Magic-League Union of the State Postcard

Written by Gerrardfo on September 12, 2010

Recently Weedmonkey posted an article that was his variant of a grab-bag post. Scholars of said literature may have noticed I was qualified with the word "former" in one of my job descriptions. If it wasn't already inconceivable, I've ascertained ways to become even less visible on this league. I also was out of the country and thus unable to post an article around my birthday, which marked a change of pace for me. So, right now I'm going to amerliorate the situation by writing an article that might be about something, but for the most part'll be unclear.

1) The Top 10 Magic-League games ever played

This was a real winner of a topic. Such games would include game one of CMA-Flippi's inebriated match on New Year's Eve with goats.dec in a Legacy mini, which he won. I'm not jealous of his success or anything. Not at all. I just wish I could've...well...yeah.

It's fine. Whatever.

Another game probably would have come from a Homelands Highlander mini that CMA-Flippi hosted a while back when I was away. Because Homelands Highlander is the most skill-intensive format on the face of this Earth, I am sure a play-by-play of one of the games would be one of the most-read texts of this century. Sadly, I don't have any logs of the matches. But if i did, one of the games would read something like:

CMA-Flippi won the dice roll and pondered his options before declaring "Draw first". His opponent, Not-Gerrardfo, sighed and shipped back his opening seven cards. He frowned at his next six but kept them regardless. He dropped an Aysen Abbey and passed the turn. CMA-Flippi responded with an emoticon expressing the existential angst that was probably ahead for Not-Gerrardfo. CMA drew, plopped a Castle Sengir on the table, and passed. Not-Gerrardfo pounded the deck and shouted, "One Time!" before drawing and...ending his turn. CMA smiled and flashed an Aysen Abbey, which promptly found its way into play and went sideways with Castle Sengir to produce a Death Speakers. Not-Gerrardfo exhaled and drew for the turn before shaking his head and passing.

Then I think it becomes draw-go until Not-Gerrardfo gets his head bashed in enough. I'm pretty sure the remainder of the games I'd write about would be from various master and invitational top eights.

2) Ethereal Tournament

This article concept covers a dream-like trance in which which I progress through multiple hazy experiences with playing Magic. At one point I had scripted myself suddenly playing Magic aboard a flying blimp while holograms of my spells are displayed across a giant battlefield. Nobody has ever had that idea before, right? Another endearing moment from that article would've been me casting a Mountain Goat in a game that soon transformed into a DuelMasters game. I can't catch a break with Mountain Goat; he always comes off the top and wins.

3) Top 10 Magic-League judges of all time (of all time!)

Niknight, Clariax, CMA-Flippi, laplie, uhh...some other guys...

Well, that was fast. In all seriousness, somebody should explore this topic at a later date.

4) Judge Test changes

I was absent for most of the discussion about modifying the requirements for the judge test. I don't think my input would've altered the outcome, but I do have some opinions about the matter. First, Weedmonkey has committed an egregious error by assuming that there's some variety of summertime virus in the Northern Hemisphere which redirects people elsewhere to make other plans. There is nothing else to do.

But in all seriousness, as far as Weedmonkey's point about cohesion: I don't know if the assumption can be made that cohesion amongst judges will be unilaterally increased. There is certainly more opportunity for that to occur, but there's always the chances we'll pick up handfuls of judges who will run ten minis then drop off the face of the planet (not everyone has to pass training). Conversely, it would be possible that incoming judges who score a seven want to interact more to improve their understanding of the rules; this assumption can't always be made, though. However, there is a great point that this change lowers the barrier between the judge community and players because it's easier to become a judge, and it means we've made an effort to respond to years of discussion about the passing score for the judge test and whether people who score a 7 could just run minis instead. Now they can be judges.

This advancement is on the path of the years of problems with the judge test difficulty. At one point in time, the judge test was simply too hard. The league has modified the pool of questions, attributed difficulty ratings to questions and set tests to only have certain quantities of each difficulty, reformatted how many of each difficulty the test had, rewrote many questions, and now has lowered the passing score since those days. There may still be issues with ensuring people don't receive tests loaded with the same types of questions, but that's another matter.

