Hello judges from around the world! Your Judge of the Week this time is Luca Romano, Level 2 from Torino, Italy.
Judge Start Date: 20th June 2005, but I only started taking this job seriously since 2009. I’ ve been a Level 2 since GP Torino 2012.
Why did you become a judge? That’s interesting… I have actually no clue. I think it was just because I was curious to try something new in the context of a game I was much into at that time. I was 16 years old, after all. As I already stated, I started judging seriously only in 2009.
Occupation: Web journalist and student. I have a degree in Physics, but I dropped that kind of activities to focus on writing. Currently I’m attending a master in scientific journalism.
Favourite card: Mystic Snake for the image, Yawgmoth’s Will for the effect.
Least favourite card: Lodestone Golem.
Favourite format: It used to be Vintage, currently Legacy.
Commander General: I don’t own a commander deck, but I’d love Sharuum.
Favourite non-Magic Game: Poker.
Best Tournament result: I made the top 8 of a few medium-big Legacy and Vintage tournaments (30-100 people).
What’s your favourite judge story?
I know many of them, but this is always one of my favourite: many years ago, in an era where name-tags didn’t exist, an Italian judge named Simone Zanella made his first appearance in an international context at GP Rimini. In the last round of day 2, two Italian players started talking just in front of him: the game was about to end in a draw, and one of them could win the prize for best rookie if he won. He started offering half of the prize to his opponent if he conceded the game. The opponent, a former Italian pro, pointed out that there was a judge just behind him. The player answered: “Yes, but don’t worry. He’s tall and blonde, he definitely must be from Norway or somethin’. He’s not understanding what we’re saying”. You can guess how it ended.
Tell us an embarrassing story that you’re not afraid of everyone knowing.
I did my level 2 test in GP Torino 2012. After having passed my written test with 92% (or something like that), I was sent to judge 8 man events while waiting for my interview. I was quite happy and confident of my rules knowledge, I wouldn’t even think about asking someone else for advice while answering a player’s call – I was prepared for everything… but Chaos Drafts. The first raised hand from a player was a question involving Banding in a board with 9 creatures with soulbond, double strike, and more. I asked the same Level 3 for help that I was bragging to about my exam just 10 minutes before. Quite embarrassing.
How has being a judge influenced your non-Magic life?
A lot. I have a strong, arrogant and misanthropic personality, which I’ve learned to soften in all these years. There’s still much work to do, but if I look back, I have to admit I’ve changed a lot.
What motivates you to continue being a judge?
The possibility to travel and the GP experience. I just love big events, and now that I’m starting to know most of the judges attending such events, I love them even more.
What is one tip you have for other judges?
Play at least one tournament or two in a year. It helps you seeing the game from a player’s point of view, and it helps the player not seeing you as someone belonging to a different world.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
The fact that I always thought they were pleasant people I see once in a while for tournaments… and then suddenly I realized they have known me for 10 years. It’s strange to say, but each one of them is like an old friend.
What’s the biggest rule-breaking play you’ve ever made as a player?
I played a Cabal Therapy targeting my opponent who controlled a Leyline of Sanctity. We were both focused on the fact that Leyline prevented me winning with Tendrils of Agony, so neither of us realized it was an illegal play. I won with this play and a spectator, who saw the whole game, told us only at the end of the match. I still apologize to my opponent every time I see him.
What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
It has taught me a more positive attitude towards people, the concept of customer service, and how to work in a team. All of those proved very useful when I started working on an editorial staff.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why:
Ludwig van Beethoven, a timeless genius with such a human personality. And an arrogance close to mine 😉
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
I would probably still be playing World of Warcraft online or some similar MMPORG.
What is your favorite “after event” story?
After GP Rimini 2013 I was little high after the judge dinner with limtless beer and wine, and David de la Iglesia challenged me to hook up with a gorgeous Russian girl who was in our same hotel on vacation. Currently she is my girlfriend.
How do you have fun during events?
Talking both to judges and players and learning things.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
You get an emblem with “Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, copy it. You may choose new targets for the copy”. And I’ll be a 3 casting cost Planeswalker, playable in a Legacy Storm deck.
If you were a creature what would be your creature type?
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
Classical Music (I have been playing piano since I was 4 years old), Metal Music, Dungeons and Dragons, Poker, Videogames, Reading. Tons of them 🙂
Proudest moment of your Judge life?
A completely unexpected recognition for my work at GP Valencia. I was really touched by it.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A famous quote from George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing”.
Two Truths and a Lie
See if you can spot the false one!
- I’ve been in ~15 countries without even having a regular passport.
- I own a Laptop, a PC, a Smartphone and a Tablet, only because I’m addicted to high-tech equipment.
- I have a huge tattoo which covers all my upper right arm and shoulder.