Interview with skey23 by Ally
Pojo Screen Name:
Person I’m interviewing: Simon Key
Ally: Before we get started, I would like to thank
you for taking some time out of your life to do this
interview with me. It's always a pleasure to
interview some of the best judges in the country
Simon: It’s a pleasure!
Simon: Good…yes…but not one of the best!
Ally: Eh don't be modest now. Can you tell the
readers a little bit about your judging career?
Like, for instance, what made you want to judge the
card game, Yu-Gi-Oh!?
Simon: Well my son got into the game when he was
Simon: Naturally, I wanted to be involved with what
he was doing, so I started playing as well.
Simon: I quickly figured out the game was waaaay
more complicated than I initially thought, so I
decided to actively learn the rules so I could help
teach my son how to play better.
Simon: After going to a few events, it was
unfortunately clear that not all of the Judges in my
area kept up with the game 'properly', IMHO.
Simon: So I volunteered my services to the PTO so I
could help make the Judges better and make the
gameplay better for the players.
Simon: It blossomed from there...lol.
Ally: What was your first judging experience like?
Simon: It was a blast!
Simon: It was a Sneak Peak though.
Simon: What I remember most was all of my friends
freaking out seeing me there working instead of
Ally: Oh? Did you enjoy playing a lot before you
Simon: Yes, I still do! I just don't have as much
time as I used to for playing.
Ally: What did you enjoy playing when you had/have
Simon: I always played off the wall decks. I've
never been the one to run 'cookie' decks. I've
always been a fan of theme decks. Basically, I'd
just sit down and go through my collection and find
a card or two, then build a deck around those
cards. It's quite fun actually.
Ally: What was the most fun deck you built?
Simon: I'd probably have to say my "Batteryman
Simon: My most fun deck right now would have to be
my Volcanic deck.
Ally: Can you explain what both decks are please?
Simon: Sure. The "Batteryman"/Thunder Deck was
basically designed to get all 3 "Batteryman AAs" on
the field at 3000 ATK each for the OTK!
Simon: My Volcanic Deck is just a burn deck designed
around the Volcanic Monsters. No Monarchs, nothing
but Pyro monsters (except Marshmallon).
Ally: That's pretty interesting. Do people look to
you for strategy ideas? You make some interesting
decks from what I seen. What is your most strategic
idea you came up with?
Simon: Strategy? Me? Not on your life!...lol.
Yes, I may build some interesting decks, but they
are far from being competitively strategic. The
decks I build are always for fun, because that's how
I play. I don't play to win, I play to have fun!
Ally: Fun decks = strategies too, so I thought I
would ask. When did your "passion" for judging start
to grow? How was the sneak peak you judge? Did you
make a lot of messups?
Simon: I had so much fun at that first Sneak Peak
that I knew it was what I wanted to do.
Simon: Me....mess up? How dare you!...lol.
Simon: Of course I did!...Who wouldn't!...
Simon: I'm just glad I had the resources available
to me so I could study the rules and get better each
Ally: Nice. What was the sneak peak you judged?
Simon: It was the set after Flaming Eternity believe
it or not.
Simon: That would be...The Lost Millennium I
Simon: But I had been involved with online forums
for almost a year before that.
Simon: Answering rulings questions and whatnot.
Ally: How was your first regional experience for
Simon: It was very scary to be honest. If I
remember correctly, it was a Convention in Dallas.
We ended up having none of the other Judges show up,
so it was just me and the Head Judge for close to
Simon: It all worked out though, and I'm still here.
Ally: Wow, was that regional hell for you?
Simon: Yup. But it was fun seeing all the CosPlay
folks parading around checking out the game and
Ally: Cosplay? You had an anime convention there or
Simon: Yes, that regional was during an Anime
Convention in Dallas.
Ally: Oh nice. Glad you made it through the
regional. When was your first head judging
Simon: My first Head judging experience was a
Regional in Austin, Tx. in 2005. It was the same
weekend as a VS 10K event. I think we had 60 people
total for the event, so it wasn't very exhausting.
Ally: That's a very small event. How was your first
SJ judging experience?
Simon: Believe it or not, my first SJC Judging
experience just happened to be my very first SJC
Head Judging experience as well!
