Magic Judge Montly: December 2017

Welcome to a new year of Magic Judge Monthly!  This issue marks the end of 2017, and a change to your regular MJM.   We’re going through a leadership transition, so bear with us as we ride into 2018!  We hope to still bring you all the same content you find compiled here each month, as we wish our past editor, L2 Iva Kleiner, well as she moves on to other endeavors!

As your new editor, I’m hoping to keep bringing you content from the Judge community all over the world right to your phones and browsers, to make sure you, the busy judge, stay up to date on everything, from important news to decklist cakes!


-Stephan Classen
L3, Seattle, Washington, USA

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Important

Exemplar Wave Changes.

You’ve probably that changes were coming.  You may even know what some of them are.  If you want the official information on everything that is going on with the Exemplar Program, head to this link and read up on all the changes.


Exemplar Wave 11

Wave 11 has been posted as of the middle of December.  If you were nominated, some lovely foils might be headed your way.  Wave 12 closes on February 12th, so if you see any Judges doing exemplary activity, be sure to recognize them for their efforts.


New Judge Conduct Committee Selections

Eight new members have been accepted into the Judge Conduct Committee (JCC).  If you see someone on the list, congratulate them on their new responsibilities!  If you see someone who has recently stepped down, thank them for their service to the program.


Judge Program Organization Chart

The Chart has changed!  Since its launch in early 2017, groups have risen and some have fallen off.  To see the updated chart, click here.

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Documents

Judge Articles and Blog Posts from December 2017

  1. Articles: At event Considerations: Preparing for your first big Magic Event!
  2. GP Travel Guides: Nordic Judge Conference Travel Guide
  3. The Feedback Loop: The Value of Emotional Feedback.  Dealing with Failures in Three Parts Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.
  4. Knowledge Pool: Temple of Oops. Don’t Short Sleeve Yourself! Classically Confidant Confidanting. Champion of What? Not so Fast, Mr. Monstrosaur!
  5. JudgeCast:  #188, Don’t Spell Me. #189, Things a new L1 should know. #190. Judging 2010 to now!
  6. Battlefield Forge: GPT Brisbane.
  7. What’s Up, Docs: A floor judge Investigation.
  8. A World of Magic: Program Coordinator Travel Diaries.
  9. Bears Repeating: Working on the Farm.

Other Blogs and Streams (w/o a Dec update): Journey of discovery, The Elvish Farmer, The Multiverse Project, Judge Booth, Just a Little WordPress Judge Blog,The USA North, EDBlog, Magic Rules Tips, Story Time with Uncle Scott, Judge Games, 5 Minute Magic.Judge Classes, Mystical Tutor, Flashcards, Judge Conferences

More judge blogs can be found at the Judge Blog Portal.

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

Do you need a quick rules or policy answer?  Ask a Magic Judge!

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Community

Happy Anniversary December 2017!

Congratulations to all of the Judges celebrating their “birthdays” in December, featuring 8 judges: Jeff Emery, Simon Freiberg, Clifford Yap, Jack Doyle, Daniel Sole Garcia, Jared Sylva, Eugene Bazhenov, and Jeff Morrow!

Judge of the Week  December 2017

Welcome to the Fold

A blog to welcome judges to their first Grand Prix as event staff!

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Answers

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


1. A Player controls Thalia, Heretic Cathar, their opponent controls Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Does the token really enter tapped if Thalia dies?

A: Kalitas has a single replacement effect that both exiles the opponent’s creature and creates a token, not multiple replacement effects. The replacement effect does multiple things, but it’s still one replacement effect (you can tell because there’s no line or paragraph break in the ability). So yes, because of the way replacement effect works, when Thalia would die, before Thalia actually leaves the battlefield, we apply the Kalitas effect to have Thalia go to exile instead of the graveyard and create a token, then (since Thalia still has not left the battlefield yet), we apply Thalia’s ability to the token entering. The end result is that Thalia ends up exiled and the token that was created enters the battlefield tapped.

Approved by Nathan Long.

