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Judge School


So, several people asked more questions about the Judge School I held in New Mexico, so for a treat this week, I am going to give you guys the itinerary used for the Judge School. Keep in mind, you are seeing my paperwork, so a couple things that may be obvious to you would not to someone going to the Judge School.


So, for my judge school, I wanted to do four distinct pieces to it, all listed below.


Part 1:


The first phase was pretty simple. It would be straight rules questions for the judges to get them used to answering judge questions. I had a couple to get the ball rolling written already, but for the most part I wanted to take what we could from Regionals the day before.



Question: I have out Engineered Plague naming Minion and a Goblin Welder. My opponent has out a Soul Warden and casts a Bone Shredder. Does he gain the life, and does he get to kill a creature with the Bone Shredder ability?


Answer: Yes to both.


Extra Credit Question: Name the exact order things occur for this question.


Answer: Spell Resolves. Bone Shredder comes into play as a 0/0. Bone Shredder dies as a State based effect. Opponent can order the Soul Warden and Bone Shredder abilities however he wants.



Question: I attack with a Fangren Hunter with Loxodon Warhammer on it and my opponent blocks with a Steel Wall. Before Damage, I activate my Pyrite Spell Bomb targeting the Steel Wall. How much trample damage can I make the opponent take?


Answer: 5.



Regionals Questions collected from the judges included questions about when Modular targets, when the X on Sparksmith locks in, Ravager artifact sacrificing questions, and questions about Duplicanting morphs and creatures with tokens on it. For the record, I messed up the Sparksmith question at Regionals, just a brain fart. It happens to the best of us.





Part 2:


The second part is going over scenarios a judge would get called over for. All of these scenarios are rules questions, but with something amiss in the game state. It is to teach the judges to look beyond the question. We didn’t tell the judges there was something wrong with the situation, but after the first couple they got the point. This was the most fun part of the School, as everyone was trying to find the “wrong part” first.



Question: My opponent is casting Deconstruct on my Needlebug with Vulshok Battlegear on it, and I want to sacrifice it to Shrapnel Blast in response, does he get the three green mana?


Answer: No, there is only one target, and the target is gone, so the spell is countered on resolution.


Problem: The Needlebug cannot have Vulshok Battlegear on it. It has Protection from Artifacts.



Question: My opponent and I both have out Darksteel Ingots. He casts Shatter on mine, and I want to Echoing Ruin it in response to make sure both of them die, can I do that?


Answer: You can certainly try to destroy it, but both of the Darksteel Ingots are indestructible.


Problem:  Echoing Ruin is a sorcery, and can’t be cast in response to anything.



Question: My opponent has out a Wizard Replica, and I have a Veldalken Engineer. I tap out to cast Spire Golem. He pays a blue and sacrifices the Wizard Replica to make me pay two more. I tap the Engineer to pay the two and he Barbed Lightings the Engineer in response. Do I still get the two mana to pay for the Replica?


Answer: Removing the source of an effect does not remove the effect, so they get the two mana.


Problem: They can’t use the two mana to pay for the Replica.



Question: My opponent has out a Trolls of Tel-Jilad. I attack with a Domineered Wurmskin Forger and Tel-Jilad Chosen. I also have a Neurok Transmuter. He blocks my Chosen with his Trolls. I make his Troll an artifact creature with the Transmuter. Is my Chosen still blocked? Does it take damage from the Trolls? How does this work?


Answer: The Chosen is still blocked, but will take no damage from the Trolls.


Problem: The Wurmskin Forger should not Domineered. While it may have been a legal target at some point due to the Transmuter, it probably is not now. The real first question you should ask is “Is the Wurmskin Forger currently an artifact creature?” and then take things from there.



Question: I have out an Icy Manipulator, and my opponent has out a Soldier Replica with Leonin Scimitar on it. He casts a Viridian Shaman, targeting my Icy. I respond with Razor Barrier on my Icy, naming green. Does he have to retarget his Shaman?


Answer: It depends on when the player cast Razor Barrier. The question is really vague, as it makes it sounds like the player is targeting the Icy when he is casting the Shaman, not when it comes into play. The judge needs to determine what really happened when. Then the answer is that if it’s before it came into play, then yes, it will have to retarget. If it’s after it came into play, then no, the effect will just be countered on resolution. Its very important to not give the correct play away to the player while trying to resolve this.


Problem: There is no hidden problem with this question.



Question: I have out a Tel-Jilad Archers and a Leonin Shikari with Lightning Greaves. My opponent casts Terror on my Archers. I respond by moving the Greaves to the Archers, he responds by Terroring them again. Can I re-equip it with Greaves to stop both Terrors?


Answer: Yes, and it would stop both Terrors.


Problem: You can’t equip the Archers with the Greaves at all, because they have Protection from Artifacts.




Question: I have out a Scale of Chiss-Goria, Chromatic Sphere, Nim Replica, and Stalking Stones. I announce Thoughtcast and then during announcement tap my Stones to sacrifice the Sphere for blue, the Sphere still counts towards affinity cost right?


