This week’s rockstar is a well known scorekeeper and all around great judge! Meet Jeff Darran! Read on to learn about how he got involved in Magic and much more!
Name: Jeff Darran
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Judge start date: December 5th, 2009
Occupation: Internal Auditor for a chain of pawn shops (Loss Prevention Manager)
Favorite card: Lightning Bolt
Least favorite card: Changes frequently, currently I despise seeing Glacial Chasm
Favorite format: Legacy, best format!
Commander General: Doran, though I don’t generally play commander. I haven’t updated the deck in 2-3 years
Favorite non-Magic Game: Pandemic
Best tournament result: 11th in a Legacy open in Richmond. (I wish I knew tiebreaker math, would have been in t8)
Random fact about yourself: I have a fully foiled merfolk deck (every card that can be foil is foil)
How did you get involved in magic in the first place?
I started playing magic during the days of Revised. I had originally been in some D&D campaigns, and our dungeon master was tired of coming up with campaigns, and got the group of us started on Magic as it was “kinda the same thing, but with cards.” I played for several years at a casual setting where we went to the internets and the email us part to get rulings on things we didn’t agree on.
How has being a judge influenced your non-Magic life?
I have more self-confidence than I ever had growing up. I’ve found a deeply hidden love of puns. And I can interact with people better.
What motivates you to continue being a judge?
It allows me to stay involved with the game even though I don’t have the time to play competitively. I also really enjoy the camaraderie that comes from being a part of the judge program.
What has been your favorite magic event that you’ve judged?
My favorite event that I’ve judged was the Mirrodin Besieged prerelease that SCG did at the Richmond Convention Center. I was the Head Judge for it and I had a blast. I got really into the flavor of the set and tried to engage the players (and did) and spent the entire day saying Mirran wrong.
Tell us an embarrassing story that you’re not afraid of everyone knowing.
GP Richmond was pretty big and scary with some four thousand plus players. Its Saturday, the tournament is in Round 8, and I’ve been on deck checks all day with Sara Sukenik as my checks partner. We do our check and I’m the one swooping, and there’s a problem with the deck that I’ve checked. I go back to the table, I ask the questions I already know the answers to, and I ask the player about whether he presented his sideboard. I knew the answer, cause I watched him present it to his opponent. The player lied to me, and said he had. I didn’t even realize he had lied to me. Fortunately Sara did and she went and very quickly got our Team Lead who got our Head Judge and the day was saved. Sometimes you miss the things that are right in front of you.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
You get an emblem that says “Whenever an opponent casts a spell or activates an ability, deal one damage to target creature or player.”
What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
Chandra Nalaar. I kinda had that whole “act impulsively first, think about what I’ve set on fire after the fact.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I also really like scorekeeping. (Editor: Which he did a lot of a GP Vegas!)
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
1. I’ve always had facial hair while judging.
2. I’ve lost 100lbs. since judging.
3. I’ve quit smoking since I started judging.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!