Upcoming Events


  1. Julie Lawrence

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  2. Julie Lawrence

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  3. John

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

  4. Dale Schmidt

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

  5. Dale Schmidt

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  6. imtilley

    So it appears I can comment on events, I’m curious as to whether this comment is public or some sort of personal note taking device.

  7. Headshot

    Good day,

    I am attempting to find out how to apply for this conference. I am very new to the judge program (just completed all of the modules on this site) and I am still looking to find a Level 2+ to sponsor me.

    The reason I want to attend this conference is to get a better understanding of the judge program, meet new people in the area and to hopefully complete my L1 testing if it hasnt been completed by then.

    In terms of items I would like to learn at this conference, I am very interested in learning more about regular REL vs Comp REL, and (odd) issues that judges have come across at those events, as well as how they dealt with them.

    Thank you very much,
    Nick LaRone

  8. Nicolette Apraez

    You’ll need to still apply via Apps until our Event Subsystem is ported over and we begin running conferences through Judge Academy (2020)

  9. Tom Vaughn

    Hey, i just want to verify that this is still happening before i make the trek this weekend. The event was created pre Judge Academy so i’m not sure if that altered how things were going to be done.

  10. imilenin

    Is there any chance for Ukraine to be moved to European region? Due to the war there are several problems with being in Russian region (for example, shipments travel really long (around half a year sometimes)

  11. Artem

    Good afternoon, can Uzbekistan participate in this program? I would like to become a representative, but there is no experience in this work.

  12. Pedro Gomes

    It’s great to hear that. I’m very excited about being member of JA here in Brazil. This type of announcement sure makes us more confident in JA’s care about your judges worldwide! Thanks for your efforts to bring a new era!

  13. Diogo

    O local é no Torres Vedras Lab Center (e não nos bombeiros).
    Endereço: R. Serpa Pinto 7A, 2560-661 Torres Vedras

  14. Victor P

    “Second, anyone who becomes a Member by October 31st will have their membership extended to January 1st, 2021. ”

    How and when will this be visible on my profile? =)

  15. Varler

    If we are still working on getting our Judge certification, will we receive the promos when we finish? Or have we missed the first wave of promos?

    1. Jose Ledesma

      You went receive your first wave until you purchase your membership. This first wave was an extraordinary one for the ones who signed up before the 31st of October. Anyways, your membership last a year since the moment you sign so you will always receive 2 mailings per active membership period. Hope this helped

      1. Game Over

        Hi! I´m trying to subscribe to a membership but the site shows me an error saying “this product cannot be purchased”. I have already passed the lvl1 tests, any guesses what could have gone wrong? thanks for the help!

  16. TylerA

    I missed the October cutoff, so January 15th will be my first shipment. However, I’m moving on Janurary 31st. Should I go ahead and change my mailing address just in case, or should it arrive by then?

  17. jasper jacobs

    nice cards and nice logo,
    but in the other blog message about the upcomming dates there was told we would also be seen 2 of the conference promos or am i wrong?

    1. David Rubenstein

      On Facebook someone said that they will be announced soon, but JA wanted to do the conference foils separately so that it was 100% clear which were conference and which were membership.

    1. sillyworld

      I am also interested in this answer. I am currently waiting on being made L1, so I suppose there is no way I could be included with this wave?

  18. Kody922

    Thank you, Sara for the article. Love Archie. Will we be seeing the owl in other ways, aside from the promos? And the promos are gorgeous

  19. Victor P

    Just trying to wrap my head around this. Is the first mailing on Jan 15th the first four promos (Chalice, Mentor, Pool, Yuriko) or these four tutors? Or both? Or were the first four promos (Chalice, Mentor, Pool, Yuriko) only for the early sign up? I thought they were part of the first wave. *confused*

    1. Georgi

      The first four promos were/are for early sign-up only. If you are in a serviced area, they should be in the mail already. For those who are not yet “covered” by JA and decide to sign up by the end of January, those same first foils will be sent with their first wave on Feb.15.

      The tutor foils will be the first wave for 2020, normally mailed out around January 15.

  20. randiheckadon

    Thank you for the awesome words and your continued support of the program. These cards are amazing and I look forward to what the future holds for all of us.

  21. David Zimet

    Sara, thanks for all your hard work as the community manager and making Judge Academy possible. You have been an incredible advocate and I look forward to seeing how the program grows and changes in the future you helped found.

  22. Bronson

    The post on JudgeApps implies you can apply after Sept. 29th but was also set so close on said date so how would one apply now?

  23. Morten Larsen

    Hi Sara

    Thanks for the article and the sneak peak into our new identity.
    I love the references “to be a judge” printed within the cards.

    They are definitely keepers and reminders of why I am in the program.

