Nelson Mendoza Moral

Welcome back to Judge of the Week, where our Figurative Rock Stars sometimes talk about Literal Rock Stars. This week brings us a candidate from the Iberian Region and we could not be happier to have him join us to talk a bit about Magic, Judging, and a small defense of the Corner Case Scenario. With no further ado, please allow us to introduce to you… Nelson Mendoza Moral.

Level 2 Judge Nelson Mendoza Moral

Name: Nelson Mendoza Moral
Level: 2
Location: Zaragoza, Spain.
Judge start date:
Level 1: September 25, 2010, during the Scars of Mirrodin prerelease
Level 2: July 27, 2014.
Favorite card: Snapcaster Mage
Least favorite card: Blood Moon, plus any other cards that stop players from playing Magic
Favorite format: Booster Draft
Commander General: I don’t have a deck. I should build one soon
Favorite non-Magic Game: Heroes of Might and Magic III
Best tournament result: A few prereleases and small local events won. PPTQ finalist playing Splinter Twin. If I do well at a competitive constructed event, a card from my deck will eventually be banned.
Random fact about yourself: I’m half Venezuelan.

Why do you Judge?
I began judging because I loved answering rules questions, then realized I also loved policy questions, the community, judge conferences and many more things.

Playing at a local store and cheering for a local player who was playing a GP top 8.

Tell us your favorite Judge story.
High level judges often say that learning corner cases that involve weird cards that never see competitive play isn’t worthy, because they will never come up in a real tournament. And they are right, of course. But some times unexpected things happen! During GP Utrecht 2015 I was working the on demand events and a player called me. “Judge! My opponent just cast this card. Could you explain to me what it does?” The card was Enter the Dungeon, and they were playing a Chaos Draft event. So I had to tell them how sub-games work. Leave your hands and permanents on the table, take your libraries, go play a new game under the table. Randomly determine who plays first. Have fun!

Just after that, another player from the same event called me. He had a Pygmy Giant on the battlefield and wanted to sacrifice it to deal 487 damage to his opponent’s creature. But he also had a Lifelink and a Stir the Pride in his hand, and wanted to know if he could gain 974 life in the process. Unfortunately, Stir the Pride didn’t work here, but the 487 life he gained with Lifelink was enough to make his opponent concede.

What are some tips you have for other Judges?
Find out what aspects of Magic and judging you enjoy most and make good use of them. Find judges who enjoy the things you struggle the most with and learn from them.

Spanish Judges Escape!

What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges (or after event story)?
During a local judge meeting, Joaquín Pérez, Pedro Caamaño, a judge candidate and I were playing a multiplayer Modern game with Planechase planes. After several turns there were zero non-land permanents on the battlefield. Joaquín pointed out that we were all playing blue-based control decks, so he decided to switch decks to add variety to the game. He borrowed another deck from Pedro, then replaced his entire deck (cards in his library, hand and his lands on the battlefield) with cards from the new borrowed deck, and continued playing. The new deck happened to be another blue-based control deck, however: a Sharuum the Hegemon Commander deck! We let him do it for the laughs and he ended up winning the game thanks to Tortured Existence, a card that isn’t legal in Modern.

Who have been some of your biggest mentors in the Judge Program, and what did they teach you?
Jorge Requesens. The first time we met, I was a veteran casual player who had read the CompRules dozens of times but wasn’t interested in tournaments or judging and he was a new player. About four years later, he became a judge and began making plans to grow the local judge community. As he knew I loved answering rules questions, he tried to convince me to become a judge and succeeded. Every time you talk to him about judging you will learn something new. You may learn about policy, tournament operations, scorekeeping, diplomacy, community, mentoring, fun games or anything related to judging.

In Vigo With L2 José Ignacio Pérez Janeiro

What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
It has given me confidence and friends all over the country. Also, knowledge of some complex concepts of the rules may improve your abstract thinking, and that’s a good thing for a programmer.

What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
When I became a judge the local store had recently closed and the local community was on the brink of Extinction. The players made an effort and the community was resurrected. Now it keeps growing and is more welcoming than ever.

How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
My brother taught me to play back in 1997 and I instantly fell in love with the game. We played a lot together at home and at a local store. We discovered what Banding and Phasing did, and that’s probably why I became a bit obsessed with weird rules interactions. Unfortunately, my brother stopped playing about a year later, but I didn’t want to quit. I played intermittently for several years and began playing tournaments in 2004.

Iberian Judge Conference 2018

If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Bruce Dickinson, the singer of Iron Maiden. He’s done so many different things (look at his Wikipedia article!), I’m sure he would have lots of interesting stories to tell. Plus we could try to convince him to start playing Magic and maybe write a song about Kari Zev, Skyship Raider or another legendary character.


If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
-8: You get an emblem with “Instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard have flashback {0}”.

Proudest moment of your Judge life?
Receiving so many praises after reaching Level 2.

With L1 and TO Marcos Valle

Fond Farewells…for now.
That about wraps it up for this Week. Many thanks to Nelson Mendoza Moral for taking the time to share his time, stories, and passion with us. We all appreciate your efforts and contributions to our Judge Family And Magic Community. But, before we let you go, two last things. Firstly, I think that we need to start a petition about your idea of having Bruce Dickinson write up some Magic related Iron Maiden songs and lastly….

Two Truths and a Lie:

  1. I have a 3D-printed six-sided die. It was a gift form my mentee Nicolás Cabello Iglesias. Everybody seems to like it.
  2. I once won a local tournament and got a Candelabra of Tawnos.
  3. I really hate bananas. If someone next to me starts eating a banana I might feel compelled to run away.
The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...
While Legends is quite large, 5th Edition weighs in at 449 cards!

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

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