JudgeCast #174 (Audio Fixed) – Team Constructed with Bearz

Edit: This is the second attempt to publish this episode. The first had some unfortunate audio errors that made it impossible to listen to. This has been corrected.  Sorry about that.
-Jess

We are joined by L3 and GP Head Judge Paul Baranay as he and Jess chat about their recent experiences Head Judging ~900 player Team Constructed Opens. We talk logistics, weird stuff, deck checks, and take a nice tangent into investigations.

For more listening on Investigations, listen to:
JudgeCast #44 – Investigating Raging Levine
JudgeCast #111 – Sylva Linings Investigationsbook

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JudgeCast # 172 – Amonkhet Policy Updates

There’s a lot to go over in this policy episode, but first we introduce the newest regular co-host of JudgeCast. Please welcome Brogan King back to the show for her first episode as a full-fledged co-host!

The MTR, the IPG, the combat shortcut, and decklist problems. Also deck problems.  Wait, what? There’s two of them now?  Find out about all of this and more on this episode of JudgeCast!

You can always find the most recent policy docs at our JudgeCast policy redirect: http://www.JudgeCast.com/docs.

Toby Elliot’s Amonkhet Policy Update Blog:
https://blogs.magicjudges.org/telliott/2017/04/24/policy-changes-for-amonkhet/

Toby Elliot’s Combat Shortcut Examples:
https://blogs.magicjudges.org/telliott/2017/04/27/how-to-think-about-the-new-combat-shortcut/

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JudgeCast #171 – AlmondCat Release Notes

We are once again joined by Brogan King as we talk about the newest Magic set, AlmondCat! Oh wait… Amonkhet! Yeah, that one. We discuss the mechanics, what we love, what we hate, and some Madness Weirdness. And, of course, we go through a ton of interesting cards and rules interactions.

Amonkhet Release Notes: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/amonkhet-release-notes-2017-04-14

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JudgeCast #170 – New world of Grand Prix

Listen to Channelfireball.com’s own Jon Saso and Mashi Scanlan talk about the new world of Grand Prix and the challenges they face ramping up from 12 GPs this year to ~55 next year!  What does this mean for the events, the players, and especially the judges?  We ask those questions and ask for your feedback.

Do you have more questions about judging at Grand Prix? Email us at JudgeCast@gmail.com.

Mashi also said in the show that he’s open to questions at Mashi@channelfireball.com.

You can give feedback about what you want out of GPs and also read the article Mashi mentions here: https://www.channelfireball.com/home/how-can-we-improve-your-grand-prix-experience/

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JudgeCast #169 – Overviewing Reviews

Join us in talking to Brogan King, an admin of the Review Revue Facebook Group. We talk about that project and reviews generally. This includes what a judge review is, how to access them, and the different kinds of reviews judges write. We also speak a little about the basic dos and don’ts of writing reviews. We’ll tackle deeper review topics, such as gathering feedback for a review at an event, in a later episode.

The Review Revue: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1720829451483343/

Reviews (requires JudgeApps login): https://apps.magicjudges.org/reviews

Investigations (requires JudgeApps login): http://www.judgeapps.com/investigations

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JudgeCast #168 – This One’s a Classic! (Or at least it’s about one)

Welcome back our Judge of the Week interviewer and level 2 judge Jacob Milicic (From episode #166) to talk about his experience Head Judging a recent StarCityGames.com Classic event. We ask him a lot of questions and get even more answers. How did his judge career get to this point? What did he do to prepare? How did he even get on a list to do that?  Is the proper plural of staff “staves”?

Find out more about Tour events at StarCityGames.com/content/scgtour. (We’re not affiliated with them, it’s just topical)

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JudgeCast #167 – Parts of a Card

On this episode, we’re joined by the amazing Billy Willy to discuss the numerous parts of a card. Find out about the rules for illustrations (yes, there’s a rule for that!) and how set symbols used to be relevant in the game! Bprill reminisces about the good old days before color indicators and tells you about his new puppy, pictured below.  You can more or less follow along in the comprehensive rules section 2, also titled “Parts of a card“.