  24. Matthew Goff

    What does “1/31 : Last Day for 2nd Wave Members to join for Bonus Early Bird Mailing” mean? If I miss the 12/31 deadline for the January promos then will I be able to get them if I meet this deadline? What does it mean to be a second wave member?

    1. OmarGonzalez

      “2 wave “is for judges that are currently outside of judge Academy support areas (like Mexico, Brazil or Australia)
      On January 6, all those regions will get into Judge Academy, and so they can sign up and pay for it.

      If ur area is currently supported (thats means u are able to pay the sign up) that means u are a wave 1 judge

  25. Etropin

    Hi all,

    I have the same question as others but I didn’t see a clear answer. I just paid for my L1 membership this morning. Will I be getting these promos?

  26. Steven Chisolm

    If someone in from a wave 1 region were to sign up for the Judge Academy between now and January 31st would they receive the mid February “Early Promo and 2020 Mailings leave for 2nd Wave Areas” shipment as well? In a previous post I saw “January 31st – Last day for *currently* out of service judges to sign-up and get their memberships to be added to the Feb 15th Mailing. (This includes 2020 promos AND the previous promos)” and wasn’t sure what” out of service reffed to. Furthermore if people signing up now from wave 1 regions don’t receive the promo shipment in February, when would they be receiving their first shipment?

  27. Christopher Wolfe


    Will the current events listed on JudgeApps be transferred to the Judge Academy Events page, or will they remain there and all new events moving forward being posted here? Curious how the transition will work out, as I’m applying for my first upcoming events as an L1!

      1. Yud

        But, they opened the program to International Judges on January 6th. My origin country wasn’t part of the allowed countries to get a subscription until then. I would like that they had information on a FAQ or something.

    1. Kyle

      There is no direct interaction with Judge Apps, that platform is not obsolete as people still have upcoming events.

      Any account is able to create an event on Judge Academy.

  28. Lambertus

    Would you be able to implement an email notification system similar to the one judgeapps has? Being able to select which regions (or all) to receive the notifications for, which kind of events, would be very useful.
    Currently having only in-region notifications makes it complicated to notice new events.

  29. Nathaniel Graham

    I attempted to make an event and was confused by the time zone dropdown, is the expectation to use UTC as a reference? There was not a “standard” option available such as Central, or a major city in my locality.

  30. Dave

    Any updates on this? Wouldn’t be so antsy on it; but the conference I was at didn’t receive their foils, and we were told they’d go out with the January mailing…so doubly interested in knowing what’s going on.

    1. Dave

      Aaand of course they were waiting for me in the mailbox at home once I was home from work… thanks for getting these out swiftly JA! Much appreciated 🙂

    1. sanschutz

      I was wondering this as well. Will I be getting the Demonic Tutor and other cards from this wave, even though I became a level one judge only 2 days ago (before the Jan 31st cut-off)? Or will I receive July and next January cards?

  31. Graham S

    Is there any plan for email notifications for events, perhaps based on a selection of regions chosen by the user? The possibility to miss event postings otherwise seems significant.

  32. G T

    “Is there any plan for email notifications for events, perhaps based on a selection of regions chosen by the user? The possibility to miss event postings otherwise seems significant.”

    Just happened to me, so yeah it seems quite a good heads-up.

  33. sanschutz

    I signed up for the SoCal Ikoria mini conference before this announcement and COVID-19. Now that they are moving online, will those who signed up before the online announcement be eligible for promos?

  34. Wendel

    That’s good news to read, we need to stick together at this time. One question: how about the L2/L3 process? The “old way”was due to April 1st as well. Will this also be postponed? Thanks!

  35. Ryan Freeburger

    Will you still be releasing information about the level redefinition on the previously discussed schedule or will that be postponed to sync up with the release of the L2/L3 content?

  36. b6fung

    would it be a concern that the jacket and the shirts/polo have the same front logos, since the shirt/polo are for on floor judge while the jacket is for not on floor?

  37. David Lachance-Poitras

    If pockets are not included in commonly available women shirt/polos from the get go, why not create one that can be self-installed on the shirt/polo ?

    An Academy-branded pocket that can be installed on their own shirt/polo could even be a less costly option for some judges who have very limited incomes to get for use in their local events ?

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Yeah, unfortunately that didn’t work out bc the reasons I mentioned. 🙁 The Men’s long sleeve does have a pocket, I’d expect anyone who wants all their shirt to have pockets to go with that option.

  38. CHT

    As players are generally familiar with the idea of ppl in black are their judges, wouldn’t it be a concern that black jackets (and with logos) also fall into that category?

