MagicFest Cleveland 2019

This weekend in Cleveland, we have 1 new judges to Welcome to the fold!

Karl Simmons

  • Name: Karl Simmons
  • Pronouns He/him/his
  • Level: Level 1
  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America
  • Region: USA – Great Lakes
  • Approximate date/month/year you started playing Magic: October 2010
  • L1 Certification Date: March 4, 2018
  • Favorite thing (e.g., card, deck, group of people) about Magic: Cubes, preferably weird ones
  • Occupation: Unemployed, but looking
  • Random fact about yourself: I’ve seen every episode of Survivor, most of them multiple times. Season 38 airs next week.
  • Why did you become a judge?: Simply stated, the rules of Magic are extremely interesting. I enjoyed being an encyclopedia of the game, and became used to helping out around my store. When people would have questions, I would answer them. The decision to continue forward in the judge program came from a love I found in the community of judges. Meeting other judges, and bonding over this shared interest we all have in this weird and arcane game, I couldn’t have stayed out.
  • Who are your mentors?: Jeff Kruchkow, Stephen Brown, John Alexander
  • What challenges have you faced or are you facing to become a better judge?: I can be too quick with my calls. I have a tendency to approach calls with a “Get in, resolve the problem, and get out” mentality, and sometimes that leads to me speaking too quickly, or not investigating where I should. Paradoxically, I also have a tendency to over explain, in a way that could risk straying into coaching. These two issues are on other ends of a spectrum, and in correcting one direction, there’s a danger of veering too far in the other.
  • How have you worked to overcome those challenges?: I ask for feedback a lot. I shadow other judges to watch their approach, and communicate frequently with those judges to ask how they would handle calls that I just took. Even when I’m relatively confident in a situation I just handled, I always want to hear a new perspective.
  • What is the best part about your local Magic community?: I’m more familiar with the Indianapolis community since I recently moved, so I’m going to talk about them. Indianapolis Magic is a family. When our friend, Clay Spicklemire was diagnosed with cancer, we all came together to gift him a modern deck that he’d always wanted to play. We all signed the individual cards we donated. When our friend Riley Oberhart died in a car accident, we (primarily Riley Spelman) created a memorial tournament for him, which has been continued annually. This year will be the third.
  • What is your favorite Magic memory?: When I learned the game. My friend in high school knew I wanted to pick up Magic, and his dad used to play the game back in the mid 90s. He’s one of those guys that left when damage went on the stack. So my friend told his dad, and they organized a sort of Magic party. Four of us got together, and we really learned the game. He handed us a whole bunch of sealed product, and let us keep it. We built sealed decks from an amalgamation of old tournament packs and boosters, even some Unglued and Unhinged. I won. I felt on top of the world. So then dad pulled out his old Stasis deck and showed me what the game can do. It was like a “supposed to lose” boss fight in a game, to show you the obstacle you’ll eventually be able to overcome. It was less than a month before I went to my local game store to play the game, and I never stopped.