Judge John Hodgman Episode 249: A Toast to Serra Angels


Judge Hodgman and Bailiff Jesse rule on toaster ovens, purchasing "singles" in card games and whether a couple should go for the animal trifecta - two puppies and a kitten.



David's Patreon

Looks like the Patreon is up!

Great Episode

The wife and I recently purchased a toaster oven which isn't quite as nice as the ones Judge Hodgman and Bailiff Jesse discussed, but does produce a fine piece of toast at a very economical price. Waring Pro TCO650 Digital Convection Oven

With regard to the Magic topic, there is a very straightforward and economical resolution to the mismatched decks issue. Wizards has a line of Magic Duel Decks (also referred to as Clash Packs) that provide two well balanced decks to play against each other. This product can be obtained from many fine card shops or online retailers for around $20. It's a great option for those wanting to play fair and competitive games of Magic without spending enormous amounts of money.

The death of Toastita

On the eve of our 13th wedding anniversary our gifted toaster oven Krups ProChef Premium died. Only to be followed up with this episode of JJHO. Thanks to you two we welcomed Toastito into our home. (Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS)
Let's see how it fits into our lives.

Manny G


If the card game in dispute is indeed Magic the Gathering, there are some formats that may even the playing field. They could try playing Pauper, or Drafting. You can look up the details, but the basic idea is that in Pauper you play with decks made of only common cards. In Draft you pass a random assortment of cards around, usually fresh out of the pack, and one by one build a deck on the fly.
You could probably translate these game formats to other card games as well.

toaster oven

After hearing the chat about toaster ovens, i looked it up on thesweethome site and it turns out Jesse's oven has been dethroned by a different model...which according to the description, does make perfect toast.


Star Wars Card Game

Hey Jessie, I know you talked about Magic a lot, but I heard that single reference to Star Wars Collectible Card Game, don't think that slipped passed.

I also used to play casually many years ago, but lapsed for a decade or so, recently though I discovered something awesome, someones turned it into a free to play online version!


Even if just for a quick trip down memory lane, you can watch others play a game or two, it's fun!


Swap decks

If you only have one deck and they only have one deck, after the first game, swap decks. Now you are playing with the other persons cards, and get to experience what it's like. (This also helps show who is the better planner, and who is the better player) I would play this way with my wife.

Alternative: Make a deck that is specific to playing this one person (and they do the same). My brother and I would battle back and forth with two decks that were very evenly matched, and we had so many cards that when it came time to play others, we would have a separate deck for that.


I'm only at the beginning of this episode, but I just have to tell you, I'd never heard of "the sweethome" before and you just changed my life. I"m getting married in September and I'm 100% using that site to choose everything for my registry.

They should absolutely throw you some $$ for that ringing endorsement!



Hi Judge,

One small edit to make on this podcast. Misophonia does not apply to just any sound. I think nobody likes the sound of people chewing. As someone who suffers from this condition, I can tell you that it is more than just "I don't like the sound of nails on a chalk board."

The triggers are almost always incredibly unusual. For example, my biggest trigger is the sound of a carbonated beverage being poured into a glass (even worse if that glass has ice that jingles around). The sensation I experience is much worse than merely disgust or discomfort. I have a reaction ranging from needing to vomit and wanting to punch something. In fact this feeling is so overwhelming I usually stand up and quickly walk (or run) away from the room with my hands over my ears. I particularly struggle with certain commercials around the holidays featuring polar bears as the sound is so exaggerated and terrible.

This condition is minor in the grand scheme of things, but it is still something that causes a small portion of the population GREAT discomfort. I would like to politely ask you and the rest of the normal population to stop claiming you have it if you don't like the sound of chewing or babies crying or whatever. Also I love your podcast.

$2500 deck to blow his friend out of the water

That's right, only half the cost suggested by the esteemed judge! Unfortunately, to upgrade to Vintage, we would have to increase our budget to $15K, so a tier 1 legacy deck will have to do. No Serra Angels, although Entreat the Angels does a nice imitation.

