Magic Judge Monthly: October 2018

Welcome to Autumn in Ravnica, Judges!  We’re now past the spooky part of the season, but that doesn’t mean the person behind the costume isn’t a Dimir Agent.  There are several projects working on challenges and quizzes that have content for you this month, so take a look and hone your skills.  Lots of updates on Advanced roles also, so please take a look!

GP HJ candidates:

The list of Grand Prix Head Judges candidates for next term has been made public.  Check out who’s applying, find your favorite and wish them luck, they may be running a large event in the future!

If you have any constructive feedback or concerns about a particular candidate, please contact that search committee in the forum privately- they are accepting feedback for this process for the first time!!

PC statement on PTQs

The PPTQ/RPTQ system was great in some areas and less great in others.  With Wizards’ recent announcement, the system is being retired. While it has been the standard path to the Pro Tour for several years now, both judges and players have had mixed feelings depending on their area, but we hope you can join us as customer service agents for players and our communities to let them know that the sky isn’t falling.  The demand for Level 2 Judges at local stores may change, but the Judge program and Magic as a whole has endured a plethora of adjustments throughout its lifetime and will continue. If you’re interested in becoming more involved, look to whatever opportunities may arise with the changes locally! Be an ambassador for the game to your local communities.  Judges and the Judge program have adapted to new events and will continue to do so. The latest Program Coordinator Blog discusses some of the potential changes that may be in the future.

Regional Coordinator selection process

Some new faces have joined the Regional Coordinators and many have returned to continue their incredible work.  If you’re interested in seeing who has stepped up and want to send your congratulations, here is the complete list.

Program Coordinator selection process

The Program Coordinators have added a new face also.  Bryan Prillaman has joined the team and has written an introduction of sorts.


Judge Articles and Blog Posts from October 2018

  1. Judge cast: JudgeCast #211 – Tournament Policy Updates and MagicFest, JudgeCast #212 – RC Talk
  2. Translated rules: Magic Tournament Rules – October 5th, 2018, Magic Infraction Procedure Guide – October 5th, 2018, Magic Comprehensive Rules – October 5th, 2018
  3. Knowledge Pool (non-English): Grimmige Spekulation, Wer mit Feuer Spielt
  4. Judge apps help: JudgeApps Updates – September 2018
  5. Regional Blogs:  New articles in:

German Speaking Countries
Judging in the North!
Jueces Hispanoamericanos
Canadian Judge Family
Regional Blog for USA – Southwest!
USA Great Lakes Judges
Europe – East regional blog
Juízes de Magic Brasil
The Judges of Southeast Asia
UKISA Regional Blog
Judging in Russian
Le Blog des Arbitres Francophones
The Northwest Passage

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 the judges who celebrated an anniversary in October 2018, featuring Vinicius Quaiato!

Congratulations to all of our Judge of the Week — October 2018

277:Daniel Blackbourne, L2 from Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
278:Just Ask — A Special Feature
279:Stardust — A Special Feature
280:Patrik Fridland, L2 from Malmö, Skåne, Sweden
281:Adam Jaekel, L1 from Milford, Pennsylvania

Welcome to the Fold

A big welcome to the following judges who worked their first GP in October 2018!

GP Montreal
GP Mexico City
GP Denver
GP Nagoya
GP New Jersey
GP Lille

Coaching- Adding Green to your Judging

Here are some great tips on how to make your judging experience more environmentally friendly.

Ancestral Recall

Ancestral Recall is actually a forum post run by Charles-Henri Turpin. In it, Turpin goes back through old articles in the Blog and brings them back to light with some of his own comments about the particular topic.

For October, Turpin featured articles dealing with some mistakes that we, as judges, make.


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

1. AP activates Lazav, the Multifarious's ability, targeting the Lazav, Dimir Mastermind in their graveyard. They then discard a Grizzly Bears and choose to have their Lazav, the Multifarious become a copy of Grizzly Bears thanks to the ability granted to it when it became a modified copy of Lazav, Dimir Mastermind. What is the name of Lazav now?

A: “Lazav, Dimir Mastermind’s ability is not self-referential since the removal of “still” in the oracle text (in the Core 19 Oracle changes), and as such the ability is defining the new name to be “Lazav, Dimir Mastermind” as part of the modified copy ability; therefore we control a permanent named Lazav, Dimir Mastermind.

Rule 201.4b (“If an ability of an object refers to that object by name, and an object with a different name gains that ability, each instance of the first name in the gained ability that refers to the first object by name should be treated as the second name.”) does not apply here, because the text on Lazav, Dimir Mastermind (and Lazav, the Multifarious, for that matter) is not referencing the object it’s on by name. Rather, it is defining the name that will be given to the object when the ability is applied. It doesn’t matter what the object’s name was before that point.”

Approved by Callum Milne

Cards: Lazav, Dimir Mastermind; Lazav, the Multifarious; Grizzly Bears

2. AP casts Nexus of Fate and NAP responds by countering it with Syncopate. What happens to Nexus of Fate?

A: “Nexus of Fate will be exiled. While there are two replacement effects that wish to affect where Nexus of Fate is going, the one from Syncopate is what’s known as a self-replacement effect–an effect of the spell itself that modifies the effect that spell would otherwise have. As laid out in CR616.1, if one of the multiple effects trying to modify an event and is a self-replacement effect and the other is not, the self-replacement must be applied first. Once you apply Syncopate’s replacement to the event Nexus of Fate’s own replacement no longer applies because it’s no longer about to be put into a graveyard, so it gets exiled.”

Approved by Callum Milne

Cards: Nexus of Fate; Syncopate

3. AP casts Notion Rain and chooses to put a Nexus of Fate in their graveyard, keeping the other card from the surveil. Does the other card stays on top or is it shuffled in?

