March 2013

Greetings Judges!
As you all know, spring is the time for flourishing and development, growth and progress. That’s why this issue of MagicJudge Monthy is clad in green and has sprouted its very own table of contents. We hope it will save you from getting entangled in this text jungle.
Happy reading!


Judge Wiki Migration

The Judge Wiki has moved to and they are looking for volunteers. If you have the right expertise, contact Tasha Jamison.

Suspended Players Page Updated for January Cases

The January DQ’s have been resolved and the suspended players page updated. In case of further questions please contact Eric Shukan.


Last issue of MJM, we touched on the number and variety of messages shared among the L4s. In March, the numbers were 375 messages, and 43 different conversations. I mentioned that we review every GP, discussing things that went well, or not so well, and thus strive to improve every future event. Two interesting anecdotes came from recent GPs.

In Utrecht, some of the stamped product failed to leave England, and there wasn’t enough to conduct the (larger than expected) first draft. With no feasible means to quickly stamp product, the judges instead used this process:

    • Give players a decklist, have them write their name in “player playing the deck”
      Switch players from two pods, LEAVING decks on the table. If there’s judge(s) directing this swap, nothing bad should happen.
    • Have players from the other pod register what they have in front of them. Instruct that any scratch should be notified to a judge.
    • Have players grab their decks back and go to their construction table.
    • They should check it’s been properly registered, BEFORE they start to build.
    • Additionally, if you can, have players in each “pair” of pods use a different color of ink – red vs. green, for example – so the Total and Played columns will end up with different colors, making it harder to scratch out a Total and add a card from your pocket. If you have three (or five, etc) pods with unstamped product, you might add unstamped to one more pod, so each pod has a “pair”. And remember, you’ll need some of that stamped product to replace defective boosters, during the draft – that may affect the number of “unstamped” pods you need to manage.

And then there’s the player who called a judge at the start of pack 2, showed him a rather unusual booster – 3 rares, 1 uncommon, predominantly two colors. The judge has a replacement pack handy, of course, swaps it for the seemingly defective booster, and the draft continues. When the player starts to review his picks after pack 2, he notices he has an actual booster instead of his first pack picks, and what got swapped out was his picks… ah-ha! Now we see what really happened – the player picked up his picks to draft from, instead of pack 2, and then placed his next set of picks on top of his original pack 2. Fortunately, the judge still had those 14 picked cards, and the player hadn’t mixed his picks into that original pack 2, so it was a quick fix.

One more item of interest – Andy reported on the “State of the Judge Program”, for 2012. A few public and interesting facts: All 25 global regions held at least one judge conference, and one – associated with a popular GP – drew 150 judges! And our exceptional growth rate continues – globally, a nearly 35% increase in total judges, and just over 49% increase in Level 2s!

Oh, and – we all congratulated Carlos Ho, the proud father of a son, Víctor Enrique!

Scott Marshall


Judge Articles March 2013

Find the list of articles on the Judge Wiki.

Rules Tip Blog

The top 3 tips for March are:

Find all the tips on the Rules Tip Blog.


Recommendations for L1 Candidates

Good news, L1 candidates! The required reading materials are the Basic Rulebook, the Magic Tournament Rules (Sections 2, 10 and Appendix B) and the Judging at Regular REL Guide. It might be a good idea to go through Brian Schenck’s guidelines and take a few Easy Practice and L1 Practice exams.

Recommendations for L2 Candidates

The required documents for all L2 candidates are the Comprehensive Rules, the Magic Tournament Rules and the Magic Infraction Procedure Guide. Be sure to talk with your mentor and use the L2 Practice exam to complement those studies. Last but not least, take a look at  Brian Schenck’s trouble spots.

Happy Anniversary! March 2013

Thanks to Johanna Virtanen find out who is celebrating their 5 and 10 year anniversaries, plus read all about the featured judge Sean Catanese, L3 from California, United States.

Judge Advancements March 2013

Michael Wiese: ”Hello all together, it’s again time to welcome 134 new or promoted judges for last month. That’s 108 new L1s, 23 new L2s and a total of 3(!) new L3 Judges.

Congratulations to Three New L3s!

From three different Grand Prix, we pass our sincere congratulations to Emilien Wild and Jeremy Behunin, as well as to  Abraham Corson! Great job guys!

Nick Sephton Steps Down

With and exclusive from Carlos Ho, it is time to say goodbye to Nick.
Read the exclusive

I can’t remember exactly when I met Nick Sephton, but the clearest memory I have of him is from Pro Tour Prague 2006. I had moved to Europe a few months ago, and I had no clue that we’d end up becoming very good friends later. I’m not alone on that boat, as Nick’s friendly and fun attitude made him earn a lot of friends in different continents through the Magic Judge community.

