Exemplar Wave 10

Hello everyone! Once again we’re here to bring you some gems from this summer’s Exemplar wave!

We’ll go over five recognitions that caught our attention, and had a talk with the recipients in order to learn how we, too, can find ways to improve ourselves and the community.

To get our article started, we present you a recognition to Toby Hazes, given by Alex De Bruijne:

During the preparation of the BeNeLux conference you had feedback on every seminar topic as it was posted. Without your valuable input on difficult players and difficult situations, my seminar would not have seen the light of day!

I think that every seminar that weekend had some improvements because of your feedback!

Thank you for helping all the presenters like this!”

We at the Benelux Blog have a strange obsession with seminars, so seeing someone being praised about their input on them certainly caught our attention! This is what Toby had to say about the recognition:

Since the 2016 fall conference there is a special Benelux Conference Presenters forum on JudgeApps where the presenters are encouraged to share their work-in-progress presentations with each other. Seeing other people’s progress motivates you to get busy with own presentation too rather than do it last-minute, and it is also a good avenue to ask for feedback.

As I love receiving and giving feedback, I was like a kid in a candy store when I entered this forum as a presenter for the 2017 summer conference. In college we had to make presentations and give each other feedback all the time so it’s second nature. I struggled with a number of things with my own presentation and it was great that I could share those concerns and get feedback on them.

As for giving feedback, I love the rules and corner cases so for the Triggers and Layers seminars I had a bunch of scenario suggestions. For the Road to L2 I had discussion suggestions for the interactive agree/disagree part at the end. I helped Mark with the design of his combat shortcut flowchart. With some presentations I gave feedback about the use of text on certain slides (usually “less is more”).

Alex’s seminar “Timmy and your tournament” was especially close to my heart as I love the Psychographic Profiles and their subgroups, so I gave a lot of additional notes about both the theory and notable behaviors I’ve seen from players that could be explained from this perspective.

Now just because I had a field day here please don’t think this is only something between presenters! Presentations are made for an audience, for you. Which means your feedback is the most valuable of all. If you have any feedback after a seminar, either about the content or about the slides, be sure to share it!

That gives us something to think about for the coming Benelux Conferences!

Next up is a recognition from Mark Dragstra for Jan Jaap Vermeire, but secretly it’s also for Teun Zijp!

For quite some time you and Teun Zijp have been part of ”the Zebra’s“, which is a project that makes podcasts about new rules and mechanics for judges and players. You specifically focus on the rules changes and hold a tight grip on the agenda. The great part is that you create unique content. Making magic accessible for both players and judges, is something I would like to encourage.

It would be a bit silly to only ask one of the Zebra’s for their opinion, so we’re happy to provide you with a two-for-one package!


To be honest I can’t remember what prompted us to start these podcasts. Looking back, I guess I started listening to Limited Resources and JudgeCast during the commute and thought ‘Hey, let’s do this, but in Dutch’. De Zebra’s is a podcast that we record four times a year — with every major set release — and we use this as an excuse to hang out, discuss the new set, talk about the new rules, and whatever is happening in the judge world or broader Magic world. We don’t have a specific archive place but every new episode is posted on the Benelux Judge Facebook forum. It’s great of course every time someone comes up and says that they listen to us, I mean really, that means a lot.

Jan Jaap:

I remember what prompted me, Teun asking me to do a Dutch podcast! First time I remember us talking a long time about the name (we settled on the Zebra’s as a reference to the old black and white judge shirts) and what cards and mechanics to talk about. Every time after, our preparation time got shorter, but I think our podcasts got better. We have a lot of fun making them, although our equipment and/or distribution could be better (we’ve gotten requests for RSS-feeds or uploads to iTunes, anyone with experience in that, feel free to drop us a line). It’s totally amazing whenever somebody comes over and tells us they listened to it, so don’t hesitate to do that.

Creating new and exciting content is not an easy thing to do, so giving the creators their spot in the spotlights from time to time is the least we can do to thank them for their efforts.

As our third recognition for this edition, we went with something a bit different, being much more on a personal level, but showing how lucky we are with what kind of community we have going on here. It is a recognition from Toby Hazes directed to Dustin De Leeuw:

I’d like to thank you not just for the profound effect you have on me when we’re judging together, but especially for those events where we are NOT judging together. Where I am a player, a spectator, a staff member. You are very proactive with involving me in the tournament, bringing me interesting situations to discuss or even seeking me out for a 2HG question. You draw me in, make me part of it, on an emotional level, not just a rules & policy level. We are not judging together, but we are judges together, thank you for creating those strong bonds. ( ๑‾̀◡‾́)σ»(三・o・)

We asked Dustin for a reply, and he kindly offered us this:

A man reaps what he sows. It has often been said that the Judge Program gives you more if you invest in it, and I like to do that on the personal level. One of my primary motivations to be a judge is the interactions I have with so many amazing people, so I will seek those out whenever I can. Judging has brought me my partner, many friends, and even more acquaintances. That’s not possible if you approach judging as a rules-delivering robot. For me, the rules are an excuse to interact with others, and talking about a shared interest and passion creates friendships and bonds.

