Another week and another rockstar into our collection, our guest this week is a huge community-oriented Judge who consistently has been focusing his efforts on contributing to his local judge scene by supporting Judge dinners, conferences, and even paint-ball encounters! Do you want to have a trip into the Iberian lands? Or maybe read about a story of drug dealers taking domestic flights? Then don’t miss this interview with Jorge Almeida, the Catalonian manager from Barcelona, Spain!
Judge start date: June 2008
Why did you become a Judge?
This is a good question, really, I can’t remember, maybe I started like many other judges, wanting to know the rules, performing customer service and so on. Now I have discovered many other things I like the program.
Occupation: I work in a driving school, my degree is in industrial safety.
Favourite card: Birthing Pod all the way #neverforget
Least favourite card: Norin the Wary, …is true… is immortal!
Favourite format: Modern and Khans Draft.
Commander General: Ruric Thar
Favourite non-Magic Game: Game of movies, you can play with any site, with anyone.
Best tournament result: I’ve won a PTQ, made day 2 at PT Barcelona, top 96 in GP Antwerp and top 98 at GP Lyon, I also won a 2K at my LGS.
Random fact about yourself: I’ve read the Silmarillion 14 or 15 times
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
I started playing in my friends backyard. We had no clue what we were doing and were inventing the rules as we went along. One day, one of my friends took me to a new magic shop. That’s when I really started playing Magic. After the TO expressed the need for a judge, and I looked like a good candidate
Digging into the Iberian archives, we found awesome stories about a Christmas Judge dinner and a paintball activities. How important you believe are these outside-event activities for the Judge Community?
I think these activities are just so important to generate activity, and reinforce the team spirit in the community. In doing so we get a wonderful community, and their members become more active and this helps improve their skills and knowledge as a team.
Any particular story about the paintball or the Christmas activity that you are willing to share with us?
Sure! One of our paintball games was Lv1’s vs Lv2+. Twas an epic battle but the L1s were vanquished! It was such an Epic judge-on-judge encounter!
For Christmas dinner judge, we sang karaoke, where Raul Rabionet, altered songs with humorous/hilarious lyrics all the night long!
Proudest moment of your Judge life.
I so have many moments to be proud of to be honest its hard to pick one over others. However if I had to pick I’d say a lot of my very proudest moments are related to dealing with challenges that impact your peers in a positive way that they become better people and recognize your hard work.
What is one tip you have for other Judges?
The judge community is so important and gives so many possibilities to do so many things, take advantage of this! You can build something here. The only limitation is your voluntary commitment and desire of self-involvement in the community.
What is your favourite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges?
Judge Conferences! They are always full of good times and fun, would be very difficult to pick one over the others =P!
What has been your favourite Magic event that you’ve judged?
The last event where I had a great time was the weekend of Arkanis Deluxe, a event where we ran several events of all different formats the whole weekend, in Cantabria. The judge staff did a really great job, and I ended up exhausted. Some of the awesome judges we had on the crew were Sergio Perez, Maxim Antipov, Kepa Arrieta, Sergio Garcia, Antonio Jose Rodriguez Jimenez, Manuel Amaya González, and Nicolas Glik. Guys, you Rock!
What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
Well, I love to manage teams, the judge program has helped me a lot by developing these skills which also are huge in any another regular job.
On the other hand becoming a judge compels me to be mature, fair, and an honest guy; these qualities are one of the makes you a happy and successful person.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d probably like to pic to have a chat with Buddha. I believe everyone must have trascendental questions about our existence, where do we come from, where are we going to, and such…
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
Maybe I would be attending some English lessons :D, Actually couldn’t imagine my life without Magic, I’m so involved in the game and is so much time I’ve enjoy both as player and Judge. I just love it!
What is the strangest card interaction you have seen in a tournament?
Nowadays I haven’t see many weird/unexplainable card interactions, but back then at the early days as I started to play I couldn’t explain how a man-land could turn into an actual creature with a Humility in play.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
Hey! Did I mention that I’m a Planeswalker? 😀 *see picture!
What is your favorite “after event” story?
Certainly there a lot of them! Many took place at conferences, but if I had to choose one, I’d stick with the awesome capacity that Spanish Judges (me included, of course :P) have to miss their return flights from events. My most memorable flight issue was I had to take a flight to play a PTQ in Andalucía, the one of us that was in charge of purchasing the tickets failed to properly register my name over the “last name” field. It turned out upon arrival to the airport my name was entered as “Jorge Valdés” instead of Jorge Almeida Valdés. Unfortunately then was so late to correct the mistake and take the flight but it keep still as a memorable story to tell. 😀
(editor’s note: Spanish speakers have usually two family names, and “last name” literally read may be understood as the second/last family name.)
But wait, there is more! As I got to the gate trying to board the plane the air hostess explained me about the mismatch so I had to leave the queue even when all of the other personal info were fine (ID number, day of birth, DCI numb-.. Ok, that didn’t, but you get the idea). As I was leaving my complain at the reception desk, I got intercepted by a couple of agents who asked me about where and why I was flying… well apparently Jorge Valdés is a wide known Cartel Coke Lead!
If you were a creature, what would be you?
Obviously… Judgegoyf!! All judges get + 1/+ 1 for each judge on the floor.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
1. Although this interview never mentioned it I’m also a passionate dancer.
2. While I’m Spaniard, I’m also a fluent English speaker solely thanks to the judge program!
3. One of my favorite Magic characters is Ajani, he reminds me of the value of valor, teamwork and trustworthiness.
Thanks Jorge, its always a pleasure to hear about the awesome Iberian community, your contributions have certainly been a huge contribution to this! Judges, don’t forget to follow us next week in 7 Days! Nominate a Judge TODAY!