I'm not fond of lowering the requirements for passing the judge test further, but there are many more considerations at hand. Firstly, I have no compilation of the number of 7/10s from the previous few judge test results. Even sparser data exists regarding the number of 7/10 candidates who make a silly error on one question and later score an 8 or 9 (or 10) and become a judge three months later. Second, I haven't calibrated the quality of questions from a few resets ago to the present pool of questions. Third, I haven't heard all of the arguments. I prefer to have a high standard for passing the judge test; however, this standard should also enable a good number of applicants to pass. If other judges can watch the people who become judges now with a 7/10 and ensure everyone is up to speed with the rules, that's perfectly fine.

5) Practice

No, I still don't think we need a 'practice' judge test. It'd be wiser to focus available resources on developing the actual judge test on Magic-League. Maybe retired questions from the judge test could go somewhere...?

6) Staff Changes

It's about time that Kaesh was on staff...and that we had more J2 promotions. J2 promotions don't occur as frequently as they did four years ago. In the span of a year, GRAH, CMA-Flippi, niknight, Shyft-, Pekken, Ronnan, Noremac, and a couple of others all received J2 status. I too far removed to comment on the quality of current J1s who could be eligible for J2, but there will likely be some contenders here and there in the next several months.

And yeah, I don't know what else I could contribute to staff changes. I'm sure I could review the history of staff changes on Magic-League, but it would be a rather uneventful history if I excluded everything I covered before this article.

7) Dead and Gone

This upcoming year will be busier than the previous two ones for me. Thus, I say yet another goodbye to the league. And this time, as I said a few months ago and is growing truer by the day: I doubt I'm returning. I've slowly drifted apart from the league with fewer and fewer responsibilities, but I know there's nothing left for me to do in the present. I have spread what I knew to other people, and it is my hope there will be more people who will be inspired to improve the league. I barely had started high school when I began browsing the league. I was fifteen when I became a judge. When I was almost seventeen years old, I was informed I would be the theoretical head of the league.  Now I'm twenty years old, and I'm figuring out my post-collegiate plans. Back then I had ample time to spend while determined to help the league in any way I could. Nowadays, I'm extremely busy, and my heart isn't in the same place it used to be. I enjoy playing magic these days in a casual group of a few friends from college, and sometimes I feel up to journeying to Friday Night Magic. Last Fall I went to two PTQs. I don't know if I'll play a PTQ or two this Fall, but I'd like to hope I can keep Magic in my life somehow, even if it's only a few pre-releases (I'm excited for Scars of Mirrodin). I started playing Magic tournaments with a handful or pre-releases;, maybe that's how I'll be finishing Magic.

This league runs on volunteers. These are the people who put in dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of hours of their time to make all of Magic-League's daily activities possible. We've mentioned this fact many times, but it's always important to state that we're not walking away as paid employees. I could have spent my time in the league at a job in real life and made some money. However, one thing the league's volunteerism has taught me is how crucial the non-monetary side of a position is. I feel like I made a difference to a community of players who just wanted to practice and play one of their hobby games. That meant more to me at that juncture in my past than a small paycheck. In the present I contribute to organizations that seek to serve a specific college campus community; I enjoy working for those because the league taught me about the importance of those communities. Additionally, my work on the league never intefered too badly with schoolwork; I could complete whatever assignments I had in the background. I wanted to be the best student I could be, and Magic-League conveniently had me at a computer, so I could type an essay while attending to league matters.

If I look back to the halfway mark of the previous decade, then I see a far different Magic-League. When I first became active (and later a J1) on the league, nico was the judge director, Koen was relatively active, and LordHawk was a force as a judge manager. The judge script was in v2, most people used an older play application, and we didn't have that complex of a system for on-site coverage. The judge test was immensely simplistic, and fears about cheating crept around. Masters took even longer to run, and the results for them were uploaded weeks after the tournament concluded. There have certainly been a lot of changes since those...days. And I haven't been an integral part towards all of those changes. Now when I log on to the serve, I recognize fewer and fewer names. I was shocked several months ago when a soon-to-be judge sent me a message asking if I was a new admin. I was the judge director here for a little over a year; I was the driving factor behind the coverage system for a long time as well. I have faded into the dust of the league since then.

