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Year in Review

Daryl Janisch

As a level 1 judge, it is my "sworn duty" to write a single report each year. After reading the reports of other judges, I decided to write a "Year in Review" report looking back at 1999. I know that this isn't following the guidelines for the judge reports but I decided to show what a judge can do on an individual level.


Working at a local comic book shop, I get to play every saturday in group games. Our shop actually charges players $1 a day to allow you to come in and play. I don't question this as some players come in and never make a purchase. A few players have even been caught shoplifting.

I've contacted one of the local gaming groups about U-Kon, the annual gaming convention on the University of Kentucky campus. With only 6 weeks to go, they haven't posted any fliers or even talked to the local gaming shops. There's a gaming shop 200 feet away from the student center and they have yet to ask for local support. I go on a shopping/trading rampage and obtain about a 100 packs of cards including 40 packs of german 4th edition.


I go to the Urza's Legacy Pre-release tournament held by Andon. I don't do too well in the tournament so I partake of a booster draft. My last pack contains a foil Eviscerator and I make a request of the head judge, asking if I can use a normal Eviscerator instead as I have often misshuffled cards and damaged them in the process. I've immediately grasped the idea that rare foil cards will go for a pretty penny on the internet. The head judge allows the proxy use.

I host my own tournament at the end of the month. 28 players show up to the poorly advertised event. I post flyers of my own in all of the local gaming shops at my own expense. I get no prize support from the comic book shop I work for, but then again, I didn't expect any.

I give out a single caution to two players at the same time. They are playing with Urza's Legacy cards before the cards are legal. Fortunately, they're playing each other so no complaint is made by anyone. Otherwise the tournament runs smoothly.

Because the convention is poorly advertised, only a few vendors are there and one of them "sells" me a box for my first booster draft at 10% off from retail value. We use the box and get several complaints as I charge $12 for the first draft. This is just enough for me to pay for the box, offering 12 packs as a prize.

I hold a reasonably priced booster draft as well, thanks to Collectibles Etc. the card shop down the road. Someone who works there runs to the store and comes back with a box of Urza's Legacy. The cost for this draft is only $10, but we draft 4 packs apiece with a 4 pack prize for the winner. The draft isn't sanctioned so I take the eighth slot and I win it with Bone Shedders and Unearths.

My freebie packs of magic are well received and the 40 german packs tend to be very nice. One player gets a Serra Angel and a "disk" in his pack. The convention organizers think I have some excellent contacts with WOTC as they were unable to get any prizes worth showing up for. Little do they know I obtained the cards through multiple trades of cards. Personally, I wish there was a way to get boxes of cards cheaply for booster drafts and prizes.

I get home that night and in my mailbox are two cards, a counterspell and incinerate. I was hoping to use the cards as prizes and laugh at the ironic timing.


I start selling Pokemon single on Yahoo auctions, making a good profit from it. Since I work at a local comic shop I get first shot at cards. The local computer gaming shop is selling booster packs for normal retail price. I buy a box and start selling.


We move the comic book shop I work for. I discover a lot of Collector's cards for magic and put them on display. Also buried amongst the treasures are dozens of Arena lands and about 20 beta commons and uncommons.


With weeks to go, I get an e-mail claiming that WOTC needs more judges for Origins. It's too late to me to get off from work for it and once again, I suffer from poor planning and timing.

I quit the comic book shop. I'm making minimum wage there while I'm making twice as much in technical support for a local printer manufacturer. My quitting isn't taken too well as Magic play has died at the local shop. When I worked Saturdays, I told everyone who called that someone would eventually be there to play Magic even if it was me. When I quit Saturdays, the new weekend employee never persuaded players to come in to play. Magic has died at the store. Fortunately for them, they now hold Star Wars tournaments including regionals.


Origins. I have to work at my job the entire weekend and spend the time fuming.

My former employer has a grand opening sale at their new location. I give them a box of 5th edition starter decks to give away during the weekend. The store doesn't contact anyone about prizes or giveaways except for the local radio station.

I work the Urza's Destiny Pre-Release tournament and regret it. I take a day off from work and drive by myself. I work the entire day and get 2/3 of a box and 2 pre-release cards. I also miss the fun of playing in pre-release tournaments. The tournament is cut short because the organizers have had no sleep after a long drive. I've persuaded several players to stay in the main tournament as we would normally run side events until we ran out of cards. This proved to be not the case and I had several disgruntled players on my hands. The organizers also didn't feed me. Always feed your judges.


I stop by the comic store and I see several of the starter decks I'd given to them for the grand opening. They're being sold at regular retail price. I grimace but say nothing.


Mercadian Masques Pre-release tournament. Learning from the last pre-release, I decide to play. My friends and I travel to a different location then we normally play at. I make the final eight and lose because I forget the when a player drops to zero life he's dead. I dealt one point of damage to my opponent. He reacted by gaining five life. I forgot that I could deal another point of damage in reacting to his life gain and kill him. Failure to do this will cost me the semi-finals.

During the tournament, one of my opponents stares at me for a few seconds, then says "Hey, I know you. You're the judge that runs the state championship tournament every year!" I beam with pride, being recognized as a judge months after I worked the tournament.

The second day, only 16 players showed up so the tournament was replaced with a series of booster drafts. The organizers were one pre-release card short of giving one to everyone so I volunteered to forfeit my card.


Kentucky States Championship. Since I'm pathetic at deck construction, I decide to work States. The kind folks who run this event feed me, not just once but twice! Feed me and I'm yours.

I get pelted with questions about the Echo Counter rule. Several players were arguing about the use of counter to show that echo had been paid. I refer such complaints to the head judge. This later becomes a debate on the judges list.

I see few other questions, but I do get to be the "hand of god" as I watch a game. I get to reach into the playing area during one player's turn and I double tap on an Endless Wurm that he forgot to sacrifice his Rancor to. I hate to do this, but this is a serious tournament and "Life's not fair."

I play in a local, poorly advertised tournament and win with an obscure deck. There's only 7 players and everyone else is playing a deck that will never be posted on The Dojo. I claim my box of cards and crawl out of the gaming shop before everyone realizes the I was a semi-professional playing novices. Not only did I win the tournament, I did it with a Kormus Bell/Mystic Compass/Stinging Barrier deck.

Hmmm...After seeing what the other players played I'm considering going back to host a deck building seminar for the other players. I'd have to do it using my own cards but I'll consider the sacrifice a down payment on my future karma. Plus there should be a convention coming up in Feburary again.

Daryl Janisch
Level 1 Judge

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