Exemplar Wave 13

Hello everybody and welcome to the Benelux Blog, where we are once again putting a couple of Exemplar recognitions in the spotlight, this time for Exemplar Wave 13! We’ve chosen five entries that we would like to share with you and asked the recognized judges to enlighten us a bit more about what was going on.

We decided to start off with a very practical one, in this case, a recognition from Olivier Wattel for Niels Viaene:

I was impressed by the ‘be the judge’ posters you brought along during the last local pptq. They gave players something to talk about between rounds. This led to them being entertained and educated about some of the more difficult rules, as they were discussing the questions and looking for the answer. It surely is something that can be done at every pptq (but with alternating questions).

We asked Niels to give some extra insight into how these posters came to be, and what exactly he put on them, and he provided us with this answer:

I got an exemplar recognition for ‘Be the Judge’ posters, these are single prints that have interesting rules calls that happened in the event or are known problematic interactions of the format. Players are invited to read and discuss them. They serve as a way to illustrate that being a judge is not always easy and that sometimes things that look easy can be complicated while teaching players how the rules work.

I took the practice from Emilien Wild, he has done this years earlier. It is a low effort / high reward kind of thing you can add to increase the value of your event and all it takes is to have a text file and gatherer open.

There is always room to learn from each other, and we think Niels made a very good example of this, by learning from somebody else while simultaneously teaching other people!

For our next choice we went with a recognition from Mark Dragstra, directed at Cécile Denaux:

You love judging and you want others to love judging too. To reach other judges, you started to write articles for the Benelux bulletin, a regional newsletter for judges. You write there about how you prepare for tournaments, how you interact with the community and TO and what results you book at your LGS. These articles inspires judges and learn them different approaches in these areas. I look forward for your next article.

This is what Cécile had to add:

When I received Mark’s recognition I was genuinely so happy about it because it summed up completely the spirit in which I judge my tournaments and the desire that I had to improve the community.
By bringing more formats, by making it safer and especially by making sure that everyone can play.
The fact that it could inspire other judges did not cross my mind because I am a really unconfident person, I just wanted every players to have a good experience and I know for sure that sharing our mutual experiences help improve the entire judge community and therefore the entire MTG community.
This recognition convince me to pursue writing and also to share my experience and is for me a great example of what the Exemplar Program is about.

We have to admit that we have somewhat of a soft spot for article writers in the Benelux Blog project. It is an often time-consuming task, where the immediate response is not always there, but seeing that people enjoy reading articles and even get something out of them makes it all worthwhile.

Next up is a recognition for Ashley De Winter, given by Michiel Van den Bussche:

I want to recognize your efforts to improve the overall player community at Outpost Antwerp. The system you are trying to implement were players that want to move from a more casual approach of the game to more competitive formats and tournaments by giving them a “godfather or godmother” among the more experienced players is admirable. I also very much approve of you mentoring other Judge candidates in the Antwerp area! It is great to see you passing on the knowledge you have gained. Keep up the good work!

We were very happy that Ashley wanted to give us some more information on this project.

Even before I became a judge, I loved working in communities, our local casual player group is awesome. Then meeting Michiel Van den Bussche gave me the idea to become a judge, even though I was a reasonably new player this seemed the challenge of a lifetime, now I’m a proud level 1 judge.

The system that I am trying to implement comes from being helped by the local players. When I was new everyone was helping. In the open House events I also see it happening, a new player having a game with an experienced one, I just love seeing this.
But if it works with new players, then the step up from casual to competitive would be easier if you have someone to help you in this.
That is when I came up with the “Godmother and Godfather” system, I did have a talk with some competitive players, and they seemed up for it. The step up from casual to competitive is less high when you have someone having your back and giving tips.

I also want to thank Michiel Van Den Bussche for recognising my efforts, this will motivate me even more in what I do.
I also want to thank Hannes Versmissen for helping me with the new players in the two headed giant Prerelease, you were awesome.
Also a big thanks to our community for helping everyone out!

Judge-wise, the Antwerp region has been a difficult part of the Belgian community for years, and we are very happy to see that great efforts are being made to make that a thing of the past!

We go a bit more international for the next one on the list, where Hans Wang gave a recognition for Robin Massart’s efforts at GP Beijing this year:

Robin that was great for had experiences work with you in GP Beijing, i noticed that you are really put a lot of effort to clean the GP players area, then also re-arrange the chairs and make sure GP Beijing players can enjoy play magic. So I nominate you because i believe all judges focus to work and have a lot problems to think yet we sometimes miss the small things that have a biggest aspect for the events to be successful, your small effect make the other judges who saw your actions reacted and do the same thing as yours. Thanks Robin!

