Judging Return

It’s been 20 months since I’ve judged a DCI event that wasn’t Friday Night Magic so before jumping back in the saddle I decided to audit an event to see what I remembered. Some things came flooding back immediately:

  • 90% of questions consist of the following: what time is it, do I have enough time to do x, and where’s the bathroom.  Players are somehow still angered when you lack the ability to accurately estimate how long it will take them to pinch a loaf, down a cigarette, get food, or have a quickie.
  • The other 10% of questions regard ridiculous hypothetical scenarios consisting of game or tournament events unlikely to occur before the heat-death of the universe.  “If I have 7 of this one good rare card in play during a Rochester draft…”
  • 1/2 of all rules questions can answered by reading directly off of the card.  “Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage”
  • 1/4 of all rules questions can be answered by pointing out how the scenario the player proposed is impossible. “Sir, you can’t attack enchantments with lands, normally.”
  • One can vindicate one’s poor performance in the main event by repeatedly losing in booster drafts and 8-man-for-a-box tournaments.
  • Level 1 judges still think that the word “should” exists.  Maybe for normal people it does, but tournament judges either tell a player to do something or not do something.  The police don’t ask the public to “refrain from stabbing people”.
  • Players who narrowly miss the top 8 cut can make it up by being really intrusive during the quarter-finals so when observers take pictures it looks like the scrubbed player matters.
  • Providing a pseudocelebrity or pro with a homemade cookies gives the giver license to ask any ridiculous question one wants.

It felt good to be back.  I still contend I have more fun judging than most players do playing.