3 Volcanic Island
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
2 Arid Mesa
3 Tundra
3 Island
2 Plains
2 Monastery Mentor
3 Snapcaster Mage
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Force of Will
2 Counterspell
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Terminus
1 Entreat the Angels
1 Council’s Judgement
4 Counterbalance
4 Sensei's Divining Top
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Flusterstorm
3 Vendilion Clique
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Red Elemental Blast
2 Pyroblast
1 Wear/Tear
1 Rest in Peace
1 Containment Priest
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Engineered Explosives

Jesse's Serra Angels might be worth some dough

Loved hearing two of my weird nerd interests (fake internet law, MTG) intersect on this week's episode. I totally agree with the Judge's ruling that Matt has violated the spirit of his friendly games. (I will, however, note that buying singles is often financially cheaper in the long run). I would suggest that Matt and his friend try playing "Pauper," in which both players use only commons to construct their decks or otherwise agree to limit the number of rare and/or powerful cards in order to keep games casual, fair, and fun.

Also, fun fact: if Jesse's Serra Angels are from the early '90s, there's a good chance they're worth some money. If they're from the Alpha or Beta printings (which were printed in '93), they could be worth anywhere from $30-$65 on up, even in "heavily played" condition (later printings however, are worth significantly less). Either way, Jesse might have a small pile of cardboard gold sitting in his dad's basement.

Friendly Magic Duels

When my brother and I used to play MTG, we would do Draft tournaments where the decks are constructed randomly by selecting cards turn-by-turn from freshly opened booster decks. (see :http://magic.wizards.com/en/gameinfo/gameplay/formats/boosterdraft). This lets us play on a level playing field. The single buyer, in the spirit of the game, should restrain from using his serious tournament deck with his friend, and only use it at the hobby store on tournament night.

MTG also conveniently offers "duel decks" for the casual two player game. These are pre-constructed, evenly matched decks, which are perfect passing a sunday afternoon among friends.

I would love to serve in the capacity of expert game witness for all future disputes.

Regarding your card game ruling

Your honor, I wish to offer additional context to your ruling on the purchase of single cards for card games. If I may, even though I largely agree with your final ruling (and would be happy to contribute a few cards!), I think the crux of the argument is slightly off. Magic is technically one game, but even the developers behind it often explain that it is really several different games with their own philosophies that are just housed under one common rules umbrella. It sounds as though one player wants to get into more serious competitive play, while the other is happy to only casually enjoy the game as a hobby. This is a relatively common issue, but one that is difficult to navigate, especially without guidance from a fake internet judge. If Matt is interested in getting into tournament-level gaming, then restricting him from buying singles not only impacts his chance for success, but may also keep him from being able to compete at all. Matt needs to acknowledge however, that not everyone finds that game to be as fun, and should try to maintain a smaller collection of decks to use with his friend, rather than trying to coax him into a more cutthroat game. I hope this helps.


Longtime Magic player, and featured writer for MTGPrice.com, a website all about Magic singles

Dog owner Dreamer

This is Patrick, and I just wanted to say how excited I was to hear my dispute aired on the show!! I'm a long time listener, and this was my first time sending in to any program ever, so please excuse me if I seem overly excited. I hold Judge Hodgman’s opinions very highly, and the same with Jessie’s. I felt Jessie was a little harsh, considering he doesn’t know all the details in our situation, but nonetheless I was extremely pleased to be on the show! Thanks again!!

My husband and I own two dogs

My husband and I own two dogs and a cat, which we acquired over the course of a year. I can't imagine doing it any faster than that. We got the cat first, and I definitely think that helped things go smoothly. We also adopted dogs that are just out of puppy stage, otherwise I don't think we could have adopted them so close together. Try to rescue if you can! If you are patient, you can find the perfect match. Pets are awesome!

Thanks JJHO for mentioning

Thanks JJHO for mentioning rescues, definitely the way to go.

We adopted two puppies at once (sisters) for all the reasons JH mentioned, then decided to do research (a little backwards). And basically there are no trainers who will tell you this is a good idea, when two dogs grow up together then they can become overly dependent on one another and/or get in vicious fights. We spent a lot of time training the dogs to be okay being alone. Also it is definitely not easier to train them because you have to separate them or they will distract each other. Plus when one gets worked up when people come over then the other one gets all worked up as well and they compete by jumping for attention.

I think it worked out well for us, because we have one dog who is dominant and the other is very submissive, but we may have had way more problems if we had two dominant dogs. All that being said, I love our puppies and most importantly we have a pretty low bar for manners. I think it can work, but encourage you to do more research and examine what you expect from your dogs.

Also, I think I'd get the cat first because it is smaller so that when the dogs move in they already know who owns the place it may be easier to train the dogs not to chase it.

I think Jessie had a good

I think Jessie had a good suggestion near the end. He didn't really know the terminology, but a limited format like a sealed deck league or solomon draft, depending on how much product you want to use is a great way to keep things even between two players.