Simon: It was the Arlington, TX. SJC.
Simon: It was definitely a new experience for me as
I had never Head Judged an event with that many
Simon: It was a good event and a fantastic learning
experience for not only myself, but for my staff as
Ally: How was SJ Houston '07 was for you?
Simon: The 2007 Houston
Simon: SJC was by far the best SJC I'd Head Judged
Simon: I had 2 other SJC HJ experiences under my
belt, plus Nationals, plus tons of other Regional
and Sneak Peak HJ experience.
Simon: I had way more confidence in my abilities.
Simon: And it was also quite fun doing the YGO
Abridged stuff on the microphone!...
Simon: "Attention Duelists!...My hair welcomes you
to the 2007 Houston SJC!"...
Simon: That was priceless!
Simon: I was more relaxed and just had more fun
doing the event than before.
Ally: That was the best part of your announcements.
You should do it again at the next SJ you head judge
Simon: We'll see. If and when I get that opportunity
again, I'll probably try to work something into the
Ally: Your announcement should be like "Yu-Gi-Oh! is
not serious business!" Haha that was funny when
Simon Sangpukdee said that at Durham, SJ. Got any
Hjing events coming up?
Simon: Just a couple of Yugioh Regional events, a
WoW Sneak Peak, and possibly a couple of WoW
Ally: Wait, you Head judge WoW too? How much of an
experience is that for you?
Simon: I absolutely LOVE the World of Warcraft TCG!
Simon: I'm in the same boat with WoW that I am with
Yugioh, I just don't have enough time to play as I'd
Simon: How much experience do I have? Well, I've
Judged/HJd several regional Events. I Judges/Shadow
HJd the Austin Darkmoon Faire; I worked Nationals
and I am working Worlds in a few weeks.
Ally: WoW worlds? Oh! Please do tell what you will
be doing there?
Simon: Whatever Edwin Teh and UDE wants me to...
Simon: Edwin because he's the HJ, and UDE
Ally: Are you nervous about it? This your first time
judging anything to do with worlds?
Simon: Yes, I'm nervous about it. Who wouldn't
be? This is the World Championships after all. The
expectations for the Judging are way higher than any
other event before.
Simon: And yes, this will be the first World event
I've judged. Yugioh Worlds doesn't need too many
judges seeing as how there's only like 30 players
Ally: What's harder to judge? WoW or YGO!?
Simon: Yugioh..by far....lol.
Simon: WoW doesn't have any of the translation
issues that lead to one-off rulings that don’t
follow the known mechanics of the game.
Simon: You don't have to have a scientific
calculator to figure out if a card targets or not.
Simon: If it targets, it says 'target'. If it
doesn't target, then it doesn't have the word
'target' on it....lol.
Ally: Why can't YGO! be like that XD. Which out of
the two games do you like judging the most?
Simon: I like judging both events equally. I'm not
going to pick one over the
Ally: You know how the readers are going to want to
know ;). Was there a time when you judged (either
event) that you just wanted to leave the room? What
were some of your toughest calls?
Simon: I've never been 'fed up' enough to want to
leave the room, at least not as a result of any
rulings issues. The closest I've ever come to
leaving an event was when somebody came behind the
Judge Station and stole my stuff, and only my
stuff. They left all of the other bags, laptops and
backpacks there. I was a bit upset about that to
say the least.
Simon: The toughest calls are almost always Life
Simon: Especially when both players are only using
calculators and something like "Pot of Avarice" has
Ally: I'm sorry that happened to you. Did you ever
find the culprit? What was the most challenging
ruling you ever had when judging an event?
Simon: Yes, I know who did it.
Simon: I'd say one of the most challenging
experiences was trying to explain to a player how
Priority worked quickly enough so he understood why
he wasn't able to get the effects of his "DMoC",
"Stratos" and 2 "Diamond Dudes" after being Special
Summoned by "Return from the Different Dimension"
when his opponent responded with "Bottomless Trap
Simon: I should say...get the effects of all of
those monsters before being removed by "RftDD".
Ally: Yikes! What's the funniest part about being a
judge in your opinion?
Simon: For me, it's knowing that I'm helping to make
the events that I work more accurate (rulings wise)
and enjoyable for the players themselves.
