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Ray Powers

*Level III Judge

*WOTC Tournament Organizer for Arizona & San Diego


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The Hidden Magic Online Setting


Before I talk about my main topic today, Iíd like to spread a little bit of advice to everyone out there in our industry, especially if you are a store owner, but even if you are just a player in some of the wonderful card games out there:


Prosecute your thieves.


Whether itís a shoplifter or a kid stealing cards from another kid, get the police involved. Prosecute them, whether they are minors or not. There seems to some sense of leniency towards card thieves I just donít understand. If someone is a thief, THEY ARE A THIEF. The fact that they stole a couple of fetch lands instead of a television does not make them any less of a thief, and they should not get any leeway because of it. Too many stores and people I know seem to think its ok to tell them if they return it, it will be all good, and it sure is, for the thief. He hasnít been penalized in any way (except to give back cards that werenít his before this whole occurrence, so he has hardly lost anything), and even better, he is being let go to try again at a later date. Even if you just call their parents, most kids are used to being yelled at by their parents, and this is just going to be one more reprimand, with the total lack of actual behavioral change that comes from any parental conversation during the teen years. You may even just make them more annoyed at you for making them sit through another parent conversation, which just makes you the target next time they want to steal something.


No, the answer, quite simply, is to call the police, and have them arrested and taken away, and prosecute. The message it shows to all of your other players who may have thought about taking that random binder lying on the table is clear; if you get caught, you are going to jail. And for the good guys who just want to play, it sends a nice clear signal that you wonít put up with that kind of thing happening at your store. Most importantly, it gets the shoplifter/thief in just enough trouble that despite their moral standards, they are less likely to do it again now that they know, and have had inflicted upon them, the punishment they are going to get if they are caught.


This may sound mean, but itís hardly as bad as you may think. A first time minor thief is likely to get a few hours of community service and be required to write a letter of apology to the people they stole from. But, if they are caught again, they are likely to serve a little bit of juvenile detention time, and this point is made very clear to them during their first arrest.


If you canít tell, Iím a big believer in the scared straight philosophy.


Ok, enough preaching.


My real topic this week actually has very little to do with Magic Online, but Magic Online is a big part of the topic, so Iíll get to share my humorous Magic anecdote later on in the article.


Today I want to talk about level three judge compensation.  Itís not wildly publicized, but level three and up judges get some ďautomaticĒ compensation, if thatís what you want to call it. Every time a new set comes out, we get shipped some of the new set. I think they do it during this time with the expectation that we, the level three judges, are likely working the prerelease, so may not get to play with the new cards the same time everyone else gets to. Itís a wonderful thought on the part of Wizards of the Coast, a little thank you for the work we do day to day to support the community.


For those of you who wonder exactly what it is we do for the community, itís a pretty basic list. Primarily, our responsibility is to train new judges, and teach players the rules. We test potential judges, train them, and teach them how to run events professionally and efficiently. We help run events for your tournament organizers, travel to Pro Tours and Grand Prix, and in general make sure that the events you go to at any level are run at the highest level possible. We answer questions on a regular basis for the local community, and in general help to raise the total awareness of Magic rules in a community. Some of us even run Judge Schools, teaching judges how to run premier events, do deck checks, understand how players try to cheat, and how to resolve issues during events. In short, itís our job to be a community leader, and it often takes a lot more time that you would expect.


So, for Wizards to send us some product as a little thank you for all of our help, I personally am very gratified and thankful that they have thought of us and value our help.


That being said, I normally never actually do anything with my judge compensation product.


Itís not that I donít appreciate it, I do. But I am a storeowner, and a premier tournament organizer for Wizards of the Coast. I have boxes of product coming out of my ears. More often than not, when my judge compensation comes, I take a moment to think about how nice it is that Wizards does this for the level three judges, then I set the box off to the side, and often forget about it for a year or so.


So, when Wizardís of the Coast came to the level three judges recently and asked if we would like to potentially get our level three judge compensation on Magic Online instead of real product.


I jumped on this opportunity. While itís rare that you will see me on Magic Online, itís mainly because I seem to be unable to bring myself to actually spend money on virtual cards. I was in Magic Online from beta, and boy did I enjoy it, but when it came time to put my money down to continue to play, I just couldnít bring myself to do it. So I kept what little cards I had, nursed them as long as I could, then just kind of stopped playing Magic Online.


But I enjoyed it, and when Wizards said we could get our product online, it was a simple decision for me. The ability to play online was a very strong temptation, considering I normally am stuck at the house taking care of the kids, and donít get to play nearly as often as I would like. Compared to the ability to get product and stick it in a corner never to be used, this option seemed amazing to me.


So, starting with Fifth Dawn, I started getting my product online. My first thought when it actually came in was ďOh no, now I have to find a way to turn this Fifth Dawn into Draft sets and tickets so I can actually play.Ē


Boy, do I hate the Magic Online trading. Itís a madhouse to try to get noticed in the trading post, and trying to move product through the Message Board is very slow and time consuming, but with the help of conform from #mtgjudge, he got me started and Iíve been slowly but surely moving my product into draft sets so I could have some fun.


Thatís when I began to remember why I hate Magic Online. Itís because I forgot that there is a hidden setting in Magic Online that some people have miraculously set to On, but the default seems to be Off, as it is with my account.


What is that hidden setting? ďDraw another land after keeping a two land hand.Ē


If you can figure out where his setting is and how to change it, e-mail me!


Thanks for reading, talk to you next week.

Copyright 2001


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