And, after four or five years of lingering around the league, I can comment on some of the bigger league figures who I believe had an incredible impact on the league. There needs to be a longer article about the entire list of these people, but I'll mention just three names for now. For the first name, I should preface by saying the person who has had the greatest impact on the judge department never was a judge. That person is Wiley. In one of the rockier times on the league, Wiley pushed nico's buttons to the point that nico said enough. In the span of a few minutes after nico announced to the staff that he was abdicating, Neo advocated on my behalf and it was decided I would pick up at the helm as judge director. So, yeah - Wiley set the ball rolling for the massive changes in the judge department administration over the past three years. The league hasn't had a judge director retain the position for as long as nico had it since then, which isn't a bad thing, but is just a fact I've noticed. LordHawk is another name to consider for this list given his string of contributions to the league several years back when he was an administrator, and how in those days he pushed me to strive harder to make a positive impact to the league. Additionally, pG used to motivate me to be more active as a player and on the league in general.

Some of the conversations I love to see are the ones in which people decide to be ambitious for the league. Those, along with the occasional thankful PM, confirm my belief that I helped the right community. I am extremely happy that EarthPunk, neosystems and Weedmonkey all stepped up for coverage. The league is fortunate to have groups of these sorts of people who will take the intiative necessary such that elements of the site don't fall apart. One of the ways I became so involved across multiple portions of the site was to find wholes or things to be improved and I attempted to ameloriate them.

Oh, and one of these days I might publish some logs from specific channels.

8) mrbotski's Dream House

A day in the life of mrbotski could be exposed by a tell-all article detailing his daily exploits. You've never likely read prose as chilling as... well... that article would aspire to have.

mrbotski entered the rustic shack in which he deposited his recent acquisitions from the armory. He scanned the room briefly before exploring the inner sanctum of the...CARD NOT FOUND.

9) How to Ascend the Staff Ranks in Six Months

A simple series of steps for climbing the ranks from a player to a staff member in a couple of months.

Every so often in #judges4you somebody brings up how quickly each person moved through their ranks of judgeship. Years ago I had the record of two or three months as a J1, six months as a J2, a year as J3, fourteen months as a J5, then two years as a J4.

The scale is tipped.

Weedmonkey might have surpassed me in this respect because he became an IRCop faster.

10) How to be Useful

Any ideas?

11) Coverage

It's hard to keep the coverage train going for lengthy periods of time. If there's ever a period when coverage is inactive, you should probably step up. Weedmonkey would be super excited.

12) How to End Articles on Magic-League

Like this. I might log onto the league again in a couple of months. Until then, I'm gone in a flash

Back to Magic: the Gathering Articles

by R4nd0m on 2010-09-12 23:44 CET

I will stop my trolling lest I want to find myself banned.

by WildCard on 2010-09-13 01:06 CET

Topic 3... I nominate...

by AppleofEris on 2010-09-13 01:17 CET

On the subject of coverage, soon I'll be back to writing my sub-par prose on the pros of M-L. I had planned to cover the past ext Master, but let's be honest here folks, no one wants to read about a faeries mirror-match.

by Counterlife on 2010-09-13 05:25 CET

Dude, we need to hear about Botski. I believe I defeated him long ago....but like Yawgmoth, cant be sure.

by Djinn on 2010-09-13 09:06 CET

Too bad there's no place for me in your memory :( Thanks for your hard work in here, you made the difference.

by Buffalo_Wing on 2010-09-14 19:48 CET

[15:45:02] <&SarcasticRat> nobody cares

shipping along the message obv
btw your alleged lack of free time in college is incredible, in the literal sense of the word

by snoopster on 2010-09-16 22:19 CET

you talk about yourself too much

by kendiggy on 2010-11-21 06:19 CET

This has to be one of the best articles I've read on this league. Probably due to the nostalgia, I was online during CMA-Flippi's drunken new years eve goat party, I remember it. Fairly certain I was intoxicated myself.
Gerrardfo, if you never return, you will be missed by us old-school guys. Good luck with yourself, it's for the best that you move on with your life.

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