Exemplar Wave 15 Part II

Judges, it’s great to have you here! We are continuing with our special feature looking at some of the top regional Exemplar recepients from Wave 15. The first part may be found here. We asked our rock stars, “Which planeswalkers do you most identify with as a judge, and why?”

L2 Norman Ralph of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa region received recognitions for areas ranging from his blog, http://www.judgesfamiliar.com, to his performance as a scorekeeper at English Nationals.

I asked my friends and fellow judges which planeswalker made them think of me and almost all of the answers came back Ajani and Garruk in a pretty even split. It seems my physicality is something that others see as one of my primary traits. Ajani is an interesting character beyond the outward appearance, a Naya planeswalker with a connection to nature and the essence of those he meets.

As non-neuro-typical, I often find it difficult to make those connections and I work hard to try and find that common ground. I hope that those that describe me as Ajani recognise his traits of loyalty, the love and connection he feels with those that he spends time with and his desire to make a difference in the multiverse. These are certainly traits I try to embody and implement in both my judge and wider life.

L3 Yu Win Yew of the Greater China region received recognitions for areas ranging from his flexibility at GP Melbourne to his feedback for other judges at GP Torino.

It would definitely be Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. This planeswalker brought me the most joy both as a player and it also well represents as a judge.

It makes a lot of 1/1s, as we judges would always do to get more people into the program.

Its ultimate usually means sacrificing herself to make others stronger and great.

On top of that, she’s a knight which means it represent courage, justice, mercy, generosity, faith, hope and nobility.

L2 Patrik Fridland of the Europe-North region received recognitions for areas ranging from creating a “My First GP” FAQ for players to presenting a deck check workshop.

I think this is the time I crawl to the cross and admit I don’t know the lore that well.

So this answer will probably be “wrong” from a lore point of view.

I would like to self-identify with Ajani, Mentor of Heroes. I want to mentor others to achieve greatness. Be a big and strong leader with some awesome fighting skills.

But I went out to my community and friends and asked them who they see me as.

And more or less, all said Gideon, and I can get behind that.

I like to lead, I can rally the troops, I have a big and strong voice. . . And. . . I can be kind of self-righteous from time to time.

I like to remind all that seldom, if ever, can a planeswalker win by itself. It takes a team of them and other components to win the battle. So keep together and stay loyal and true to each other.

L3 Florian Horn of the France region received recognitions for areas ranging from his participation in the L3 Update Quiz project to his helping de-escalate a tense situation at France’s Nationals.

I identify as Tamiyo. I travel the planes to do research, and occasionally fight catastrophes.

I enjoy story time, and find useful object lessons in them.

L3 Riccardo Tessitori of the Italy and Malta region received recognitons in areas ranging from his leading the Logistics team at Pro Tour Atlanta to his delivering feedback to his fellow L3s.

Chandra, hot tempered and always ready to burn all obstacles!

Which Chandra? Any Chandra!

All of them burn with passion and burn
everything around them!

L2 Alexey Chernyshov of the Russia and Russian-speaking Countries region received recognitions in areas ranging from his translation of the IPG to his assistance in keeping things in check at Nationals.

Only by the bravery of those who put loyalty above glory is our home kept safe.

At first, I thought the question would require a lot of pondering, but the choice was surprisingly easy. Being a white judge myself, I would choose an always white planeswalker, Elspeth.

Her life wasn’t that straightforward, but she always tried to kept everything calm and everyone defended. Even her self-sacrifice, while is not directly translated into judge activities, is a great example of bravery and dedication.

L1 Karl Simmons of the USA-Great Lakes region received recognitions in areas ranging from a tournament report involving a cheating investigation to his work in two mock tournaments.

I’m gonna be a renegade and say that as a judge, I most identify with Ral Zarek. A lot of people associate being a judge with the Azorious, but to me, the Azorious feel passionless. Blue/white is about order, and control, for the sake of order and control. Red is the color of passion, though.

Setting aside that Ral Zarek is kind of evil, he is passionate about learning and experimentation for the sake of it. That’s how I want to be as a judge. Our job might be to keep order, but we do it because we are passionate about this crazy game. Magic isn’t a simple game. It continues to become more and more chaotic as time goes on, and it’s that chaos that’s truly inspiring for me.