Later, on that same year, at Worlds in Paris, a foursome of judges with their residence in Europe got their L3 together: Kevin Desprez, Nick Sephton, Falko Görres and myself. Falko started working for Konami and we saw him less and less, but the other names might be familiar, as the three of us got to L4 eventually, keeping a great friendship all of the time. Each one of us had different strengths, as usual, and Nick has always been specially strong at crafting policy. Just as an example, he took the communication policy back in 2007, still as a L3 judge, and rewrote it, getting the official stamp for it (which proves you don’t have to be a L4+ judge to make a great difference in the program). It was quite fun and interesting to have policy discussions with Nick, as we were completely different: he was quite good at explaining what policy was, how to apply, and how it would have to be changed to work in another way, while I was way more philosophical, thinking more about how it should work (while being terrible at finding ways to word it).

One of my strengths is community building, so that’s another topic that we often talked about. Even though Nick is not particularly fond of that area of the program, and he’d always say that he isn’t as “green” as I am, he did a very fine job building the UK community. I still remember the days when I was told that the less developed judge communities in Europe were Spain and the UK, and that the quality of the judges from those regions was noticeable at Grand Prix events. Nick took the helm of the community as UK judge manager, back before RCs were even considered, weeded out the old-school judges who were holding the community back and sowed the future, reaping later its fruits. It didn’t take long before the UK started sending L3 candidates to test, and some very illustrious names joined the rank of senior judges, like Paul Smith, David Lyford-Smith and Kim Warren.

So, Nick, thanks for your policy work and for setting the foundations of what’s now the British judge community, but more importantly for me, thanks for being my friend for so many years, and thanks for teaching me what the Isle of Wight is and showing me around. I’ll miss you at events mate, especially if we go to karaoke without you. So long, and thanks for being the big fish.

(Photo courtesy of Scott Marshall)

Judge of the Week

Thanks to W. Matt Williams and Stephan Classen let’s get to know this month’s celebrities.

All your favorite judge stars can be found (and nominated!) on the blog.

“Magic Judge” in Your Curriculum Vitae

Generally it seems like a good idea to write down, either directly , or as a list of skills and experiences. Take a look at the forum to see how other judges handled this and, if possible, provide your own feedback.


Wizards Event Reporter (WER)

  • GPTs with Exactly 8 Players
    When you have exactly 8 players for a GPT you’re supposed to cut directly to the top 8 and run single elimination. If WER doesn’t let you change it because it’s a GPT that’s already sanctioned, you can just run the event as swiss and drop the losers every round.
    Any issues, talk to your WPN Rep.
  • Upload Errors and Synchronization Problems
    Contact Tony Pagliocco for any WER issues, he may help and also forward any issues to the developers. There has been an issue with synchronization lately which may be addressed as explained here.
  • Event Date Edits
    If you need to edit the date of any event, due to a mistake or any other reason, and you could still legally sanction it because you are still in the correct period, you may cancel it and sanction it again. Otherwise you need to contact your local OP representative.
  • League System
    If you are interested in starting up a league in order to reward regular players, you might want to take notice of this discussion.

Non-certified Judge Volunteering at a Competitive REL Event

It is allowed by the DCI to have a non-certified judge (L0) in staff for a Competitive event, but there is no “list” of what he would be allowed to do while judging. It’s a matter for the HJ to decide what they’re capable of. The forum has some good discussion in this respect.

Multiple FNMs – Splitting Players by Skill Level

An advanced level store can schedule 2 FNMs every week. If they want to use it as an opportunity to separate the new players from the more competitive players, they cannot decide arbitrarily through any non-random method who to put in one or another tournament.
If the TO wants to keep the new players away from the “sharks”, he can have two separate events with different prize structures (one that is more flat and newbie-friendly, the other more top-heavy for the good players) and starting times. Players can then choose which one they prefer.

Judge Calls Without a Reason

Over the years discussions about this have always come up. Fundamentally, we cannot penalize players for calling a judge unless they are using it to abuse a time limit as outlined in the Unsporting Conduct – Stalling infraction. For more insights,  read the Intentional Time Wasting and Players who Call for a Judge Without a Reason threads.

Confusion with Improper Drawing at Start of Game

This infraction is difficult for players and judges to understand, as was raised here.
In Scott Marshall’s words: “The remedy attempts to correct or minimize the damage to the integrity of the game. Keep in mind that, when we introduced the “forced mulligan” with the first iteration of Improper Drawing at Start of Game, it was a way to repair the game state and thus avoid a Game Loss for what was an easy and (usually) honest mistake.

Deck/Decklist Problems

There is a nice discussion on some specific scenario in which it s hard to decide whether to downgrade or not, if you’re interested read these “close calls” here. When a D/DL problem is discovered between games there cannot be a D/DL error. Those only apply during games.


Staffing Positions Available

Knowledge Pool March 2013

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