Hello there Guys & Gals, most of the time we pick nominations made by judges, but this time we wanted to shake it up a bit! Our guest this week was nominated by his local players for his hard work and motivation on stage, his story impressed us in such way that we had to investigate more about this judge! On top of that the judge in question is an active member of the judge community on several different media and well deserving of a nomination just for that. Judges! It’s a pleasure to introduce this week’s judge Jack Doyle, newly minted L3 from London, U.k.
Name: Jack Doyle
Location: London, U.K.
Judge start date:
L1 December 1st 2012,
L2 June 23rd 2013,
L3 October 26th 2014
Occupation: Masters by Research Student (Bioinformatics)
Favourite card: Eternal Witness / Cryptic Command / Aether Vial (preferably together in one deck!)
Least favourite card: Thoughtseize
Favourite format: Cube Draft
Favourite flavor text: Aether Adept – “The universe is my instrument, and the song I play upon it is one you are forbidden to hear.”
Commander General: Barrin, Master Wizard
Favourite non-Magic Games: Portal & Dustforce
Best tournament result: 3-0 in a 8-person once 😉
Creature Type: Human Wizard. Gotta represent my tribe.
Why did you become a judge?
To help out my local store, and the pub where we do a weekly draft to this day.
Random fact about yourself:
So, as you can see from my profile picture on JudgeApps (and everywhere, because it’s the only picture of me that exists where I am smiling), there is a small shape in my beard that looks like a swirl/tornado/twister. Alex Roebuck called me Swirlybeard at some point, and for some reason, it stuck. My local TO calls me it, it’s written on a couple of shirts (my LGS’ team and a UK magic site’s branded shirt). I don’t know, it’s a fun nickname and I kind of like it. It’s also translated into German (“Herr Wirbelbart”) by Philip Körte 😀
How did you get involved in magic in the first place?
I played with my stepdad when i was younger when Mirrodin was the current stuff, and I’d also read some of the books about Alara and Ravnica along the way. When I got to university and joined the sci-fi/fantasy society there, I saw that they had a tonne of Magic cards, as well as a load of people who were playing. I quickly got back into things, and started drafting, playing Standard, and overall, spending WAY too much money on the game. It wasn’t long before I was engrossed in the culture and slept, breathed, and ate Magic.
What is your favourite non-judging moment that happened with other judges?
This one for me exemplifies the caring nature of the judge programme. We had just finished GP Valencia, and some of us (Alejandro Raggio, Martin Köhler, Jurgen Baert, David de la Iglesia and I) were sightseeing around the beautiful city. Some background – I had an overnight layover in Madrid, and had forgotten/refused (whichever makes me look better) to sort out any kind of accommodation or hotel for that night, so my plans were simply to stay in the airport. We stopped off for lunch for some gorgeous local food, and DLI received a phone call from his mother – for some reason, my travel plans for that night came up in the call. DLI put the phone down and simply said to me: “My mother called you an idiot, and says you’re staying at my place tonight”. I didn’t really have much to say, and thought it was a joke, until when we got to the airport and made plans I realised he was dead serious. Long story short, a judge I hadn’t known for a long time took me in for a night and drove me to and from the airport, and made my stay in Spain much more enjoyable. To this day we remain great friends. Thanks, DLI!
What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
I think it’s been, unparalleled, the greatest experience I’ve ever had (and am lucky still to have). I went from a pretty shy, anti-social guy, to having a load of friends up and down the country, as well as internationally. I’ve heard Stelios Kargotis describe the judge program as a family more than once, and it really is like that for me. Not to mention the incredible skills I’ve learned – organisation, time management, how to not get ripped off by train companies and airlines (still a work in progress…) as well as people skills, tournament logistics, and many, many more. In short, I don’t regret a minute of it, and the people involved, players, judges, and TOs, make every weekend a delight.
On his nomination, Matthew Gregory (a local player) mentioned your hard work as a pro-active member of your local community. As he said “he’s a constant helpful presence in the British community and is always the first to help people out in any way he can, whether it’s TOs, new players, or just players who need a bit of rules info”. How you manage to have that deep and positive impact on the local players?
For me, it’s extremely important to stay active in the local community. To me a judge is not a grinder of international events. Staying grounded and playing in FNM, drafting on Wednesdays, whatever it is, is very close to my heart. Judging while playing is difficult – balancing your priorities with helping other players while trying to win your own matches is tough, but I always see myself as a judge first. I’m also an admin of one of the Facebook groups that is run by the UK judges, which helps to answer questions that players have in a timely fashion. Lastly, and probably most important, while judging, I constantly try and identify the players’ positions and how they’re feeling about certain things. I know when I would get tired of the interventions of judges, and I try to accommodate that in my own rulings to try and make the interaction with judges as pain-free as possible.
On the online world, you also are an active member on the international judge forums! How has your participation on judge forums/medias influenced you as a judge?