Answer: Yes, The cost of the spell is locked in at the beginning of announcement.


Problem: Unless the Stalking Stones is activated to be an Artifact Creature, even with the Chromatic Sphere, the player is one mana short of paying for Thoughtcast. The correct first question here is “Is the Stalking Stones an Artifact Creature?”



Question: I attack with my Arcbound Overseer and Duplicant (imprinting an Arcbound Overseer). When my opponent does not declare blockers, I cast Echoing Courage on the Arcbound Overseer. Does the Duplicant imprinting the Arcbound Overseer also get the +2/+2?


Answer: No, the Duplicant does not imprint creature name, so would not be affected by the Echoing Courage.


Problem: The Duplicant should be a 0/0, and therefore dead.



Question: My opponent attacks with a Loxodon Mender and a Lodestone Myr. I block the Myr with my Leonin Skyhunter. In fast effects after declare blockers, he casts Stand Together, targeting the Mender and Myr. Can I wait until damage is on the stack to use my Proteus Staff to sacrifice my Skyhunter to prevent taking two trample damage?


Answer: Sacrificing the creature after damage is on the stack will indeed stop two of the damage from going through.


Problem: The Proteus Staff ability may only be played as a Sorcery.



Question: My opponent sacrifices his Pyrite Spellbomb targeting my morph creature. Can I use the morph ability to turn over my Willbender to make the Spellbomb target my Freewind Falcon to save my creatures?


Answer: Yes, you can retarget the Pyrite Spellbomb ability.


Problem: The Freewind Falcon will die because the Pyrite Spellbomb is not Red damage.





Part 3:


Next was the deck check clinic. I had 5 decks prepared. Due to my inability to spend money marking sleeves, they were all unsleeved decks. The decks have the following characteristics:


White: Nothing wrong with it. It may have a bit of wear and tear, but not enough to call someone one, and definitely no pattern.


Green: No marks, but completely stacked. Land, Spell, Spell, Land, Spell, Spell, Land, Land, Spell, Spell.


Black: Marked, no pattern.


Red: Marked, misprint. One Goblin Replica has a print white spot on the card.


Blue: Marked with notches on the bottom of the cards. 4 Thoughtcast, 4 Myr Enforcer, and 4 Somber Hovergard marked.


It was fun to do this too. As expected, the group with the green deck completely missed the stacking. And people with the blue deck thought the notches were wear and tear until I pointed out which cards they were, and that each group of four had the notch in a different place.





Part 4:


Lastly we have Judge “situations” to cover. This is the common concept of “failure to agree on reality” situations that judges have to deal with from time to time. The main purpose of this one is to make sure that judges know how to ask the right questions to resolve player disputes.



Situation 1: Player A calls over a judge. Player A says Player B has just put a Tel-Jilad Archers in play during the combat phase after he attacked. No casting, just dropped it into play and is claiming that it’s been there for a turn. This was a fun one to do, as basically Jay and I got to pretend we were basically calling each other cheaters. In this one, it ended up that the Tel-Jilad Archers were really in play before, and Player A is lying, but there’s no real way to prove it the way the game state is set up. This one is the hardest because it’s the one most likely to not have “one right answer,” and is often left to the judgment of the Judge. Its just good practice to see what kind of questions the judges asks.



Situation 2: Player A calls over a judge. Player A wants to verify that the mana tapped for a spell is what Player B has tapped. Player B has tapped one island, one underground river, and two swamps and has announced Concentrate. Player B says he announced Concentrate, but does not intend to pay for it with the mana he tapped, but instead wants to float UBB1 and pay with other mana. Player B is at three life and Player A has an active Barbarian Ring in play.


Situation 3: At least one scenario had to be a life total discrepancy. This is personal opinion, but its my opinion that this one is often best solved by simply walking up and saying “Hey guys, what’s going on?” In most cases, both players would much rather they figure out the correct life totals than a judge, so they work it out correctly. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to look at life score sheets, and try to reenact the game to figure out the issue.


Situation 4: This one was a card draw discrepancy. Player A said Player B had one more card than he should. We had the scenario written so that, in reality, Player A had one LESS card than he should, because he mulliganned. The trick here is to see what questions the judges ask. The real first questions should be “What turn is it,” “Who played and who drew,” and “Did anyone Mulligan.” Many people forget the third one. If those don’t solve the problem, then its time to look at any card drawing or deck manipulation spells, and such. It’s a complex thing to investigate.



And that was it. Judge School went a total of three hours, and I think everyone got a lot out of it. I had planned for it to only be two hours, but all the conversation was good, and Jay and I had a lot of “this really happened” stories to tell the participants, so they understood that these sort of things really happened, and we weren’t making them up. A huge thanks goes out to Jay for his help in setting up the situations, and doing the role playing with me.


Hope you guys liked this one, and it helps some of you as well in what it takes to be a judge, and understanding some of the things judges go through. See you next week!





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Have a great week!

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