Sheldon Menery passed peacefully on September 7, 2023. He is survived by his wife Gretchyn Melde. While he is best known for his co-creation of the EDH Rules Committee (RC) in 2006 and the subsequent Commander Advisory Group in 2019, he was also instrumental in the early development of the Judges program, a foundational Magic content creator for blogs, podcasts and streamers, and a beloved friend and family member. Sheldon will be remembered for his passions for life, food, music and his all encompassing joy in the gathering.

Born in 1961, Sheldon was already a member of the US Air Force when first introduced to Magic the Gathering in 1993 at Gen Con.  While stationed in Belgium in 1994, he played Magic with other members of the force.  He became certified as a DCI Judge when he attended Grand Prix Amsterdam in 1996. Sheldon was promoted to Level 3 Judge with the DCI in 1998, retiring from the Air Force in 2004, the same year he became an L5 judge.

Sheldon served as a  judge at Pro Tour from 1998-2011. During a portion of this time he also maintained the comprehensive rules database for The Gatherer. In April of 2011 he announced he would be retiring as a Judge and transitioning to the role of Judge Emeritus in 2012.  He did not leave organized play however, becoming a Pro Tour Broadcaster from 2011-2013.

Credit: Saffron Olive of MTGGoldfish

Sheldon is in the First Class of the Magic Judge Hall of Fame. In addition to his foundational work creating judging structures and standards he also created the “spheres concept” for the judging program and was the first judge to lead the Investigation Committee.

His contributions to content creation are varied and numerous starting with his “Ask the Judge” Column at Star City games that launched in 2000. This year marks 24 years of Sheldon sharing content and answering questions for direct consumption by players across various platforms, podcasts, and formats as he, and they,  evolved through the years.

His first time working directly on the game itself was in 2019, helping to develop the Strixhaven Commander Decks.

Sheldon Menery’s  joy in good food and good company was legendary. He spent several years as part owner of a gourmet food and wine shop in the early aughts, and in 2022 combined these loves by participating in Fruition Las Vegas, an event combining magic and food artistry.

He was not shy about celebrating all the things he loved. If you would like to raise a glass to his life and memory, he provided some suggestions in 2015 “Drinking My Decks”

His wife Gretchyn Melde shared the news through Facebook;

Information for memorial services will be provided at a later date.

Sheldon identified himself on social media as:

“Founding member, Commander Rules Committee. Trophy husband, continuing cancer battler. Writer, gamer, Shakespeare and film student. He/him/his.”

He was indeed, all these things and more. We honor the incredible amount of work and joy he provided to our community and while we mourn his loss, we celebrate what he shared with us in his life and the work he began which will be built upon in the future.

Wizards of the Coast official statement on the passing of Sheldon Menery

Official Statement from the Commander Rules Committee’s Toby Elliott

Richard Stein also contributed to this article

Adrienne Reynolds (she/her) has the DCI number 7801. She is conducting a longitudinal ethnographic study of Cultural Actors in Magic: The Gathering initially undertaken at Bryn Mawr College and continued independently. You can find her on Twitter as @DreamtimeDrinne and on Discord at DreamtimeDrinne#9349. When not desperately seeking a game of Magic, she is working towards making our workspaces more human centered.

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