L2 Philip Korte of the German-speaking Countries region received recognitions for areas ranging from giving advice to a judge who was attempting his team lead certification to helping another prepare for German Nationals.

As a judge right now, I’d mostly identify myself as Chandra. Chandra, in my head, is a character that solves problems as they come up – not always in the most elegant, or expected way, and not necessarily with the bigger picture always in mind, but she tends to ‘get there’, and usually quite efficiently.

That represents me, as I am a problem solver, both at tournaments and in our community – you throw something that needs done my way, and I will get it done.

As for the judge I want to be, that’d be represented mostly by Elspeth – empowering those around me to grow and be the best judge they can be, while tackling the big problems surrounding us.

L2 Toby Hazes of the BeNeLux region received recogntions for areas ranging from his performance as part of the deck list team at GP Lille to his role in establishing the area captain system in his region.

I haven’t really found a Planeswalker yet that I truly resonate with so I’ve asked what others thought, and the answer is “Vraska, because of the hair” =)

L2 Tobias Vysieri of the Canada region received recogntions for areas ranging from writing interesting and entertaining tournament reports to creating judge bunny tokens.

I think I relate to Tamiyo, I love exploring and travel around documenting different places and events (in the form of posts and tournament reports). I’m not going to be “hero” of any event in particular, but I think my experiences and research can help others ascend to that role. I’m fairly independent, and while I want to work with the greater collective of planeswalkers (or judges) I’m not tied to any particular faction. Also there’s something here to be said about being bunny-affiliated.

L2 Brook Gardner-Durbin of the USA-Northwest Region received recogntions for areas ranging from his involvement in the Judge Quizzes for GPs project to his dedication to preparing two judge candidates for advancement.

I identify most with Brook, Area Captain. This “planeswalker” was a custom made card, a gift from a judge I certified a while ago. I use it as a token when I’m playing. It was a great gift that means a lot to me.

Beyond that, I wouldn’t say I really identify strongly with any of the actual planeswalker cards. I’m not much of a flavor/story guy – I’m pretty spikey when I play. I enjoy playing durdley control decks so Teferi and JTMS are some favorites, but I don’t usually think of the game in terms of what cards I identify with.

L2 Eser Unger of the German-speaking countries region received recogntions for areas ranging from his work on the 2018 articles update project to their energy and enthusiasm at GP Brussels.

I think the planeswalker who is most similar to me is Ajani.

Just like him I want to help and have an impact on communities I feel involved in. The judge community is my home. For the first time I feel like I am at a place where I fit in, where I am accepted as myself. I am proud to say that becoming a judge was the best decision I have made in my life.

Working on my projects is what motivates me every day to go forward and work very hard on myself to be a positive voice in the judge program. There is a lot to learn, a lot of worlds to explore, but with so many great people around me, I can only grow.

L2 Milan Majercik of the Europe-Central region received recognitions for areas ranging from his work on the judge tokens project to his effort at a recent miniconference in Prague.

I see myself as an Azorius guy, so my answer to the the question would probably be Supreme Judge Azor I himself (of course before he lost his spark). When judging and generally acting in a community, I frequently find myself in a “Lawful Good mode.” That is defending the law (the current rules), sometimes blindly forcing “good” on those who have no intention nor desire to be handled that way. Similar to what Azor had done to countless planes where he forcefully implemented his twisted law systems. I guess, I should step back a bit sometimes, similarly to Azor, when he basically sacrificed a big part of himself and bound himself to Ixalan 😉

And regarding planeswalkers in general, I am a big fan of Nicol Bolas. First, every good story needs a good villain. Second, I still remember him from his first art in Legends set, where he looked like an innocent old dragon grandpa reading a fairytale book to his little dragon grandchildren.

L2 Tom Wood of the Australia and New Zealand region received recognitions for multiple aspects of how he performed at GP Melbourne, from handling sleep-in specials to mentoring judges.

I would have to say Chandra, although it’s a hard choice. I tend to be very happy working in the moment, making decisions quickly and reacting to anything that happens – changing my approach based on what is currently going on, rather than carefully planning ahead and following that plan no matter what.

Plus, fire is awesome!

L2 Yi Zhang of the Greater China region received recognitions for areas ranging from his translation work to helping to prepare for a judge conference.

