” 5, 10 and 15 years ago in March! Featuring Jasper Overman from Netherlands and Josh Stansfield from USA.

Welcome to Level 4!

Big congratulations to our unstoppable Matteo Callegari! Not only was Matteo voted the best Judge article 2015 author, but he also joined our finest!

Judge of the Week March 2016

#157 Emilien Wild, L3 from Belgium

Exemplar Program Issues

There have been some concerns with the Exemplar program recognitions which led to a quite lengthy, ongoing discussion (such as geographical bias, room for abusing the system etc). Among one of the issues was (under)staffing of PPTQ and its floor judges.

Grand Prix Staff Photos

If you’ve ever wondered where those massive staff photos end up, look no more!All the GP Judge personnel pictures can be found on our Judge facebook page.

Judge Tower

The Judge Tower game is full of variation based upon general rules- summarized on this page. If that’s not enough, why not head to our Judge Apps discussion or a google doc written by a fan of the game?

L1 and L2 Study Guides

Our dear Brian Schenck is back and full of great tips for L1 and L2 candidates, as well as their mentors! Definitely worth a read if you have your own Judgling or are preparing for the test yourself.


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

1. Question on the FAQ's regarding Burn from Within. In the FAQ it states that if damage is prevented to the creature it targeted, that if it would die later in the turn it would not be exiled. But the rulings for other cards like Magma Spray it says the exact opposite. Are they different?

Yes they are. The difference between Magma Spray and Burn from Within is that the phrase “that creature” in the final sentence references different noun phrases on each card–it’s a function of English grammar.

On Magma Spray, things are simple because there is only one noun phrase which “that creature” could be referencing: the “target creature”. So it doesn’t matter if anything’s dealt damage, because nothing’s telling you to care about that. But on Burn from Within, there are two such possible antecedents. One, as on Magma Spray, is “target creature”, but the other is “creature (that was) dealt damage this way”. These are two completely different noun phrases, and could end up referring to completely separate objects thanks to effects like Harm’s Way so it’s important that we know which of them the last sentence references.

So we turn to the rules of English grammar, which tell us that when there are multiple possible antecedents, the most recent one is the one being referenced. In Burn from Within’s case, that’s “creature (that was) dealt damage this way”. Thus, you’re looking to exile the creature that was dealt damage. And of course, if the damage was prevented there is no such creature, and so nothing can be exiled.
Approved by: Callum Milne, L2, Netrep, Nanaimo, CA

2. I'm wondering what is the exact policy about using proxies during a Regular event? For instance, a FNM with a construct format like Modern.

They’re not allowed. Wizards of the Coast is – and should be – adamant that proxies may never be allowed in a sanctioned event. People playing casually in a store, or at the kitchen table, is not the same thing (not sanctioned), so proxies aren’t a concern..
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA

3. There is a discussion currently going on between some judges in my region about what sort of thing would require a double GRV. The main one that is being discussed is Torpor Orb, if N controls a Torpor Orb and A plays a Kitchen Finks, announces the gain life Enter the Battlefield trigger and resolves it. In this case should we be giving N a GRV?

We give judges some latitude here because it’s impossible to encompass every factor that could matter (and because getting it “wrong” has minimal consequences). I usually ask myself “why did this error happen?” and if the answer comes back “because of something that player B did/controlled that led to confusion” then it’s reasonable to apply the GRV to player B as well.
Torpor OrbKitchen Finks
Approved by: Toby Elliott, L5, Los Altos, CA, USA

4. Adrian attacks Newton with an animated Shambling Vent and a Siege Rhino, Newton is at 5 life and has no blockers, so the attack is lethal. He fetches a Prairie Stream and casts and resolves a Crackling Doom. Adrian passes the turn with two cards in hand and four untapped lands. Newton draws for his turn and plays a Fetchland, fetches and calls you over, because he just realizes that he has only one basic land in play, so the Prairie Stream should have come into play tapped.You are sure that there is no cheating involved.
Do you back up or not? Why do you and why don't you back up? Would it be different if Adrian's attack wasn't lethal? (It should not be, but is it really?)

From the MTR and IPG on back-ups, it’s highly unlikely that we should back up here.
However, there’s a phrase in that first quote – “except in extreme situations” – and an additional quote to consider:
“backups are regarded as a solution of last resort, only applied in situations where leaving the game in the current state is a substantially worse solution”

You mentioned that investigation leads us to conclude honest mistakes, but our investigation would also inform us as to whether or not Newton had any other way to prevent the lethal combat damage. If his options were to play Crackling Doom (illegally), or lose the game, then I’d zip through a (mostly irrelevant) rewind and let the game end the way it should have. After all, leaving it as is seems substantially worse.
Shambling Vent and a Siege Rhino Prairie Stream Crackling Doom
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L5, Lakewood, CO, USA


Introduction to Slack

The newest thing in judging technology and communication is a program called Slack! Slack is like a giant chat room, but only for those that have been invited in. Regions have been using it for the past month for everything from debating policy and preparing judges for competitive REL events to telling 6 word stories and discussing EDH leagues! If you want to talk about the program, here is the forum discussion. And here is the link on the Judge Wiki.

WER and Judge Center Update

The most recent update for WER has a bug where the tiebreakers are calculated in the incorrect order, looking at a player’s GW% before Opponents’ MW%.

Read up on all the updates regarding recent Judge Center issues.

Team Sealed and Other Sanctioned Formats not Covered in the MTR

Here we outline how information about sanctioned events at the Premier level, not covered in the MTR, is contained within Fact Sheets. These detail all specific processes revolving around tournament operations. More information here.

GPT and Prize Splits

A very interesting discussion has sparked up regarding various ways in which prize splits could be handled at GPTs. The conversation is particularly interesting, because it touches up on the issue of how these alternatives could be utilized in order to reduce to a large extent the incentive for players to (un)intentionally violate our policies regarding Bribery. Check out the full discussion!


Find out which Judge Conferences, Grand Prix and SCG Opens have available worldwide staffing positions! You still have time to apply for Grand Prix Pittsburgh and Grand Prix Montreal 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.

Finally, if you’d like some help with your Reviews, there’s a team waiting to help you!

If you wish to get more out of your Judging experience and give back to the community, sign up to something that interests you.