The Grand Prix Team-Lead-in-Training Position (TLTP)

The Grand Prix Team-Lead-in-Training Position (TLTP)

Team-Lead-in-Training Position is a step in the Level 3 certification process. Its goal is to provide a meaningful position. We want judges with this certification be able to use it. And we want to reward judges who have it. This is something we can’t offer to a large group of people, but we can offer it to our future generation of Leaders in the Program: the prospective Level 3 judges. We want to take the best of both worlds: like in the old days, with the Team Lead Check, the TLTP is only for people on their road to Level 3. Like in the NNWO, as the TLC intended to be, the TLTP grants judges the opportunity to use their certification.

Obtaining the TLTP is one of the later stages on the road to L3, and it is expected that a judge who obtains the TLTP will panel for Level 3 within 6-12 months. In the period between obtaining the TLTP and testing for L3, the judge will be exactly what the title describes: a Team Lead in a Training Position, being granted at least one but ideally several opportunities to Team Lead on Day 2 of a Grand Prix.

A judge with the TLTP will be authorised to perform all tasks a L3 can, including back-ups and HCEs. This means however, that the judge needs to prove sufficient knowledge and understanding of some of the Level 3 Qualities already, which usually don’t get tested until the panel. A judge who fulfills the selected list of requirements (see checklist section), can then apply for the Step 1 – the TLTP interview. After passing the interview, the judge can then test for the Step 2 – the TLTP practice exam.

A big change to its former version, the TLC, is that a candidate can authorise back-ups and HCEs even while testing for the TLTP Step 2.


Applying for the TLTP – the Checklist

Checklist Content

To apply for the TLTP Step 1 (interview), the candidate needs to complete the following checklist on judge apps:

  • Be a Level 2 Judge, in good standing, for the last 6 months.
  • Score 80% or higher on a Level 3 Preliminary Exam within the last 6 months.
  • Act as a member of each of the following teams at least once. (Magic Fests events are recommended, however, any event where three or more judges were dedicated to this team may be used):
    • Paper OR Pairings OR Slips
    • Stage OR End of Round
    • Deck Lists OR Deck Checks
  • Act as Head Judge or Team Leader for at least 3 Competitive or Professional REL events, managing at least 2 other certified judges.
  • Act as Head Judge for at least 10 other events of any REL.
  • Write a general (i.e. non-event-specific) self-review, covering all of the Qualities of Level 3 judges, graded as Strengths or as Areas for Improvement. The self-review must have been approved by the Verification Committee.
  • Have a recommendation from a Level 3 judge. The review only needs to recommend for the TLTP, without further evaluation. Evaluations should be entered here

Checklist Submission Time frame

You need to submit the checklist via judge apps. You will be asked to list your upcoming events, to let us find an opportunity for the interview. If you want to test for Step 1 (the interview) at a MagicFest where you are selected, you need to have submitted your checklist at least 3 weeks before the event, to let us schedule it on time.

If you want to pass the Step 2 (practice exam) at some event, you need to have already passed the TLTP interview. We will do our best to have the Step 2 scheduled at one of your next upcoming events. You can contact the TLTP lead ( to discuss about which next event it could be.


Cool down periods

After failing Step 1 for the first time, there is a 3 months cool down period before the candidate can apply again. This period is increased to 6 months after the second fail. After failing Step 2, there is a 3 months cool down period before the candidate can apply again.

Once you have successfully passed the Step 1, you have 12 months to succeed Step 2. After this period, you will need to test for Step 1 again.


After obtaining the TLTP

A judge with the TLTP can lead teams on Day 2 of a Grand Prix. In rare and exceptional circumstances, they may lead a team on Day 1. This may happen in regions where insufficient Level 3 judges are available to lead all teams on Day 1.

Judges with the TLTP certification are expected to actively work towards completing the rest of their L3 checklist.

The TLTP validity period is 12 months. We advise candidates to submit their application to the Verification Committee within 6 months after being granted the TLTP. If after 12 months the judge still hasn’t submitted their application for L3, the TLTP expires, and the judge can re-apply for it after a cooldown period of 3 months.

Once a judge passes the L3 panel, the TLTP immediately expires: L3 judges are no longer Grand Prix Team Lead in Training, they are Grand Prix Team Lead.

A candidate who fails the panel is granted a 12 months period of the TLTP starting from the day of the panel, so they can continue leading teams, learning, and improving their skills. If after 12 months the judge hasn’t paneled for L3 again, the TLTP expires, and the judge can re-apply for it after a cooldown period of 3 months. A judge who has had the TLTP in the past but lost it, may re-apply to test for L3 without needing to test for the TLTP again at the L3 Testing Manager’s discretion.


TLTP Step 1 – The Interview.

This interview is a structured conversation between the candidate and at least one L3 judge, who has to hold the L3 Panel Lead, the GPHJ certification, or be the TLTP lead. The interview should take between 30 and 60 minutes, and can be conducted at a Magic Fest or at any other suitable occasion. During this interview, the candidate will show to have sufficient knowledge and insight regarding Penalty and Policy Philosophy to pass a L3 panel.While the interview lead is encouraged to write a review of the candidate, this is not required; the interview lead decides whether to grant the candidate access to the next phase of the process or not.

After succeeding in the interview, the candidate will be able to pass the Step 2 of the process.

The L3 Testing Manager and the TLTP project lead, together with the GPHJ group and the L3 Panel Leads, have worked on the interview process. It consists of three scenarios where the candidate will act as a Team Lead needing to handle situations including back-ups and HCE.


TLTP Step 2 – The practical exam

After passing the interview, the candidate has demonstrated theoretical knowledge and understanding of policy and interaction with judges on the floor of a Grand Prix.

The next step is a practical exam where the candidate should demonstrate ability to lead a team in real life situations.

The candidate will be scheduled to lead a team on day 2 of a GP, with a Shadow L3 in their team and a dedicated burgundy Head or Appeals judge, both focused on evaluating the candidate’s performance.

For more details on skills tested and thresholds, please check this specific article about Step 2.


The transition from TLC to TLTP

Until January 1st 2020, judges with the current TLC can apply to panel for L3 without needing the TLTP or any additional requirements. On January 1st 2020, the TLC ceases to exist.

From January 1st 2019, judges can test for the TLTP.

Judges currently holding the TLC can apply for a TLTP interview by submitting an approved CheckList, as described above; if they pass that interview, they will automatically be granted the TLTP without any further requirements.


In Conclusion

If you have any questions, you can contact the TLTP Lead (currently Mikaël Rabie) at

Our team has spent a lot of time discussing and explaining it, refining it, updating it, making it better, polishing it… Thanks to all the people who shared their feedback and ideas with me. Thanks to the Program Coordinators, who supported and approved those updates. And thank you to all the members of the TLC Project (who will receive a free upgrade to the new TLTP Project!) for going through these documents over and over again:

  • Alfonso Bueno
  • Matteo Callegari
  • Rob Castellon
  • Kevin Desprez
  • Dustin de Leeuw
  • Nate Hurley
  • Fabian Peck
  • Mikaël Rabie
  • Luca Romano
  • Hans Wang
  • Yu Win Yew