Hello again, it’s Fortunato and I get to be the first Exemplar Highlight of the year, which is super sweet! So, let’s start of the year on a good note with this week’s Highlight by Ryan Koenig on Joshua Wiitanen!
“It is an amazing experience judging with you Josh. Being your HJ is almost too easy, you have every point of a tournament locked down and everything runs smoothly. When time is about to be called, you have already generated a list of ongoing games. Each call you take, you present it as a learning experience for the player and make sure everything is understood clearly. You are a role model for judges and I look forward to judging with you in the future.”
Ryan is an L2 from San Marcos, California who adores playing Magic, as we all do, at his local shop: Sky High Comics. He started playing Magic back in Onslaught block, playing Mono Red Ponza, otherwise known as totally everyone’s favorite thing to do: land destruction! Hey, everyone thought a land destruction deck would be great at one time or another! We all morph into different players as time goes on. Nonetheless, I had asked Ryan what his favorite Judge call was, it’s a new thing I wanted to add to these pieces this year, and he responded with the fact he’s had a lot of fun as a Flavor Judge. Casting Die Young on Oviya Pashiri just leads him to have a good time questioning how Magic works. It really showed me that even as a veteran player or Judge you can still find joy in the little things.
Ryan also wanted to add a follow up about Joshua simply saying “I’m excited to see where he goes, he has the ability to go far.”
What caught my attention in this week’s Exemplar Review was Ryan’s appreciation for Joshua’s devotion to the player understanding what’s going on. To not criticize any Judge’s ability to take a call or explain what’s going on in a situation, especially myself since I would never say I’m a great Judge when it comes to rulings, but I do feel some Judges take calls as something they want to get through by saying the least amount of words possible to just answer the players’ question. Improving the knowledge of the playerbase and having them feel like they learned something after every call just always seemed like our main goal but yet some people don’t prioritize it. I can easily see why Ryan added how Joshua is “ a role model for Judges(…)”
I genuinely hope you enjoyed reading this piece, I plan on making this year one of great improvements and some changes to how I write these–while still keeping what people really enjoy about them! It’s kind of hard to keep something fresh and new while still keeping it fun and familiar. I can see why Wizards must have added a Standard banlist now! Was that too soon? Well, the next time I see you can’t come soon enough, so until next time!