Monthly Recap: January/February 2019

January/February 2019

What a start to the year this has been, Judges! With so many changes and policy updates, we felt it would make more sense to consolidate all of the January and February announcements into one post. So buckle up! This is going to be a long ride!

Policy Changes

At Competitive (and above) REL, the penalties for Improperly Determining a Winner and Bribery and Wagering are now Match Losses (previously, these were Disqualifications). At Regular REL, these are now considered Generally Unwanted Behavior (previously, these were Serious Problems). Players who receive such an offer are no longer required to call a judge immediately. Those players are still required to point out the infraction, but will not be considered to have committed such an infraction if they don’t involve a judge immediately. It is important to note here that if the offending player(s) knew that they could not engage in such behavior, but have done so anyway, it is considered Cheating.

Speaking of Regular REL, there is an updated version of the JAR (Judging at Regular REL) available! You can find it right here.

The Missed Trigger policy of the IPG has also gotten a face-lift! Special handling for triggers with default actions is no more. Instead, these triggers are handled like any regular missed trigger with the opponent choosing whether to place it on the stack. The section addressing delayed zone change triggers (cleaning up the angel token created by Geist of Saint Traft) has also been rewritten to be clearer and easier to interpret. And finally, the policy has been updated with regard to detrimental triggers. In short, a missed trigger can only be considered detrimental (and thus upgraded to a Warning) if the player who missed the trigger was also the owner of the card responsible for the existence of the trigger. In Legacy, an opponent missing triggers on their creatures from your The Tabernacle at Pendrall Vale is not considered detrimental since they do not own the Tabernacle. And in Standard, if your opponent gains control of your Trostani Discordant and then misses the end step trigger, the upgrade path again does not apply for the same reason.

Loops. What? LOOPS! Section 4.4 of the MTR has had some language added to handle loops that are being sustained through choice. Now, as Toby Elliott explains, “if you don’t want to make a different choice you’ll have to demonstrate (either by revealing or getting judge confirmation) that you can’t. Otherwise, the loop ends.”

Ravnica Allegiance Clarifications

Ravnica Allegiance introduced some new mechanics. As such, we have specific rulings for a few issues you may run across courtesy of Kevin Desprez:

  • If a player casts a creature with Riot and forgets to make a choice, treat it as if haste had been chosen. This is not an infraction.
  • If a player casts a spell with Addendum at a time where it could be their main phase and they do not resolve the additional or alternative effect from addendum, neither judges or opponents should intervene unless later game events prove that it was actually cast in their main phase. If the mistake is noticed, including by the caster, treat it as a Game Rule Violation.
  • If a player forgets to Scry or to Surveil, they chose to leave the card(s) on top. This is not an infraction. Judges should not intervene, and the opponent is not required to point it out.
    If one player resolves one of these as the other (either moving a scried card to the graveyard or a surveilled card to the bottom of the library), this is a GRV. The game should either be backed up to the point of the error or left as is. It cannot be fixed using the “incorrect zone” partial remedy.
  • A player controls Teysa Karlov, but forgets her first ability (“If a creature dying causes a triggered ability of a permanent you control to trigger, that ability triggers an additional time.”) and resolves a “dies” trigger only once. Treat this as a Missed Trigger and not as a Game Rule Violation.

You can find the RNA release notes and the above-clarified rulings at the links provided below:

Updated Banned and Restricted List

Modern saw the only update this time around with the banning of Krark-Clan Ironworks. However…

Arena saw something unique happen. Nexus of Fate is banned in Arena Standard matches, but is otherwise legal in Arena Traditional and Specialty formats. There is no change to the Standard banned list.

Judge Conduct Committee

The JCC has received a little overhaul. First, the “Advocate” role has been changed to “Communication Facilitator.” This change clarifies that this role is primarily for translation or acting as someone to speak on behalf of someone not comfortable speaking directly to the JCC. Members of the JCC can no longer act in this role due to the perceived potential for a conflict of interest.

Though obvious, it is now codified that judges and judge candidates cannot cheat on a judge exam. This information is now documented in the Abuse of Trust section of the Judge Code of Conduct.

Judges can appeal the decisions of the JCC to the Program Coordinators (PCs) within 14 days of receiving that ruling. In order to appeal, one must either provide additional information not considered in the original case or appeal based on a perceived malfeasance on the part of the JCC. Appealing a JCC decision reopens the original case, which could potentially lead to additional action taken against the subject(s) of said case as the information contained therein is re-examined.

Impersonating a Judge has been replaced with a section called Misrepresenting Status. As non-judges are not subject to the Judge Code of Conduct, this document now covers a judge who misrepresents their status or role within the program.

Finally, if a judge with an advanced role is suspended or demoted, that judge will lose any advanced roles they have. Furthermore, that judge cannot apply for an advanced role for 2 years after their suspension of demotion.

If you have any questions about these updates or the JCC in general, you can contact our very own Meg Baum, who is a member of the JCC.

Update from the Program Coordinators

A new Sphere has been created! The Outreach Sphere has a stated goal of, “…help(ing) Tournament Organizers understand the value that certified judges add to their events, and promote judges in stores and at larger events. It will also communicate with Local Game Stores to identify their needs and work with the other initiatives in the Program to ensure that those needs can be met from local FNMs, through MCQs and above. When Tournament Organizers are considering an event to run, regardless of if it’s FNM, Store Championship, Local Comp Rel Series, or even an Arena LAN party, we want Certified Judges to be the people they call upon to provide a fair, fun and quality play experience for their players.”

The traditional black judge shirt, as it currently exists, will no longer be produced by Wizards of the Coast. As such, Channel FireBall Events (CFBE) will be producing judge shirts moving forward. While we do not know what the shirt or the distribution plan looks like, we do know the following:

  • Shirts will be short sleeve, polo style
  • Shirts will include the Magic logo
  • Shirts will not include the CFBE logo
  • Judges will need to purchase these shirts for their own use
  • Judges will not be required to wear these shirts
  • Wizards is continuing to manage Pro Tour staff shirts

Additional questions and information can be found at the link below.

The PC’s also held their second Ask Me Anything (AMA) recently. The highlights of that Q&A can be found at the link below.

New Judge Foils

Two new judge foils have been added to Exemplar packets, with distribution starting in Exemplar Wave 15. Say hello to Food Chain and Rhystic Study!

Judge Anniversaries

January saw Randy Tice celebrating his 5 year mark with the program! Meanwhile February brought 5 year anniversaries for Scott Binford, Ethan Greenberger, Richard Sherrin, and Jack Fogle. Thank you to you all for your continued passion and excellent. Your commitment is what keeps this program great!

New Judges

The beginning of this year has seen a quintuplet of new judges in our great region. Congratulations and welcome to Scott Matthews, Shawn Johnson, Stephen Brey, Trenton Lemon, and Spencer Brown! We wish you all the best in your new judge careers!

Closing Remarks

A lot has changed recently. And even more change is assuredly on the horizon. As rules, policy, and even our shirts change, remember that keeping up with these changes is part of what enables us to succeed as judges. No one ever said being a judge is easy work. But it sure is rewarding work.


Pass turn.

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