There are some big changes coming for the judge community. Starting this fall, the judge community will organize its leadership, level structure, educational program, and promotional distribution through a new company called Judge Academy. Wizards of the Coast will work with Judge Academy through partnerships and promotions.
Currently, Wizards engages with judges by contracting them for competitive gaming events, communicating with Regional Coordinators and Program Coordinators, and distributing the incredible promo cards that are a hallmark of the community. In the last several years, Magic competitive gaming has grown exponentially—and the creation of Judge Academy is the next evolution of the community.
Many of you know Tim Shields, who runs Cascade Games. Tim has over 25 years of experience in competitive tabletop gaming and putting on great events from conventions up through Grands Prix. To support the judge community in taking this next step, Tim has established and is the owner of Judge Academy. I encourage you to read more about Judge Academy and their plans for fostering growth and sustainability for the judge community in this post from their new Program Manager, Nicolette Apraez.
Tim will be a wonderful steward for the Judge Community. He identifies strongly with judge values of self-improvement and inclusivity, and his hiring of Nicolette as the Program Manager shows a dedication to making sure this organization is in line with those values. Everyone at Judge Academy has already been hard at work consulting with your current judge leadership to ensure as seamless a transition as possible this fall. Your current Program Coordinators have put together some thoughts about this change here.
This new organization offers an opportunity to bring clear leadership and direction for Magic Judges, and Wizards is committed to supporting its success as the community continues to grow. Wizards will continue using certified judges for our competitive gaming events, and we will continue to print judge promos, which will be distributed through Judge Academy going forward. The Exemplar Wave closing on August 13, 2019 will be the final one that is directly distributed by Wizards, and Bryan Prillaman has more to say about this wave in a post on the Exemplar blog.
It has been wonderful being your community manager these past four years, and I am looking forward to continuing to interact with judges through our partnership with Judge Academy. I’m excited to see what’s next for my favorite community on Earth as they continue to make Magic fair and fun every day.