May 2013 Anniversaries

Here are the May 2013 judge anniversaries.

10 years

Jimmy Escajeda, Tennessee United States
Casey Hogan, Georgia United, States
Benjamin Klein, Vermont United, States
Tom Fowler, Maryland, United States
Ivan Petkovic, Croatia, (Hrvatska)
Matija Vlahovic, Croatia (Hrvatska)
Kouichi Kudou, Tokyo-to, Japan
Konstantin Zykov, Russian Federation
Max Stenzel, Illinois, United States
Christian Gabriel Navarro Montero, Chile
Jose Miguel Palma, Chile
John Donovan, Illinois, United States

5 years

Woosuk Lee, Korea (South)
Pedro Elias Fajardo, Distrito Capital, Venezuela
Sang-Mook Ha, Korea (South)
Carlos E. Rada P, Distrito Capital, Venezuela
Sebastian Pekala, Poland

Congratulations and thank you for all your hard work!

This month’s featured judges come from communities that are perhaps not very well known. Sang-Mook Ha is a L2 judge from South Korea, and Pedro Elias Fajardo and Carlos E. Rada are L2 judges from Venezuela.

Here is what Woosuk Lee, a L2 judge also celebrating his 5 year anniversary, had to say about Sang-Mook:

Hey guys, check out this Elspeth wallpaper

Hey Carlos and Elias, check out my awesome Elspeth wallpaper!

“Mook and I became L1 same year and we’re both L2s now. Through years of working all kinds of events with him, he always showed his enthusiasm for every job he was on, from deck checking to head judgin, and always stepped up to educate players and fellow judges with his knowledge from his judging experience throughout his entire judge career. Since we only have 3 active L2s and no L3 or above in Korea now, so having a judge like Mook around is always a great inspiration for me. Congratulations on your five year anniversary and keep up the good work!”


Here’s what Level 3 judge Adrian Estoup had to say about Elias and Carlos:

I don't know man, I prefer this lovely beige wallpaper

Nonsense. I prefer this lovely beige wallpaper. It reminds me of my training.

“For several years, the Venezuelan judge community was somewhat isolated from the rest of Latin America. During this time, it was difficult to get in touch with the leading judges in the country, but at some point, a few years ago, two new leaders stepped forward in that community: Carlos Rada and Elias Fajardo.

After a gruesome and lengthy training process, involving days without eating under a waterfall, they both passed their L2 test during Grand Prix Santiago 2011.

Ever since Carlos got to L2, he’s been one of the most active L1 testers in the world, preparing a training program for candidates with which he managed to get certified judges in remote areas both within and outside of his country, areas that finally were able to have the presence of a certified judge at their events. Carlos has been a great road warrior.

Elspeth? Beige isn't even a Magic color! My wallpaper is made of dozens of Magic cards!

Elspeth? Beige isn’t even a Magic color! My wallpaper is made of dozens of Magic cards!

Elias, in the meantime, has made quite a difference in tournament organization in Venezuela. He’s a reference in the main Magic store chain in the country and has helped to improve tournaments in one of countries with the highest growth in the region. Elias is not only a reference to players, but also to tournament organizers, providing help and advice whenever it’s needed. Quite often, when someone in Latin America has a problem at his or her events, and requests help through our mailing lists, it’s Elias who provides an answer to solve it.

Both of them complement each other nicely, and there’s no doubt that they’ve both been instrumental in the development of the northern part of South America.”


We also have one L3 anniversary this month: Jason Lemahieu of Madison, Wisconsin became Level 3 at Pro Tour Hollywood in 2008.  Here’s what Level 4 Judge, Chris Richter had to say about Lems:

Everything is awesome.

Everything is awesome.

“Jason Lemahieu has been L3+ for five years?  Wow.  For most reading this that means they’ve known Jason the judge for maybe 5-6 years, but it makes me think about meeting Jason the player back in late 2003 or early 2004.  I had been an L3 for a few months when a new player started hanging around on Wednesday nights and drafting at the local store.  Unlike many new players that showed up at the store for the first time, he was very good at the game as he was an avid Magic Online player.  He found out about the local Magic scene by traveling to a regional prerelease (remember those) in Chicago and meeting other Madison players.

Some of my first interactions with Jason was with him checking the rules and to see if MTGO was handling things correctly.  One of the questions in the oldest email from Jason I can find asked “Can I play an Exalted Angel face down at instant speed if I have a Vedalken Orrery out?”  You can, MTGO didn’t let him at the time and he reported that bug and hopefully got that draft refunded.  (And yes, that’s an exact quote, he did write ‘instant speed.’)

Anyway, Jason was always interested in the rules and policy, and I kept telling him that perhaps he’d like to judge.  He always thought of himself as a player and liked playing too much, so for about 6 months he told me ‘no.’  I finally convinced him that he could easily judge constructed events as he only played limited ones.  And after one PTQ, that was it.  Jason the player was going to be a judge too.  At the time he lived just a few blocks from my house, so he walked over one afternoon to take the L1 test in my wife’s craft room.

He worked a few more events, did stellar at them (obviously) and it wasn’t long before he took another walk to my house to take the L2 test.  After that he was working GPs and PTs, and occasionally working the operations side for Legion Events at Pro Tour as well.

The rest of the story is pretty straight forward and fast.  While I recognized his potential interest in judging and encouraged him, he was the one that put in the work and took off.  Anyone that has worked with him over the years will tell you that he knows how to get things done and make it fun while doing so.  The things I saw in him were seen by others and he was promoted to L3 at PT Hollywood in 2008.  From there he got involved outside the program and promoted again, and well, again to L5.

I consider myself very lucky to work with Jason on a regular basis, and even luckier to hang out with him after events drinking beers and getting back to Jason’s roots by playing MTGO in hotel rooms.

Congrats Lems, on 5 years as an L3+!”


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4 Responses to May 2013 Anniversaries

  1. José Correa says:

    Felicidades a los compañeros Venezolanos ^_^ sigan así.

  2. Elias Fajardo says:

    Just like that. 5 years of hard Judge work.
    They seem few in comparison to other coleagues, but the feeling i have right now is pretty similar to the one i had in my beginnings as a MTG player (near 11 years ago), when i thought back then: “how much time will i be in this?” or “how did they do to keep it up after 3-5-10 years?”; now, looking back, it seem that 5 years is a short period.

    After all the experiences/rewards/opportunities/benefits i had (and still have), i’m still grateful to belong to this community, after 5 years.

    And i still want more!!!

    We’ll be seeing again in another 5 years (for the purpose of this kind of article) XD

  3. Leonard Dominguez says:

    Felicitaciones todos los jueces de aniversario y a los colegas Venezolanos y sobretodo a mi mentor y amigo Carlos Rada, excepcional trabajo certificando a nuevos jueces (como yo) en el país, y apoyo incondicional a la comunidad Venezolana! Que sigan cumpliendo años!

  4. suouk choi says:

    Woosuk Lee and Sang-Mook is greatest judges in korea. Their passion for mtg knows no measure. And specially Woosuk Lee try to many thing for mtg in korea.
    As you know in korea law and recognition for Tcg is hard to expend mtg player. In korea just 3 lv.2 judges so all the lv2 judges are actually no veto for premier event that needs lv.2 judges. You know it is really hard because they have their job.
    There is many episode about his passion and devotion for korean mtg and I have a recent episode with him.
    I orgernize WMCQ in korea and when I know I can orgernize wmcq I call to Woosuk and he say without hesitation he can come to busan. His home is near 400km away from busan. Then I feel he is really passionate person for mtg.

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