This week’s rock star is known for building communities and going to great lengths to support some of her local stores. Meet Heidi Sitten! Read on to find out about her brush with a Hall of Famer, her tips for judges and her proudest moment as a judge!
Name: Heidi Lynn Sitten
Location: Fayetteville/Raleigh, North Carolina
Judge start date: May 16th, 2014
Occupation: Store Manager of Event Horizon Games in Raleigh, NC
Favourite card: Sensei’s Divining Top
Least favourite card: Back to Basics
Favourite format: Modern
Commander General: Riku of Two Reflections
Favourite non-Magic Game: Dominion
Best tournament result: Head Judge (I’m a much better Judge than I am a Magic player).
Random fact about yourself: I speak Modern Greek and Spanish.
Why did you become a Judge?
Because EDH. Seriously. I got back into Magic in 2012 by playing EDH casually with friends. I would get frustrated over and over again when I didn’t understand rules interactions. I finally buckled down and started learning the rules seriously. The structured environment of tournaments was appealing to me as well, so Judging seemed like a perfect fit!
Tell us your favourite Judge story.
So I’m working GP Baltimore – my first GP. Sealed format. I’m walking the floor watching matches. I see a player with a tapped face down morph in play with a Singing Bell Strike attached to it. The player unmorphs the creature and untaps it. I ask him how it became untapped. He responds politely “I unmorphed it.” Considering that we now get players of all skill levels at GPs I answer “Unmorphing a creature doesn’t normally cause it to untap by itself.” Without missing a beat the player says “Well I have this guy in play.” and points out a Pine Walker to me which I had not previously seen. I said “Ok, great! You got it!” and gave a thumbs up. I stayed to watch for a few more seconds then continued walking the floor.Later that night at the hotel my boyfriend is talking about all the pro players he got to watch play – including Jon Finkel. “Really? Jon Finkel was there?” I asked, hoping maybe my BF would point Jon out to me the next day so I could maybe watch his games on my break. “Yeah,” my boyfriend answers, “he was that guy you asked about his board state in Round 5.”
I tried to melt into the floor.
How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Being a Judge actually got me my current job! The owners of the store I now manage were impressed enough with my work ethic when I came to help out with their IQs that they offered me a job!
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
We have a play environment that is very welcoming to all types of players. I often have players at FNM who are between 8 and 12 years old. We have a small percentage of female regulars as well. Their is no awkwardness at having players who don’t fit the ‘stereotypical MTG player’ mold.
What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
The Judge Program has boosted my self confidence and helped me overcome how extremely introverted I once was. I’m still pretty introverted, but I interact with strangers much more comfortably now, and have definitely developed skills in diplomacy. Judges are very supportive of one another. A few Facebook likes here, a few words of concern or encouragement there. New friends. Connections. Opportunities that never would have existed had I not joined the program. The list goes on.
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
Napping and/or playing WoW.
What is the strangest card interaction you have seen in a tournament?
Honestly, once you try and figure out a few turns of EDH while a Knowledge Pool and a Possibility Storm are in play, the stuff you run across at tournaments stops seeming strange.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
-8: You gain an emblem with: All lands you control have: T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
If you were a creature what would be your creature type?
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
Knitting, Crochet, Needlepoint, Have been getting into board games recently.
Proudest moment of your Judge life?
A bad call was made at an event against a player who was very well known for his temper during events. The mistake was found after the judge who made the call came to discuss the interaction with me. Several turns had passed by then and the punted call involved a tutor effect without a reveal, so it was impossible to rewind the game.
I went to the table with the Judge who made the error to give backup. The player looked like he was on the edge of exploding when we told him about the mistake. I didn’t want him to do something that could get him DQed, so I immediately asked if he wanted to go outside to cool off. He agreed, and I spent almost 10 mins outside with him explaining why would could not back up the game and listening to his concerns about how bad calls happen and are handled. He was so mad I was shaking inside, but I managed to stay calm, and to calm the player down and and get him playing Magic again.
The player wound up winning that match. He and the Judge who had made the call (who very obviously felt awful about the mistake) talked and reconciled later.
One of the things you have been praised for is community building. What are some tips and tricks you have for strengthening a player base?
Don’t talk down to people! Be fair and transparent when new players come to your store. Praise good sportsmanship and don’t tolerate discrimination. Actually play in FNM now and then.
One sign of your commitment to the program was helping a store find a L2 judge to replace someone who got sick, even the point of personally driving the replacement to the store. How did that come about?
I actually covered that event myself. The L2 who was scheduled to work that PPTQ got very sick in the middle of the night. I got a text at1am asking if I was available, but I was already scheduled to HJ a Super IQ at the store I run. I messaged every L2 I could think of as early as possible but no one was available.
I had two capable L1s scheduled to work the Super IQ with me that day. Attendance was low for the IQ, so I was able to hand over the HJ reins to one of the L1s. I hopped back in my card and made the hour drive to the PPTQ. Arrived with about 20 to spare before the event started. Serendipitous circumstances.
What do you see as your future in the Judge Program in the next year and the next five years? What is your plan to get there?
Eventually I would like to test for L3. The plan is pretty basic: Continue accruing experience and attending large events. It’s funny and a little backwards that a large part of my motivation to become CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certified, is so that I can get a job that will give me weekends off so I can apply for more GPs.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
1. I once drove 10 hours through the night to attend a judge conference. Slept in my car for an hour and a half. Sat through the entire conference. Then drove back home to work the next day.
2. I got a better score on my L2 test than I did on my L1 test.
3. I think Firespout was the best card in the premade Riku Commander deck.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!