Jace, Cunning Castaway,because he is extremely good at floor,he is omnipresent. Shadow splitting is a useful skill for judges:)

L2 Mark Mason of the USA-Southeast region received recognitions for areas ranging from his professionalism at a PPTQ and his presentation of a seminar on deck checks.

There are many ways a player or judge can identify with a planeswalker. Perhaps it’s their abilities. Perhaps it’s the world on which they first sparked. Perhaps it’s how they fit into the central challenge on the world what you last or fist saw them.

For me, it’s the message of who the walker is, their lore. Consequently, the walker I identify with is Narset. Narset is basically a walker that is neuro-diverse. While there are hearty and healthy debates on the suitability of “representation” as a function of corporate capture, it says something about how activists have been doing a positive job to resist ableism that a shard from the spectrum of autism was sparked.

L2 Arman Gabbasov of the Russia and Russian-speaking countries region received recognitions in areas ranging from his efforts to maintain the judge exam question pool to his proactivity in preparing for Nationals.

My answer to the question would be Narset and/or Tamiyo. I am not very aware of the lore but as far as I know they both are very curious and their curiosity and inquisitiveness is partly what led them down the planeswalker path.

I became a judge because I wanted to know the rules and spread the knowledge. I was also very curious what it is exactly that judges do. I am still curious about the more obscure rules interaction, judging technology and the judge program structure.

L2 Jaspa Stritt of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa region received recognitions for areas ranging from his seminar on how spells resolve to his soft skills in handling a player upset by receiving a penalty.

I think it’s got to be Ajani. Just a quick look at his various iterations and the qualities that we as judges push for in ourselves are immediately evident. Mentor of Heroes and Wise Counselor both embody the fact that as a programme we strive to not only self-improve but use feedback and mentoring to help those around us improve aswell. Ajani Steadfast represents the fact that as judges we are dedicated to the values of the judge programme and can be depended on by players and TO’s alike. The Valiant Protector version of Ajani characterises the fact that we are at there to help players, protect the integrity of the tournament and the game, and protect the safety and interests of players. As for Adversary of Tyrants… I think that one’s pretty self explanatory!

L2 Emmanuel Leal of the Hispanic America – North region received recognitions in areas ranging from his work on the Jueces en Vivo project to making positive suggestions to other judges.

Ajani, because my main power is to support my friends :p.

Or Domri, because if “Not GRUUL? Then die!”

Funny combination right?

L1 Tommy Lee of the USA-North region received recognitions for areas ranging from his handling a USC situation to sparking interesting rules and policy discussions.


From the latest Unstable set, this card is so much me.

Being a radio personality and a professional magician, you literally never know what you’re going to get each day. Will I pull a coin from your ear or make you some French Toast!?
I also think this fits due to it being an Unstable card.

When I judge I love to have fun and again I may approach a table and say “I have appeared and you have 3 wishes” or I pull out an index card and read from it ” Hello my name is -insert name- I will be your judge for this call, I enjoy long walks and eating french toast while watching Wheel of Fortune. ”

If I could give 1 piece of advice to the new judges. HAVE FUN

Being fun and relaxed will make everything so much easier and you can turn a hard call into one where the players remember you and have a great experience.

Remember there are no dumb questions, just dumb waiters.

I am humbled by the nominations I received and hope to continue to provide great customer service as a judge,

PS cheap plug

L3 Stephan Classen of the USA-Northwest region received recognitions for areas ranging from discussing the environmental impacts of Magic to supporting the Hawaiian Magic judge community even from Washington State.

That’s fun. As a judge, I’d say Dack Fayden– because things and adventures are better with friends, and you get the best things accomplished.

L3 Alfonso Bueno

I guess, it’s Ajani. I’ve always identified with White mana and a little bit with Green. And I like the original planeswalkers… I’m just old school. XD



L3 Alex Chernov

I don’t really identify with any. But look at my profile pic.



L2 Joseph Steet

I don’t know if I would say identify, but I think I’m a Chandra for logistics and a Dovin Baan for policy.

For policy enforcement I tend to be very “by the book” but for tournament logistics I’ve had some stuff go off the rails and call for a lot of improvisation.


That concludes this special feature. Thanks to all the respondents! And as always, if there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!

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