Status of the Program: November 2018

Hello once again! Summer is gone and we’re approaching the end of the year, as usual we bring you some news, some updates from the Spheres and we’re recognizing some of the many people working in projects and making the judge program possible.

PTQ changes

Recently Wizards of the Coast announced major changes in the Pro Tour Qualifying system. These changes will affect the judge program as well. Read our thoughts on the changes here.

JCC suspensions and advanced roles

Some recent Judge Conduct Committee Cases revealed that we needed to clarify some policies regarding judge suspensions.

As a rule, judge suspensions are not published. The reason for this is that we want the judge to be able to come back to the judge community without a stain on their reputation. Suspended judges cannot act as a judge in tournaments, and we expect them to put their other judge program activities on hold during the suspension.

Advanced Roles are special positions in the program that are held to a higher standard. A judge who has been recently suspended cannot apply for Advanced Roles. A judge in an Advanced Role who gets suspended will lose the Advanced Role and can’t reapply for a period of 2 years.

For the purposes of this policy, the Advanced Roles include Program Coordinators, Regional Coordinators, Grand Prix Head Judges, the RC lead, the GPHJ Lead, the JCC Lead and the members of the JCC.

We’d also like to mention that one of the Program Coordinators (currently Johanna Virtanen) is on the JCC mailing list as an observer, but does not participating in discussion or voting.


Summary of Advanced roles rotations

  • Bryan Prillaman was announced as the new Program Coordinator and Kevin Desprez was confirmed as Grand Prix Head Judge Lead for another term. Read the announcement here 
  • Regional Coordinator renewal process was completed, with new RCs chosen for several regions. Read the announcement here.

Upcoming rotations:

  • The selection process for the 2019 Judge Conduct Committee Lead is underway
  • The Grand Prix Head Judge selection process is also underway
  • The selection for the 2019 Judge Conduct Committee will begin soon

Goals of the Program Coordinators for the Spring-Summer period

About six months ago, we announced goals for the PC group and a division of responsibilities (read about it here). Our goal was to update them after six months.

We’re still discussing the goals and redistributing the workload, but here are some of the topics we expect to focus on in the coming months:

  • Program level structure: as mentioned, the changes in the PTQ structure will mean changes for the judge program as well. We are going to evaluate the level structure and discuss changes that might be needed.
  • Future of the program: while updating the level structure is a response to changes to OP that are currently happening, we also want to look at and explore possible futures of the Judge program and the changes necessary to position the Judge program to be successful in the future.
  • JCC and Code of Conduct reform: we feel that now is a good time to take a look at our conduct policies and procedures and see if changes are needed. This discussion will of course happen in partnership with the JCC lead.

Level 2 Practice exams

We’d like to note that it is now possible for Level 2 judges to create Level 2 Practice exams for L2 candidates. Any L1 can of course create a L2P for themselves, but having a L2 mentor create it means that the mentor can see the results and discuss them with the candidate. The normal cooldown period still applies. Thanks to the JudgeApps team for implementing this change. 


Program Coordinator Q&A

We had the first ever Program Coordinator Q&A session in August. We think it worked quite well and we’re hoping to run another Q&A before the end of the year.

Read the questions and answers here. Also note that new PC Bryan Prillaman answered the same questions and you can find his answers in the announcement article. 


Sphere leader updates

We have recently asked the Sphere Leaders what they hope to accomplish in 2019 so that we can help determine what resources they need to accomplish those goals. We’ll share this with you in a future article.

Levels Sphere
From sphere lead Alfonso Bueno: Hello, just a quick message to let you know we’re on hold until we know the details of the new organized play structure.

At the moment, we’re focusing our efforts in the creating the test for the new TLTP.


Project of the season

This time we would like to highlight a project that should have existed for many years, but it was only created about a year ago: The Planar Bridge Meetings.  Those are meetings happening at some GPs where all judges are welcome to sit together and talk about judge program related topics. Sometimes Tournament Organizers and other judge related people are also invited to parts of the meeting to share their opinions or answer questions judges may have.
This is an extraordinary initiative coordinated by Amanda Coots and Jonah Kellman together with a group of meeting managers. You can find the project description and the list of organizers here.


Project contributors of the season

Grand Prix SacramentoTobias Vyseri for her reports
Grand Prix ChibaKeiichi Kawazoe for the HCE diagram
Grand Prix MinneapolisRob McKenzie for all the hard work in coordinating the tokens for Exemplar Program. Dealing with the printer errors, sorting/mailing the tokens and dealing with the artist is really massively difficult with a lot of moving pieces.
Grand Prix TurinSalvatore La Terra: for the  judge candidate textbook
Grand Prix OrlandoJohn Temple ·for taking the initiative and organizing & preparing regional logos using new template for nearly all regions, depending on RC’s wishes.
Grand Prix ProvidenceJonah Kellman “for your efforts in organizing the L1/L2 meetings. I appreciate your willingness to experiment while trying to making the meetings better.”
Grand Prix Los AngelesSteven Zwanger. For putting together the new sets tests and the follow up with the results.
Grand Prix StockholmLars Harald Nordli for his work on the L1 redefinition and the upcoming How-To guides)