Thank you for joining us for another installment of Judge of the Week. This week’s rock star has been called “a tireless beacon of Judgy light” for organizing his fellow L1s, setting up a judge meetup and stepping up whenever needed. Let’s get to know Kalle “Nalle” Saleva!
Name: Kalle “Nalle” Saleva
Location: Vantaa, Finland
Judge start date: 26 Aug 2013
Why did you become a judge? It felt quite natural to me. I had seen my former roommate judge for many years and that really seemed like stuff I’d really like to do. He also was quite pushy about me becoming a judge, which worked back then and I actually got my level one after about a month from when I finally said I’ll start working on it. Many thanks to Kide Vuojärvi about that, couldn’t have done it without them!
Favourite card: Lightning Bolt
Least favourite card: Soul Warden
Commander General: Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
Favourite non-Magic Game: Overwatch, but Blizzard games in general are close to my heart.
Best tournament result: X-0, quite a few times.
Random fact about yourself: I’m allergic to eggs, but I love the taste of them so much I sometimes eat one anyway and just hope I don’t actually die because of it.
Is Nalle to Kalle like Mike is to Michael?
No, it is not. There is actually a somewhat interesting story behind it. Back in 2007, I was at a summer camp. There was this one person who decided that, because I was a bit larger and quite “bear-like” in general, I should be called Nalle (which means teddy bear in English) and I thought “yeah, why not”. So, ever since, I’ve been called Nalle, apart from a few places where people have preferred to use my last name or the real first name.
As an L1, you seem to pretty active in the growth of judges. Could you say a bit on the “why” of that?
That is very much true. It’s probably because of what I study and what I like to do; I’m a leader at heart, so it’s natural for me to organize events such as conferences, meetups, etc. I also have an urge to motivate people for the very same reasons, which is why people tend to get their L1 and lately even L2 done more easily.
What are some tips you have for your fellow judges looking to take on a leadership role?
Be proud of what you are and what you’ve achieved, but don’t get cocky. Always, ALWAYS ask for feedback. It’s not always fluffy and upbeat, but that is what makes you a better judge, and a better leader. Sometimes, it is right to be stubborn and do as you feel is best, but most of the time it is better to listen what your fellow players/judges/TOs have to say. They are in those positions for a reason, and can give you insight into things that you might not otherwise even realize.
Who have been some of your biggest mentors in the Judge Program, and what did they teach you?
By far, the best mentor I’ve had during my journey so far has been John Eriksson. He has taught me most of what I know about running and head judging bigger events. Not only that, but he has provided me with a better understanding of the philosophies behind different rulings and rules, which would have taken me much longer to understand on my own. But I also wish to give credit to Arttu Kaipiainen and Kide Vuojärvi, who were the mentors that helped me with my early steps in judging competitive events.
What challenges have you faced or are you facing to become a better judge, and how have you worked to overcome them?
Not many actually, as I feel like I’m very open to change and feedback, so it feels quite natural to me to change the way I am constantly. I could work on latest policies and infractions, but that could be accomplished by reading more about those new rules when they come up instead of trying to learn everything the night before a big event.
Do you have plans to go for L2?
Aye! I promised to become L2 at summer 2014, then again in summer 2015 and now once more in spring 2016. Still haven’t found the time to actually finish the process though due to massive amounts of other things I need to do, such as school. But I promised to get my level this year!
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
Back when original Innistrad wasn’t quite out yet, I was looking at few of my friends playing Commander. That seemed like a lot of fun, so I decided to learn it as well. Fast forward a few months and after moving to my own place for the first time, I decided to actually buy my first cards, which was vampire precon deck from Innistrad. I vowed that I’ll never buy more cards or anything expensive. That was very fun back then, so why would I need anything else? Oh, how young and naive I was….
What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
Friends mostly, but it has also provided me with early exposure to management methods, which has sort of shaped me to where I am now.
What was the proudest moment of your judge life?
My first Exemplar foils. It was one of those moments when I first started to realize how much I actually am respected as a judge, even though I had heard positive feedback before. It sort of made it more concrete, more easy to understand.
What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
I had to actually brainstorm with my friends about this as I’ve never really had to think about this. We ended up with Derevi, Empyrial Tactician as I am a tactician in my own way and I also provide excellent cost-to-ability ratio.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d talk to Elon Musk. I’ve been a huge fan of his for quite a while now and I’d like to get a better understanding of how I could achieve similar things he has done in the past. And maybe even ask for a job, I’d love to work for Tesla.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
The atmosphere. I like many of the people personally, as well, but even the ones I’m not really familiar or friends with are really kind and open, which makes everyone feel welcome to our tournaments. And of course, our store owner Zuher “Supi” Turbi is probably the greatest store owner ever (he even gives us surprise prizes and free coffee!).
As a judge for over three years now, what changes have you seen in your community, and the judge community at large?
One of the bigger, positive changes I’ve seen is the general atmosphere around competitive events. When I first became a judge, most of the other players found competitive events scary and demanding, when it’s only about more careful game play (rules wise) and somewhat better prizes. At my local game store (which is amazing, Oh My Game ftw!), the competitive events used to have about 8 participants in total, but now after people have realized that competitive is not really scary at all, the events can easily fill the entire shop, which is really good progress.
What are you studying?
Business Administration, focusing on leadership and organizational development. I also focus my studies on true cost economics and social impact management, when possible.
Eggs are pretty amazing (although not sure about dying over them). What is your favorite kind of egg?
Pretty much anything will do, but if I had to decide, I’d probably go for just a plain fried egg over hard. I bet it is not the best way to fry an egg, but it’s the one I’m used to, so I like it that way.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My favourite card of all time is actually Last Word, purely for its flavor text. “Someday, someone will best me. But it won’t be today, and it won’t be you.” I have dreams of actually playing that card in Modern to win an important match on camera because of it, but I think that might be too much to ask for now, so it’ll stay in my Commander decks until the time is right.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I’m a professional chef and car mechanic.
- I’m the chairman of a foundation.
- I’m the most awarded sergeant in Finnish Defense Forces.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!