We asked for Robin’s take on this recognition.

GP Beijing was a very interesting experience in a lot of ways,

Receiving a recognition for cleaning trash and rearranging tables and chairs sounds funny to some, but let me tell you the story of how that happened!

Upon entering the GP venue on Friday, the first thing I noticed was the large amount of trash on/under the tables. While scouting the hall, I started to clean up as much as I could. I talked about this with some other staff members, and they said “Welcome to China”, having this as an answer I realised most of them just got used to having a lot of trash around them. But at that point, I knew I had to do my best to make it clean again. For myself (My OCD couldn’t stand it), the players, the visitors and the staff. Making sure the venue looks nice is the first step in delivering a good customer service to everyone in the hall.

On Saturday I started to clean up between every round, and after 5 minutes I had a trashcan filled with bottles, booster wraps, food,… Some other judges came over to me and said they thought I did a great job, others said that I shouldn’t do the effort because it would be dirty all over again next round. But I decided to keep going. After a couple of hours, I noticed some judges who were starting to rearrange table clothes, putting trash in trash cans, … And it made me smile because my efforts worked, others felt like they should help out and they did.

All of this made sure the venue looked way nicer in the afternoon, and almost perfect on Sunday.

In short, thanks for noticing and appreciating this!


And finally, we end up back in our region with a recognition from Toby Hazes for Stéphane Van Cauwenberghe:

Thank you for the Corner Case articles in the Update Bulletins, they’ve quickly become my favorite series! I also like the variety with how deep we’re going into the rabbit hole. The Hour of Devastation version for example was useful for practical everyday judging because Mirage Mirror and The Scarab God issues happened all the time in that format. The Ixalan version was way more out there with really exotic stuff like what you can do with tokens in other zones. Thanks for the brain food! Σ(-᷅_-᷄๑)

When we asked Stéphane for a comment, he provided us with this very insightful piece:

This is insanely cool to get a recognition for the articles I wrote for the Benelux Bulletin. What I love in Magic is all the complicated interactions you could have. According to me, it’s the true richness of the game. I’m an avid Commander/EDH player for this reason: it’s the best format for strong synergistic plays. This is also how I became a Judge: since I got a strong knowledge of the Comprehensive Rules over the years, I just took a little step further to pass the L1 exam. I was then very happy to answer new player’s rules question during prereleases, and teach them how it works. For example, most judges are probably happy that Regenerate disappeared from new sets since two years. As far as I’m concerned, I miss that keyword, even if I know it’s a very complicated ability for new players. There is no better joy than seeing the stars in the eyes of a newbie when he finally understand how some interactions really works. So you probably pointed it out: the think I love the most in judging is teaching new players. After several months of judging, I took this concept a step further: teaching new judges (and old ones sometimes, because -you know- Magic is always evolving.) and it ended with me presenting a one-hour seminar about Layers and their complexity during two annual Benelux Conferences. I’m still grateful to our beloved Regional Coordinator, Richard, who puts twice his trust in my skills for this job, as I was the only sub-L2 to present something at that time.
About the Benelux Bulletin, I’m working in this project mainly as an article reviewer/proofreader (though I wrote a couple reports covering belgian judge dinners at the beginning of time). Furthermore, the success of our Bulletin increased and the need for new columns emerged. As you could expect after reading all this, I proposed the idea to write something about very weird cards interactions, something that looks deeper in the guts of the Comprehensive Rules than the already famous Cranial Insertion website, for teaching purpose and mostly for fun. And then the “Corner Cases” column was born. All my examples come from other judges’ personal experience (gathered on internet and during judge meetings), players’ forums or during intense Commander/EDH games with my friends.
I hope, like Toby Hazes, you enjoyed reading them, and you want more. Despite it has been a couple Bulletin issues we didn’t see a third Corner Cases edition, the column is far from be dead as I still have a lot of other special cases in my pocket to present and to surprise you, fellow reader.

Once again we choose to spotlight a recognition about articles, but this time articles that focused more on the teaching than on the experience. We have a very diversified mix of people in the judge program, and it is important to make that mix being reflected in the articles we write, so that everybody can find something to gain!

With that said, we have reached the end of that post, but we’ll be back soon enough, with more great examples of judges doing awesome things! If you see somebody doing something truly exemplary, and want to thank them for that, don’t forget to recognize them on JudgeApps. If you can’t, then our Regional Coordinator Richard Drijvers can make it happen for you. You can email rdrijvers@gmail.com

Thank you for reading, and keep on being exemplary!

See you soon,

The BeNeLux Blog Team