Magic Judge Monthly: May 2016

Dear Judges,

Read all about the events from our Judge community which transpired last month. A nice, light read, just perfect for summer preparations (if you’re on our hemisphere).

As always, the newest recognition wave is open and we’ll even be talking about animals on tournaments.

Enjoy and see you soon!


News in USA Northeast

Shawn Doherty has stepped down as Regional Coordinator in the USA Northeast Region. As he focuses his attention elsewhere, the region needs a worthy replacement. The job was offered to John Alderfer and he has accepted. If you see him, and if you’re attending a Grand Prix you probably will, congratulate him on his new position.

Exemplar Wave 6 Open

A new wave of Exemplar recommendations is available for you to recognize your peers! There are a few changes to this wave that Bryan Prillaman discusses including the faster delivery times for foils and the reason for reducing the recommendation slots.


Judge Article and Blog Posts May 2016

  1. Articles: Judging in Japan (and Other Foreign GPs): A Non-English Grand Prix Guide for Judges, About recommendations, Tournament structure, The Double-Faced Article (face one), The Double-Faced Article (face two)
  2. Review experts: Actionable Reviews
  3. Bearz Repeating: Empathy and Exemplar-y, GP New York: Thursday and Friday, GP New York: Saturday and GP New York: Sunday
  4. Mystical Tutor: New Lessons
  5. Judge Conferences: Hoboken Judge Conference Report
  6. Battlefield Forge: SCG Philly – Sunday Sides – Team Lead, Prague Eternal (2016 #1), Some Tips on the Side – Leading Sides at the SCG Columbus Invitational and The Shadows Over Innistrad Experience – A PPTQ Report from 2016-04-17
  7. GP Travel Guides; GP Columbus 2016
  8. Judge Games:  Wits & Wagers
  9. MTGScorekeeper: GP Charlotte 2016: Saturday (The GP)
  10. What’s Up, Docs: GP Tokyo Floor Judge Report and [O]fficial: Attacking, blocking and shortcuts
  11. The Feedback Loop: You Never Forget Your First Review, Building a Review Dashboard, Feedbag #2: Tips for New Judges, The Changeup and Leveling Up Your Verbal Feedback

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



Happy Anniversary! May 2016

Big congratulations to the judges celebrating their anniversaries in May 2016! Featuring David de la Iglesia in Qatar, Adrian Teodorescu from Romania, Dalibor Trnka from Mexico, Ryan Dare from Australia and Richard Drijvers from Netherlands.

Judge of the Week May 2016

#159  Carlos Vega, a L2 from Venezuela

New L1 Judges and Candidates

Quite often one will hear “how can I become a Judge”? There are so many way answering this pretty simple question, as our Mark Brown explains in this highly informative summary. However, as to what qualifies one as a potential Judge candidate, it is an entirely different story (or discussion).

Emotional Support Animal on Tournaments

While service animals (such as guide dogs) are legally allowed to accompany their owner almost wherever he or she goes, it is not necessarily the case with Emotional Support Animals (ESA). Before bringing your ESA to a tournament (either as a Judge or player), make sure you speak with the TO.

Controversial Art

A common topic with no clearly defined answer, what is considered “too much” in artwork during tournaments. While there is no universal guideline, assessing the issue from multiple points of view will  help. Consult the TO and keep in mind your community’s standards.


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

1. Opponent has a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. What color can my Fellwar Stone produce?

A: If the only land your opponent controls is Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, your Fellwar Stone can produce only colors that your opponent has at least some devotion to. If your opponent has 0 devotion to a particular color, Nykthos currently cannot produce that color of mana, so your Stone will therefore not be able to produce that color.
Approved by: Callum Milne.

2. AP controls The Gitrog Monster and Sinister Concoction. AP activates Sinister Concoction ability. When he pays for the costs of the ability, he discards a land and mills another land. How many cards does AP draw for The Gitrog Monster last ability?

A: The active player will end up drawing two cards. Sinister Concoction‘s “Put the top card of your library into your graveyard” and “Discard a card” are two different costs that are paid separately. As such the cards involved will be going to the graveyard at slightly different times, and each will trigger The Gitrog Monsterwhen it does.
Approved by: Callum Milne.

3. Natasha casts Secure the Wastes at end of Amy's turn and puts 4 tokens into play and puts Declaration in Stone into her graveyard. (instead of Secure the Wastes) Natasha then draws for her turn and realizes she still has Secure the Wastes still in hand and calls Judge. The time between casting spell and putting tokens into play and drawing card for the turn was NOT rushed. How do you rule here?

A: The player has cast a spell – I assume they have named the spell rather than just taking the actions of the spell, the only thing they have done “wrong” is to put the wrong card in the graveyard.
I don’t think we have a situation where the opponent thinks they have cast Declaration in Stone – Sorcery Vs Instant definitely makes this apparent, and the fact the effects of both spells are completely different.
Just put the Secure the Wastes in the graveyard, and the Declaration in Stone back in Natasha’s hand.
Approved by: Scott Marshall.

4. Are Top 8 prizes in events like PPTQs and GPTs which give an invite or byes to the winner split-able among the top 8? Or can a judge simply not facilitate that anymore?

A: When a tournament offers a prize that can’t be split – e.g., byes for a GP, or an invite to an RPTQ – then it does not match the qualifier in that paragraph of MTR 5.2 (An event awarding only cash and/or unopened product). We acknowledge that players will come to agreements among themselves, and split cash or boosters equally before playing for any remaining awards. Judges and TOs shall not facilitate such splits, but we don’t have the means to stop them (nor should we try).
Approved by: Scott Marshall.

5. AP searches his library while resolving a Dark petition. He places a card on top of his hand, picks it up, and continues to look through the library.
HCE or GRV? How do you fix this?

A: I think it’s simpler than it seems. Let’s decompose this:
a) Player tutors, and adds the card to his hand (legal)
b) Player takes a card (any card!) from his hand, and shuffles it into his library (not legal)
Point b) is a lot like “I shuffled my hand into my library”. I would rule HCE, since card went from a private zone to another private zone (we are used to seeing cards going the other way around, but technically it’s the same). Player reveals his library, opponents chooses a card that goes to player hand.
Dark petition
Approved by: Scott Marshall.


Build Your Own 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!

Outside Assistance and Planeswalker Points

When there is Outside Assistance by a spectator, we need to add the player to the tournament, issue them a Match Loss, and then remove them from the tournament. In cases like these, the spectator actually receives participation points for the tournament, which might lead to awkward situations. We need to remind players that if they are deliberately committing infractions in a tournament to gain an unfair advantage, they are treading on DQ territory and a resulting investigation might ensue.

Issuing Promo cards

In case you were wondering how WMCQ promos can be distributed, we have the answer for you!

GPT Limited Formats and Number of Players

Here you can read up on what limited formats can be run during a GPT, and how this is affected by the number of players attending. For instance, If a GPT only has 8 players, it should be run as a single elimination Sealed tournament. If there are more than 8 players, the Top 8 can be a draft, or they can continue to use the sealed pools from the Swiss. The question of changing product between Swiss and Top 8 is still under discussion by Wizards’ Organized Play.


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