Hello Judges! For this week’s article, we head to the Philippines to meet Felix, a judge with a passion for his local community and the special connection he shares with it.
Name: Felix Ramon Capule III
Location: San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines
Judge Start Date: September 2016
Why did you become a Judge? Short answer: I’m the type of person who would like to know the technicalities of stuff.
Long answer: Way back in 2009, when my friend and I just got back from a long hiatus from the game, we had a conversation about the interactions of “can’t vs can” cards. So like most people looking for answers, I googled for the answer and then as soon as I got the chance to, I explained to him what would happen. Back then, all we did was play at the kitchen table at home and we hadn’t participated in any FNM or tournaments yet. I didn’t know that “judging” was an actual thing and I only learned about certified judges during my first Grand Prix, GP Manila 2010.
Occupation: College Professor
Favorite card: The Great Aurora
Least favorite card: Winter Orb
Commander General: Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Favorite non-Magic Game: DC Deck Building Games and NBA 2K Franchise
Best tournament result: X-1 at a Return to Ravnica pre-release
Random fact about yourself: I love Chicken Curry. If it’s on the menu, then you know my order.
You were nominated for a recent personal experience with your local community. Would you like to share this experience and why has been so meaningful for you?
December 17, 2017 is a date that I’ll always remember, because that is the date when my father passed away. My family is going through a very challenging time but the MTG community here extended their hand for support.
The judge community here in the Philippines did a fundraiser where the proceeds were donated to my family. I had no idea that there was a fundraising activity going on until one of the judges, Dominic Yu Ping Kun, contacted me and informed me about it, telling me that they needed my bank details for the transfer. I was speechless.
The day after, early in the morning of December 20th, a link was sent to a group chat that I am a part of. The link was about a post from a local group here in the Philippines. One of their admins, Jackson Azarcon, initiated a “Razz for a Cause” where the proceeds will be donated to my family. People will be entering a raffle number by donating a fixed amount per number. People can make as many entries as they would like. It started with only 50 slots allocated. Players were also asked to make pledges for the prizes. The admin of the group who started it all pledged 5 Unstable basic lands, one of each color. The thread became very active and the response of the community was so overwhelming. When the event finally met the deadline set by the admins, which was December 25, 11:59 PM, the raffle entries reached a total of 300+ entries while the pledges for prizes ranged from single cards, playmat and sleeves to sealed boxes of Iconic Masters and Conspiracy: Take the Crown. The pledges have come from various players, Tournament Organizers, and from a major distributor here in the Philippines.
Also, on December 20th, Madcap Gaming Philippines, the local game store where I am the resident/local judge hosted a “Tournament for a Cause” for my family. I was overwhelmed, surprised by the support of the community. I never imagined that it would be like that.
What are some tips you have for other Judges?
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.” You’ve probably heard that a lot from other judges as well but it is true. Making mistakes is part of the learning process.
“Take chances”, if you have a crazy idea that you feel would actually help the community, talk to a TO. Perhaps that TO would be willing to work things out with you. I run an independent series, The Pinoy Planeswalker Open Series, the finals of which is sponsored by Hareruya. We just finished the second season. The way the series works is that a good number of TOs of various local game stores host a leg of the series. I also run a junior league among other events. It’s a lot of work but it’s also very fun.
“And if you feel like it, do write about it.” Create a blog and write about your MTG experiences and share it with everyone. I do have a blog (https://pinoyplaneswalker.wordpress.com). Trust me, it’s a fun experience.
What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges (or after event story)?
June 2, 2017 : the day before the GP main event, where a group of judges (Matteo Callegari, Edwin Zhang, Patrick Vorbroker, Wearn Chong, Sha Dong along with local judges Wella Anne Ladera, John Erick Vinalon and myself) had a tour at Tagaytay. We visited Taal Volcano, or as they call it “the-island-in-a-lake-in-a-volcano-in-a-lake-in-a-volcano-on-an-island”. It was such a fun and very memorable experience.
Who have been some of your biggest mentors in the Judge Program, and what did they teach you?
First off would be Wilfredo II Dizon, my first mentor. He showed me the ropes, gave me the opportunity to shadow him during events and guided me along the way.
Philip Adrian Pena– he guided me with my review and up to this day, he teaches me a lot of things and guides me while I work on my requirements for the L2 exam.
Victor Viguilla and his wealth of knowledge and experience. Whenever there’s an opportunity for him to share, like various ways of deck checking, he will take that opportunity to teach you.
Wella Anne Ladera taught me the important of End of Round procedure and how to do it effectively.
Sashi Kumar Balakrishnan, while having a quick chat with me, mentioned “don’t just be a face on JudgeApps”, a simple phrase that means a lot to me.
Patrick Vorbroker taught me how to set measurable goals for each event and the importance of establishing goals.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
The best part about our local community is that we have a good mix of new players/junior leaguers (the next generation of players) and seasoned players. These groups coexist in a very good way. I believe it is important for us to create the next generation of players and build the community, sustain and maintain it while at the same time making sure that the seasoned players have events to look forward to.
What is your favorite non-Magic hobby?
Listening to podcasts, reading books (self-help, motivational books) and comics.
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
In our neighborhood, my friends started playing around 1997. Tempest had just come out and my friends started buying preconstructed decks. I told my mom about it and she was very supportive. She bought a Portal starter set for 2 players.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
It would be my father. It would be nice to talk to him. I don’t want this to be too dramatic but if I could chat with one person, it would definitely be my father.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
-7: You get an emblem that says “During your turn, you may play two additional lands. Whenever a land enters the battlefield this turn, create a 4/4 Beast token”
What is the proudest moment of your Judge life?
My proudest moments would be every “Tournament for a Cause”. I have been a part of a good number of them as the head judge and it really makes me feel good about what we do. It all started as a hobby which can be utilized to lend a helping hand to other people. For example, October 28, 2017, a 2HG Commander fundraising event was held in Makati City for a child battling leukemia. The event was very successful and was able to raise a good amount of money and last I have heard the kid is doing great.
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
If Magic no longer existed, I would probably be spending most of my weekends playing some board games, console games and organizing events like seminars and outreach programs.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We’re all part of a great community. It is true that there are some bad apples, heated arguments every now and then and conflicts/issues that need to be resolved. But let’s not forget about the positive things about our community and the endless possibilities that there are. If there’s an opportunity for us to pay-it-forward, let’s do that. Let’s teach people how to play the game, most importantly to enjoy every moment of it. Remember to keep it fair and keep it fun.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- The New York Knicks is my favorite NBA team.
- I’m a huge fan of Samurai X.
- I once printed a copy of the entire comprehensive rules.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!