Captain’s log – January 2019

Welcome everyone to a new Captain’s log. It’s been a long time since the last time, as there were many meetings but even more unknowns regarding how the changes in Organized Play would affect us. Sadly, we have no news about that just yet, but we can share some of the things we’ve been talking about in the last couple of months.

Still waiting for the new era to come

There were many discussions about the announcement of the end of the PPTQ system, and the questions that the new system will bring. Even though we don’t know how the new system will look, many judges told us they’re already talking with their respectives TO to encourage them to build their own competitive events to replace the vacuum left by PPTQs. And to seize those chances to staff some less experienced judges, even if the event doesn’t really need them. We need to train the new generation.

The new MCQ system should give judges a different avenue for sharing knowledge and experiences, as they are supposed to be events that will need multiple judges, something that many regions have been lacking for a long time. And there was some discussion about other resources we have available, that we should be using a lot more, specially going forward. For example, the International L2 mentoring project (, that is part of the Coaching Sphere led by Ivan Petkovic, and looking to add more american judges.

Working on projects is also valuable, as it helps community involvement and integration, helps developing leadership and other soft skills, and helps highlight less experienced judges, who might then get boosted when an opportunity arises to be part of an event.

Also, there were request to recover some old tools we no longer have, like the Hard practice test, and we’ll let you know if we have any updates on that.

This change will definitely impact the ongoing level redefinition. It’s been defined that there’s still going to be a level system, and that the redefinition will focus more on quality of judges rather than quantity, with an update on the expectations for the different levels. Level structure might go back to an old system where the level didn’t indicate which tournaments you could judge, but how good you are as a judge.They’re waiting to announce the change and make sure it’s the right change, matching what WotC is announcing.

Regarding chances for learning and growth in the new new new world order that is coming, there are many who put a lot of faith in the opportunities given by:


In a new world without PPTQs, we need to work on improving this spaces for growth and interaction. Conferences are a great tool, but it seems like we need to start working on improving the “engagement level” of conferences, so they attract more people and they can be more useful. Make them become more than just a couple of seminars, make them interesting gatherings of judges with opportunities to learn. Organizing them in special destinations instead of a LGS, having special dinners or barbeques, running a judge jeopardy and other social and fun activities; these are all things that help with the engagement. Also, judges prefer workshops and interactive presentations, over the classic monologue seminar. Just don’t forget to make sure that the level of the presentations is kept high: someone should work with the presenters from before to help them and review their progress. Post-conference feedback is also an expectation of this process.

There seems to be a revival of an old practice: Conferences at large events like Magic Fests. We’ve seen some seminars run on Friday, mostly about “What to expect”, tools like Kefka or Purple Fox and Policy talks. Also, the Investigation Workshops project has been running workshops on most MF lately. There was some discussion about adding some seminars or materials regarding non-judge activities, like customer service, special ops, registration, etc.

A related great resource that I expect to see growing globally are Mini Conferences. There are many resources that can be used to easily organize a mini conference. For example, the Random Situation Generator, that creates random scenarios to be solved; or the Logistics Workshop project. The Conference Sphere has many different education materials available for everyone who wants to use them. Also, CFBE has given GP playmats to all RCs to use as support for mini conferences (as many regions don’t support them with foils), so you can ask your RC for these support if you want to organize one.

Some regions have been really successful with running mock tournaments. Even though the Judge Qualifier Tournaments have been discontinued and do require quite a lot of work, they are usually really well received and have shown good results in those communities.

Last but not least, another area that’s been getting more attention are L2+ and Area Leadership conferences. There’s going to be a L2+ international conference in Vienna in May and we invite everyone interested in joining it to apply. There has been talk of another international L2 conference to be organized in USA, with Great Lakes as an early alternative; and there’s an idea to organize more in other “mega-regions” like APAC and South America and we’ll try to poke some people and give you an update on that as soon as possible.

Negative feedback

We discussed what’s the best way to deliver critical feedback and how do judges prefer to receive such feedback. There seems to be a balance to strike between little things that are better deal with on the spot; and more important stuff that is better to address later and in more depth. If it can be addressed and solved quickly, give it sooner. If it’s more fundamental, give it later.

Examples given about this were:

  • If a judge could give better HJ announcements, but they don’t have another event that day/weekend, it can wait.
  • If a judge struggles with a common rules/policy interaction, they’re most likely to get a similar question again, so it’s better if we give the feedback ASAP

And remember, you can always communicate with individuals about how they prefer to receive feedback.


  • Someone asked to the PCs: is there a lack of L3s? No. While some regions (Europe-North, German-Speaking Countries) may have fewer L3s than we might like, others have many. Mostly this is because of a lack of candidates who really want to go for it. Globally, the program has no lack of L3s.
  • There was discussion about the role and compensation of team leads at the Mythic Qualifier of a Magic Fest. Some argue they are doing similar workload to a TL in the GP day 2 and should get compensated accordingly. This is something that could happen, but is not yet possible. One idea is upgrading the compensation when the PTQ hits a certain player number. There was also the question if such positions should be given to L2 or L3, as they look like a very good slot for a L2 to grow.
  • Planar bridge should run on a regular basis in Europe. This was something that we were not sure about, as we heard many different opinions, but is now solved after talking about it in the last couple of meetings.
  • Just in case you were wondering, CFBE really believes paper magic isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, MF numbers are above predictions since Arena went to open beta.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for a special article on all the Planar Bridge action items and their progress through 2018.

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