Whispers of the Muse

Hello Judges!

We know many of you are wondering what on earth we are discussing on the Level 4+ mailing list. Quite a few topics are obviously confidential and we can’t talk publicly about them. However, we have come to realizing that some other topics are perfectly fine for sharing and that, actually, it would likely be a benefit to speak about them. So here we go:



There is no Trample shortcut anymore!


It has disappeared from MTR for a few years now. Therefore, if a creature with Trample is blocked and AP forgets to announce and track the trample damage, the judge should rule that no damage was assigned to the opponent, since it is a legal assignment.

Note that if the trample damage was announced but not tracked, this is GRV and you should back up whenever possible.

If it was tracked but not announced, this is CPV (life changes should be verbally announced and confirmed) and you should backup whenever possible.



Double Faced Cards (DFC) can’t be proxied because of non-opaque sleeves


If a player is playing a DFC and the back is visible through the sleeve, it is Marked Cards and the penalty should be upgraded to a Game Loss. Indeed, this situation totally matches the upgrade clause:

Upgrade: If the Head Judge believes that a deck’s owner noticing the pattern of markings would be able to take advantage of this knowledge, the penalty is a Game Loss

Since the owner always knows whether it is a DFC or not on top of his library. Additionally, the player must replace his sleeves or play with Checklist Cards.


It happens that players do not have other sleeves or Checklist cards, and are unable to get some (the local vendor does have any for instance, or the player can’t afford them). In this case, you can not issue proxies for the Checklist cards. Indeed, they have not been damaged during the tournament. It was the player’s responsibility to come prepared with a legal deck. If the player can’t make his deck legal, then he needs to replace his DFC by basic lands.


We came to discussing this situation after an event where the non-opaque sleeves were given by the TO and concluded this does not change anything as it does not remove the responsibility from the player.




Players cannot take advantage of an ambiguous situation


The situation 

AP attacks with a Nantuko Husk and a Bloodsoaked Champion.

NAP blocks the Nantuko Husk with a 2/2 and Champion with a 5/5.

AP picks up his Champion and puts it in the grave, and notes the life loss and gain from the trigger he has from Zulaport Cutthroat.  AP then thinks for a bit.

When NAP tells him that his Husk is also dead, AP replies: “What? I just sacrificed the Champion to the Husk.”  NAP calls a judge and explains that because AP didn’t announce his Husk activation, then it means that AP has resolved combat damage and that his Husk is also dead.



The Ruling


The Husk is alive. AP may not have clearly pointed at the Husk to indicate the sacrifice but, nevertheless, there are no clear signs that AP actually moved to damage resolution. Indeed, the only thing that happened are noting the life loss from the trigger. However, the trigger can equally come from having sacrificed the Champion to the Husk or from Combat damage resolution. Therefore, writing down the life loss and gain is no proof per se.

You should not allow a player to technically interpret an ambiguous situation to his advantage, especially when the situation is clear.

In this situation, AP’s immediate reaction to indicate he sacrificed the Champion coupled to the fact the decision makes complete sense since the Champion cannot kill the blocking 5/5, is enough of a proof that the Champion was indeed sacrificed.


Judges must not allow players to assume that an ambiguous situation is the one that favours them when there are no signs to prove it.



Winner Brings the Results Entry Slip to the Scorekeeper at all events


Emilien Wild

Emilien Wild

Emilien Wild brought a while ago that having judges collect Result Slips at PTs was actively preventing them from watching games and this was especially bad when they were watching a match for Slow Play: Either they’d be leaving the table where Slow Play (and therefore potential Stalling) may be happening, or they would blatantly ignore a Judge Call. From PT Milwaukee, we decided that, at PTs, the winner of the match would be responsible for bringing back Result Slips to the Scorekeeping Station.


Then we wondered what we should do for GP Day 2, namely the last kind of tournament where judges would then be collecting Results Entry Slips. We realized two things:

  • The Slow Play problematic was pretty much the same, and somehow worse, since the judge/player ratio at a GP Day2 is lower than at the PT
  • Along with the cut to 6-3, the amount of players qualified for Day2 will double (estimates are it’ll go from about 12% to 25% of Day1 attendance) while it’s unlikely the amount of judges on a GP D2 will.

Therefore, we’ve decided that, from now on, the winner of a match is responsible for bringing the Results Entry Slip back to the Scorekeeping Station at all tournaments.

Of course, if this is the end of round procedure, then you should make players sign as fast as possible (without being too pushy of course) and make your way as fast as possible to the Scorekeeper!



More opportunities for L2s to lead teams


Leading a team is not easy. We’ve realized that many GP D1 Team Leaders are actually leading a team for the second time only, which means they lack experience. This doesn’t really turn into doing a bad job, but they usually have a rough day, and we’re not certain this is a net positive.

When the tournament is tough, it is not always possible to support them in the best possible way and many entities can suffer from this: The Team Leaders, their teammates and sometimes the Event as a whole.

We felt this was not a great situation and therefore decided to use more L2s to lead teams on a GP Day 2 so as to give them more exposure to the role and improve their level of experience.

We will use L2s who already have the TL recommendation and L2s who are greatly advanced on their checklist. Finally, each L2 TL will be shadowed by an experienced L3 so he is supported and has all the keys for succeeding more easily!

Obviously, this decision will not exclude L3s from the GP D2 TL positions, especially if they feel they’d like more experience before jumping to the D1 madness!



Summarizing Premier Tournament Requirements on wizards.com


At the L3 meeting at GP Quebec, it was suggested to have a website with the requirements for all Premier Tournaments (for instance the level of the HJ).  This will see light on WotC’s website in 2016.



A clearly announced trigger must resolve!


A Situation


AP attacks with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and announces the “exile 20 cards” trigger, which is acknowledged by NAP. In response, NAP fetches (so as to be sure to find the land he needs). Both players then forget to resolve the trigger.


Another Situation

AP attacks with Anafenza, the Foremost and a Runeclaw Bear, saying “trigger on the Bear”, but does not put the +1/+1 counter.


The Rulings

In both cases, this is GRV: Indeed, the “controller […] [made] it clear what the action taken or choice made [was] before taking any game actions.”

We realized the current wording of the IPG (October 2015) is not clear enough and will be clarified in the January 2016 edition.


Kevin Desprez.