Toby is one of the friends I would probably never have met without Magic, and we mostly meet during Magic tournaments. So of course I take every opportunity I can to interact with him! Conveniently enough, Toby is also our 2HG expert (he sure is! red.), so he may come in handy when I’m not entirely sure of the current 2HG rules. But rather, I just talk about what recently happened to either of us, both inside and outside of the tournament. Both Toby and I can get very passionate during discussions, and that’s what gives me the energy to go on.

I’m very grateful for these beautiful words, and I think they should become the motto of the Judge Program: “ We are not judging together, but we are judges together”

Wiser words have never been spoken (at least not on this topic!), and we fully agree.

For our fourth pick, we went with one of a couple of recognitions that were all about the same specific action. This one was made by Emilien Wild, to François Redivo:

Thank you François for your powerpoint presentation for the Hour of Devastation prereleases (as seen on https://i.imgur.com/t8DER74.jpg ). You took advantage of our screen and computer to prepare two great slideshows (one regular and one 2HG) to highlight all the key points of the set and our events, turning them into mini-seminars. All other HJs were free to use them as well, and it really helped us out. I’d love to have something like that for all new sets!

We were quite intrigued with what this was all about, so we asked François to shed some light on the matter!

Thank you for your message! I’m very happy about the recognitions I received. It means a lot to me that people think I’m doing a good job. The fact that someone outside of my country heard about this prerelease is also very surprising and nice, it just shows how connected our community is.

The idea came to me when I was working at a festival 2 weeks before the HOU Prerelease. Emilien was asking how we wanted to make our announcements, and I just thought about the problems we frequently have when we do them. One of those problems is that the players don’t listen very much, and it’s difficult to get them silent during an exciting event. Thinking about what the room had to offer to us (we have a big screen on the wall), I put the idea forward of using a slideshow, and Emilien was very enthusiastic about it, even asking me to do one that the other judges could also use.

I made two very simple presentations that worked as simple visual support, helping with the structure of the announcement and also reminding the players of the new mechanics of the expansion. The mechanics were supported by some pictures of cards in the set. It worked very nicely, players were no longer distracted and talking to each other, and their attention was focused on the judge or on the screen. Some other judges (like Emilien) used my presentation and were happy with it. They gave me feedback that I then used for the Ixalan Prerelease last month.

I don’t have a lot of advice to give to other judges but this one: use everything that the space given to you can offer. Players like visual support, and it will help you immensly with the structure of your announcements. To have a prerelease announcement unlike all the other they received before is also very important to the players, and little things like a presentation or a simple poster can be of great help with that.

And so you see, there’s always room for progress and innovation, even in tournaments like pre-releases, that we taught had been perfected ages ago by now!

And last but not least, we move to a recognition that was made by Floris De Baerdemaeker, with Anouk Burny as the recipient:

Dear Anouk, I wanted to use this opportunity to express my sincere respect for the work you do with the Lady Planeswalker Society (LPS). I have seen you organise events that attract female magic players, and try to bring them into the community. The work you do is so very important, maybe even more so in a society where, at first glance, there seem to be no gender issues any more. But unfortunately, if you dig beneath the surface, you really don’t have to move too far. You will quickly see there are issues that need to be addressed. You point the finger to those issues, and you refuse to let the status quo stand. I am awestruck by the time and the passion you put into this project and I know that we, as a community, are better off for it. Thank you!

We asked Anouk for some insights into this recognition, and we were met with a lot of enthusiasm, leading to the following answer:

This recognition made me very happy, especially because one of the very first reasons I had for becoming a judge was LPS. Being able to run our own events, with the skillset of a judge, was very important to me. Showing people that women can be good players, judges and organizers too, just as much as everyone else.
With LPS we aim to create an open, welcoming, and friendly environment for everyone to enjoy our beloved cardgame. Our events are mostly casual or regular REL, everyone is welcome to join and play some magic. Drafts, cubes, tiny leader, … we’re really trying to show people that Magic has something for everyone and thus everyone should feel included and welcomed to participate in our beautiful community.
I can’t be more grateful for people noticing our efforts to make the Magic community more welcoming and friendly towards everyone. In the past Natalie (Heylen red.) and I received recognitions for co-founding and running LPS, when the group was still new. Those recognitions were lovely and motivated us to do the best job we could possibly do for LPS. To get a recognition for our work now, when LPS has been going for more than two years already, makes us very happy. It shows that people notice and find our work important, and I can’t think of a better motivation to keep going than this.

Magic is very much a game of inclusion, and the Lady Planeswalker Society is one of the many efforts that are currently going on trying to make a change. If you haven’t had the chance to check out some of their work yet, you can find their facebook group right here!

See you soon,

The BeNeLux Blog Team