Magic Judge Monthly: February 2017

Dear Judges,

Quite a few updates this month, especially if you are a TO without a Wizard’s account. Also time to say a fond farewell to GPTs and the old fashioned way of reporting IDs solely as 0-0-3. Plus a few tips how one can modify the Judge shirt, all the while keeping it professional.

As always happy reading,

The MJM team

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Importantnull

Loss of GPTs and Return of Nationals

Grand Prix Trials are outta here like an Emperor Crocodile with no friends, but Nationals is being resurrected!  This link has all the resources you need to bring yourself up to speed with the changes and a place for your feedback regarding the shift.  There is concern that Level 1 Judges may have difficulty finding events in which to help them move forward; this post on the Judge Apps forum addresses those concerns along with others.  

Critical WER Update (for TOs)

There is an update on the way for Wizards Event Reporter.  March 21st is doomsday, but this article can help you and your store prepare.  If you have any questions or concerns this post on Judge apps can be of assistance.

Exemplar Wave 9 Open

The Exemplar program pushes on as Wave 9 opens its welcoming arms for all the awesome Judges doing awesome things.  This Wave closes on May 2nd, so you have plenty of time to witness and recommend your fellow Judges for the amazing things they do.

From the PC Desk

The Program Coordinator’s blog is put together by, you guessed it, the collective of Program Coordinators.  This month includes helpful information regarding the Level 2 maintenance exam and a link for the Judge Feedback Form: a useful tool for players to give feedback, positive or negative, about a Judge.  

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Documents

Judge Article and Blog Posts February 2017

  1. Articles: Sunday Side Event Management – SE Manager (Before the Event), Magic Judges Exclusive Modern Masters 2017 Spoiler, Card of the Month – Sword of Feast and Famine, So you want to run a quiz?, Investigating like the Pros, 2016 Regional Leadership Conference Report – Zemun, Serbia
  2. Judge Conferences: Storytelling 2: The Mentor and Overcoming Performance Anxiety
  3. Battlefield Forge: An Investigation or Two…, Tournament Report: PPTQ Nashville @ Montpellier, France and A Quick Report from GP Chiba
  4. GP Travel Guides: GP Barcelona 2017, GP Pittsburgh 2017, GP San Antonio 2017, GP Mexico 2017 and GP Shizuoka 2017
  5. What’s Up, Docs: Constructed Grand Prix and Pro Tour Deck Check Procedure, Mass Drafting considerations, part 1: Judging and Mass Drafting Considerations, part 2: Draft Calling
  6. The Feedback Loop: Coaching a Student, Quality Is Its Own Quality, Feedbag #11: Exemplars vs. Reviews and Scaling Feedback for Aspiring L2s
  7. Knowledge PoolGideon’ Up5, 6, Pick up SticksThe Eldrazi Diet and Negative, Queller, the Graveyard is Full
  8. Other blogs and streams: The Elvish Farmer, Magic Rules Tips,  A World of Magic. More judge blogs you can find at Blog Portal

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


Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Community

Happy Anniversary! February 2017

Congratulations to this year’s second batch of anniversary celebrants! Featured in this month’s roll are Johnpaul Adams, John Alderfer, Alejandro Raggio and Gavin Duggan.

Judge of the Week February 2017

Why do you Judge and Thinking of Going Level 2?

Faced with the said question many times over, Nathaniel Lawrence shows that the reason why we judge is greatly related to the role we take during events.

Should you wish to advance from L1 to L2, this discussion is bursting with experiences and touching on streamlining actual transitions. You might want to be prepared for the switch that changes more judging lives than any other.

Judging and Religion

While prescribed as one of two things that no one should ever talk about, religion was tackled in this thread initiated by Michael Bauman. See if you can learn or contribute a thing or two about your faith vis-a-vis the Judge Program here.

Short Sleeved Shirts

The topic header said “Short sleeved judge shirts” but the resultant of this discussion started by Lyle Waldman is enough to tell everyone what they can do to their black and what they ought to extend to TOs in as much as dressing up is concerned.

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Answers

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

1. In the single elimination portion of a tournament, what happens if a player would lose to the “sudden death” rule while controlling Exquisite Archangel?

A: They would still lose the game, because the sudden death rule is akin to a Game Loss in that it bypasses all the rules from the CR (in the same way that a Platinum Angel cannot protect you from sudden death). As with its predecessors, Exquisite Archangel cannot prevent a player from losing to sudden death rules in a timed single-elimination match.
Approved by Callum Milne

2.If AP says “combat”, will that be considered missing a trigger, for cards such as Weldfast Engineer?

A: Weldfast Engineer requires a target. The IPG tells us this about triggered abilities that require a target: The controller must announce those choices before they next pass priority.

