Hello there Judges,
our guest of this week is a senior Judge from from the states, a devoted father, and also a rock star for his local community. Many good stories and even Jedi-mind tricks on this interview, if you’re curious to know what I mean by rock star, don’t miss this interview with Lloyd Thomas Dodson Jr.
Why did you become a judge?
I tend to show up early and stay until late whenever I go to events. TO Steve Ferrell was nice enough to let me lend a hand instead of just standing around looking bored. I had such a good time, I asked to do more and more. 14 years later I am still having a great time.
Occupation: Stay at home dad
Favourite card: Survival of the Fittest
Least favourite card: Whatever card that I just lost to.
Favourite format: Any and all Limited formats
Favourite non-Magic Game: Chess
Best event ever: One of the last PTQs that we ran in town had only one round go over time. With an advertised start time of 11AM and a lunch break, we still finished the Swiss and Top 8 around 8-9 PM. The whole staff really rocked all day!
Random fact about yourself: Was once one of the bassists for a band called Guilty Party. We almost had Spinal Tap drummer notoriety for our departures and replacements.
Wait!.. So you were actually a Rockstar! How did you get there?
Most all of those pictures are long gone since they happened late 80s/early 90s. I was 14 or so when we first got together. I was working with the guitarist, one day I ended up helping him with dishes at the end of his shift. He said that their band needed a bass player for a gig later that week. I gave him the number of a friend of mine but let him know that if it fell through to give me a call. He asked if I actually had a bass and an amp. When I said yes, he told me that I was going to practice. 5 days of practice later, I played my first live show. We were early alternative rock I suppose. We covered some Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division and other things like that. The band name was Guilty Party until about 96 when it changed to Ghost Shirt Society. I played off and on with those guys until I moved to Kansas City in 1998.
Tell us your favourite judge story.
I was playing in a Regionals (2000 I think) and sat down for the last round when my opponent opens with “Do you like Star Wars?”. I replied in the affirmative, and when he had no continuation I began to wonder what brought that question on. We split the first two games and were deep in the third when I found out why he asked. “Guess I gotta go for it here…YODA!” he said as he placed a foil Yoda card from his hand onto the field and then proceeded to Rancor it up. I call for a judge and he groans a bit, seemingly disappointed in my reaction. Head Judge Thom Walla comes by to help us out and I open with, “I need to know what Yoda’s Toughness is. His power is 2(pre-Rancor) but he has an ability score of 7 but I don’t think that comes into play here, I believe that it mirrors his power. So, I am casting Massacre and we need to know how things resolve.” Mr. Walla doesn’t miss a beat to give his ruling. “Yoda’s toughness is in fact the same as his power, so you would be able to Massacre him if not for the presence of his ability. You see, with Yoda in play ‘Battles happen not’.
Now, if you had Darth Vader in play, this ability would be countered and the Massacre would resolve, but you do not so your Massacre has been effectively countered.”
We thanked him for his time and got on with our game. I felt that I still had an out with Soul Feast being more of a violent buffet than a battle, but he was able to Hurricane me into oblivion before I hit it.
How did you get involved in magic in the first place?
Around about 1998, a friend of mine was wanting to get back into Magic again. She had played with her friends in college and missed it. She informed me that I had no choice in the matter, she was going to teach me how to play. We celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary this year.
You were nominated by Nicholas Brown. He mentioned your interest in your local community. How do you manage to get this approach for the players?
One of the first things that I did to get ready to take my judge test was to run the weekly events for a local game store. Late one Saturday night, I looked around the room filled with teens and twenty-somethings and realized what a great outlet it was. A safe environment for social interaction and friendly competition. Comparing it to many of the stupid and dangerous places that I remember finding myself at their age played a great part in my decision to continue running events.
What is one tip you have for other judges?
Make sure that you enjoy what you are doing. It is incredibly difficult to help others have a good time when you are not living by example.
What is your favourite non-judging moment that happened with other judges?
Most recently, we got to go to the wedding of Alex Jacques. He has been coveting the Magic 10th anniversary tablecloth that we use at events for many years now, going so far as to even threaten to walk off with it. His wedding seemed the perfect excuse to hide it in with the towels that we bought for him. Matt Jacques and Ryan Parr have been in on the plan for a while now and we have had a lot of great laughs at Alex’s expense as he has tried to cajole me into letting him steal it. The surprise was well worth the years of waiting.
What’s the biggest rule-breaking play you’ve ever made as a player?
When I first started playing in weekly events around the area, I was pretty cheap with the sleeves. I once played Turn One Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Delraich and apologized to my opponent stating that the deck wasn’t really supposed to do THAT. He said nothing, packed up his stuff and left. Someone else tried to explain his behavior, but I said that I totally understood the frustration. About a month later I was taking that deck apart and found that I had a fifth Dark Ritual stuck to the back of another card. I remembered that I counted the deck to 59 one time while I was playing it and sorted it to find only 3 Rituals so had added another. Later on that same opponent was invited onto a magic team with me. I felt that I needed to let him know what I had found when I took the deck apart. “I knew you were a cheating #@$(*%^!!” he said. He is one of my best friends today and my boys think Uncle Ray is hilarious!
What has been your favourite magic event that you’ve judged?
My focus has been on scorekeeping and tournament operations for some time now. Umbrella that under judging and it has to be GP Albuquerque where Jody and Glenn Godard of Sunmesa Events were kind enough to invite my entire family and we made a fantastic vacation out of the trip. My oldest also played in his first GP there, ending up with a MUCH better record than my first GP.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Lloyd Thomas Dodson Sr. He passed away many years ago and I would love to chat with him about his grandsons.
What is the strangest card interaction you have seen in a tournament?
I got called over by my wife to her match. Her opponent had cast Trade Secrets and she wanted to verify that she really could choose to repeat the “Draw two cards” portion as many times as she wanted to, no matter what her opponent chose to do. I agreed that she could do that exactly so she says, “I will choose to draw a billion cards.” ‘So, you’re conceding then?’ her opponent asked. She replied, “No, you cast Plagiarize earlier in the turn.” Her opponent proceeded to take the Trade Secrets out of the sleeve to rip it in half saying that he would never side this card in again.
What is your favorite “after event” story?
Probably the time that some friends almost set my house on fire while trying to light the grill for the BBQ we held after one of the prereleases. The majority of a can of charcoal lighter fluid makes for some impressive flames.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
You gain an Emblem that says ‘Tap a creature you control: All tournament reporting and paperwork is finished.’
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
There are some features for WER that I would like to add, does that count? 😀
“Two Truths and a Lie”
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
Thanks Lloyd for your time and the opportunity to know about another awesome judge!
As always judges, thanks for reading, hope to see you again in 7 days. Don’t forget to nominate a judge, he or she might become an upcoming Judge of the Week!