What do you get when you mix Midwest hospitality and a tall order of barbecue? Well, a really outstanding person that I’ve known for some years. It’s my privilege to introduce Alex Jacques, a veteran L2 judge who blends fun and expertise to the judge blacks.
Name: Alex Jacques
Location: Blue Springs, Missouri
Judge Start Date: 10/25/2010
Occupation: Software Engineer
Favorite Card: Llanowar Elves
Commander General: Rhys the Redeemed
Favorite non-Magic Game: Zombicide is probably up there, but many many board games
Best Tournament Result: 1-4 at a PTQ
How did you get involved with Magic in the first place?
I originally saw other kids in my scout troop playing Magic at camp. Sometime later, I started playing with friends in free time after lunch at school and haven’t really stopped since.
Why do you Judge?
The community. I originally wanted to become a judge to be able to tell my friends they were wrong about rules and have the certification to back it up. Once I became a judge and started helping out a different events, I found that I liked what I was doing and enjoyed meeting people from all over. I am also much better at judging than I am at playing, if the “Best Tournament Result” above is any indication.
There seems to be a bit of a sibling rivalry between you and Matt, anything you’d like to say about that?
Obviously that I am the better Jacques brother.
Any real rivalry in judging was probably more early on. The weekend I got L2, I got a message from Lloyd Dodson telling me my brother had just passed his L1 test so I better not fail my L2 or my brother would be my equal. He then eventually got L2 himself and I was glad to see it happen. We work pretty well together and have been told we run as a well oiled machine. I may have helped him get his foot in the door early on, but he has easily become a good judge himself now. Working events with him is almost easy mode anymore. But I do like being head judge for events we are both working so I can boss him around more.
Who have been some of your biggest mentors in the Judge Program, and what did they teach you?
The biggest for me has probably been Lloyd Dodson. He has probably taught me just about everything. Lloyd has been doing this forever and just knows everything. When working events with Lloyd, I only tend to worry when he says he can’t fix it.
Another mentor for me early on was James Bennett. He always tried to push the boundaries of my rules knowledge with his questions and I realized later how much that really helped sometimes. He also provided good feedback after I first got L2 that helped me make the transition to head judging some larger events.
Tell us your favorite Judge story.
I was head judging a sealed PTQ and my brother was in charge of deck checks. Right before the last round, he asked me if I wanted him to get another check in and I said yes since we had missed one earlier. A few minutes later, I was called over to the deck check area by Lloyd and was told to talk to Matt. He informed me that when he approached the players for the deck check, one of them turned and said “judge, I’m going to fail this.” Matt then told me the player said he had changed his deck around before the round. Lloyd was laughing at the situation and I found out from him that while the decklist said the player was playing forests, he couldn’t find any in the deck. As I turned to leave to go get the player, my brother informed me that I should grab the other one as well. Lucky for him, he had only failed to de-sideboard a single card.
What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges?
At GP Louisville in 2016, I was actually playing in the event…the only GP I have ever played in. We went out to dinner with a few other judges and ended up at some random bar that supposedly had good burgers. It turned out that the burgers were good but the owner was also originally from the Kansas City area.
You are known as a strong leader and have received Exemplar nominations for your leadership abilities. Could you share your “secrets” for others to emulate? How did you gain these skills?
I think all of my leadership skills have come from the years I have spent in Boy Scouts. I have been in scouts since I started as a tiger cub, years ago. Now I am the Scoutmaster of a local Boy Scout troop and have helped run a camp for scouts with special needs every summer for the last 20 years.
You have been a bit part of growth and excellence of Kansas City Magic. How do you sustain that? Do you look for “judgelings” to mentor and grow up?
When I started judging, it seemed like we had very few judges in Kansas City. Shortly after, it really just felt like it was Lloyd, James and myself for the most part. So we would try and recruit a little at times but we also seemed to have people that came to talk to us. As we got more and more, we weren’t necessarily seeking new judges, but would help anyone interested or that we came across. We really just try to teach them what we know and help them go as far as they want to in the program. Really, with Lloyd being as awesome as he is and knowing everything, it tends to just rub off on people.
You are known as being proactive at events, and beyond just a strong work ethic. How do you stay ahead of situations before they even occur?
I really think that is something I have picked up through scouts. I can’t say that I am always the best at being proactive, but I try to be when I can. With scouts and dealing with many youth, it helps to anticipate problems and such that can arise before they happen so that you can avoid injuries and don’t have to deal with the aftermath of angry parents.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Elon Musk seems like he would be an interesting person to have a chat with. With some of the things I have read about him, I think I would enjoy that conversation.
What is the proudest moment of your Judge life?
I got to head judge a SCG Legacy Open for the first time and see my brother get L2 in the same day. That was pretty cool.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I rappelled down a single building to help raise money for the Special Olympics of Missouri.
- I like Lord of the Rings so much that I visited The Shire in New Zealand for my honeymoon.
- I once took a judge call at a prerelease dressed as a smurf, blue paint and all.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!