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JudgeCast #164 – Aether Revolt Release Notes

We’re back with the Aether Revolt release notes episode, and this time we’re joined by judge Amanda Coots, who helps us go over the mechanics and favorite cards from the new set. She also tells us what it’s like when the rodeo’s in town.

Oh and Emrakul was banned. That wily Emrakul.

Here’s the full release notes for your reading pleasure:
http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/aether-revolt-release-notes-2017-01-06

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Exemplar Ruminations

     This is the first time that we’ve done a text blog entry on Judgecast.com, and it might be the last, who knows. This started as a response in a Facebook thread, but it grew into something that I thought I’d share with everyone. I wanted to address this while the iron is still hot, and hopefully get it out for people to think about while they’re still thinking about exemplar recognitions.  -Jess
 

Exemplar is upon us, and everyone seems to be doing their recognitions at the last second. You might notice that you have fewer slots than you would like to recognize people. One of the reasons that we have limited slots for the exemplar program is that we want to make sure that the judges that we are recognizing actually are exemplary, and we’re not just giving out a bunch of foils to our friends via the system.

On the other hand, some of you might find that you’re not able to use all of your slots. That’s ok, it doesn’t make you a horrible person. It might actually mean that you’re taking this seriously and recognizing truly exemplary behavior. Good for you!

However, I have recently seen a lot of people complaining about not being able to “find” enough judges to give exemplar recommendations to. Some of them have gone so far as to ask for names to add to their lists to fill the open slots. This has caused a bit of a backlash on the internet, including a great article by Justin Turner and a bunch of posts on Facebook, like this one from Josh Silvestri, which created the discussion that prompted this post.

 

 
The discussion this prompted was about whether or not this was OK, and somebody eventually referenced Kim Warren’s excellent post from January 4 Judge Blog about Exemplar wave 2. I’ve included the relevant section in the quote below.
 
“Feel free to discuss recognition ideas with other people from your area or from your region if you have more people to recognise than you have slots. It is possible that there other judges with spare slots, or other people already recognising the judge for the behaviour that you have noticed and thus freeing you up to recognise someone else instead. There is no harm in multiple people recognising one individual, but there is nothing to stop a group of judges coordinating their recognitions if they want to.”
 
Aside from the inexplicable “s” in “recognize,” I believe that there’s a fundamental difference between what she’s describing and what we see happening. I was asked to elaborate on this difference, so I’m going to do my best to explain it.
 
In Kim’s example, the problem is having more judges to recognize than you have spare slots. However, what we are actually seeing people complain about is having more slots available than you have judges to recognize. In the former, going out of your way to find judges with extra slots will still get solid recognitions into the system. In the latter, you end up with people advertising that they have blank spots they’re looking to fill, leading to a watering down of the system when less then exemplary judges are added with vague or ambiguous reasons “because there are slots left over.”

As mentioned in Justin’s article, this also has the “feel-bad” factor for those who don’t see you having difficulty recognizing people in a positive light. However, I will just tell you to read that rather than beat a dead horse.

I do think regional or area coordination of exemplar recognitions is really important. In AL and MS, for example, there are a total altogether of 4 active L2s and 1 L3 (me). Coordinating to make sure that all the exemplary people are hit and we don’t all stack them up on the same guy is a really good idea when we’re that spread out. This way, we can manage to hit all of them and still have slots unfilled. If somebody from FL or GA came to us and said “I have this awesome judge that I want to give a reco to but I’ve filled my slots,” we’d try to figure out if we have overlap he or she could drop before giving up one of our unused slots. Then, if it was still unable to be done, one of us could use an open slot. We would never want to advertise that we had slots available though, because that invites people inventing reasons to give exemplar recognitions to less than exemplary judges.
 
You might think dropping recognitions is no good, but keep in mind that once your name is in for exemplar recognitions, it’s in (they apparently don’t stack), so there’s nothing keeping you from calling them out for being awesome on FB or other mediums, which is just far more likely to be seen anyway. As was pointed out by many judges regarding this, giving feedback, especially reviews, is an integral part of the judge process, and we should be sure to give it to exemplary judges even when it isn’t that one week a season when it’s time to think about foils. Now I just need to take my own advice and write some reviews.