Ask Weedmonkey

Written by Weedmonkey on December 03, 2010

Why am I doing this article to begin with? Because I feel that there's a lot people have wanted to know more about from staff and haven't had the opportunity to. Because of that, I feel that it could be beneficial to write an article grouping all of these questions together so the community has a greater insight into the functions of Magic-League.

A small aside - I will be referring to articles in the past. The articles archive is at There, you can look at all of the articles I'm referring to :)

How long did it take you to pass the judge test?

High-level judges are expected to have an excellent knowledge of the rules in order to be able to handle any situation they are presented with. This is not only the rules knowledge contained in the Comprehensive Rules, but tournament rules found in the Penalty Guidelines, Floor Rules and DCI tournament documents also. There have been many people that have lamented the test for being 'too hard' and that 'you need to be a robot to be a J3'.

It may come as a surprise to you in saying this that it took me almost ten attempts to pass the judge test the first time.

I have only been a judge on Magic-League for eighteen months. Compare this to some J2s who have been around for upwards of five years, and J1s who have been around for three years or more. I do not pretend to have a spectacular depth of knowledge - and being a judge for such a short time can show when it comes to card interaction questions of greater difficulty when sometimes I forget the simple things in the larger scope of the question's complexities.

My first judge test was a 6, followed by a 4. From there, I had a string of 7s until I reached the elusive 8/10 I needed in order to pass (this was back when the passing grade was an 8). There were multiple tests that I could have passed if not for a silly mistake (such as forgetting a creature can't block or a creature had haste).

To take a page out of my judge test preparation articles, I found I learned best when I wrote my own questions and worded an answer to them using the proper terminology. Through that, I was able to put my knowledge to practical applications, and through that improve my knowledge immensely. Additionally, I found the DCI practice tests invaluable in helping me to identify where my gaps in following steps to find an answer were.

Why is the Magic-League judge test different in format to the DCI one?

The honest answer is I don't know. My belief is that the easiest way to code the judge test when this site was originally developed was to use short-answer questions.

Do I want to change the format of the judge test? No. I believe with complete conviction that the multiple choice format that the DCI tests use is inferior to a short-answer structure. As a teacher, one important skill in developing tests for students is to design the tests to reflect exactly what you are testing. For example, in a math test  you may accept questions from students about what the question is asking, because you are testing their mathematical skills. However, you wouldn't accept questions about the same topic in an english test because part of what you are testing is their ability to read and comprehend the question.

The same process applies to MTG judge tests. The issue I have (and I feel strongly about this) with a multiple choice format is it takes the emphasis away from testing rules knowledge and places an emphasis on reading far greater than it should. It would not be as concerning an issue if the multiple choice answers were significantly different in wording. However, when all of the possible answers only have a difference in one or two words or the placement of words in a sentence, you lose out to testing rules knowledge and favouring their ability to read possible answers.

This is something I could base an entire article on its own about, but suffice to say I feel that in terms of structure, I feel Magic-League's judge test is superior to the DCI's. Because of this, I see no need to change this to reflect DCI practice.

Why doesn't Magic-League post more specific instructions on how to install and use specific play applications?

When I wrote the new How to Start guide a couple of months ago, it was a conscious decision to deliberately leave out specific instructions on how to install and use applications. Here's why:

When we received the Cease and Desist from Wizards of the Coast last year, part of complying with it was that we would no longer breach copyright by supporting unofficial applications for playing MTG. To comply with this, we withdrew support from the play application we were supporting at the time, and allowed players to use whatever application they wish.

One of the negative side-effects of removing support for particular play applications is that we cannot officially provide assistance or support in installing and using these play applications - it is up to the community base to point players in the right direction.

If there is too much difficulty in getting one application set up and operational, my recommendation to the community is to help new members use a different application.

Why do you feel compelled to write what you write, and what do you think will be gained by doing so?

I can think of three main reasons that drive me to write about what I write about for Magic-League:

1. Improve the Community

2011 will mark some eight or nine years that I have been on Magic-League. I grew up with the league, and many happy memories have come from sharing experiences with people on Magic-League. Because of this, I feel a very strong connection to Magic-League, and through this there is an immense drive I have to do everything I can to help Magic-League be the best it can be.

To this end, a lot of what I have written is for the purpose of helping Magic-League. Some of these articles include:

- The Magic-League Community and You (where I tried to get across the idea of Magic-League being more cohesive as a community)

- Judge Test Preparation Parts 1 and 2 (where I did my best to give people as much assistance as possible in passing the judge test)

- Magic-League FAQ (where I tried to lump all of the common questions players ask into one accessible document)

2. Transparency and Accountability

Before I became a staff member in December 2009, one of the most significant issues I had with the then staff was the lack of transparency in league operations. This is an issue that even today many members of the community have - it was only last month where I got grilled on this very issue.

