One of the biggest appeals of Magic that is simultaneously one of the scariest barrier-to-entry aspects of the game is the rules. Rules in Magic are very intricate which, while creating an incredible amount of explorable game space, can also be incredibly frustrating to understand as you’re learning the game. Layers are a classic example of this. Why doesn’t Dress Down work on Magus of the Moon (at least in the way you think)? It doesn’t make sense at a surface glance, but Layers does explain this pretty well.
For this reason, MTG Judges are a pretty valuable resource in Magic. These individuals spend a ton of their personal time understanding the ins and outs of the Magic rules, something that you need to study for like a college course. There’s a ton to learn.
For this reason, it’s understandable that there simply aren’t enough judges to go around for every MTG event. Bigger competitive events like Regional Championships, Pro Tours and even RCQ’s will generally have one or even a team of Judges, but this doesn’t exactly help solves problems that may come up at a weekly event or even at your Commander game. Fortunately, this service can help!
An MTG Judge in Your Pocket
Announced earlier this weekend on Reddit is a resource for players to ask Judges whatever MTG rules questions they may have. Whether it’s a physical thing happening in real time or just a hypothetical question in regard to a deckbuilding idea that you had in the middle of the night, Judges should be available to answer your questions when they get to it here. While you’re free to ask questions whenever you want, just note that it may not get answered right away.
A Fantastic Service!
Replies to the Reddit post showcasing this service are overwhelmingly positive, really hinting at just how valuable these Judge services are:
“Bless you, and prepare for all the hypotheticals that the internet can throw at you.”GFreeGamer
“I’ve been literally using y’all for years! I appreciate the dedication it takes to keep something like this running.”something-lame
As hinted at by ‘something-lame’, this Judge service isn’t exactly new. According to commentary, it has actually existed for quite some time! Regardless, many players, including us, had no idea this existed until it was shouted out in a big way:
“They’ve been doing this for many years, don’t think there’s anything they aren’t prepared for”nebman227
Other Resources for Rule Checks
If, for whatever reason, the judge service mentioned isn’t to your taste, there are other resources one can use to answer their rules questions if a Judge is not in attendance. The MTGRules Reddit is another good place to post any rules questions you want answered. Do note that anyone can answer this though, so it’s best to double check with a Judge if possible. In a similar vein, it’s best not to take these as gospel unless you 100% know a Judge provided the answer. Additionally, if you’re looking at a similar situation and not the exact same one as reference, the answers can be different, so be careful.
If you’re at an event and a Judge is physically present, always resolve your rules issue with that Judge. This probably doesn’t need to be said, but just in case.
What if You Decide to Become a Judge Yourself?
There are some helpful quotes in the above Reddit forum if you want to do this, but anyone who’s looking to become an official Magic Judge should head over to judgeacademy.com. All of the details in regards to what each Judge level means, how to get Judge promo cards, and more can be found here. There are even in-depth courses that can teach you everything you need to know.
If you want to resolve rules disputes without becoming a Judge, you can become a Rules Advisor. This is the lowest level on the Judge ladder, and does not require you to pay any fees. This won’t allow you to run events in an official Judge capacity (even an FNM), but you can, basically, be a more official source to solve rules debacles in local events that may not otherwise have a judge present.
Either way, MTG can have some complicated interactions, and the answer to your problems are sometimes the furthest from what you might expect. Consulting a Judge to resolve your situation properly is, if possible, encouraged.