I'm apparently in the minority here, and again, I admit I'm coming from a "casual gaming" background more than a hardcore tourney setting, but honestly the fact that there is no official Envoy system anymore seems far and away a better thing for the venues, allowing them to run more tournaments, with much more flexibility and, in general, a more laid back atmosphere.
Are there drawbacks? Sure. Untested, inexperienced judges are the obvious one. But they'll get experience, and it's the venue's responsibility to make sure they do their job. If they don't... well, then, make your case as to why the judge either shouldn't judge or needs to seriously step up, and if the situation doesn't improve, don't play there. That happens enough, the venue loses money on an investment, and they'll get a new judge who knows his stuff. The fact that this responsibility falls on the venue rather than WizKids is a good thing, freeing up time and resources that WK can devote to developing the game itself.
Of course, WizKids should run things at the Convention level, especially at ones where they have a significant official presence. But venue to venue? Let the stores and the players handle things. It's a game, not a matter of national security.
This theory has actually worked in real life. A venue I attended once in awhile several years ago had a "judge", but he was a facilitator and not knowledgeable in rules at all. He deferred to several senior players. The problem with these players is that they were dishonest and prize sharks. They would contest the rules even though they knew they were wrong in the hopes of a roll-off. This drove off new players and several people from my normal venue. When Wizkids went on hiatus and there was no prize support, the venue died. They don't run tourneys anymore from what I've seen.
If you have a problem with the judge, a serious problem, take it up with the venue. My biggest complaint about judges has nothing to do with rulings. There have been incorrect rulings, but my current judge has never made the same bad ruling once he's been shown the correct rule. That's about all I can ask of him. It has to do with judges just wanting their free LE prize and not giving two cents about the actual tourney. A former judge would collect everyone's sign in/team sheet, announce the pairings and then go play a different game in another room, yet he still got his prize every week. The prize is your reward for running things right and being there to be a "judge". If you're not doing that, you shouldn't be a judge.
"No, he was a pretty new player. After the match (a few rounds in) he came up to me as someone had told him who I was and asked me why I allowed the bad rules call since I "helped with he rules". And I told him pretty much the same thing I posted here.[/quote]"
I also want to chime in about what a class act you were in that game. The issue I have always had with playing against judges or higher ups in tournaments is that when they move against me, the rules are firm in their mind, right or wrong. I can move across the map and into position and find that I am wrong about a particular rule or worse, I am right and find myself ruled against. If everyone behaved with your class, the issue would never be and issue.
To some degree I think this echos a statement I once made to a player way back when. We were discussing a ruling, and he said he saw a post by the RA on HcRealms.
I told him I have a copy of the Players Guide, The PAC, The Rulebook, and The OHEAC. I could look it up in there and make a ruling based on what I read. If he had any particular place he wanted me to look in those guides I would.
He said, he would print out the post or I should go online and read the post. I told him "I dont go by Forum Posts, if he understands the essence of the ruling, I will listen."
He then insisted it was by the RA and it carried his weight. I then told him it wouldnt matter if the RA was here in person. If I made a ruling, I am sure he would abide by it.
Good to know, even an RA honors the Head Judge Doctrine.
"A Jester unemployed is nobody's fool." - The Court Jester "And so he says, I don't like the cut of your jib, and I go, I says it's the only jib I got, baby!
I don't play in large Heroclix events (the largest event I believe I have attended is a Mutations and Monsters prerelease), but is there any notion of a "head judge" in larger tournaments? In Yugioh, a head judge typically is considered to be the judge with the best knowledge of rules and whose rulings are considered to overrule other judges' rulings at regional and larger events. If a floor judge makes a ruling that you strongly believe is incorrect, you can choose to appeal to the head judge, who almost always gets the ruling right and overturns any incorrect rulings. Personally, I think this system is great and I've been satisfied with the results.