Hello there judges!
This week our interview team made a stop in South Carolina to catch this judge who has really impressed us with his community work. He is a devoted Elspeth and Star Wars fan with an excellent sense of humor and more than one odd story under his belt. Don’t miss this interview with David Andrew Truitt!
Why did you become a judge?
When I got back into the game with Scars of Mirrodin, the small store I played in had a newer player base. Since I was the only one who understood the stack (from playing MTGO years before), I became the go-to rules guy. Then the store wanted GPTs and well…stuff.
Occupation: “Everything/Odd jobs” this makes for decent stories.
Favorite card: Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Least favorite card: Soul Tithe. When spoilers were up, I was so happy because I thought it was a Mana Tithe reprint.
Favorite format: Limited Sealed
Commander General: Reaper King/Progenitus (same deck, just got the Russian Progenitus and haven’t made the switch)
Favorite non-Magic Game: Morrowind/Skyrim
Best tournament result: 3-4 at a PTQ
Random fact about yourself: I have a goat foot and I poke people with it.
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
Going to middle/high school, I had a friend on the bus and he had me keep his cards because his parents didn’t care for the game (the classic It's demonic! bit). Finally I broke down and learned the game.
How has being a judge influenced your non-Magic life?
You mean besides the busy weekends, countless friends, and meeting my girlfriend (hi Marcie!)? It’s forced me to step up into positions I never thought I’d find myself (mentoring judges, teaching players, a leader in my community). I’m still my shy and quiet self though I’ve learned when to speak up (both in volume and when it needs to be done). Oh and the crisis skills; it’s amazing how many crises are in a card game…
You were nominated by Michael F Grimsley because of your awesome skills at being a leader and a mentor. How do you see these qualities relating to building a solid training process for L1 candidates?
The biggest thing is it goes past the L1 test and I feel that’s the program’s biggest weakness at the moment. We have “how to become a L1” and “how to become a L2 (with new updated requirements)” but not much in my experience on “how to be a better L1 (or even just “judge”).” When I tested for L1, Pierson quit judging like three weeks out. And the only other judge I knew at the time decided to take some time off from judging. I didn’t meet another judge until October for States and I knew nothing about the online community. So for me, continuing to mentor and help my judglings (and those I’ve adopted) is key to making them better. It takes being at an event to give decent feedback instead of just hearing about it after the fact. It takes answering those weird draft questions over the phone at two in the morning. To bring it back to L1 candidates, it truly does take working at least a couple events before knowing the person well enough to see if they’ve got what it takes and that’s the perfect opportunity to show them that there’s at least one person that cares about them doing well (plus it’s a bonus that they’re close instead of being hours away like a RC might be or the L2 from a GP who tested them).
What motivates you to continue being a judge?
Hearing that one player say “this event was better than the last one” or something like that. In the very end, it’s all about players’ happiness. On an almost equal point, continuing to help my local judges get better as both judges and people in general (not saying they’re bad people to start with…but “do better” is always a good goal to set).
What is one tip you have for other judges?
Feedback. I know everyone is pushing for written reviews and my RC Justin Turner is doing a blog now on not just face to face feedback but all types of feedback. Give it, listen to it, use it, do better. Don’t be afraid to tell another judge “this was awkward” or “this was bad” (but give the details too!). We’re each one brain but together we’re 5000+ brains; someone will see or think of something you didn’t (or vice versa); use it.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
All the different personalities, locations, and desires. Yeah, it can be a headache (or a nightmare sometimes) but it’s also so interesting to watch these people come together.
What is your favorite non-Magic hobby?
Reading. It used to be Star Wars games but judging has taken my free time…that X-Wing game though is rather pretty….
What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other judges?
No one favorite event, but it seems that after local event wrap ups, we end up spending at least three hours in the parking lot “getting ready to leave after this one story.”
What’s the biggest rule-breaking play you’ve ever made as a player?
It wasn’t rules-breaking per se because I never let it happen but years ago I was in the finals with a really good friend. I had been drawing nothing but land in a mono blue deck so I just held them. I’m at three life and he goes “Lightning bolt?” to which I respond with “Pay two life and redirect it to your Spellskite” with the only time in my life I didn’t crack a smile when lying. I see him thinking “You…you can do that?” It was a full 30 seconds before I smelled the smoke and offered the handshake.
What has been your favorite Magic event that you’ve judged?
The next one! ;-P The only one that’s really sticking out is my first SCG Open which was in DC and that’s because we were floor team and at the end of one of the middle rounds, I went to get a table and Jeff Darran was in charge of it. Each judge in front of me got one table; on my turn Jeff gave me three I believe while his partner helping was like “He’s a new L1, really?” and Jeff answered with “Truitt can handle it.” I think that was the confidence boost that got me where I am now…
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Besides the whole favorite author thing, his ability to get into the human condition is amazing and to learn from that would be epic.
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
I really don’t know. So many steps have lead me to this point that I’d just assume if the game stopped tomorrow, the next adventure would be there waiting for me to grab it.
What is the strangest card interaction you have seen in a tournament?
It was a side event Commander game. One player had Timesifter out and someone else played Time Stretch and wanted me to figure out the turns for them. It’s the one time I’ve walked away from a question without giving a decent answer.
How do you have fun during events?
Judging. It is quite fun…but beyond that, I’ll usually start doing some weird and small dance just to stay active in the later rounds.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
“Put an ‘Elspeth, Knight-Errant‘ Planeswalker token into play.” Granted, that might be better as my +1…(along with “Ignore the Planeswalker uniqueness rule”).
Proudest moment of your judge life?
Having judges on my team/event tell me afterward that they appreciated the time I took with them after the event/near the end with giving them feedback and making sure they were taken care of. I <3 my judglings (and full grown judges).
What character in Magic represents you the best, and why?
Elspeth (notice any trend here?). I’ve always seen her character as asexual (the Daxos romance is not cannon; Xenagos displayed the ability to control minds and I blame the whole “relationship” on that) and her desire to just find some place where she can live happily and in peace speaks volumes to me. Oh and the whole running away when things hit the fan…
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Judging is a hobby for a game, yeah but in the end, It’s about doing the best you can and then doing better. It’s about becoming a better person for it and at larger events, it’s about doing the best you can for those who didn’t get on staff. Always do better.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
1.- I can speak (all very rusty though) Spanish, German, and Russian.
2.- As a Star Wars fan, I enjoy the Prequel movies.
3.- I believe a Russian Elspeth Tirel does not exist (as it’s the only Russian PW I’m missing).
Many thanks for those awesome judge moments, David.
For all the other judges, keep on sending more judge stories, we appreciate being able to give recognition to judges all over the world, nominate a judge today!