Magic Judge Monthly June 2019

Welcome to June’s issue of Magic News!

We have an exciting new project to talk to you about, all about your amazing Magic stories! Go check it out in the project’s section!

And welcome to M20 release time!  We’re seeing the news now about new policy updates, so we’ll have all that information for you, and some discussion next month!

Modern Horizons Release notes

As of the writing of this article M20 has just launched, so keep an eye out for the upcoming M20 notes.  If you’re playing catch-up like some of us who write for this blog and still haven’t read the notes on Modern Horizons, here is a link to get you back in the race.


Program coordinator’s blog

A bit of a bonus pretzel reward for those who wrote reviews in the previous year.  If you’re one of the diligent and dedicated to providing feedback for other Judges, keep an eye on your in-box for a nice surprise.


How to spot marked cards

Marked cards are a major concern for Judges.  Here is a guide to help you spot them.

Judge Article and Blog Posts – June 2019

  1. Judge cast: JudgeCast #228 – The Many Mechanics of Modern Horizons, JudgeCast #229 – Hidden Card Error – Because… Narset
  2. Translated Rules: Modern Horizons Release Notes, Magic Comprehensive Rules – June 14th, 2019, Core Set 2020 Release Notes
  3. Knowledge pool Self-Sabotage, Parter of Fails, A Confusing Copying Conundrum
    German: Kehrtwendung, Zwanghafter Spielstart, Die verpasste Verknüpfung
    Spanish: Separadora de fallosAuto sabotaje, La complicada confusión de la copia
  4. Updated Project Chart
  5. Regional Blogs:
    New articles in:
    Magic Judge Iberia – Español

    Europe – East regional blog
    Juízes de Magic Brasil
    Jueces Hispanoamericanos
    German Speaking Countries
    Judging in the North!
    UKISA Regional Blog
    Judging in Russian

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 of the Week

Judge of the week is still on hiatus!


Welcome to the Fold

A big welcome to the following judges who worked their first MagicFest

MF Taipei
MF Copenhagen
MF Washington DC
MF Seattle
MF Dallas


Exemplar Program

Exemplar Wave 17 has been announced, along with a special Vanguard token for everyone that was recognized this wave. Congratulations to everyone that received an exemplar!

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

1. During a Competitive REL event, a player had brought two different standard decks in similar boxes and sleeves. After having lunch and moving the boxes around, the player took out the wrong deck, shuffled without looking, and drew their starting hand. What is the infraction, penalty and fix?

A: This is a Deck Problem, because they presented a deck that doesn’t match their list, nor what they intended to play. It’s a fairly silly mistake, and – once corrected – won’t have much impact on the match, but that doesn’t influence the penalty, nor define the infraction.

While there is potential for advantage, it’s extremely unlikely that a player would attempt to Cheat in this manner. And, again, potential for advantage (utterly massive or not) neither defines the infraction, nor influences the penalty. Potential for advantage should influence our investigation; nothing more.

Approved by Scott Marshall


2. During an MCQ, AP casts Command the Dreadhorde and asks NAP 'OK?', to which NAP replies 'Sure'. AP starts to choose the creatures and planeswalkers he wants to animate and NAP stops him and calls the judge. NAP says that since AP asks OK? that means AP passes priority and chose no target for Command the Dreadhorde. If you were the judge who took the call what would you do?

A: We would just made AP choose their targets (if any), and let NAP respond if they choose too. Magic tournaments test players ability for superior planning, not pointless technicalities. We don’t allow this kind of angle shooting, and we’re far from the time of infamous tricks such as the Harrow one (‘Player A plays Harrow, sacrifices a land and puts the Harrow into his graveyard. Then he wants to grab his library and search for lands. From a strictly technical point of view it’s too late for that. Because the last thing you do during resolution of the spell is put it in the graveyard, the player has implicitly chosen to search for zero lands.’)
If we want a default choice in case of ambiguous or no communication (such as ‘OK means a spell resolves’ or ‘Not announcing the number of targets means you chose 0 targets’), we would put that in the Shortcut rules in the MTR. There is no such thing for this scenario, so we can’t assume or enforce a default choice, but only make the players clarify what is going on.

