Recognition Writing Guidelines

This guide should help you identify and prepare your Exemplar nominations.

  • Be specific, direct, and concise. A good nomination can typically falls between 50-150 words.  While you are allowed as much space as you need this is not a full review by any stretch.  If you find yourself writing a longer nomination, consider writing a shorter one here, and sending the longer one to the judge’s Regional Coordinator.  The nominations you write should describe why the behavior was exemplary and the impact it had on you.
  • Be honest and make it count. These are intended to be published within the program, and others will see what you write.  Be sure what you are nominating a person for is actually something you wish to hold up to the community as something to emulate.
  • Be personal. This will mean something to the person receiving it. Write as though you are addressing this Judge directly. Consider how you’d feel if you received it. Would you be inspired to do more? Would you understand why you were identified as an exemplar?
  • Be Relevant.  These nominations are for judges, by judges, and nominated behaviors and actions should be of a relevant benefit to judges or the judge program.

Below are a few examples to help you understand what makes a good nomination. You will notice that each of these also make a distinction between the concepts of nomination and reward. You can learn more about the important distinction between these concepts here.

Recognizing Event Performance

Some judges are awesome at events. They don’t only participate in making the events run, they make it run smoother! These are definitely behaviors worth recognition.

You need to make sure they’ve been doing something special, something they didn’t have to do but nevertheless felt like doing.

  • Thanks for being HJ at PPTQ

  • Thanks for driving a few hours to come to PPTQ

  • Bob, Thanks for stepping up at PPTQ [X]. When we got more players than expected, I appreciated how you remained calm and poised. You were proactive in managing your space constraints and communicated clearly to your floor judge when plans changed unexpectedly. Your leadership kept the players happy at a time of potential crisis. Nobody panicked and it was thanks in large part to your calm.

The first two examples aren’t about recognition. There is nothing special that happened. The judge had an agreement with the TO and came to perform work for which he was paid/compensated.

The third, however, clearly states there’s been something different happening, without which the tournament would have been negatively affected unless that judge did step up to make things work. If that’s the case, speak up!

  • You worked FNM every week the last six months.

  • When I was at the FNM you were judging, I was impressed by the way you greeted the new players that came in. I also saw you go over the basics of the game and teach that 13 year old kid how to play.

Judging FNMs shows some kind of dedication, sure. But isn’t that what judging is about? To which extent is judging that extraordinary? We’re judges after all. However, if the judge went above and beyond in creating a better play environment for newer players, so they feel better coming at a tournament, speak up!

Recognizing Leadership

  • Thanks for being Team Lead at that Grand Prix

  • Thanks for your inspiring briefing at the beginning of round 5. The day was pretty rough and we really needed to find more energy to reach its end. You managed to make us forget the issues we went through and make us laugh.

 Being a Team Lead is not extraordinary by itself. At a GP, it means that the judge was selected for CORE, and that’s it. However, if your Team Leader did make your day better than you expected, speak up!

Some other ideas:

  • Thanks for defusing that situation between the TO and this irritated player. Your diplomacy led to a swift and efficient resolution of the issue and the player felt better afterwards.


Recognizing Mentoring

  • Thanks for putting me on the paper team at that Grand Prix.

  • Thanks for the numerous tips you’ve given me throughout the day. I had never worked in the Paper Team before, sometimes felt a bit lost. You noticed and gave me guidance I could apply. I now feel confident operating alone.

 Recognizing a HJ just because they gave you the assignment you requested is not extraordinary. However, if you felt strongly supported or enlightened, speak up!

Some other ideas:

  • I would like to thank you for your efficient mentoring during that GPT I was the HJ for. Your insight was very valuable, especially when you helped me making a decision in that “Player A says/Player B says” situation.

  • I really learned a lot from you in watching you investigate that guy for cheating. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me afterwards and explain what you were thinking.


Recognizing Community Leading

Judging is not only about events. Most judges are community leaders and help a lot, be it online or at local stores. Some of them are excelling at managing players and judges.

  • Thanks for being the moderator of our local forums.

  • Your involvement in managing players’ reactions to the recent major announcement has been awesome. You’ve successfully achieved making most of them understand the reasons behind the last changes and defused some unfair attacks.

 Being a forum moderator surely takes time, but that’s nothing extraordinary. However, there are times when a situation arises that requires a lot of attention and diplomacy. When that happens, speak up!

  • Thanks for judging PPTQs at the two stores in our city.

  • Thanks for working in close cooperation with our two TOs so the PPTQ dates wouldn’t conflict with each other despite their initial scheduling. I know you also adjusted your schedule to find that second date that was needed to make everything work.

 It’s not because someone is the sole L2 that it’s extraordinary. However, they might have had a tremendously important role in helping TOs schedule events better so more players can enjoy them.

  • Thanks for having performed Magic demos a few Wednesdays in a row.

  • I’ve been really impressed by your dedication to teach Magic Rules to new players. I expect you to do that during FNM but even when you’re coming for a casual Commander session, you always answer their questions with a smile, even if that prevents you from focusing on your own game.

 It’s not about going there for a specific task (possibly appointed by the store owner?), it’s more about doing something extra, unrequested, that shows good will.

Some other ideas:

  • Thanks for clarifying the latest changes in UC – Major to the online audience. There were a few judges who quite didn’t understand what it meant and your words made them realize much better what the Program is trying to achieve.

  • You handled that disagreement between that store owner and other judges really well. I think you’ve helped the community as a whole by convincing them to get along and work together.


Recognizing Failures


If a Judge puts forth significant effort in proposing a policy change or in designing a better way to distribute product at an event, even if that policy or method is discarded, there is value in recognizing them for the effort. When we do, we can send a message that creative thinking is a thing we care about, and there is value in the effort regardless of outcome. That message validates the interest of the Judge who receives it, and it can even inspire the next big idea, which might actually work and change how events or the Judge Program operate.