Welcome back to Judge of the Week! This week’s rock star talks about his own personal experiences within the local community! Say hello to James Hockman!
Name: James Hockman
Current Level: 1
Current Location: Peoria, Arizona
Date you have been certified as a L1: 2016
Why did you become a Judge? Wanted to grow and cultivate the local community.
Favourite card: Brass Squire. It is too cute!
Least favourite card: Anything Aggro
Commander General: Ramos, Dragon Engine
Favourite non-Magic Game/Hobby: Old school video games
Fondest tournament result: My first event, which I went with a 200+ mono white deck and ended up in second place.
Random fact about yourself: I am Korean, but I don’t like any Korean food.
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
After learning about the game through a friend, we went to a local comic book store and bought a starter and a few packs each. The people at the store were doing a group game, of about 5 players, and asked us if we wanted to join. We then spent the entire day there playing and learning about the game. My first rare I ever opened was Demonic Attorney.
What motivates you to continue being a Judge?
The thing that motivated me to continue being a judge is my local community. They all look to me for rules during local events and also ask me “judge calls” even outside of events.
What makes playing Magic special in your region special?
Honestly, and I am sure that everyone says this, the people. The people of Arizona have always made me feel welcome. When I first moved here, I did not know anyone. Yet, people and local stores embraced me with open arms. I have walked into stores that I have never been to and I have always felt welcome. I have seen players interacting with newer players, talking about magic and also giving advice. I have seen an entire draft pod give every card to the new player to help them gain a collection. I feel like the people and players in Arizona are open and inclusive, willing to grow the community and not judge anyone.
What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges?
Before I was a judge, I went out with about 10 judges after a Grand Prix to have a meal. While eating, someone walked by and yelled “JUDGE!”. Everyone at the table stopped eating and looked around to see who called.
Who are/were your role models in the Judge Program? What are/were their certain qualities that drew you to them?
I remembered when I was thinking about becoming a judge and Eli Shiffrin had recently moved to my area. I was running all my local events at the store that I was working at. He questioned why I wasn’t already a judge. His attitude towards everyone and the passion to encourage more people to join the community was amazing.
Who have been some of your biggest mentors in the Judge Program, and what did they teach you?
The local L2 judges in my area, Devin Jones, Eric Lee, Krystal Rose, Marc Lunde, Mike Griffin and Will Levin. They have all encouraged my growth and wanted, not only myself, but the other L1’s in the area to grow. I know I can always contact them at any time of the day for advice and/or questions that I might have and they will always be willing to help.
What character in Magic represents you the best, and why?
Ajani and its many different representation. Like Ajani Steadfast, I value the kinship and friendship that I have and will try to maintain them over anything. Like Ajani Vengeant, I will pursue to the end, if you mess with my family or friends. Like Ajani, Valiant Protector, I also am someone who likes to be prepared with a plan before heading into a battle.
What are some tips you have for other Judges?
Talk to people around you. Talk to other judges and ask what you can do better. Talk to your local player and ask them what they want to see, and how the events could go better. Sometimes you won’t even know about an issue until you talk to people and find out. Understand that when someone gives you feedback, it won’t always be positive. However, that is fine, we do learn and grow from it.
Proudest moment of your Judge life?
Finding out that I have been recognised under the Exemplar Program. I didn’t think what I did was amazing and/or exemplary so I wasn’t expecting it. To be honest, the real exemplar was, Krystal Rose, who made everything come together.
What are your projects that you will be taking on in the future.
Well I am going to be on staff at my first Grand Prix so that should be exciting. I really want to get more involved in my local and national scene.
If I can make a Planeswalker, it will be like this.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I have turned down a complete playset of Beta in order to buy my comics.
- I have never opened a Tarmogoyf in any set it has been printed in, even though I have opened well over one case of each set.
- During one of the PTQs, my friend and I went out to have our meals after intentionally drawing the match, only to come back and realise that the next round had started. I got a game loss, which costed me the top 8.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!