Good to see you again, judges! We are celebrating Jon Munck joining the L2 ranks. Jon is a musician who was credited for contributing scenarios to the Knowledge Pool and keeping a level, solutions-oriented head in the face of technical difficulties with Wizards Event Reporter. Let’s learn more about his journey of discovery.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a part time music instructor, and I work at an LGS in Marysville, Washington called Wandering Havoc Games. Basically, I teach people how to guitar, and also I look at cardboard all day to make sure TCGplayer will buy it from us. In my spare time, I play entirely too much League of Legends and partake of vintage cat memes every once in a while.
What got you interested in becoming an L2?
I was interested in becoming L2 because for me it opened up a myriad of opportunities within the Magic community. I’d been judging for about a year and I knew when I certified for L1 that what I really wanted was to be a regional judge that people could come to in order to learn about Magic/judging and possibly certify for level 1 themselves. There weren’t any L2’s within a 50 mile radius of me, so I wanted to fill a void. I was striving to be a positive role model for the community, and felt that becoming Level 2 would help in that goal. The complete lack of PPTQs in my area was something I’d also wanted to change for a while. Now I HJ about 4 every quarter in my area.
What was your journey to L2 like?
My journey to L2 was very similar to my journey to L1. I read a lot. There aren’t any judges around me, so I kind of just taught myself how policy/rules work and applied to events. Eventually I had about 12 GPT HJ’s under my belt, along with some Convention experience. Overall, solo head judging as an L1 is not a great way to improve as a judge because you receive no feedback, but it was a good way to apply what I’d learned. Working with other judges at medium-sized events was the most valuable floor judging I ever did. I learned how to deck check, give a time extension, write a penalty, etc. All the really important stuff to Competitive REL judging. The biggest challenge I faced when going for L2 was the lack of hands-on mentorship. There wasn’t anyone to turn to in my community so I had to seek help from far away.
What advice do you have for aspiring L2s?
Judges need to show that they’re excellent leaders and excellent followers. Part of being an L2 is that you are a community leader. I maintain the mentality that if you want the community to change, or if you want something to be reflected within your community, you must BE that thing. Be the change. As an L2, you’re generally going to be more visible, so make sure that that visibility is going towards something positive and productive. Help stores/judges, give advice, offer leadership.
Getting down to brass tacks is key. You have to understand how Magic: The Gathering works on a fundamental level. To study for the rules portion of the test, I listened to a lot of JudgeCast to understand layers and applying continuous effects. In the few months leading up to my L2 test, I would go through state based/turn based actions/special actions with my Level 1 candidates. Teaching something will always lead to a deeper understanding of the subject. If you can teach it to someone else, you will know it for a long time to come. Taking on ‘students’ as an L1 was huge in preparing me for my L2 test.
Magic is relatively new for me, but it’s become such a huge outlet. I’ve learned a lot about my own capabilities through magic and judging. I want to use judging as a way to become a better person. To become mentally fit, and to become physically fit. I don’t think you can effectively work 14 hour days at a GP if you’re overweight and out of shape. (Although as an aside I have seen some big dudes out there on the battlefield and I dunno how they do it, but they’re an inspiration to me). The pursuit of excellence is hindered by complacency. With respect to my physical health I’ve definitely become complacent. I want to keep moving forward, and keep getting better with every event I work.
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