Collin Jackson

Started: January, 1998
Role: Certification and online development

Reflections from Toby Elliott, Level 5

The first time I met Collin was at Pro Tour–San Diego in 2003, just before my Level 3 interview. He was on my panel, and he intimidated the heck out of me. Despite his youth it was clear he was in charge, and everyone deferred to him.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know Collin much better, sharing lunches, interview panels, and philosophy discussions… and he still intimidates the heck out of me.


It isn’t just the giant brain, the crazy amounts of experience, the almost supernatural tranquility, or the fact that he as a leader while years younger than everyone around him.

It’s that you can be talking to him, and he’ll listen for a while, then he’ll say two sentences. A moment later, you’ll realize that he’s just dropped a ridiculously deep insight into your lap and you’re going to have to spend the next two days thinking about it.

One can’t really talk about Collin without talking about the Judge Center. That invaluable tool exists today because Collin put in all the effort, all the programming that brought it into being, and the improvements are because he continues to do so — if you see him behind his computer at a Pro Tour, odds are that someone has suggested a new feature, and he’s coding it up.

He’s broken the mold in so many ways that the judge program had to remake the mold to accommodate him. Why isn’t there an age limit on judges? Because we might miss the next Collin Jackson. On Level 3? Because we might hold back the next Collin Jackson. The thing is, there isn’t likely to be another Collin Jackson. And we’re lucky to have this one.

About David Lyford-Smith

David has been a Level 3 judge since 2010 and is the Regional Coordinator for South Africa & the British Isles. He was a contributing author to the modern Missed Triggers policy and the Judge Code of Conduct, and is the head of the Player Experience Sphere.
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