Magic Judge Monthly: January 2018

Welcome to a new year of Magic Judge Monthly!  We’ve had a lot of concerning news, and there’s statements on background checks.  Please check out the statements on them in two sections below!

That said, we have some cool new announcements, with 3 new GPHJs, an updated Judge Code of Conduct, and lots of great articles and community.  Don’t forget to check out the new Judge Tokens project, featured as our Sugar on Top!


PC statement on Background checks:

The Program Coordinators have some important information regarding the recent program adaptation of adding background checks.

RC Selection

Justin Turner has stepped down in the North American Southeast region.  A new face joins the RC ranks!

The PCs announce the status of the Judge Program

Plenty of updates from the Program Coordinators in their Blog.  Learn how to obtain a Rules Lawyer promotional card or what the focus is for 2018, including Judge Level restructuring or removal!

Judge Exams up on Apps

They’re up!  Practice exams and Level advancement exams are on Judgeapps!  Take a practice and if you see anything incorrect or have an issue with a question, there is a tag in the answer key to alert the proper people so it will be fixed.

Judge code of Conduct

A few updates have been made at the start of this year to the Judge Code of Conduct.  If you’d like to see the changes, there is a handy “Revision History” section near the bottom in the Policy Section.

PCs talk about new GP HJs

New Judges enter the GP Head Judge role.  Some of the current staff with expiring certifications have renewed.  To see who is new and who opted back in, check out the blog post here.

 Judge Articles and Blog Posts from January 2018

  1. Travel guides: PT Bilbao 2018, GP London 2018, GP Houston 2018, GP Toronto 2018, 2017 Travel Guides – Summary
  2. 5 Min magic
  3. 2HG release notes: Two-Headed Giant Release Notes, Rivals of Ixalan 2HG Hidden Gems
  4. Translations of MJM
  5. Judge Conferences: Storytelling 3: The Journey
  6. Feedback loop: Honk the Horn, Asking for Appreciation, Things You May Want to Know About Reviews (Before You Write Your Next Review), The 2018 Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Showdown!, Spring(ish) Break!
  7. Battlefield forge: GP Santa Clara Tournament Report – Customer Service
  8. JudgeCast:  JudgeCast #191 – Rivals of Ixalan Release Notes, JudgeCast #192 – Rivals of Ixalan Policy Updates and Background Checks

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.

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

Judge Anniversaries

Congratulations to all of our January “Birthdays”, featuring Simon Ahrens and Alex de Bruijne!!

Judge of the Week  January 2018

241: 2017 End of the year feature, part 2
242: David Larrea Baeza, Level 2 from Granollers, Spain
243: Kali Rainwater, Level 2 from the US Midatlantic Region
244: Exemplar Wave 11, Part 1
245:Nathaniel Graham, Level 2 from Columbia, Missouri

Welcome to the Fold

A big welcome to the following judges who judged their first Grand Prix!

GP Santa Clara
GP Indianapolis
GP Houston
GP London  

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

1. Is a player required to tell the opponent he has the City’s Blessing?

A: To have the City’s Blessing is free information. A player must answer truthfully when a opponent asks him this directly. However, this player does not need to announce when he gets it!

Approved by Scott Marshall

2. A player controls Bishop of Binding which exiled Heart of Kiran. If he attacks, what will be Bishop of Binding’s power?

A: This is a subtle rules change to how Vehicles work. Now, in rule 208.3, “a noncreature object not on the battlefield has no power or toughness unless it has a power and toughness printed on it”. This means that Bishop of Binding gets Heart of Kiran full power when attacking, becoming a 5/5!

Approved by Nathan Long

Cards: Bishop of Binding, Heart of Kiran

3. Four players sit on adjacent tables during an individual tournament. One of them says to the other table “if you draw, so do we”. Is this legal?

A: In this situation, a player offers an incentive – all the players get a better outcome – so this falls under Unsporting Conduct – Bribery and Wagering: “Players may not reach an agreement in conjunction with other matches. Doing so will result in their disqualification.”

Approved by Scott Marshall

4. You’re judging a PPTQ that qualifies for the RPTQ that feed Pro Tour 25th anniversary. A player comes asking you if you want to be part of his team. Is this legal and if so, can you accept it?

A: If a player makes this offer before the PPTQ is over, this may create a perception of bias among other players and even actual bias for the judge himself, who now wants that player to win. This should never happen, but if it does, that judge should refuse it. However, if the tournament has ended, there’s no such problem. The only concern is that other people could think this offer was made prior to the tournament ending, but this can’t be controlled.

Approved by Scott Marshall

5. In a Competitive REL event, player A controls an Angrath, the Flame-Chained and activates its second ability targeting player N’s Raptor Companion. Player A forgets Angrath’s delayed triggered ability and returns the dinosaur to player N at the end of the turn. Players only notice the issue on player N’s upkeep. What’s the infraction, penalty and fix?

A: This is a Game Play Error – Missed Trigger; there is no Warning, as this trigger isn’t usually detrimental. We don’t consider it detrimental, because the player has the opportunity to get rid of the creature instead of returning it to its owner. In either case, the fix is simple: player N now has the opportunity to add the trigger to the bottom of the stack. If he does, player A can’t sacrifice the Raptor Companion because A no longer controls it.

Approved by Scott Marshall

Cards: Angrath, the Flame-Chained, Raptor Companion

Judge Code of Conduct Update

The Magic Judge Code has recently been updated to underscore and clarify the Judge Program’s priorities regarding entrusting judges and safe environments.

Rivals of Ixalan Tournament Docs

Updates are now available on Ascend, life totals, silver borders and more!

PC Announcements Travel Blog

The second chapter of the PCs’ Travel Blog is now out. You can read about the 2018 Program Coordinators selection, the main areas of the Judge Program and exams in JudgeApps along with other headlines.

Time Distortion: Opinion on Background Checks

L3 David Hibbs shares his views on the PCs’ recent statement about Background Checks.

Find out which Judge Conferences, Grand Prix and SCG Opens have available worldwide staffing positions! You still have some time to apply for GP Dallas-Fort Worth, GP Beijing, GP Birmingham and GP Toronto (not the February one!).

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 Flash Feedback Tokens, Travel Guides, GP Friday Judge Class, Rules Comic and the Learning Sphere are looking for awesome judges who can help! If you wish to get more out of your Judging experience and give back to the community, sign up for something that interests you!

Also, the new Judge Tokens are out and they surely look sweet! Pre-order yours today and help the judges get more feedback, while giving something extremely cool to players!


Sugar on Top

Tan Zie Aun created these awesome tokens for the Judge Token project!