I love a good community debate, so I thought I should share a few thoughts on killing the three-Judge system.
First of all, I was a bit surprised by the heavy-handedness of Jeff Donais’ email. It’s fine to say something like,”Please understand that we’ve done a lot of research and put a lot of thought into this”… But asking judges not to waste their time expressing their views is just the sort of thing that would alienate me as a judge. After all, the community of judges probably knows better even than Wizards what the impact of this decision will be at their local stores; why not include their feedback in making the decision, instead of excluding it even from discussing it afterwards?
The other thing that worries me is the conclusion that the current system isn’t needed. Why do I worry that Wizards may have underestimated the importance of three-judge system for small stores? Simple… Because sometimes it’s been necessary to get tournaments sanctioned at Your Move Games! YMG isn’t exactly a small town store, but every now and then we can only sanction a draft or sealed deck tournament because of the three-judge system. Sure, we could probably have found a way around it – perhaps by bullying one of the judges to skip playing that week – but I know I won’t be that judge. Is Magic really better off if one of the other people who loves it has to choose between playing and judging in a small, low-K tournament?
Wizards gets a lot of grief when they do pretty much anything, and as I’ve said before, I’m generally pretty impressed with how they run things. So I’m happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. I just hope they recognize that some of the signals they send from on high may not be the ones they want us to receive.