A: “The other card stays on top of the library. You’re simultaneously shuffling the Nexus into the library and putting the other card on top of your library. Since this is happening at the same time, not one at at time, the card that you choose to keep on top of the library ends up on top of your shuffled library. This is also confirmed on Magic Rules Manager Eli Shiffrin’s Twitter.”

Approved by Nathan Long

Cards: Notion Rain; Nexus of Fate

4. Is a player who is doing nothing on their turn other than drawing and discarding, with the discard happening to be a Nexus of Fate with no other cards in graveyard against a player with actions other than game mandated ones, such as Teferi Hero of Dominaria, also involved in maintaining a loop across turns? How do the loop rules handle the aspects that the hand's contents are always hidden despite the meta knowledge that there must be at least one and no more than four Nexus of Fate?

A: “The Teferi player eventually (i.e., before Slow Play applies) has to choose to lose this game.

This loop includes the Teferi player taking an action; they can choose to take a different action. The Nexus player is simply doing what the game rules instruct them to do – yes, they’re choosing which card to discard, but it’s not a game action they’re taking, it’s following the rules of the game.

It’s an odd outcome, and if someone rules this as a draw, there’s no one in Policyland that’s going to yell at them, or even say they’re “wrong” – but if it comes up, and you’re paying attention now, you’ll know what to do.”

Approved by Scott Marshall

Cards: Nexus of Fate; Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

5. A Magic streamer on Twitch said they are going to a GP this weekend, and that they had a bet with another streamer who was going to this same event. Being that these two people are friends, the wager was that the person with the worst record at the end of the event would have to pay the winner a dinner. If a HJ heard about this wager would they be correct in disqualifying both competitors?

A: Players have been DQ’d for almost this exact thing. Generally, we never hear about these “friendly wagers”, but this does violate the rules, so if the HJ would see the video, he would be correct in disqualifying both players.

Approved by Scott Marshall 

6. AP controls Underrealm Lich and draws a card normally, being it either from the draw step or a spell/ability effect. Assuming no cheating occurred, it's Competitive REL and the drawn card cannot be identified by the opponent, what is the infraction and what is the fix?

A: “Short version: GRV, if the top two cards haven’t changed, mill them now. Longer: Investigate: did the player know either of those top two cards? and, maybe, want (need?) to keep them on top? Most likely, this is just as innocent as a forgotten trigger (but not a trigger, obv!); in rare cases, this could be an opportunistic cheat.

The error can be corrected with public information, as the location of those cards is known; we don’t have to know the identity of the cards, just their physical location. Consider an example, where I have a Morph, you use Run Aground to put it on top of my library, and I forget to reveal it before I set it on my library: we just reveal it, because it’s physical location uniquely identifies it.

If either or both of those top two cards have moved, the partial fix may no longer apply, except in obvious cases – you make me mill three cards before we realize I forgot the Lich, so we just mill two more, no harm done. In general, use your best judgment to apply the remedy; perhaps a simple backup, perhaps we have to leave it as is.”

Approved by Scott Marshall

Cards: Underrealm Lich

7. You're called to a table where AP controls Azor’s Gateway, which is currently tapped. AP explains that he activated Azor’s Gateway, drew a card, then instead of exiling a card from his hand, he put a card from his hand on the bottom of his library. He explains that for a moment, he forgot what he was doing and thought he was scrying to the bottom of his library. Both players agree that the card on the bottom of the library should be exiled under Azor’s Gateway. What is the infraction here and why?

A: This is a GRV. The bottom card of library is considered to be uniquely identifiable, therefore HCE does not apply. We apply GRV because it can be corrected with publicly available information. We perform a simple backup, returning the erroneous card to hand and having the player properly resolve the effect.

Consider Enigma Sphinx, which – when it dies – goes into your library third from the top. You resolve this trigger, but mistakenly put three cards on top of it – just a simple misunderstanding of that process. Your opponent says “no, it’s the third card, not under three cards”. The card is uniquely identifiable (it helps that we know it’s Enigma Sphinx, of course) because we know its exact position, even though it’s now in a hidden zone.

Approved by Scott Marshall

Cards: Azor’s Gateway; Enigma Sphinx

Policy Changes for Guilds of Ravnica

This time around, there has been one significant change relating to take-backs and information gained. You can read all about it here.


Charnel Troll is a new card from Guilds of Ravnica with a template that hasn’t been used before. This has led to a question of whether the “otherwise” on the trigger means “if you don’t” or “if you can’t”, and more importantly, does the troll live or not if its trigger is missed. Read on to find out.

Quiz: GP Limited Practice

Follow this link if you would like to attempt a quiz containing nine rules and policy questions focusing on cards from Guilds of Ravnica.

Card Counting Challenge

Visit the Card Counting Challenge page where you can find a list of all the scenarios relevant to the topic, and where regular news about the project are being published.

Deck Checks

Read this excellent article by L3 Dustin De Leeuw on everything you need to know if you’re going to be part of the Deck Check team at your next Constructed Grand Prix in one handy place.

Judging for the Win

Take your skills to the next level with the very comprehensive Guilds of Ravnica New Set Digest which explores interesting card interactions between Guilds of Ravnica cards and older ones.

Find out which Judge Conferences, MagicFest and SCG Opens have available worldwide staffing positions! You still have some time to apply for MagicFest Toronto, MagicFest Sydney, SCG Open Worcester and SCG Open Columbus!


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 Welcome to the Fold 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!

Sugar on Top!

A player submitted a treasure map as their decklist at GP Lille.  Will you find the 2X Immortal Sun, correctly listed, to mark the spot?