Magic Judge Monthly: April 2016

Dear Judges,

Welcome to the new edition of your favorite magazine for the busy judge. As you may already know, there are quite a few new changes in our community, such as discontinuation of levels 4 and 5.

More on that, as well as a variety of other topics, are just a few scrolls away.

Happy reading and until next month!


New Judge Level- No More L4 and L5

The Judge levels in the program have received a massive overhaul. Level 4 and Level 5 no longer exist. This article goes over many of the common questions you may have with the rework. If you’re looking for a more detailed question and answer, read through this forum thread or this Reddit discussion.

Reminder on Rules Advisor

Much has changed since the Rules Advisor test was made available and it has been deemed no longer necessary. Some folks may be sad to see this element of the program retired, but this change is all part of the program moving forward and becoming streamlined. Detailed information can be found in this blog post. Also, it is important to note that the Level One Practice Exam cool-down time has been decreased to 28 days to cover some of the ground the Rules Advisor Exam provided as a judge training aid.


Judge Article and Blog Posts April 2016

  1. Articles: Upgrading Your Exemplar Nomination, Self-Reviews 101, Modern Rules Problems – Madness, General Rules for Drafting DFCs at Professional REL, Repost: Innistrad Double-Faced Cards FAQ, Revisiting the Hidden Corners of HCE, SOI Policy Changes, Introducing the Tournament Organizer’s Disqualification FAQ, The Rules Advisor Exam is being discontinued, The New New World Order
  2. Bearz Repeating: Authenticity and Redefinitions and Imbalances
  3. Mystical Tutor: Lessons
  4. Judge Conferences: Seminar Feedback
  5. Battlefield Forge:  GP Washington DC – ODE’s Tech Level-Up, MKM Trial Frankfurt (Le&Le Games – 19th March 2016), GP Meldrazi – Modern Musings from the Grand Prix Weekend and SCG Indianapolis 3/20/16 – Sunday Sides Team Lead
  6. GP Travel Guides; GP New York 2016 and GP Charlotte 2016
  7. Judge Games: The Slips Game and What the Spam
  8. MTGScorekeeper: Comprehensive(ish) Guide to Writing Penalty Descriptions
  9. What’s Up, Docs: Grand Prix Washington DC HJ Report, [O]fficial: Handling identical permanents with non-visual differences and [O]fficial: Lost cards and stamped product
  10. Annotated IPG: Magic Infraction Procedure Guide
  11. The Feedback Loop: State of the Feedback, Busting Three Common Myths About Reviews, The Review Revue and Feedback Accountabilibuddies
  12. Review Experts: Reviews 101

In case you would like to discuss an article, visit our Judge forum. Don’t forget to regularly check our Judge blog.

Knowledge Pool April 2016

  1. It was this one!
  2. Something borrowed, something blue

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



Happy Anniversary! April 2016

Big congratulations to the judges celebrating their anniversaries in April!

Judge of the Week April 2016

#158  Jorge Rua, L2 from Portugal

Mentoring Suggestions

All judges aspire to grow their local communities and generate more interest among prospective L1 candidates. To further this noble cause, we present you with the Mentoring Tips and Tricks!

Judge Tower Updates

This is a format characterized by an insane amount of diversity which is to a great extent enjoyed by judges playing it! There have been some developments in the field of creating a set of comprehensive rules for it, which might serve to codify and perhaps remove the unnecessary bits of randomness associated with it. If you would like to contribute to this endeavor, then why not even consider joining the  project dedicated to the game’s most masochistic format?

Connection Between Judging and Playing

Everyone agrees that being a judge surely leads to being a better player, since we have a very firm grasp of the comprehensive rules and this gives us a natural advantage while playing. Is the opposite statement also true? Can being a good player who is used to playing at high-pressure events regularly, also lead to being a better judge? Share your opinions!

Exemplar program issues – cont’d

Follow up on the latest developments with the Exemplar Program and share your opinions and experiences.


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

1. If I control Necropotence and discard a card with madness ability, and I don't play that card, will it be exiled from graveyard due Necropotence ability?

A: Nope, it won’t be exiled. You’re still discarding the card with madness, you just discarded it to exile instead of to the graveyard, so Necropotence will still trigger. However, when a card changes zones, it becomes a different object. Even if you choose to not cast the madness card when the trigger resolves and it goes to the graveyard, the card that’s in the graveyard now is a different than the card the Necropotence trigger would be looking for, so the Necropotence trigger would do nothing when it resolves.
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2, Netrep, Durango CO, USA

2. What type of mana can I produce with my Reflecting Pool, if my only other land is a Crumbling Vestige?

A: Reflecting Pool‘s ability will look at colors of mana your lands could produce. The Crumbling Vestige could produce any color of mana due to its triggered ability, so the Pool will be able to tap for any color of mana (or colorless).
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2, Netrep, Durango CO, USA

3. When discarding Bridge from Below to activate Insolent Neonate's ability, will that trigger the discarded Bridge from Below? Does it make a difference in which order you pay the costs?

