Hello, friends! Scott here once again to catch you up! October was a month jammed full of changes, updates, and new set release. So, let’s dispatch with the preamble and jump right in to what may have been missed!
Organized Play Changes
As you may have heard, PPTQ’s are, in fact, going away. In their place, direct-qualifying Competitive REL events will be introduced. While we don’t know what those direct-qualifying events will exactly look like yet, we do know that the last season of PPTQ’s will wrap up at the end of February/beginning of March.
In addition to this, Wizards of the Coast is shifting their thinking regarding Grand Prix, as they currently exist. To their point, GP’s are more than simply the main event. In fact, many players attend purely to play side events, meet artists, or cosplay as their favorite characters. In the spirit of the celebration that Grand Prix have become, such events will be call MagicFests moving forward. Each MagicFest will feature a Grand Prix (main event) in addition to lots of other things to do and see. And speaking of things to see, the Pro Tour will now also be held at a MagicFest six times annually. Yes, that means Pro Tours are also being increased from four to six times a year!
Program Leadership Rotation
This past month saw the announcement of new and renewing Regional Coordinators in some regions around the world. We would like to congratulate the new RC’s in our neighboring regions: Megan Linscott in the Northeast, Eric Levine in the Central, and Eric Dustin Brown in the Mid-Atlantic!
Also added to an advanced role this month was Bryan Prillaman from the Southeast Region, who is assuming a Program Coordinator role! And appointed as the new Grand Prix Head Judge (GPHJ) Lead is Kevin Desprez of France! Congratulations and good luck to all assuming new roles in the program this month!
At last, Planewalkers! We have returned to the plane of Ravnica to watch as Nicol Bolas’ final plans for multiverse domination unfurl! Guilds of Ravina (the first of 3 such Ravnica sets) was released on October 5th, 2018. And the Golgari clan gave us judges a wonderful, irregularly-templated gift in the form of Charnel Troll. This card features a template only every used one time before this – and it was on an UN-card. Here is Charnel Troll’s current Oracle text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, exile a creature card from your graveyard. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on Charnel Troll. Otherwise, sacrifice it.
BG, Discard a creature card: Put a +1/+1 counter on Charnel Troll.”
The debate on this card and the Missed Trigger policy centers around whether ‘otherwise’ and ‘if you don’t’ are functionally the sample instruction. TL;DR, this is not being considered a default action at this time, which means that the Troll lives and the opponent receives the option to put the trigger on the stack where/when appropriate per policy. Below is Toby Elliott’s reasoning on the matter:
“Because the first part is mandatory, the “otherwise” is directly tied to it and not a generic catch-all for when it doesn’t happen. The Troll has no default action as part of the trigger. (Note that if the opponent puts the ability on the stack, you can’t discard cards to save it; you must remove a card that was there when the ability would have resolved correctly).”
Those pesky Golgari always making things difficult on the Azorius…
For those of you looking to stay current on such rules, rulings, and applications of policy surrounding this new set, our very own David Elden has released the set digest for Guild of Ravnica over at Judging for the Win. The new set digests feature a series of scenarios with thoroughly explained and referenced answers involving cards from each new set. They are always worth the read!
A new subsection, and official guidance, has been added to the MTR regarding reversing decisions. One of the things we as administers of policy want to always be is consistent. And trying to ascertain whether a decision can or should be taken back can lead to a lot of inconsistent rulings. In an effort to aid us on this front, we now have guidance and policy support. In short, if a player receives a response to their action or takes another, separate action after the initial action, then there is no take back. Again, here is Toby Elliott’s explanation of this new policy:
“What we focus on is information gained. If a player makes a move, then pauses and receives a response, the action is locked in. But if they say “Terror that creature, wait, no, that one”, or “Island, Terror your Squire, hmm, I need this Swamp to play that instead,” we’ve been (inconsistently) forgiving; now there’s better guidelines on what’s important here and what shouldn’t be forgiven. Of course, if the judge is unsure as to whether information has been gained, they should default to not allowing the decision to be reversed.”
Commitment to judging is a lot of work. It takes continuous studying of new and changing rules and policy in order to stay current and up-to-date. This month saw the 15 year Judg-iversarry mark for Carter Hatfield of Michigan! What an incredible journey this must have been already.
Also celebrating no small feat in itself are Dawson Lynch and Jimmy Brandlein. Both of these judges have just hit the 5 year judge mark! Incredible work all. And thank you for your continued commitment to this amazing program!
New Judge Promos
This month, the folks over at Cranial Insertion revealed two new judge promos that will be making their way into the Exemplar packet rotation! From the bottom of the seas to… that weird place that exists in the Untap Step before anything untaps, Lord of Atlantis and Teferi’s Protection have received the judge promo treatment!
The Great Lakes Region is very happy to welcome two new Judges to the program this month! Please join me in extending a hearty welcome to Steven Edelson and Travis Miller! We all look forward to the opportunity to Judge alongside you in the future!
There was a lot going on in October. From take-backs receiving official policy support to Charnel Troll… existing, keeping current on the ever changing landscape that is Magic: the Gathering is extremely important to our ability to be the best judges we can be. If anyone has any questions regarding how any of the outlined changes above work in practice or affect them as a judge, please feel free to keep the discussion going by posting your question in the Regional Facebook channel. See you all next month!