Dustin de Leeuw

Hello Judges and welcome to another exciting installment of Judge of the Week. This week we will be recognizing again, yes this is his second time being recognized, a judge that is known for his team leading skills and his polite interactions with players.

Name: Dustin de Leeuw
Level: 3
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Judge start date: L1 January 19th 2009, L2 July 4th 2010, L3 June 1st 2014
Favorite card: Bouncing Beebles, because of the awesome art (although Diminish is a close second), and Tromp the Domains, because it was my favorite archetype during Time Spiral block, when I started playing. My favorites haven’t changed in years 🙂
Least favorite card: Overwhelming Splendor. Not only is the card very unfair and unfun to play against, it also causes a lot of confusion with players.
Favorite format: Draft! I still get excited when I open a booster.
Commander General: Mayael the Anima. I like big, strong men.
Favorite non-Magic Game: at the moment: Splendor. Easy to learn, hard to master, lots of strategic depth, the exactly right amount of randomness, perfect duration, and can be set up in 2 minutes.
Best tournament result: Last time I got asked this question, it was 2nd place at a 16-player GPT. I can now proudly say that I once won a 22-player GPT! My lifetime record in Modern is 7-0-1; that GPT was the first ever Modern event I played.
Random fact about yourself: I like Infect (completely unrelated to the previous question).

Why do you Judge?
Because I like it so much. It’s the combination of making other people happy, seeing my friends, and traveling the world that is unique to this hobby. But when you boil it down to its essence, it’s this simple: I judge because I like to judge.

Tell us your favorite Judge story
Sometimes you make a ruling that upsets a player, and that’s unavoidable. Sometimes players completely overreact. And sometimes… there’s a weird explanation for that. At a prerelease a long time ago, I announced the next round and waited for everyone to find their seats. One player is still missing, and I can’t find him anywhere, not even outside in the smoking area, so I start the round without him. 8 minutes later, he walks into the play area, I inform him that he’s late and receives a Game Loss. He gets extremely upset, but eventually calms down and wins his match 2-1. After the event, he starts complaining on online forums that I called him an idiot and that I’m the worst and most unfriendly judge ever. Long story short: he didn’t know the word tardiness and assumed that I called him retarded. It makes me sad that I didn’t realize that at the moment, as it could have prevented a lot of negative emotions.

What are some tips you have for other Judges?
Find out what you like, try to get more of that, while avoiding the things you don’t like. There definitely is a project out there that suits your needs, so go and join it! Dislike deck checks? Find someone who likes them and let them check all the decks! Don’t try to level up because others push you, do it only if you want to. Try some new projects, tournament types, local game shops, and different roles during tournaments.  Then evaluate honestly which you like best, chase those things, keep doing the things that you like and stop doing the things that you do not like. The Judge Program offers endless opportunities with hardly any obligations, so enjoy it!

Dustin and Henry at GP Utrecht 2015. plush frog is mascot of Opkikker

What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges (or after event story)?
GP Amsterdam, 2011. After the event, a bunch of judges crossed the street and sat down in a café. Some people chat, some drink, some play a game of Commander. Suddenly, a random judge with whom I worked together a bit blurts out: “It’s unbelievable I’m the only gay judge here”. Slightly confused I wonder if he’s mocking me, so I politely inform him that he’s incorrect. Clearly confused, he starts looking around. “Who else, then?” I politely wave at him, he waves back, continues to look around. I keep waving, he keeps waving, more and more confused as the seconds pass by. It takes some time for him to finally realize what’s going on, then he turns red. After the event, he returns to the UK and we write each other a review, all in a very professional manner. And just a few weeks ago, we celebrated our 3-year anniversary.

Who have been some of your biggest mentors in the Judge Program, and what did they teach you?
Without doubt: Riccardo Tessitori. He taught me that a smile goes a very long way, curiosity never hurts, and that life is an adventure. Riccardo is very aware of cultural differences, is always interested, involved and amazingly cordial, and has the incredible ability to approach any situation with an open attitude and a determination to find a solution that works. He also taught me that you can be stern while still being the kindest and most generous person I know.

What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
Apart from bringing me and my partner together and enabling me to travel the world? It gives me unlimited opportunities for personal growth, offers me challenges, lets me contribute to others in a meaningful way, and allows me to afford some luxuries I otherwise wouldn’t have.

What is your favorite non-Magic hobby?
Food. I love food. I used to work as a restaurant cook in the 2 years between my studies of Mathematics and Linguistics, and I still enjoy making fancy dinners for special occasions. I also very much enjoy fine dining, and I try to visit a Michelin starred restaurant in every city where I judge a Grand Prix. Yes, this luxury eats up a significant part of my judge compensation.

If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
You get an emblem with: “At the beginning of your end step, create a 0/0 black cat creature token, then put a +1/+1 counter on each cat creature you control.”

Proudest moment of your Judge life?
Passing my L3 panel. It was a long and intense road to get there, and it was a great relief and a huge reward to get promoted. Another moment that I’m very proud of, is organizing a charity event that attracted 103 unique players and raised 2300 euro for www.opkikker.nl, a charity that offers longtime ill children and their families “a day to forget”. Also, being nominated for JOTW for the second time makes me proud. Heck, the first time being nominated for JOTW was also a very proud moment! https://blogs.magicjudges.org/jotw/dustin-de-leeuw/

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Even if for some reason I have to quit judging someday, I will always carry with me the memory of amazing experiences and awesome people I had the pleasure of meeting. If anything, the Judge Program has let me meet some of the best people I know, and I’m very grateful for that. The real magic is not in the cards, but in the people that handle them.

Two Truths and a Lie

  1. The topic I discussed most frequently with TOs are toilets.
  2. My cat got pregnant without showing any visible signs. When I returned from GP Chiba last year, she surprised me with 4 beautiful kittens!
  3. I have a LOT of judge-children: 16 L1s, 3 L2s and nowadays even two L3!
The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...
Kaupo Liiv is not fan of a constructed. Pineapple on a pizza is the best thing (apologies to all Italians) and always mandatory and he did go to cinema 36 times in February, because he attended Berlinale Film Festival.

If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!

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2 thoughts on “Dustin de Leeuw

  1. Time to share my second-favourite “non-judging moment that happened with other Judges”! I used to approach other judges, tell them I have a problem, and kindly ask if they can help me solve it. When they confusedly say they will, I tell them that there’s a hole in my bucket, and I start singing the famous song (google for “A hole in the bucket” by Harry Belafonte for my favourite version). One time, I finished the entire song with Edd Miles, and some time ago, Nick Hall actually solved the problem for me. He came to a GP with a shiny toy-sized bucket with no hole in it! I still have that bucket and keep it as a dear souvenir in my Magic cabinet.

    Thanks for your enquiry, Steve, and I can gladly say that, yes, my bucket got fixed! 😀

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