Oli Bird

Welcome, everyone, to another edition of Judge of the Week! Our honoree this time around is known for helping judges on both the micro- and the macro-levels and for being a master of logistics. Let’s get to know more about Oli Bird!

Name: Oli Bird
Level: 3
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Judge start date: Some time in 1999. I can’t really remember exactly when. I scrubbed out of a PTQ, and everyone else in the car made top 8, so it was something to do.
Why did you become a Judge? To start with, because the opportunity to take the test presented itself. However, I soon realised that Ireland needed active Judges quite badly, so I took it seriously and became the guy that made sure everyone had events to play 🙂
Occupation: Software Tester
Favourite card: Probably Mind’s Desire, though I also have a great deal of fondness for Birds of Paradise, because it’s perfectly balanced between unplayable and broken.
Least favourite card: That’s hard to say. I love all of Maro’s little children.
Favourite format: Rochester draft (single or team). Needs a general plan and quick reactions. These are things I like.
Commander General: None – I am not a Commander player.
Favourite non-Magic Game: My favourite non-Magic game (at least in meatspace) is an Avalon Hill game called Titan. It’s a game of deep strategies and significant forethought, which I like.
Best tournament result: 2nd, Irish Nationals 2003. 6-0’d limited, then played a bad deck to the finals, lost a good matchup 🙂
Random fact about yourself: The first time I met my (now) parents-in-law, I accidentally set myself on fire. It was a Christmas in the Arctic, so the air was very dry, and my hair was very dry. At that stage, it came down to the middle of my back, and I tended to wear it loose. Whilst helping to clear dishes from the table at the Christmas Dinner, I managed to swing my hair into a candle flame, and up it went. Everyone else had their back to me, and the lack of a common language, and my innate politeness, led to me just standing there embarrassed while I burned, saying, to quote my wife, “Umm.. help”.

Oli1Tell us your favourite Judge story.
This one time, at my Nationals, a player was disqualified for draft signalling. What he was doing was that, when he drafted a card, he dealt the rest of the booster out in the shape of the colour letter of the card he had drafted (so, a green card became a ‘G’, etc).

How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
To put it simply, it was more interesting than studying in college. I didn’t know anybody in university, and I liked gaming, so I joined Trinity Gamers in 1994. Everyone was playing magic then, and I liked it, so in I dove. Still haven’t surfaced.

How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Immensely – I’ve got jobs and promotions solely through the skills I’ve acquired as a Judge. I like to describe it in interviews as ‘My hobby is travelling to foreign cities and managing small teams of relative strangers at short notice’.

You were credited with growing the next generation of L3s in your region. How did you go about that?
I’ve always been passionate about the Judge program – especially with helping people find where they are happiest within it. It’s just a matter of guiding people in the appropriate directions, really. If you can tell people what it is that they will need to know, and help them get there (and help them decide if they want to), then they can succeed.

What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
The best part is that we really are a community. The whole of the island is a big (mostly) happy family. We’ve always got each other’s backs. We’re always cheering on our own.

Oli3What is your favourite non-Magic hobby?
Definitely my time as a mad social scientist. I like people, and I like experimentation. Learning more about someone from observing their reactions to stimuli is something I’m constantly actively engaged in.

What is your favourite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges?
I’m just back (as I write this) from taking a week-long overland trip from GP Paris to GP Florence with Jack Doyle, Mark Mc Govern, and Alex Roebuck. It was a long moment, but repeatedly awesome.

If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
It would probably be Jurgen Baert, because I don’t get anywhere near enough opportunity to do so.

Oli4What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
Looking at my boxes and foils and crying. I have much invested in Magic.

How do you have fun during events?
Lots of ways – tackling hard unexpected problems, meeting new people, and teasing old friends.

If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
You get an emblem with ‘At the beginning of your upkeep, gain control of target creature.’.

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

  1. I have a cat called Tungsten.
  2. I’m an ardent fan of Munster RFC
  3. I’m not actually Irish – I was born in the UK.
The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...
Jose Tamargo wears a beard because it makes him look more handsome, of course!

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

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