Judge-related social media gripped my interest from right at the start of my ‘career’. I followed Magic Judges on Facebook and Twitter, and hung around in the IRC channels for large portions of my day. Engaging in rules and policy Q+A and discussion in IRC developed my ability to explain my rulings and thought processes clearly and concisely, and definitely helped my tournament rulings as a result. It’s important for people to realise that it’s not just the fastest way to get access to new information about the judge programme, it’s also helps to mould yourself into a better judge.
What has been your favourite magic event that you’ve judged?
GP Moscow 2014 is definitely up there. It had it all – terrible interactions with the Russian Embassy (including extensive complaining between myself and Kim Warren), missing my flight on the Thursday, sharing a room and a great weekend with the inimitable Mark McGovern. I got to enjoy a number of new and exciting judge conference seminars. I was also a member of the team that won the Judge Conference trivia along with Luca Romano (mostly by knowing what the DCI stands for!). I worked both days with Johanna Virtanen (reviews exchanged!) and other brilliant team members from around the globe, and I received a Team Leader recommendation from Chris Richter because I was able to relax, enjoy the day, and convey that to my team on Sunday. Daniel Kitachewsky was promoted to Level 4, and the happy hour in the staff hotel bar lasted for more than 10 hours. The perfect event? I think so. Oh! And a judge dinner in a cat-themed restaurant. Boom.
How do you have fun during events?
Staying motivated on a long GP weekend is difficult when you’re mentally and physically tired (get comfortable shoes, judges!) but it’s always important for me personally to have goals. For each GP, I make sure I make some requests so I can be in charge, mostly, of my own weekend. Request specific roles to make sure you’re getting variety, request to work with judges on staff that you’ve never heard of (or know by reputation but have not worked with yet). Shadow, be shadowed, be a team leader or a team member, and make sure that you contribute all you have to each role. My personal goal is to come out of events ready to write reviews. With the buddy system that European GPs use frequently, at least one or two is normally possible, and giving great feedback to judges who are shaky or unsure of themselves helps both of you, makes the weekend more memorable and productive.
We have some reports about you giving the player’s meeting as an airline hostess, according to our informants this made their day! Can you tell us more about this story?
This was fun! When I Head Judged a PTQ in July, I was trying to solve many problems that I perceived about PTQs, especially the “grinders” that come to them. We tried a few new things, like trying to keep track of Slow Play cautions, trying to keep the judge staff motivated, and trying to get across key information, even to those who have done 50 PTQs, so I decided to try something new, and act like an airline hostess on EasyJet airlines (for those who aren’t familiar, it is a very budget airline that operates in Europe). [transcript here]
I got a lot of laughs and great feedback throughout the day, which at least showed that people were listening, even those who had done a million PTQs already. I think, although I spoke very quickly and was super nervous, that I achieved the goal that I set out to achieve, and I had a great laugh doing it.
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
Outside of…what? I don’t understand the concept. In my free time (you know, the twenty minutes a day that isn’t consumed by Magic) I like to play other games, read fantasy fiction (currently plodding through Rothfuss’ the Name of the Wind series) and watch television shows (just finished off Key and Peele, and currently making my way through Arrow on Johanna’s recommendation). Beyond that, I spend a lot of time doing research for my degree (inspiration and motivation hit me at the weirdest times) and doing things for the judge program, through many projects, mailing lists, and working on seminars and articles for a local Magic site and the Articles blog (shoutout to Evan Cherry and the team!).
Proudest moment of your Judge life?
It’s a cheesy one, for sure, but I remember my certifications like they were yesterday. I guess, relative to most judges, they may as well have been. I guess reaching across the table to shake Alfonso Bueno‘s hand after he welcomed me to Level 3 is one I won’t forget, it was the culmination of a lot of time and effort, and it was achieving a huge personal goal and milestone within the judge program, helped along swiftly by many amazing judges, you know who you are <3 Thanks to all!
What was the thoughtest part of this process into Level 3? And what advice could you give to judges about to go throught this path?
The toughest part of the process was trying to prove to myself and others that I was ready in a relatively short amount of time. I put a lot of time and effort into trying to understand the Qualities of Regional Judges. I was quite arrogant and cocky towards the start of the L3 process, and thanks to the help of a few great judges along the way, I was able to temper that arrogance and understand the gravity of the L3 process overall.
My one tip to judges looking to become Level 3 is to do their self-review. The self-review allows you to gain understanding and respect for the Qualities, and without intimate knowledge of all twelve, you will stumble and fail somewhere along the way. Doing your self-review makes you look hard and critically at yourself as a judge, and allows you to focus on areas to improve while you are completing the rest of the checklist. Thanks to Kim Warren, I attacked the process this way around, and I think it made me much more ready for everything along the way.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
1. I “gate-crashed” a judge conference in Denmark because the judges from that region are awesome.
2. I once traded a German foil EDH card to Ben McDole for some American candy. By post.
3. I am almost fluent in German, English, and Finnish.
Judges! We would love to hear more about some awesome stories and awesome judges! If you believe one of your local colleagues is doing an Exemplar’s work, this might be your chance to make him an upcoming Judge of the Week, so nominate a Judge TODAY!