Jorge Rua

Welcome back, judges! This week, we are honoring Jorge Rua, who has been deemed a pillar of the Ibéria region for helping raise up L1 candidates, translating articles and documents and even giving up a slot judging a World Magic Cup Qualifier so that a fellow judge could celebrate his birthday. Let’s find out more about him, shall we?

JorgeName: Jorge Rua
Level: 2
Location: Mira, Coimbra, Portugal
Judge start date: 2000
Occupation: Environmental Engineer
Favourite card: Counterspell
Least favourite card: Jace (all versions of it and also all the others planeswalkers to which I always lose my games …)
Favourite format: 2HG Sealed
Commander General: I know it is a very serious fault for a Magic Judge, but I do not play Commander. In order to evolve, I have to solve this quickly!
Favourite non-Magic Games: Settlers of Catan, Risk and Trivial Pursuit.
Best tournament result: I have won five or six FNMs (which only happened because the rest of the players were distracted).
Random fact about yourself: Every year in October, I let my beard grow. In March, I cut it.

Tell us your favourite Judge story.
GP Madrid 2010, format Legacy. With 2220 players, it broke the world record for attendance at the time.


The pavilion is bursting at the seams. In the 1st round, one can see players playing standing while half the Judges and all the staff were carrying tables and chairs to occupy every square meter still available in order to have space for the rest of the players with byes that will enter during the next rounds.

I was floor judging and I stop at a table where a middle-aged man was playing against a little girl. I asked her age and she answered that she was 10 years old. I expressed to her that I was very happy to see a girl playing Magic and, with a smile, I said to the opponent to be nice and gentle with her.

The opponent also smiled, looked at the little girl and answered me “Rest assured, Judge, that I will take good care of my opponent… She is my daughter!”

It´s amazing how in a first round, completely random, at a tournament with 2.220 players, it happened that a father and daughter were playing against each other.

How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
It was the year of 1998. I was on holidays at Algarve. While reading the newspaper at the beach, I found an article about the GP held in that year at “Convento do Beato” in Lisbon. Loving RPGs, I knew right away that this could be the game of my life!

When I returned home I looked for a store that sells the famous cards, bought a deck and half a dozen booster boxes and started playing with a cousin of mine. It was not easy because we only had the little book of basic rules on the decks and there was no Internet nor anyone to teach us.

Then I discovered a group of players at the University of Aveiro, spread the Magic among my friends, and we founded a local community. Shortly after we were running tournaments every weekend, at a local association, though not sanctioned. As we had not many cards, we played only with commons in a format that later (much later) would be known as Pauper.

How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Being a Magic Judge allowed me to see various regions and meet people in my country and in other countries abroad. That gave me a global and universal view of life in general and people in particular.

Having to judge and work with other people, some radically different from my way of being, and to be able to communicate overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers that often exists, are achievements that then translate into my non-Magic life.

You were credited with helping make the process for certifying L1s in Portugal more consistent. What did you do?
I am part of the L1 certification project in the region of Portugal and Spain (now Ibéria!) and I am responsible for coordinating the process in Portugal.

We have a system where candidates start by sending an e-mail or filling out a form on the net to express their interest in certifying. I gather that information and, depending on the candidate’s area, I contact the available L2s to get the candidate a mentor. Then I put both in touch and stay available to help them as needed.

It is also my responsibility to keep updated the letter that each mentor sends to their candidates, with the list of requirements and resources they have at their disposal to study and practice for the exam. Finally, I update the database of candidates, their mentors and the status of the certifications, asking the mentors each two months how is it progressing.

2013 GP ValenciaWhat is your favourite non-Magic hobby?
Gardening and fishing. And I cultivate my backyard (yes, that means vegetables, potatoes, corn, beans, and all kind of  “real” food) .

Why did you become a Judge?
Most Judges have a very altruistic and eventually heroic reason to justify his vocation. In my case, it was far more ordinary. In the distant year of 2000, the formula for calculating the points gained or lost in each Magic game depended on a K-value. For normal tournaments in stores K was 16, if the tournament had a certified judge and 8 in other cases (we were in the long age that preceded Planeswalkers Points). And it was in order for my community to benefit from a K=16 that I got into this life.

What has been your favourite Magic event that you’ve judged?
Allow me to mention four tournaments, all very special, although for different reasons:

– GP Barcelona 2006: It was my very first GP, it definitely marked my integration into the community of judges, and especially in the community of Portuguese Judges, as well as my involvement in competitive tournaments from there (PTQs and Regional Qualifiers at those times…)

– GP Paris 2010. Although I have taken the test before, during a PTQ in Portugal, it was at GP Paris that I completed the process and was officially certified as L2.

– Magic National Championship 2014: It was a championship organized by the Portuguese TOs with regional classifiers and then the final tournament was held over two days. It was like the old National Championship where our champions earned the invitation (and the travel) to play the Magic World Championship. I was the HJ of this tournament, with an extraordinary  team, and I could see again the players, from all over the country, with a sparkle in the eyes and the feeling of playing in a very special event.

– PT Dragons of Tarkir 2015: It was a unique opportunity to work and learn with some world-class judges, to meet people of WoTC who I only knew from the Internet, to contact with high level players (it´s professional) and also to dispel some myths. Overall it was an awesome experience.


What is your favorite “after event” story?
At PT Dragons of Tarkir 2015, Saturday night, we arrange to draft Dragons / Dragons / Fate. I´m not a good player and luck does not favors me often. So, after opening the first booster with only crap (as usual), I said in a fun way “What will save my draft is that in the last booster I’ll open an Ugin!” Nicolas Glik (Niko) was seated at my left and immediately replied in same tone “No way, no way!”

I kept the spirit and shouted the same whenever I picked a crap card, which was very often. And every time Niko replied “No way, no way!” And everybody laughed.

While opening the last booster I yelled “Now you will see, in these cards I surely have an Ugin!”

I opened slowly the booster and guess… after searching the cards…there it was an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, looking at me (which I never had the opportunity to cast during the games)!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Guys, remember always to have fun while judging  (although the way people have fun can differ a lot)!

And at big events, eat, drink and rest (to have a good sleep the night before is also a good idea). If you don´t, you´ll have no mood to have fun!

I want to thanks all the amazing Judges that I have met during all these years, and specially my fellows Portuguese Judges (sadly, some of them are not judging anymore) and Spanish Judges (Viva Ibéria). Without their support, friendship and care, I wouldn’t be responding to this questionnaire.

Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!

  1. At 4 years old I was in an alcoholic coma for 3 days.
  2. At 18 I had 52 guinea pigs, of 3 races, all with an ID card made by me, which included name, sex, date of birth, parents, and illustration of both sides.
  3. Between 20 and 26 years old I was a vegetarian.

If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!

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