This week we speak to a judge who has a zeal for the pedagogical treatment of others as well as the depths of Limited play. A presence you’ll feel on the tournament floor, we travel to Northern Europe to bring you an exemplary judge. He is from Malmö, and his name is Patrik Fridland!
Name: Thomas “Patrik” Fridland
Location: Malmö, Skåne, Sweden
Judge start date: L1 – 2014-11-6; L2 – 2016-09-11
Why did you become a Judge? It sort of just happened. When I had a relapse to Magic during Theros. I had been very involved in miniature wargaming for a few years and I wanted a card game back in my life, basically I wanted to be able to bring a game with me in my pockets, so I picked up a LCC but I didn’t have a draft system. And Theros had just came out and Greek mythology has always been something I loved as a kid. So I was just to do a few drafts for fun and nothing more… and the judge was Mikael Ristovski who was just amazing at talking to people and making them feel a part of something. And I was already used to doing miniature events so when Mikael got me on the thoughts about becoming a judge the road was pretty short. Even though I had a hard time learning the rules, and I failed my first try. So it took some more months but I used that time to really grind the practices test we had.
Occupation: In between jobs
Favourite card: Hymn to Tourach
Least favourite card: Guerrilla Tactics
Favourite format: Draft
Commander General: Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Favourite non-Magic Game: Man ‘o War
Best tournament result: I won a Game day.
Random fact about yourself: I have a bronze mermaid in my kitchen window.
Tell us your favourite Judge story.
My fiancée and I have a saying “Man får ha många bästa”, roughly translated to “One is allowed to have lots of favorites”. And I do have a lot a favorite Judge stories. But if for the sake of the article I had to pick one it would probably be GP Barcelona 2017. I often joke about me getting recruited to the Judge program cause of my vocal skills. I was head judging a side event that was held at a Regular REL.
And during my player briefing I say with a clear and maybe somewhat loud voice.
“REGULAR IS ABOUT HAVING FUN! ARE YOU HAVING FUN YET?”
The players laugh, maybe a bit scared of the very tall Nordic person screaming at them. Then a while later I go online on a popular social media, and apparently my RC was close by and heard it all, and had commented it. I felt proud.
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
It started pre Ice Age at my cousins kitchen table. Seeing all these awesome fantasy cards really blew my mind as a kid.
How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
How I approach problems and how I engage with other people.
You were nominated for being a cornerstone in the Malmö community and for the energy, dedication and enthusiasm you put in this area. Can you tell us more about this?
Short story: I care about others.
Long story: I have been an outsider a lot of my life. Not really fitting in. Felt outside and felt worthless. Seeing others, meeting others and building something drives me. I want people to not feel as I have felt. And Magic is really a great gateway to do that.
I try to better myself always, not always because of the “right” reasons but I still try. Progression is something I strongly believe in and want, stagnation is a poison in my world view. And helping other better themselves and being there for them when they need help makes me feel great. I don’t always succeed, but I try my best and failure is just a part of progression.
What motivates you to continue being a Judge?
People, it of course is more complicated than that but yes people. We meet so many awesome people when we do this(Judge). With one common factor, a love for a game that we all have a deep connection for, even if our connection is different, the love is still there.
And on that we have so many that take care of others.
What is one tip you have for other Judges?
Smile. I often find that when I’m tired, worn out if I pass someone else and I give them a smile I get a smile back. And getting a smile give at least me a huge energy buff.
What’s the best part about your local community?
Passion and friendship. I’m now a senior Judge locally and I have seen new members come in with such great passion and energy that drive me to even further try to better myself. I also made some close friends.
What is your favourite non-Magic hobby?
Right now pretty much all my hobbies except Magic is on the shelf since a few months when I became a father.
But when I have the time I love to paint miniatures. Preferably historical stuff.
What is your favourite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges?
Ice-cream meet-up in Malmö after GP Copenhagen this year. I had just become a father and I was not able to Judge that GP. So meeting my friends from around Europe in my hometown having Ice-cream was nice.
What’s the biggest rule-breaking play you’ve ever made as a player?
I’m a very distracted player, so special with newer spells I have a tendency to not fully read the card… so yeah sorceries in instant speed and that area is pretty common for me.
What has been your favourite Magic event that you’ve judged?
My first GP, GP Stockholm 2017. It was magical. So much buzz, so many things going on. On that I passed my L2 test, which was a stepping stone for me.
What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
Making me feel good. Making me feel like I matter. I ,as so many others, struggle with depression and a low self-esteem. The Judge program helps me and I hope it helps others to feel important, a part of something larger than themselves. But mostly we are often really great at making other feel important, and I’m very grateful for that.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I really want to sit down and have a long conversation with Bo Hejlskov Elvén about pedagogy, treatment of others.
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
I don’t know. To be honest. I have been playing on and off since I was 10ish and today I’m 34.
What is the strangest card interaction you have seen in a tournament?
All interactions with Chains of Mephistopheles. It’s always DEEP BREATH, one step at a time. Let’s do this slowly. We can do this. NOOO we messed up!
What is your favorite “after event” story?
Probably GP Barcelona 2017. But I need to start from the beginning.
My fiancée and I went to Barcelona a few days prior to the GP to do some sight-seeing, have great food and good drinks. She went home Friday the same day the GP started. Which meant I had a large bed to myself. So I asked a Judge friend if he wanted to share it. As it would not cost me more and he could stay there for free. And during Sunday staff party he went back to the room before me. A few details here. We only had one key, there was no lobby (basically an AirBnB) He is supposed to put the phone on sound and so… well… he forgot to put on the WiFi…which ended with me standing outside for a few hours. I was not happy at the time. Now it’s just a great war story. Lucky for me Barcelona is awesome.
How do you have fun during events?
Talk to people. Judges, players, bystanders an so on. I find people to be the main reason I do what I do. And there are so many great stories.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
Take Two extra turns after this one.
If you were a creature what would be your creature type?
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
Miniature games has been a large part of my life even if not as much these days as I did in the past.
Proudest moment of your Judge life?
Being apart of the charity events we have done in Malmö. Bring awareness to a cause that I care about with the help of Magic was just amazing. And seeing staff and players raise to the occasion.
What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
Mother of Runes, I try to protect others, even if I don’t always succeed.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- My daughter has the same name as the RC of Europe – North.
- I love dogs, and I dislike cats.
- I played mono black discard as my first deck in Magic.