Cards: Thalia, Heretic Cathar  Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

2. A 3/3 creature with double strike, trample and deathtouch attacks, and a 0/10 creature with indestructible blocks. During the first strike combat damage step, 1 damage is assigned to the blocker, the rest to the defending player. Is the 1 damage that's marked on the blocking creature considered lethal? In other words, does AP have to assign (at least) 1 damage again during the second combat damage step?

A: Once we’ve passed the point of state-based actions being checked after the creature with deathtouch has dealt damage, there’s nothing special about that damage (it’s the reason why if, after the deathtouch creature dealt damage, you removed indestructible from the 0/10, the 0/10 is not immediately destroyed by the damage).

In this case, during the normal combat damage step, the attacking 3/3 will have to assign 1 more damage to the 0/10 creature, since the 0/10 has 1 damage marked on it, and that damage has nothing special associated with it. It doesn’t matter that the damage was dealt by a source with deathtouch earlier, it does not count as having lethal damage assigned to it anymore.

Approved by Nathan Long

3. Player A cast Brainstorm, but began resolving it as if it were a Ponder. He looked at the top 3 cards (did not co-mingle them with his hand) and then put them back on top and began shuffling. At this point, Player N pointed out his mistake and they called for a judge at a competitive REL event. What’s the infraction and fix?

A: The first mistake observable was putting 3 cards back on top of the library rather than 2 which to me negates the whole HCE argument.  Just because the cards put on top of the library are face down does not make them hidden, because the number of cards and where they are is visible.  This makes the infraction a GRV and there isn’t a fix, you can’t rewind a shuffle.

The same is true if a card, or cards, end up on the bottom of the library incorrectly – their physical location is known, as long as the quantity is known, it’s correctable with public information.  Once the library is shuffled, there’s no reasonable remedy. Investigate, esp. if the player thinks they should now get to Brainstorm again – that’d be too easy to exploit! – and then correct the ongoing problem, which is that they didn’t draw a card. (Brainstorm does more than draw a card, but in the end, there’s one card added to the hand.) It’s not a neat & clean fix, but I’d have them draw a card from the newly randomized library, and remind them to pay more attention in order to get the full benefit of their spells.

Don’t expect written policy to provide an exact match for every permutation of “Oops!” that our players create. When they go off the deep end, you’ll have to focus on the actual damage to the game state, to guide you on which infraction most closely matches what they did. Beware the trap of finding the remedy that feels right – that’s a phenomenon called “reverse engineering”, and that way lies madness. (Or maybe excessive use of HCE. Which might qualify as “madness”?)

Approved by Scott Marshall.

Card:Brainstorm Ponder


4. A spectator notices that a player’s single card is rotated 180 degrees, and calls a judge. You investigate, and find that is accurate. You investigate. The result is inconclusive, what penalty at CompREL is this?

A:  Investigate to determine who turned the card upside down, if you can determine it, and that could result in a Marked Cards penalty.  Remember however, that not everything is a penalty.  Sometimes an opponent mixed up cards while shuffling their deck, or it’s undeterminable.   It’s ok to fix and move on sometimes.

Approved by Scott Marshall.

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Policy

Silver Bordered Cards in Sanctioned Play

A recent forum thread seeks to answer the question of whether silver bordered cards are legal in Commander as part of the Year-End Promotion announced by WOTC, regarding sanctioning and reporting events in WER. Read on here.

Magic Judge Monthly 01.12Project

Find out which Judge Conferences, Grand Prix and SCG Opens have available worldwide staffing positions! Applications for GP Kyoto, GP Seattle, GP Hartford and GP Sydney, as well as SCG Open Indianapolis and Worcester, will close soon but you still have some time to apply!

Check out the Grand Prix Solicitations and Select Staffs for more details on individual tournaments and to know if there are some last minute solicitations you can apply to!

Public Projects such as Daily Regimen and Exams Translations are looking for some volunteers to join the ranks! If you wish to get more out of you Judging experience and give back to the community, sign up for something that interests you!

Sugar on Top

At GP Oklahoma City, a squirrel was found to be among the staff!

Thanks all, see you next time!