A: When activating Insolent Neonate‘s ability (or any other ability with multiple separate costs) you can pay its various costs in any order. And yes, the order in which you pay the costs matters.

If you pay the discard cost before paying the sacrifice cost, then the Bridge will be in the graveyard at the time the Neonate dies, and will therefore trigger. If you do it the other way around and pay the sacrifice cost before the discard cost, by the time the Bridge hits the graveyard the Neonate is already dead, and there will not be any trigger.
Approved by: Callum Milne, L2, Netrep, Nanaimo, Canada

4.Suppose that I resolve Seasons Past and wish to return Turn // Burn with it. What other mana costs may be returned alongside it? Does it take up the 5 CMC slot, both 2 and 3, or something else entirely?

A: A split card has two converted mana costs. In the case of Turn//Burn, its converted mana cost is 2 and 3, not 5. If you wanted to return Turn//Burn with Season’s Past, it would count as you card with a converted mana cost of 2 and your card with a converted mana cost of 3. You would not be able to return another card with a converted mana cost of 2 or 3, but you could return something with a converted mana cost of 5.
Approved by: Nathan Long, L2, Netrep, Durango CO, USA

5.Many players use the Origin PW's but are having trouble getting the Origin's checklists, and are afraid the sleeves they are using may not be 100% opaque. So a player at an FNM I visited today showed me an SOI checklist card that he modified so it clearly said Jace (and made it obvious what card it was representing). Would this be legal in tournaments?

A: I’ve conferred with Toby, we agree that this isn’t something we do or should allow, and I’m predicting that no one from Wizards will come along to overrule us. Also, please remember – we do not create proxies for checklist cards, unless they meet the same criteria as any other card (damaged when opened or during the normal course of play).
Approved by: Scott Marshall, L3, Hall of Fame, Regional Coordinator (USA – Northwest), Grand Prix Head Judge, L3 Panel Lead, Lakewood, CO, USA


Issues with WER and Judge Center

One of the known issues that has been identified with the Judge Center is a bug that appears when someone is trying to submit a DQ Report. A recent forum thread brings the issue up, and there is also a thoroughly comprehensive step-by-step guide available which outlines what to do in case you face this situation.

It seems that after the most recent update forcing signing into WER using the universal Wizards of the Coast login, some judges have encountered a problem whereby they are no longer able to schedule events in WER. More details on the issue here.

Another bug that might occur within WER is the Object Reference Not Set. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to identify what exactly the problem is due to, or how to fix it. Generally it is considered that issues might be caused by running it in Windows 10, having internet outages, or an inappropriate state or start up process to the program taking place.

iOS and Android Apps

This would be very interesting for you, should you be looking for a free iOS alternative for the Android Judge Core App, or other budget solutions.

And here you can follow up on all the updates relevant to the actual Judge Core App for Android.

If you need an app for translating, MTG Translator is the answer for you! You can also follow all the latest updates and suggestions.

Preparing for a Bigger Event

How does one do it? Some of the best advice, is to engage in self-reflection and gathering feedback, as well as not overwhelming one’s self, but instead focusing on performing specifically assigned tasks to the highest possible standard.

Multi-Format, Multi-Day events in WER

There is an increased level of interest  in determining the best process to follow, in order to be able to run Multi-format, Multi-day events in WER efficiently. Presenting the most comprehensive guide we have to date!

Judge Booklet

Judge Booklet is back in a new, configurable format with twice the useful information. The latest version is now available alongside a very useful pocket mod video in order for you to be able to tailor it to your needs!

Revealing Double Faced Cards

Should double faced cards be revealed during draft? This is a hot topic of debate right now and more updates are expected very soon.

Players Decide to ID While One of Them Gets a GL

A question that has been brought up is how to report a result, where players decide to ID a match where one of them has received a Game Loss due to a decklist problem. The general consensus is that 1-1-1 is probably the most correct method as the ID has occurred after at least one game has been “played”.

Manual vs Electronic Decklist Counting

Whether we prefer to carry out our deck checks manually, or with the help of technology, it is definitely safe to assume that we need a proper decklist counting procedure to follow. Read up on it, alongside various suggestions to suit different preferences.

More on Prize Splits

If you would like to stay tuned to this ever-green topic,  feel free to follow the ongoing 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 Portland!

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!