Magic Judge Monthly: January 2019

Welcome to a fresh new year, and it brings a fresh new IPG and all your judging news!

We have lots of big changes to magic, as well as to the judge program, so please read up and be prepared for questions from your players!

Also, check out the new featured blog in the Policy section!!!

Happy Judging!

A new Regional Coordinator has been selected for Brazil.  If you see them at an event be sure to congratulate them and wish them well with their new position.


You won’t see any new faces in the Grand Prix Head Judges selection this time around, but many fantastic faces return to continue their work.  Good luck to all of those with their tasks this year.


The JAR has been updated.  No more disqualifications (mostly) for matches that end in a coin flip to determine a winner.  Prized Amalgam won’t crawl out a graveyard a few turns late if it pressed snooze on the trigger.  Many, many changes! Be sure you’re up to speed by reading the blog here and checking the updates on the IPG.


Want to send some feedback to the Program Coordinators?  They’ve included an email in their most recent blog post that will allow you to reach out to them with ideas and feedback.  Keep it constructive!

Judge Article and Blog Posts – January 2019

  1. Judge cast: JudgeCast #217 – Run a Better Prerelease, JudgeCast #218 – Ravnica Allegiance Release Notes, JudgeCast #219 – Ravnica Allegiance Rules and Policy Updates
  2. Knowledge Pool (non-English): Es ist Ebene zu sehen, Passt auf eure Clique auf!, Gideon zum Angriff!, Das Lathnu Mal, dass ich das vergesse!
  3. Judge apps help: JudgeApps Updates – December 2018
  4. Translated rules: New translated rules
  5. What’s up Doc: Running the Grand Prix D2 Checks/Product Team
  6. Judging for the win: RNA New Set Digest
  7. Judge Conferences: Updates to Conference Support (and something more…) – January 2019
  8. Regional Blogs:
    New articles in:
    Magic Judge Iberia – Español
    Europe – East regional blog
    German Speaking Countries
    Juízes de Magic Brasil
    Judging in Russian
    The Judges of Southeast Asia
    Jueces Hispanoamericanos
    USA Great Lakes Judges
    Judging in the North!
    USA – Southeast Regional Blog

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 January 2019 featuring Brogan King and Arick Dickerman.

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

290: 2018 Holiday Special Part 2
291: RC End of Year Feature 2018 Part 2
292: Natalia Ruiz, L2 from Sevilla, Spain
293: Dalton Grimes, L2 from Fort Wayne, Indiana
294: Logan Anbinder, L2 from Hyattsville, Maryland

Welcome to the Fold

A big welcome to the following judges who worked their first MagicFest in January 2019 (isn’t this every judge at MFs?  They’re new)!

MF Oakland
MF Prague
MF New Jersey

CFBE announcements

AmA Timeline

Core Leadership qualities

Program Coordinators Blog

Judging by consent

Judge Conduct Committee:

Welcome to the new New 2019 committee for 2019.

Exemplar Program

Survey results from the first Survey

New Vanguard Token creation

Coaching Sphere

Green Judging: How to be more sustainable while travel judging!!


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

1. AP controls Gruul Turf and Reflecting Pool and NAP controls Damping Sphere. Will Reflecting Pool produce either {R} or {G} or Damping Sphere effect will apply here so AP can only get {C}?

A: “Reflecting Pool will indeed produce only {C}. The types of mana a land “could produce” include any type of mana that any ability of that permanent would produce if it resolved right now, and all applicable replacement effects are taken into account (in any possible order, if there’s more than one) when figuring that out. Thanks to Damping Sphere, the only type of mana that Gruul Turf could produce at the moment is {C}, so that’s all you can get out of Reflecting Pool.”

Approved by Callum Milne

Cards: Gruul Turf; Reflecting Pool; Damping Sphere

2. AP controls a Jadelight Ranger and a Gold-Forged Garrison on the battlefield. NAP casts Dispersal. Does AP have to return Jadelight Ranger to their hand and discard a card?