Approved by the Forum Moderators  Cards: Command the Dreadhorde, Harrow


3. During a EMSQ (Competitive REL), AP drew the first four cards of their opening hand from the top of their library and laid them face down in front of them. They then proceeded to draw the remaining three cards but accidentally they drew four cards instead and saw them before realizing their error. What is the infraction, penalty and fix?

A: ‘Dealing’ cards face down onto the table is not ‘Drawing’ cards. The assumption for MPE is that the issue will be discovered when the player looks at their opening hand. Unlike HCE where there can often be separation of sets of cards, MPE will generally operate on the whole hand.

In this instance though I would return one of the face down cards back to the library, the cards haven’t been drawn yet. No infraction nor penalty.
Approved by the Forum Moderators


4. AP controls Grand Architect and NAP controls Treasure Nabber. If AP taps an untapped blue artifact creature for Grand Architect ability, will Treasure Nabber's ability trigger?

A: It will not. To ‘tap for mana’ is to activate a mana ability of that permanent that includes the {T} symbol in its activation cost. So, in this case, AP is not activating the ability of an artifact. AP is activating the ability of a blue creature that just so happens to involve tapping an artifact!

Approved by Nathan Long  Cards: Grand Architect, Treasure Nabber


5. AP controls Muraganda Petroglyphs, Dryad Arbor, and Transguild Courier. Which creatures get +2/+2?

A: Dryad Arbor will be the only creature to get the bonus because it has a color indicator that tells us it’s a green creature. Transguild Courier has a characteristic defining ability that tell us it’s all colors. While both color indicator and color-defining CDAs are used to define a card’s color, the two are not the same thing, and there are important functional differences between the two.

Approved by Callum Milne  Cards: Muraganda Petroglyphs, Dryad Arbor, Transguild Courier


6. In a game of Commander, AP controls an Ilharg (which is their commander) that dies and decides to put it third into their library. NAP casts Gonti and targets AP with its enter-the-battlefield trigger and takes Ilharg. Can AP choose to apply the Replacement effect from rule 903.9(see below) since the game always knows which card is the commander?

A: That is not an option. Since it’s being exiled face down, the game doesn’t know if it’s your commander or not (since it has no characteristics), so you do not get the option of moving it to the command zone instead of exile. You don’t know for sure that the exiled card is your commander, and being exiled face down means that the game doesn’t know if it’s your commander or not, so you can’t try to apply the replacement effect to the card being exiled face down.

There used to be a rule that said if an opponent exiled a commander face down and they could look at it, they must, and if it was a player’s commander, they had to move it to the command zone, but that rule went away a few years ago. Now, if you let your commander go to your library and your opponent Gontis you, you risk losing your commander to being exiled face down for the rest of the game.

Approved by Nathan Long

Cards: Ilharg, the Raze-Boar, Gonti, Lord of Luxury

(‘If a commander would be exiled from anywhere or put into its owner’s hand, graveyard, or library from anywhere, its owner may put it into the command zone instead. This replacement effect may apply more than once to the same event. This is an exception to rule 614.5.’)


What’s Up Docs

The latest policy notes relating to War of the Spark are available on the What’s Up Docs blog.


Modern Horizons – Generally Detrimental Triggers

Check out how generally detrimental triggers are handled in light of the fourteen Modern Horizons cards which have triggers that upgrade when missed.

Featured project – Judge Stories

Judge Stories is a brand new project that will feature fun judging stories! And of course, as new as the project is, it is looking for help!

Find out which Judge Conferences, Grand Prix and SCG Opens have available worldwide staffing positions! You still have some time to apply for:

And many, many more!

You can also check other Public Projects that need the help of an awesome judge like you! 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!

One of the best things after an event is a good party, and after a good issue, we love to see it too!  Check out the after party for MF Taipei!