This morning, Wizards of the Coast made an announcement regarding Magic Esports for the 2021-2022 season and beyond. You can read that announcement here.
In this announcement, however, they also mentioned focusing on smaller in-store and regional events as areas start to open physical play again. While this absolutely makes sense, we also know that this announcement can leave some judges used to running those large competitive events wondering where their place in the program will be in the coming years.
We want to ensure that judges are prepared to work large competitive events when they are safe, whether that is a Premier event, a Tournament Organizer specific event series, or something new that evolves over time.
This means a couple of things for judges in 2022:
- Tournament Organizer Skill Tree
We want to give organizers the knowledge they need in order to successfully organize events regardless of size. Many store owners could benefit from additional tools and educational material around events, even if they are not a Judge. We will start producing content for organizers to have their own badge system in Judge Academy. This will include educating Organizers on creating welcoming environments, JA staffing recommendations and guidelines, event best practices, and educating them on what Judges are, what they do, and why they are so important to running a good event.
- The creation of a Tournament Operations specialty for Level 2+ Judges
Today’s announcement may leave stores wanting to look into starting their own event series or larger one-off events where safe. Most of which will not have the event experience that many of our Level 2 and Level 3 judges have. We want to focus on bridging the gap between the rules and logistics knowledge that already exists at those levels with the Event Management needed to run a larger event, and help position Judge Academy Judges as a go-to component for any store looking to expand their event offerings.
*More information regarding the upcoming tracks above will be available in the 2nd half of this year.*
- Judge Academy Fees
Judge Academy has spent a large amount of effort this year figuring out how to deliver the highest quality of service and education for our members with the lowest amount of fees. While we are not ready to release a full list of 2022 offerings, we did want to highlight some of the changes that will happen around fees.
- Membership fees for 2022 will no longer scale by level. While judges get more access to content as they level up, that increase in content will be structured as an incentive to continue learning and improving, as opposed to a barrier to advancement.
- We do not have an exact fee structure yet, but expect to have membership cost and benefit/services available in Q4, prior to any renewal commitments.
- Judge Academy has worked with our legal team to customize and reclassify our offerings, and will no longer be required to collect VAT in the EU for 2022 memberships.
- Level 3 Advancement
Due to the changing landscape for Organized Play that will likely continue to evolve over the next few years, we are making some changes to our level structure. Will be revamping the Level 3 Process to focus on skills based on event size, as opposed to requiring any one specific type of event for parts of the process. This means that the requirements that previously required a Magic Fest or Grand Prix will change to include the ability to show proficiency at leading teams at large multi-judge competitive events regardless of what those large events are called. An updated Level 3 process will be announced once we make and finalize those changes.
We know that “The Gathering” is one of the best parts of this community. As events begin to return, our goal is to make sure that judges remain connected to their communities and are well trained for whatever the Organized Play landscape evolves into so we can continue to focus on coming together to run the best events possible.
This is a lot! I am looking forward to see how Judge Academy will do it but overall it is exciting to see people talk about events again. 2022 gives me hope.
So much information! I am excited for what is to come in the next couple of years.