A: “AP doesn’t return anything to their hand, but will discard a card. Dispersal instructs AP to return “a nonland permanent they control with the highest converted mana cost among permanents they control” to hand, but Gold-Forge Garrison means the highest converted mana cost among Anita’s permanents is 4, but it’s a land, so it can’t be returned, and AP doesn’t control any nonland permanents with converted mana cost 4, so nothing else can be returned either.”

Approved by Callum Milne

Cards: Jadelight Ranger; Golden Guardian; Discovery // Dispersal

3. In a Two-Headed Giant game, one of the players in the Active Team controls an Underrealm Lich. Does this player knows which card to pick from the Lich’s ability before or after their teammate draws for the turn?

A: So, “In 2HG, if multiple players on the same team need to draw cards at the same time each of those players performs their draws in whatever order the team likes. This means that the team can decide to have the player who doesn’t control Underrealm Lich draw their card for the turn first, and then the Lich player afterwards. If they do so, the Lich player will therefore know what card their teammate drew when making their decision of what to keep.”

Approved by Callum Milne
Cards: Underrealm Lich

4. In a Competitive event, AP controls a Thing in the Ice with 4 counters on it, then casts Faithless Looting. After drawing the 2 cards and before discarding, AP removes one of the counters from the Horror creature. What’s the infraction?

A: From the MTR: “An out-of-order sequence must not result in a player prematurely gaining information which could reasonably affect decisions made later in that sequence.”

“Thing in the Ice doesn’t ask you to make any choices, so the information gained by drawing first has no bearing on a legal decision. I suppose, in some odd cases, a player’s draws could make them want to miss the trigger – but intentionally missing the trigger is not at all a legal decision. So, I’d support ruling OoOS in this case, because there aren’t any decisions affected by that information.”

Approved by Scott Marshall, Cards: Thing in the Ice; Faithless Looting

5. In a Competitive event, AP played a Burning-Tree Vandal, said nothing and no counter was placed, then said “go”. AP then realized they forgot Riot. A judge is called to the table and the player says they actually wanted to put a counter on the creature. How do the judge should proceed?

A: If you don’t put a counter on it (a clear, physical representation of that choice), then it has Haste. Of course, if he hasn’t done anything else yet, and if he realized quickly enough, we may determine that he wasn’t done putting the counter on there – but this gets “squishy”.

In general, this will be “Burning-Tree Vandal, go … no, wait, it gets a counter” – and we’ll have to investigate just a little to see if this falls into the realm of MTR 4.8, Reversing Decisions. If so, fine, add the counter, move along, no harm done; if not, then that Vandal has Haste (and is wondering what good that does him…).”

Approved by Scott Marshall, Cards: Burning-Tree Vandal

Feature: New How-To Guides Blog!!

This month we are featuring the How-To Guides Blog! The project focuses on the many aspects of running a tournament that judges are expected to know. Not every judge has a mentor, and often we find ourselves needing to know an answer and there is no one available to contact. The “How To” project exists to provide judges with a guide on how to accomplish certain tasks using established best practices.

Policy Changes for Ravnica Allegiance

The Policy Changes for Ravnica Allegiance are here. Various policy changes revolving around the new match losses and handling of triggered abilities are being discussed, among others.

Magic Rules Tips

New articles such as Guardian Project and the “Legend Rule”, All About Alpine Moon and What Are Mana Abilities? are available on the Magic Rules Tips Blog.

Two-Headed Giant Release Notes

The Ravnica Allegiance Two-Headed Giant Release Notes have been published. While most cards work pretty straightforward in 2HG there are some quirks, often involving the combat phase or life total changes. Those cards are explained within the notes.

2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement

See the announcement here.

Find out which Judge Conferences, MagicFest and other tournaments have available worldwide staffing positions! You still have some time to apply for:
Magic Fests: MF Madison, MF Providence

Magic Card Market Series: Cardmarket Series Ghent

Star City Games Series: SCG Open Cincinnati, SCG Open Cleveland

Face to Face Games Series: FtF Games Charlottetown Open, FtF Games Toronto Open+ and FtF Red Deer Open+, among many others!

Public Projects such as Pick-and-go Seminars and Ancestral Recall 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!

Everyone sometimes needs some encourage-mint on the floor or off the floor!  Check out the Encourage-Mint that was at MF Sydney!