Wizards of the Coast has announced some major changes to Organized Play (or should we say E-Sports and Competitive Gaming?). These changes of course affect the Judge Program as well.
The major change is that Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers are going away next year. As these events are what Level 2 is currently built to support, many judges are probably asking what this means for their own judging activities, as well as the Program’s level structure in general. The short answer is; With any large change it will take time to fully understand the consequences.
The introduction of PPTQs increased the need for Level 2 judges. An increasing number of stores were able to run these events, and in some areas the Level 2 judges struggled to cover all of them. It is possible that this change will cause a swing in the other direction: there will be less Competitive REL events to run. However, instead of the small PPTQs where judges would often have to work alone, we are gaining mid-sized Competitive events in the form of the Invite Only Qualification Events. At these judges will have a chance to work together and benefit from mentoring opportunities, something many judges have wished for in the last couple of years.
For a while now, we have been talking about a pending change to the level structure. There are working groups within the Level Sphere working on these definitions. However, like many of you, we also heard rumors of pending Organized Play changes, but until this week had no concrete information. Any level definition change prior to the announcement of OP changes risks making changes that do not fit within the new OP model. The Program Coordinators are going to take a look at what these changes mean for all levels, and work with the appropriate Spheres and projects to adapt our structures and policies.
For many, this change may be upsetting, for others, it may be a relief, and for still more, there isn’t yet enough information to know how to feel. We will continue to keep you informed of information as we obtain it. In the meanwhile we encourage you reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or social media with any questions or feedback. Your Regional Coordinator is also available for questions and feedback if you prefer.