Simon: Plus, I like traveling so that's a good
'perk' as well...lol.
Ally: Where was the farthest place you been to
Simon: Yugioh Nationals 2006 in San Francisco,
California I believe is the farthest away from where
Ally: Did you drive or fly there?
Simon: I flew.I've made that drive a few times and I
wasn't looking forward to attempting it again..lol.
Ally: I can imagine it was a long drive XD. Moving
on, how do you go about teaching the new duelists
that start in the game? Also, what tips do you give
out to new judges who want to get started?
Simon: For new duelists, I simply teach the basics
and then start playing with them. I always suggest
they stick with one deck until they know each and
every card inside out w/o having to read it. Once
they've done that, then they can move on to the
bigger and better cards...lol. Of course, they are
free to do what they want, those are just my
Simon: For new Judges, my biggest piece of advice is
to stay active on Forum sites. Ask questions,
answer questions (whether you are right or wrong),
and know where to find the rulings.
Simon: Simply knowing where to find the rulings can
make your life so much easier.
Simon: Especially for those that don't have
photographic, or semi-photographic memories...
Ally: That's some helpful advice. When you started
judging was there ever times you doubted yourself on
anything at all or just about to give up on
Simon: When I started, I doubted myself constantly.
Simon: So, I started looking everything up before I
answered any questions
Simon: After a while, my confidence grew and now I
only look things up when I need to 'prove'
something, or to show folks that the rulings are out
there, you just need to know where to look.
Ally: What was the toughest thing you had to do
while being a judge?
Simon: Probably my first DQ.
Ally: What were your feelings on your first DQ?
Simon: It was pretty difficult.
Simon: He was one of my friends that just had a bad
day and did the wrong thing.
Ally: Wow I'm sorry. What was taking the judge test
like for you? Did you feel like you want to topple
over after taking all three of them or fairly easy
Simon: I'm not a good one to gauge the judge tests.
Simon: I completed each test in 30 mins or less.
Ally: Good timing. Alright, do you think a judge
level means anything when it comes to judging?
Simon: Yes and no.
Simon: Your ability to judge, and how good you are,
is pretty much based on how much experience you've
got, IMHO. Rules Knowledge does not make you a good
Simon: You have to know how to deal with players and
organizers and other judges as well.
Simon: You have to be able to do the little mundane
tasks as well as the rulings w/o difficulty.
Simon: While having a higher level Rules Knowledge
usually means more respect; it doesn't mean you can
work a Regional to save your life...lol.
Simon: I know quite a few Level 1 Judges in both WoW
and Yugioh that can run circles around some RK 3
Judges I know.
Ally: What advice do you have to any new judges that
will read this interview?
Simon: Stay active in the forum community. It's more
help than you may realize.
Simon: Stay current on the rulings, including the
Simon: Don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter
how silly they may seem to you.
Simon: Don't be afraid to be wrong. How else can we
learn to improve if we're never wrong?
Ally: What do you think you improved over time as a
Simon: My ability to manage other judges and
delegate duties to them.
Ally: Hm, here's a new set of questions for you.
What do you think about the forbidden list?
Simon: I like the forbidden list.
Ally: Would you make any changes? If so what would
Simon: Foolish Burial to 1.
Simon: Cyber Jar unbanned!
Simon: Cyber Jar FTW!!!
Ally: o.o you're nuts XD. Do you play in regionals
Simon: No. I wish I could, but sadly, I can't.
Ally: How did you get modded for the UDE forums?
Simon: I was asked by a UDE member if I wanted to
Ally: Were you jumping up and down in excitement?
Ally: Did you do the same when I got you modded for
Simon: See, that's a trick question...lol…
Simong: I was happy, yes, but not as happy as I was
to get modded for the official UDE Forums.
Ally: Oh I see :P. Where do you think the direction
of the metagame is heading to?
Simon: I honestly have no clue.
Ally: Got any new deck ideas planned out?
Simon: I've got a few...
Simon: I'm looking forward to building a Gladiator
Simon: And a Cloudian Deck.
Ally: Thank you Simon. Well that concludes the
interview can you please give a closing statement?
Simon: Just to be true to yourself. Have fun
playing and Judging. And remember, this is just a
crazy kids card game after all!