Welcome back to another edition of Judge of the Week! This week’s rock star is known for keeping cool under pressure. Say hello to the United Kingdom’s own Thomas Wells!
Name: Thomas Wells
Location: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Judge start date: 02/29/2016
Favourite card: Eye of the Storm
Least favourite card: Bronze Sable
Favourite format: Commander
Commander General: Zurgo Helmsmasher
Favourite non-Magic Game: Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow
Best tournament result: 1st at small events during FNM.
Random fact about yourself: I spend far too much time looking at how games are designed and looking for the points where the rules stop working.
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
As a university student, I became a member of some societies. One of which, that I still meet up with regularly, plays card games and board games one night every week. I wandered over from the board games to have a look at the game lots of people were playing. The group immediately offered to teach me and soon I was armed with my wits and a green ramp hydra deck. I played a fair few games with that before getting my own cards. I still have the terrible deck I built in those first few weeks tucked away where no one can find it.
Why did you become a Judge?
I had been playing Magic for a couple of years and found myself often being the one to answer rules questions or teach new people the game. One day the topic of competitive Magic was being discussed and I figured “Judging sounds fairly interesting.” As it happened, I was right and I’ve enjoyed it since.
How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Judging has had quite an impact on me. It has caused me to be a lot more comfortable meeting new people, due to the number of people you end up working with. In addition, it has given me plenty of excuse to travel around the country and visit new places I otherwise wouldn’t have thought about. I’m hoping to head abroad at some point to judge to see how it is elsewhere.
What motivates you to continue being a Judge?
I know that without local judges many stores wouldn’t be able to run events. As much as I enjoy playing, I like knowing that I’m doing something to help support my local Magic community and make sure everyone can enjoy the game. As an extra for myself, I really enjoy seeing all of the strange combos and brews players come up with.
What is one tip you have for other Judges?
If you stay positive and get to know your players, they will give you so much back. They might not always show it, but plenty of them appreciate the work we do and will have a good time with you afterwards.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
My local Magic community has a lot of choice. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is or the format you want to play you can usually find someone to fit in a few games. There are plenty of different small groups that vary from casual play to extremely competitive so usually you can fit in somewhere.
What is your favourite non-Magic hobby?
I quite enjoy hiking/camping. I just pack a bag, grab a tent and walk out to the peak district to explore for a few days. There are some really amazing views and it’s good to get away from everything.
What’s the biggest rule-breaking play you’ve ever made as a player?
When I was first learning, a few of my group got confused and thought keywords on creatures were owned by the player much in the same way as the creatures themselves. This led to a memorable game where I won because I gave my opponent’s creature hexproof to counter his pump spell. I mean, it was my hexproof and it said that my opponents couldn’t target the creature with spells. I have since learned my lesson.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Terry Pratchett. I love his books and would have loved to know how his mind worked. He also had quite an interesting life.
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
I would probably be spending more time playing board games, or I would be more serious about one of the other TCGs I play. I would almost certainly find something to fill the suddenly free time with.
How do you have fun during events?
I enjoy seeing odd Magic interactions occurring at the tables. As much as I enjoy playing, you can see some very interesting matches by wandering around and spectating.
If you were a Planeswalker, what would be your ultimate?
Well, from some of my friends’ complaints about my draws: “If you would draw a card, instead search your library for a card and put it into your hand then give a sigh of relief.”
If you were a creature what would be your creature type?
I’d like to say fox, mostly so I’d have an extra card for the Fox tribal deck I am working on. One day there will be enough of them…
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
Mostly board games, Pokemon TCG, Hiking and playing video games, LARP. I am easily entertained.
Proudest moment of your Judge life?
While judging at a WMCQ, I had a player who I had earlier given a game loss to in a side event for deck/deck list error come up to me and thanked me for doing such a great job. He understood he’d made a silly mistake, but was really happy with how I’d treated him and how I was running the side events.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I spend a lot of time designing and planning out how to make random objects with very narrow use.
- One of my close friends has earned the nickname Magic Santa due to excessive generosity.
- I am very bad at the board game Avalon.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!