Welcome judges, to another edition of Judge of the Week! This week we go back to the USA to meet another judge – welcome, Mr. Traxler!
Occupation: Paraprofessional School Worker & Retail Salesperson
Favourite card: Merciless Eviction
Least favourite card: Armageddon
Favourite format: Booster Draft
Commander General: Zedruu the Greathearted
Favourite non-Magic Game: Dungeons & Dragons
Best tournament result: 3-0 Booster Draft? I don’t play in tournaments much. 😀
Random fact about yourself: I LOVE trying new fruits.
Why did you become a judge?
I have always loved the mythos and style of gameplay Magic has. I’m also someone who has had a natural bend towards the rules of any games I play…when I developed into the unofficial, and then later official, Rules Advisor in my area it seemed pretty clear I should head towards judging. I thoroughly enjoy teaching players and fellow judges, and naturally love the service aspect as well.
Tell us your favourite judge story.
One of my favorite moments was at a Competitive level event. I had little sleep before-hand, due to my work, and showed up tired but energetic as always. Throughout the day I worked hard to maintain a positive atmosphere with players and fellow judges. In the morning I was helping maintain registration lines, and I was yelling silly announcements and the like. At the end of the day, a couple of players came up to me and complimented me on my positive demeanor. They said something to the effect of how much fun they had that day and my actions helped; left a lasting impression upon them. It’s my favorite memory not because I was given compliments, but because it reminded me that an enduring, optimistic outlook grouped with hard work, professionalism, and excellent player/judge interactions is what I strive towards. When that succeeds, everyone benefits. 🙂
How did you get involved in magic in the first place?
I first played Magic due to friends who played when I was 13 or so. I played for a few years casually, then quit until college. I’ve been playing since then and have not stopped.
How has being a judge influenced your non-Magic life?
The leadership required of judges has led me to aspire to be a leader wherever I am, be that in the workplace, social circles with friends (or even strangers and mere acquaintances), and in relationships. It has also helped me to be more intentional about my actions in regards to how they affect and benefit others.
You were nominated by Rath Barrios for your work ethic, general good mood and all-around exemplar behavior; he said “You see, Travis is nothing short of a Blazing Archon, indeed, he is a gleaming bastion of the judge community, and he truly exemplifies what it means to become certified; respectful guidance with an educational drive.”
Your local community seems to hold you in high esteem. Can you share with us how do you see your responsibilities and work as a Judge affect your community, and what is your vision for it?
I see my actions as a judge affecting the community in multiple ways; first of all, I’ve ended up inspiring a handful of fellow players in the area to pursue becoming judges as well. My interactions are also good for keeping even the most competitive players in an overall jovial mood, since creating fun, enjoyable events is a big aspect of what I strive for. My vision for our area is to have camaraderie amongst players all across town, development of players to become knowledgeable and experienced towards competitive play, and to further grow love for Limited formats and casual variants like Commander and Planechase.
What motivates you to continue being a judge?
The judge community in this area is fantastic and the mentoring and input I’ve received from relationships therein has grown me as a person. Even more so, I want to have a mentor’s influence in the lives of many, and becoming a Level 2 Judge, one of my current aspirations, is a fantastic way to do that.
What is one tip you have for other judges?
Be positive, be humble, and work hard.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
There is an excellent balance of competitive and casual players in our area, and they all intermingle and enjoy each other’s preferred formats at different times. Our Magic community tends to be very inclusive, which is something that strongly motivates me.
What is your favourite non-magic hobby?
Dungeons & Dragons. I thoroughly enjoy world-crafting, player-crafting, and story-building with others via role-playing.
What is your favourite non-judging moment that happened with other judges?
Probably just enjoying drinks, food, and camaraderie at Buffalo Wild Wings or other restaurants.
What has been your favourite magic event that you’ve judged?
The Khans of Tarkir PTQ at BC Comix on June 28th, with a charity event on the next day. From the opening of the doors to the end of the weekend, the event was packed with fun, learning, and lots of networking opportunities. I would say a special nod of gratitude goes towards the store, BC Comix, and judges Jake Kindsvogel and Randy Tice for making the experience so enjoyable for both players and staff.
What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
It has forced me to be more methodical in my madness. 😉
When striving towards judging goals, I am forced to think through how to achieve things, when in general I am a very relaxed, go-with-the-flow type of person.
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
OH GOD, WHY?!!?!?!?!? I suppose I would be endeavouring to grow another hobby that I fell in love with… perhapsDungeons & Dragons? I’m not even sure what I would do if that were to happen, it’s really quite unfathomable to think of Magic ceasing to exist.
How do you have fun during events?
This is actually quite simple for me; my personality is very easy-going, but it’s finding ways to enjoy ALL the moments. Yes, that moment when a player is acting in ways that I find very obnoxious, I don’t show it. In fact, I tend to find myself laughing about the situation in general. When players are in the heated climax of game 3, I enjoy the tension as the players strive to prove themselves. While doing my work, I enjoy my time with the judges by joking around, be that in a subtle manner or just taking a few moments to share a story. It’s a good stress management policy for life overall, as well. I also REALLY love learning, and tournaments at higher levels provide more experiences in which I learn varying things, Magic-related or not.
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
I’m not sure, to be honest. I mean, my favorite colors are black and white, but I’m a very good free-for-all player due to diplomatic abilities (I’ve won quite a few games just due to diplomacy), but at heart, I am a hardcore Johnny, Combo Player. Not necessarily infinite combos, just VERY synergistic card interactions. So, my guess is that my ultimate would be “You get an emblem with “At the beginning of your upkeep, each opponent discards a card and you may search your library for a card and put that card into your hand.””
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
I enjoy board games such as Small World, Mice And Mystics, and Battlestar Galactica. I love role-playing games, typically D&D, but others can be fun as well. I have recently begun to enjoy disc golf, and I do enjoy exercise in general as well, primarily running, although I loved basketball in my school days and am still willing to pick up games when they happen.
Proudest moment of your Judge life?
My proudest moment of my judge life was the entire month of June, when three separate players who I had been mentoring became level 1 judges. Seeing my encouragement and mentoring enable players to become better always fills me with pride.
What character in Magic (real or fictional) represents you the best, and why?
Edric, Spymaster of Trest. I am excellent in multiplayer, can encourage aggression to be directed elsewhere, and can reward everyone at the table!
Two Truths and A Lie
Two of the following answers are true, figure out which!
- A player conceded to me in a tournament after learning I was a judge.
- My favorite card type in Magic is land.
- I have solved a Rubik’s cube in under a minute and a half.
Thank you Travis for your time and availability! Join us again next week for a special interview with a L5 – see you then!The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...