Effectively, you have to choose targets when you put a triggered ability on the stack – so doing something that could only occur after that ability triggered, without mentioning targets, is an indication of a Missed Trigger. Saying “Combat, target FOO with the Engineer” is fine – if FOO is already an artifact creature, that is. Just saying “Combat?” and then trying to crew something is a failure on two fronts – one, you missed your Engineer trigger by not naming a target; two, you’re now in Declare Attackers, too late to crew.

Moral of the story: if you control Weldfast Engineer, you should probably crew your Vehicle(s) before you say “Combat?”, and name your target(s) at the proper time.
Roses are Red
Delver is Blue
You said “Combat”
Too late to Crew!

Many people are getting confused, because of another recent Beginning of Combat trigger – Toolcraft Exemplar. This is a trigger that affects the game in non-visible ways; it doesn’t meet the criteria of the first three bullet points, and it clearly fits the fourth one, so: The controller must make the change known by the first time the change has an effect on the visible game state.

While I don’t like this means of communication, policy allows AP to say “Combat?” and not mention their trigger; when the opponent passes, AP can say “Exemplar trigger resolves, it’s now 3/2, I’ll tap it to crew my Heart of Kiran, and attack…“ (NAP can interrupt that and respond to the crew ability, or respond after crew resolves.)

I’d much rather players say ”Combat, Trigger“ and point to whatever is triggering – the Exemplar, in this case. Clear communication is always going to be better for the judge(s) who have to sort things out. However, there’s a (very slight?) strategic advantage to making your opponent think you might have forgotten a trigger, so … meh.

Please, teach your players to crew (or animate lands, etc.) in their main phase. There are very few exceptions, and most of them are rare. (Toolcraft Exemplar is an exception, and it’s not rare, which makes our job harder.)

Also, encourage clearer communication.

Most of all, make sure they know what they’re required to know – not just the ”Combat?” shortcut, but the entirety of the MTR; in 1.10, the MTR says “Players are responsible for…. Being familiar with the rules contained within this document.”

I’ve heard a lot of complaints that players shouldn’t be surprised by how “Combat?” really works. That line in the MTR disagrees, and I do too. I realize that some will still be surprised, and we should be gentle (but firm!) when educating them – but, bottom line, if you’re going to play a game competitively, know the rules.

Approved by Scott Marshall

3. During a Standard pPTQ Andy calls a judge because, in the previous turn, he forgot to put his Veteran Motorist in his graveyard (it was killed in combat because it blocked a Toolcraft Exemplar). This is a GRV (W) and we can apply the fix: If an object is in an incorrect zone either due to a required zone change being missed or due to being put into the wrong zone during a zone change, the identity of the object was known to all players, and it can be moved with only minor disruption to the state of the game, put the object in the correct zone. Andy, however, controls a Rot Shambler and this creature was already on the battlefield at the time he made the mistake.
When we apply the GRV fix, can a related ability trigger or not? In other words: a judge fix can be considered an in-game action/event?

A: When we apply fixes, with or without simple backups, we often step through game actions; we would undo triggers that occurred if we back up to before the trigger, and we allow triggers to happen when we apply partial fixes.

Note, however, that Andy has to remember his Rot Shambler‘s trigger – the judge should not be the one pointing that out.
Veteran MotoristToolcraft Exemplar

Approved by Scott Marshall

4. In a PPTQ near you, António plays Oath of Nissa, picks up 3 cards, places 2 in the bottom and the other in his hand without revealing it. Players call a judge. After ruling out cheating, what would you rule as Infraction/Penalty/Fix?

A: The most recent policy changes included this line of text (article here):

Now that we have more elegant fixes, that blunt approach isn’t needed, so we’ve dropped the “don’t repeat the action” line. If I put that card in my hand now, the hand is revealed and the opponent selects a card. If it’s a land, we’re all done. If it isn’t, that card gets shuffled in… and I do the search again, hopefully properly this time.

While this isn’t a search, it’s very easy for us to repeat the instruction just the same. We can take the card chosen by NAP, even letting NAP choose a card that is not a land, creature, or planeswalker, and then AP looks at that card and the bottom two cards of the library. At that point AP needs to reveal a valid choice from among those three cards, or put all 3 on bottom.

Still HCE, still a warning, very definitely worth an investigation – especially if none of the cards in AP’s hand meet the criteria of Oath of Nissa.

Approved by Scott Marshall

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Policy

Entering Intentional Draws in WER

It has long been the case that intentional draws are reported as 0-0-3. In the most recent update to the MTR, the release notes stated that you can also use the “0-0” result button in WER to enter an intentional draw and this would default the reported result to 0-0-1. What would be the most appropriate way to report an intentional draw? Read on here.

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Project

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 2017, The 7th Annual BeNeLux Judge Conference and The MKM Series Frankfurt 2017 Judge Conference.

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

Public projects such as The Panda Project, Presenters Training Team, Player Surveys, Mystical Tutor, MJM Translation, Judge Achievements, Flash Cards, Conference Guidelines and Policies and others are looking for help.