He was nominated by Damian Hiller, who nominated him because:
“Carlos traveled to lots of places to certify L1s at an impressive pace to be one of the people who certified the most judges in a year in Latin America! That, and him working on several education and translation projects.”
Why did you become a judge?
“I have been playing Magic since Invasion so I am right now one of the oldest active members in the community. As I started at the University again to resume my studies and my work became more demanding I had less and less time to put into Magic and I have never had the intention of quitting so I became interested in being a judge so I could still be close to the game, that and the fact that at that moment Venezuela had a freakishly little amount of certified judges so I felt that I could help about that!”
Occupation: Systems Coordinator. I am in charge of everything regarding IT processes starting on PCs up to firewall administration.
Favorite card: Jace, the Mind Sculptor. It is just an insane card that represents everything a blue mage is.
Least favorite card: Recurring Nightmare. I really hate this card because it is just too unfair and almost unstoppable once it has started to make its combo.
Favorite format: Legacy, the one and only
Commander General: Grand Arbiter Augustin IV is my favorite one, although I have been tempted recently by Melek, Izzet Paragon and Radha, Heir to Keld
Favorite non-Magic Game: It has really been a long time since I played video games, but at that time it was Diablo II. On non-video games I will say Dominion .
Best tournament result: I have won some prereleases and made a couple of PTQs top 8. I have also won some local Legacy tournaments.
Random fact about yourself: I don’t smile in pictures; I can be either laughing my lungs out or with my usual serious face, but almost never smiling. I am a friendly fellow though: D
Tell us your favorite judge story.
At GP Sao Paulo 2012 I was freezing (it was around 16 ºC which is a temperature I have never felt before as Venezuela is a tropical country) and some judges (Federico Donner, Jason Ness and others) were surprisingly happy with their sleeves rolled up and laughing while I was in my full uniform, with a jacket and gloves. Around noon, weather was friendlier with me and it started to be around 24ºC and I was just happy while I removed my jacket and those other mean judges were almost sweating to death 😀
You were nominated by Mauricio Albanese, Mary Angel Davila, Damian Hiller, Erick Milan AND Johnnys Torres because of your impressive work mentoring/certifying Judges (more than ever seen before in Venezuela), and travel all across the country to get the interview and Give them the L1 exam. What motivates you giving that awesome work ?
Venezuela is a country that has a very healthy Magic Community that is all over the country. When I got certified as L1 I did it because there were too few judges (at that time we had only one L2 and one L1) and none of them were in Caracas. That day I got certified and started to work with the local store. After getting experience and being more and more involved I learned about other communities besides the bigger ones and started to work by training and mentoring candidates so they could be ready to take theirs tests with our local L2. But after GP Santiago 2011 as I became L2 I had the chance to make the process faster by administering the tests by myself. Also I love to travel and certainly I love to study, to learn and to teach.
What motivates you to continue being a judge?
I simply love it; it is my hobby, my profession, my life style. I can’t just simply think about quitting being a judge.
Tell us an embarrassing story that you’re not afraid of everyone knowing.
When a lot younger I once was on the subway going home at rush hour and after an extremely awful day at work. I was deeply into my thoughts, listening music when I feel someone that tramples me and stepped on my foot. I opened my eyes and told him in a really bitter tone “What is the matter with you? Are you blind?” and at that moment I saw the guy with his shades and his cane. I just felt like trash and after that day I made my purpose to suppress those psychotic episodes of rage. I’m glad to inform I have succeeded!
Could you tell us how you see mentoring work could be improved?
You can improve mentoring by putting some real interest on it. Mentoring is not only about giving someone information that is already on the internet (L1 requisites, rules documents or articles) because if someone is really interested that information will reveal itself to that person. Mentoring is about walking together a road you already know by experience. When you mentor an L0 who wants to become L1 you need to go back to when you were there, see how your experience can help that candidate to successfully go through the necessary steps to become L1, so you work with her/him, answering questions, evaluating weakness and strengths and by helping to develop the necessary skills.
Mentoring is not teaching, is more like leading by example and experience. It is not a class, it is study group in which you grow while you help someone else grow.
What positive aspects have contributed the Judge Program to your everyday Life?
I have become a much more reliable professional since I became L2 as those skills of leadership, teamwork and mentoring has helped me a lot to understand what the work in an organization is and what should be.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
Our community is a lot smaller than it used to be, it diminished a lot due to the lack of judges and stores. But since like 2 years ago it started to grow again. It is a very friendly and committed community although I have to admit they are really high maintenance some times
How has being a judge influenced your non-Magic Life?
By being a judge I have been able to travel outside Venezuela to meet other cultures and countries. It has been just amazing how many new friends you make after each tournament and how much information you can share with somebody at those tournament weekends. Being a judge has made me the person and the professional I am right now thanks to those skills you develop thanks to the judge program.
What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other judges?
That should be the Judge dinner after GP Sao Paulo 2012. We went to eat Rodizzio (I didn’t knew what that was, but sounded Italian to me and I really like Italian food) and we ended eating pizza in some kind of mixture between all-you-can-eat and a tasting. We had all sorts of pizza including the dessert which were Chocolate (both black and white) with strawberries (just awesome). Also that judge dinner was very amiable and friendly; we surely had lots of fun on it.
What’s the biggest rule-breaking play you’ve ever made as a player?
I was playing a FNM and I had 2 forests and 1 swamp. I had on the battlefield a Bitterblossom who already had a token able to attack. I attacked with my token and made damage, so in my second main phase I played a Wall of Roots using both forests, and immediately after I placed TWO counters on Wall of Roots and with the swamp I played Earwig Squad. I resolved it, removed the three cards and won that game few turns after. Once the match was finished I was showing my “new combo” to one of my friends and told him the story and my face went to a pale mask when he told me “you can only produce one mana each turn with the wall”. I went to my last round opponent and told him what happened and apologized to him.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, Dead or Alive, who would it be and why?
Charles Darwin. I am really an enthusiast about Evolution and Natural selection theories. So many questions 😀
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
I probably would be playing some other game. Although it is hard for me to imagine which one it might be right now. I really love board and card games. Maybe learning how to play guitar. Or searching about the meaning of life, or why are we here, or simply sleeping more.
What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
Jace, he just wants to know how far he can go and uses his powers as the needs arise. Being seduced by both sides of the forces he has managed himself to keep neutral as a Judge should be.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
This was a really hard interview. Fortunately I had the time to think about my answers 😀
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements is true, and one is false. Figure out which!
- I like both Metal and Classic music.
- My dream is to make a long worldwide trip with my soon-to-be wife.
- I don’t like animals.
Once again, the editors would like to thank Neme Alejandro Bolaños Gutierrez for help with translation and acquisition of this interview!