Level 2 Team Leader Certification Update

Written by Dustin de LeeuwL3, Netherlands

Written by Dustin de Leeuw
L3, Netherlands

The advanced Level 2 role of Team Leader Certification (TLC) was introduced as part of the NNWO a year ago. The documents supporting this certification have been updated. These changes were made after using the testing procedure for a year and collecting feedback from all people involved (Level 2s who tested for the TLC, Level 3s who were their Shadows, and GPHJs who were in charge). We added a lot of clarity and transparency, but the core of the process remains unchanged.


It is with pride that we present you the new Level 2 Team Leader Certification.

The TLC is a requirement to advance to Level 3, but interest in advancement to Level 3 is not a requirement to test for the TLC. The TLC indicates a judge can lead a team on Day 2 of a Grand Prix. The TLC is not needed or recommended for other tasks a Level 2 could perform such as being Head Judge of a PPTQ or acting as Head Judge or Team Leader of a Grand Prix public event. If you already have the TLC, just continue being awesome, as nothing changed for you!

It’s recommended that the GPHJ selects as many L2 Team Leaders on Sunday as they feel comfortable with. A judge with the TLC can lead a team without having a Shadow L3, but it is strongly recommended that all L2 Team Leaders have a L3 in their team. A judge seeking the TLC must also have a GPHJ who is wearing burgundy assigned to them. That GPHJ may not be assigned to more than one judge seeking the TLC. The TLC is valuable, but the feedback from the GPHJ and the L3 Shadow may be even more valuable. We designed this process to ensure that the candidate receives the feedback they deserve.

Speaking of the L3 Shadow: their role has been clarified. This is not a change in philosophy, but we received feedback that this philosophy needed more detail. The Shadow should act as an inexperienced, passive L2, not providing guidance or mentoring throughout the day, and not setting up any specific situations. The TLC candidate should have free reign in leading the team and showing what they are capable of. Of course, when the candidate asks for advice, it should be given. At the end of the day, the Shadow should have lots of constructive feedback for the candidate.

We also clarified what we expect of a TLC candidate: Lead a Team. While that may sound obvious, we added more detail here, too. Accomplishing the tasks of the team is necessary to succeed, but it is not enough alone. The candidate has to lead and make the team feel like a team. A team lead is expected to share their wisdom and experience with their team. They do this by mentoring them, giving them feedback, and making them into a team where everyone feels safe, welcome, and valued.

Yes, that’s a lot of expectations. To make sure the candidate is ready for this challenge, we have some guidance. The pre-test requirements all make sense for a team lead. A team lead should have some experience leading multiple judges and communicating with them. A team lead has the power to permit back ups, resolve Hidden Card Errors, and award Game Losses. When you are leading the Deck Check Team, you’ll even be responsible for a lot of Deck Problems and Decklist Problems. All of these are more than we expect from a beginning L2, so just passing the L2 test isn’t strong enough an indication of being ready.

At the moment, we use the L3 Practice test as a prerequisite to test for the TLC. There is an L3 practice available even without Judge Center, you can ask your RC for it. We will make a TLC test focusing on policy in the near future, that will replace the L3 Practice requirement.

Once you have your checklist complete, and you’re ready to test for the TLC, make sure to make it known! You can indicate this in your application for the GP, so the Tournament Organizer is aware of your request. Then, if you get accepted, make sure to let the Head Judge know that you want to test.

The overhaul of this document was made possible by the contributions of many people, most of all the L2 judges who shared their feedback about the testing procedure. Special thanks to the judges who tirelessly went over the many iterations of the document over and over again, constantly providing suggestions and improvements:

Alfonso Bueno
Rob Castellon
Stephan Classen
Daniel Kitachewsky
John Brian McCarthy
Fabian Peck
Luca Romano
Hans Wang
Yu Win Yew

If you have any questions, concerns, ideas or feedback, please send an email to the TLC Leader, Dustin de Leeuw. We’d love to hear from you!