Welcome back to Judge of the Week! This week’s rock star is is a strong mentor who is know for his work to make the Magic community more inclusive. Congratulations, Antonio Zanutto!
Name: Antonio Zanutto
Location: One World Airport Lounge, err, Campinas, SP, Brazil
Judge Start Date: March, 23rd, 2013
Why did you become a Judge? I started playing and I got really into the game, I wanted to know about the rules and what I could and couldn’t not do. I had no idea what the judge program was about.
Occupation: Sales person
Favorite card: Trained Caracal. In Brazil, if you want to call someone pretty, you call them “gato(a)” (Cat). Nowadays I use those to be romantic. :p
Least favorite card: Emmara Tandris, omg, it’s so bad.
Commander General: I thought this interview was about Magic.
Favorite non-Magic Game: Do I have to pick one? Hanabi. No, Codenames. No, Tragedy Looper. Can’t chose :’(
Best tournament result: Won a PTQ in St Louis, my result in the Pro Tour was awful though.
Random fact about yourself: When I was a kid, I used to beg to my friends to give me food at school. Not because I was hungry, it was simply because I was a child that loved eating… I guess nothing changed.
You were nominated for your work with Judges for Diversity. Can you tell us about that?
Of course! We want Magic spaces to be welcoming, we want everyone to participate in Magic tournaments, regardless of anything that makes someone different. After all, we are all different in some particular way.
Okay, wonderful, but how do we accomplish that?
Through education and example 🙂
Both the Multiverse Project and the Judges for Diversity Project aim to educate players and provide examples of what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not. They also aim to bring to light topics that are not discussed a lot. For example, have you ever thought about how difficult it is for a deaf player to play in a Magic tournament? How can they communicate with their opponent? Understand Head Judge announcements? Heck, even making a judge call?
The Multiverse Project wants to show the other side of the coin. Better saying, all the sides of a 100-sided dice! It’s a space where people with different backgrounds can share their story, their feelings, what they like and they don’t. And they also even have suggestions on how to make other people’s lives better by not affecting your life at all, how amazing that is?!
The Judges for Diversity facebook page aims to post quotes from pro players, with the intent of giving example of good behavior. As we see in everyday lives, celebrities influence how people think, how people behave, it is the power of media and the power of fame. Well, we, the Magic community are a microcosm of the society, so the same concepts apply. Let’s use this to our own benefit then. 🙂
What are some tips you have for other Judges?
Drink a lot of water.
Just yesterday I was reading an article about entropy and it mentioned that many living beings, including most humans, are born in unfavorable conditions; wrong environment, wrong country, wrong culture, basically, the wrong surroundings that prevents the living being of developing its full potential.
This is not your case, reader.
You are part of an amazing community called the judge program. Take part on a project, I am sure there’s a judge project that is looking for your particular set of skills. What if there isn’t one? Even better! You can innovate and propose an idea for a project where you can develop your full potential and the entire judge community can benefit from it 😉
No, seriously, drink a lot of water!
What challenges have you faced or are you facing to become a better judge, and how have you worked to overcome them?
My current challenge is to be a better communicator. I fail on assuming too much, up to a point where people get mad at me because they have to do work they otherwise wouldn’t have to if I just have told them some of the things I was doing and why.
In GP Montreal, for example, I was HJing a side event where I noticed we were missing one sheet of match slip. The players wanted to leave, so I decided to improvise; I created match slips with blank paper and told players to turn those in.
So far so good, players happy, I was happy…
… the Scorekeeper was not happy.
Latter on I get called by the scorekeeper who asked me what I did, and I explained it to them. They said “Could you have at least told us what was going on? We basically received those from players but we got no word from you. What we were really supposed to do?”
People can’t read your minds. It doesn’t matter if you think what you are doing is clever or it’s logical or it makes sense. Just explain to people working with you, what is that you are doing and why you are doing it. I am working to follow this advice.
Also, my next challenge is to drink more water!
How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
I became even more pragmatic. Nowadays, when I face a difficult situation I think “What’s wrong? What’s the cause? Can I fix it? Whom do I have to talk to fix it? I can’t fix it… can I make it better?” and those thoughts guide my life.
Also, I oftentimes find flaws at snaking in restaurants and I avoid lines at all costs.
Who have been some of your biggest mentors in the Judge Program, and what did they teach you?
I am not being light when I say the judge program has been my best mentor. Judges from all over the world keep teaching me things, even when I am actually trying to teach them. Specially when I am trying to teach them.
The best thing about helping out someone develop is that you develop yourself. Every time they ask you a question and you have to look up in the rules, you gained information, you learned how to explain this better, you know where to look it up for future reference. That person helped you develop.
Now, let me finish by sharing some of the things I have learned (this is by no means an exhaustive list):
Daniel K on USC Minor: When you are dealing with angry players, be careful not to escalate the situation. Don’t let yourself be carried away by them. Be calm, attempt to resolve and de-escalate the situation and then apply the penalty.
Kevin D on Bribery: you are being too technical, don’t be technical, just help out the players. We want to prevent this from happening, stop any conversation that goes in that direction and explain the players what they can and cannot do.
Carlos Ho on judging: if you are not having fun, you are doing it wrong.
Guillaume on judge calls: don’t use the word “cheat” to tell someone that you don’t think they are cheating. Sometimes people get offended if you even consider the possibility they cheat.
Jon Goud on leadership: be a judge lord, it’s doesn’t matter if you are only a 2/2, as long as you give a bonus to your team.
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
I was a promising (not really) grad school student when my friend David Song taught me how to play Magic, and he did that because he wanted someone to play with. Little did he know he was creating a monster. He presented me with some basic decks he had created for new players to get to know the mechanics of Magic. He’d tell me to buy boosters at Walmart and he got me super excited about my first Planeswalker: Ajani, Caller of the Pride.
What is the proudest moment of your Judge life?
Everytime someone comes up to me and says “Hey, thanks for that talk about ruling X or policy Y or practice Z, it was really useful when this happened today and I was ready for it because of our interaction” is a huge moment of joy, because I not only impacted a judge’s life, but I also impacted someone else by consequence. I like passing on knowledge and expertise and like it even more when I see it’s useful and people get to take advantage of it.
One of those moments that made me rejoice was when Scott Jenkins had a huge and radiant smile on his face and was talking about how he nailed this ruling about an interaction with Relentless Dead and Diregraf Colossus because we just had that discussion.
What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
Monastery Mentor. I love mentoring other judges, love rules and policy discussions, teaching them how to do a faster deck check, to cut match slips neatly, to hide paper in between the GP pairing board, to calm down players by using body language.
I get excited every time I have the opportunity to pass on knowledge, I get more excited when it’s applied and the climax is when people realize “wow, this is really a good idea!”.
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
Probably go back to teaching math and engineering.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I can fake several accents, in multiple languages. I can sometimes fake languages.
- I eat like a bird.
- I am a master at making Chewbacca sounds.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!