Having now been on both sides of the fence, I can understand how it can be frustrating at times when there are long periods where there are no announcements from staff. However, being a staff member myself, I also know that not everything staff does can be shared with the public. It's a very delicate balance - sharing information prematurely or before there is something more concrete to back it up can lead to confusion and disappointment in the community.

Transparency and accountability to me is very important, as what I am doing is on behalf of the Magic-League community. To this, my philosophy on the sharing of information with the public I have determined to be limited only to information regarding Magic-League coverage (which is the part of the league I am responsible for).

The other part to transparency and accountability is the articles I write regarding my own feelings about the league and my position within it. Based on the feedback I've received, articles such as One Year On and State of the League Address have been the best received. This leads me to agree strongly with Mark Rosewater's opinion that the best articles are those where a part of you is in your writing, and as such I will continue to write more of these articles (such as this one ;) ).

3. Strong opinions regarding an issue or topic.

These have been limited from me to this point. If I feel very strongly about an issue, then I feel compelled to write about it. Possibly the greatest example in this was my article View from the Top that I wrote shortly after I became Coverage Director. Although it was a rant and poorly structured (suffice to say it won't go down as one of my better works), it was also an article that received a strong response from the community.

I believe that this kind of article is best used to make people stand up and take notice of things that I throw my weight behind. This goes not only to Magic-League, but the MTG community at large. I do not want to limit my writing only to Magic-League, as I feel that my writing can have an impact beyond the scope of this community. This doesn't mean that I will be abandoning this community by any stretch of the imagination - only that I feel I can have a greater impact beyond the scope of this community.

Also, a small aside - I'm not pedantic about the grammar and formality of my own writing. While I know my writing abilities are at an academic level, sometimes I feel it's easier to bring it down a level or two in my own writing to give it better readability.

What is the highest rating there has ever been in the Limited or Constructed categories of Magic-League? Who were they?


To the best of my recollections, SL|RedDemon holds the record with a rating in the 2200s. Granted, this was many years ago, but I'm pretty sure it was him. pG also was over 2000 at one point.

Contemporarily, I know Caith has been pushing 1950, and n'Ronnan has been around a similar rating in the past.


Although it was due a site bug, Shooter without a doubt holds the record at 2019 for Limited. Shyft-, Pekken and Heikki have all floated around the 1950 mark at one point or another for Limited without bugs, and I'm reasonably sure there hasn't been anyone who has surpassed those three.


Equinox- is unmatched in Eternal, and was the first person to break the 2000 barrier in Eternal rating. To date, I don't think there's been anyone who has outdone this. I can't even remember the last time someone broke 1900 in this category.


The highest ever rating in Other is actually the current leader of the category - Chefy (under the site nickname EmoNinjaSuck). To date, there has not been one person who has broken 1889, and is the first time in several years that the record has been broken.

The previous record holder was ShadowS, with 1876. He is still the undisputed Mindmaster champion.

What is your favourite deck of all time and why?

Without a doubt, it's Suicide Black. When I first found the deck, I fell in love with the fact that there were so many options as to how you played, and it was (and still is in my opinion), one of the few aggro decks where you can outplay your opponent at a level similar to control.

What Magic colour or two-colour combination best describes you, and why?

If I had to name any one colour, it would be blue. I am a person who is patient, persistent and resilient. Although at times it may seem like I've hit a brick wall or given up on something, I am only taking a breather. Given enough time, I will always find a way to achieve my goals. If you look at the four classical Greek elements, I'm very much a water child.

Why do I love you? - EatsMortals

Because I'm the total package baby ;).

And that's it for another article. As always, if you have any suggestions for articles or if you want to talk to me about anything, you can reach me at

- Roo

Back to Magic: the Gathering Articles

by Chefy on 2010-12-03 22:57 CET

I love this article so muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch.

by ChristPunchr on 2010-12-03 23:31 CET

All of those questions/answers were interesting, but you left out an important one:

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?

by Weedmonkey on 2010-12-03 23:37 CET

A monkey puzzle tree :)

by Shyft- on 2010-12-04 00:46 CET

I was over 1980 limited for awhile =( I was pushing for 2k and didn't quite make it

by RiQuSP on 2010-12-04 01:55 CET

Oh boy, the good 'old' times when team '#-' sweeped the team seasons 3-4x in a row under the leadership of Stryfe- joined by noremac, Equinox- a 4th which I don't remember and yours truly...

by EatsMortals on 2010-12-04 03:27 CET


by DSD-Steve on 2010-12-04 12:52 CET

@RiQuSP: Yeah but now are better times - Blitzzkrieg times :)

by Steveman on 2010-12-04 21:13 CET

Why are your articles always so damn long

by Shooter on 2010-12-05 01:28 CET

It wasn't a bug, it was Justice manifesting itself. =)

by Tidus- on 2010-12-07 04:11 CET

It was me Riqus <3

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