Tomáš Joska

Greetings, Judges! This week’s rockstar is a Level 2 from the Czech Republic with a passion for his local community, along with developing creative ways to introduce players to the rules of competitive Magic play. Let’s hear about interesting adventures and approaches to education from L2, Tomáš Joska.

NTomas Joska judge photoame: Tomáš Joska
Level: 2
Location: Prague
Judge Start Date: maybe 2002?
Why did you become a Judge? I needed a certified judge for some of my LGS tournaments.
Occupation: Travel agency office manager
Favorite card: Force Spike
Least favorite card: Force Spike
Commander General: none
Favorite non-Magic Game: Fish Pond
Best tournament result: 43rd at GP Madrid years ago.
Random fact about yourself: I really like Jesenka. This is condensed sweetened (milk) cream.

You were nominated for your active involvement in your local community along with your recent creation of a Judge comic strip that can be used for educational Nationals Scorekeepingpurposes.  What led you to create this project and how do you feel it will be beneficial to both your local community and the global Judge population?
In 2016-2017, David Zalesky and I wrote a few educational articles, including one video, based on the rules documents aimed at competitive players. It was more than welcomed in the community but I was still unhappy, because I was still facing unwanted behavior at the tournaments in LGSs. I realized that Spikes are not that important player segment, if your goal is to educate. But Timmys usually don’t read such articles, so I was forced to think about a new form of communication with these players. The final piece of the puzzle was found when I discovered the Cardboard Crack comic. From that point I only had to find a graphic designer; fortunately after some unsuccessful tries I got an unexpected offer from another judge, Radim Hajek. He told me his daughter may be good at it, and she was and is.

I hope the easily accessible form of the comic helps to spread the knowledge about “DOs and DON’Ts” during tournament play. The panels also include a QR code, connecting the comic with local judge customer service. The ideal series of feelings I try to stimulate are:

  1. Yeah, that’s funny .
  2. But wait…we did the same last time..?!!
  3. You really can’t do that? Why?!
  4. OK, this explanation makes sense….but I still need to clarify something.
  5. Oh?! There is a customer service! Let’s ask the judges about it!

GP Prague 2017 cosplayer Ajani and Tomas.

What are some tips you have for other Judges?
At local or national tournaments, try to spend as much time as possible floating around and chatting with the players about how they feel about the tournament. Once the players start to ask you questions in between games, you become the part of the community and gain its respect, which I think is the most you can achieve as a judge.


What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges (or after event story)?
Slovak Nationals, 2008. Late August, it was over 35 degrees and we had to wear those old-fashioned zebra polo shirts. You can imagine how uncomfortable it was. Fortunately, the tournament was held at Senec sandstone lakes and one of them was just a few stairs down from the venue! Every single break we had was used to change and go swimming. I am sure this will remain my most memorable “judge” experience.

I have also another good story. At GP Vienna in Hofburg, I was out of competition Saturday evening and instead of spending the night there and playing SE on Sunday, I decided to switch cars and go with some Slovak players via Bratislava back to Prague. I picked up my stuff from the 1st car, said goodbye and left with the other guys. Upon getting out of the car in Bratislava late in the night I realized that I still had the keys from the 1st car in my pocket!!! Hitchhiking back to Vienna was bad. Meeting the guys around 1am in a heavy downpour in front of Hofburg again was even worse.

What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
It started as a leisure time activity for “kids” under my supervision, continued with some summer non-magic events, such as canoe trips, and now we attend each other’s weddings. Without Magic the bond would probably not be that strong I guess.   

What is your favorite non-Magic hobby?
I do a LOT of sports, although none of them competitively. During summer I usually combine mountain biking trips with some Magic. Years ago we eventually went for a 2-week bike trip through Germany 2015 Judge Conferenceand Sweden, incorporating GP Malmö on the way.

How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
My brother and I bought two 4th edition Starters by mistake. We wanted to learn the rules but it was so complicated! I managed to get through the “Quick start”, but all other rules problems we encountered were ruled by our privately invented rules. It was much more fun than under the official rules.

What’s the biggest rule-breaking play you’ve ever made as a player?
I am known as a “prerelease-cheater” at my LGS. In each expansion set I have at least one card, where I misread something or read just part of the text. The card never does what I think it does! But my players know that and catch me every time.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think long-term judge projects should exist with some guaranteed support based on proved costs. Currently judges are welcome to do anything for the sake of the Program, but they have to take on all the resulting costs. If there were any official support to cover their mandatory costs, I am quite sure this would motivate many people to help the program advance and flourish in the future.

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

  1. I have DQ-ed two players during my entire judge career.
  2. While driving to GP Vienna, I crashed my friend’s car over a roundabout.
  3. I gave all Czech judges animal nicknames.
The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...
Graham Schofield didn’t “swim” in Glacier Bay, but he was on a cruise with his parents as a child.  He was in the bay, and swam in a pool on the cruise ship.

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

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