  39. Christopher Wolfe

    While these look great, I’m a little dismayed at the color choice for the polo and the lack of a Black option. Many of us Judges aren’t skinny, and loose grey tends to look rather slouchy on larger folk. I’ll personally feel very self-conscious wearing this on the floor.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Black was a pretty bad color for overall judge visibility on the floor, which is why there’s not a black option. The blue button down with gray logo and gray polo with blue colors are meant to be similar enough that a mix of button downs and polos on the same event still look uniform. So people can use whichever they feel comfortable in. Some people really like long sleeves, some people feel more comfortable in polos. The final say on uniform is always up to the TO, but we tried to make it as easy as possible to allow people to wear something they look/feel good in, while still being visible and professional.

  40. TheBlackSet

    I Love the polos and I appreciate that the “Shirt-Topic” is getting forward.
    But I dislike that the polo and the dress shirt (Blue) do not have the same color. (BTW I Love the idea of having Polos too)
    Shouldn´t it be the same color for all judges, except the headjudge? Or am i missing something?
    Or am I wrong?

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      The polos don’t come in a base color , which is why we chose one that had the color block option, and made them the same color as the button down. That way, we are still keeping a cohesive look, even if they aren’t all the same style. We looked at just short/long sleeve button down shirts, but I know a lot of people don’t like buttons to go all the way down.

  41. Victor P

    “We are also planning on distributing Promos to anyone who had already signed up for those conferences, including attendees and presenters. ”

    Any update on this? Checked with my conference organiser and they hadn’t received any update.

  42. Mlemort

    Thanks for the update! Quick question – What does “certified with Judge Academy” mean in this instance? Am I eligible as a L1 judge?

  43. Lu Cordeiro

    Can’t wait for the next benefits. Unfortunately, these apply mostly for NA judges, since mailing for other regions is quite expensive (or simply doesn’t exist, like at Proshop). I’m sure you guys are working on that.

    By the way, free shipping announced at eBags applies to USA only. It would be nice if the benefits page specified that.

  44. Tomas Joska

    I like the Magil idea. I would like it even more (and jump into), when Limited format becomes an option. Are you considering this too? Thanks a keep up good work!

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      We definitely thought about it, just hard logistically. If you have suggestions for how to run a limited tournament on Arena only available to Judges, let us know!

      1. StefFaFa

        Limited events can be tricky as they typically require some level of honour system with regards to managing deck lists. While I would hope integrity wouldn’t be an issue when every player happens to be a judge, it’s still an element that would be impossible to enforce which can be an issue when discussing events that involve some kind of reward system.

        For example, I ran a small event with some friends when Ikoria released where everyone used their free Arena draft token to queue into a live draft. After drafting and deck construction, everyone saved their lists and we ran our swiss rounds via direct challenge.

        I’ve also seen setups where players draft using a third party draft sim ( and similar) and then import their lists into Arena, crafting any missing cards. This works well for custom cubes as well as set drafts, but the potential crafting requirements can be a barrier for some.

          1. Victor P

            *Have to agree
            (lol is this a freudian slip), can’t edit my comment xD

          2. xiomega

            Lol… you can disagree, but it doesn’t change the fact that I like them 😀

        1. Anniek

          I suspected it could be that. I just hope people will be more descriptive and constructive in their feedback than saying ‘I hate this’.

  45. Seth Carroll

    I mean I’m not one to complain but this is the first time In my judge life that the conference foils were more appealing than the mailouts. I mean it’s not terrible but definitely not why I was expecting for my first promo mailing for judge academy.

    1. SJuhasz

      I feel the same 🙁
      And also kind of sad, that because of the current situation there will be no conferences (at least in my area) to attend to get the conference foils and randoms from the previous promos. I would have loved that Sylvan Tutor and Demonic Tutor :'(

      1. xiomega

        Quote from above:
        1) “Finally a quick word on conferences! I am still making my way through ALL the digital conference requests.
        2) “This means that currently, conferences receive Arena Rector, Sylvan Tutor, and 2 of the 4 cards from the November mailing. Come July, conferences will receive Arena Rector, Sylvan Tutor, and 2 of the 8 cards from previous mailings.”

        I guess you will have the possibility to participate in an online conference and get foils as well as living you the possibility to get both Tutors you are looking for?

        1. JPablos

          It’s not the same. For the online you either have to present, or be chosen as a Mod to be eligible for a promo. Before you only had to attend a conference to get the promos, and the presenters/mods would get an extra promo pack. Now you don’t get any promos for attending.

          1. xiomega

            As far as I know, the current online conferences are not Judge Academy conferences but were put together by the huge effort of the sphere (pre-JA structure). I don’t know if the online conference sponsored by JA will only give promo to presenters or admins or to everyone as if they were physically present.

            I think we can at least wait and see?

          2. Kris Kleinsteuber

            Hi. If you are a paid member and a Level 1 or higher judge at the time you participate in an online conference within your region, you will get the promo support mailed to you by the organizer. I know this because I’m organizing one and have been given assurance for promo support for the judges that attend from my area.

            “The other option includes promotional support for all JA Judges from your region that attend the conference, in addition to the organizers and presenters. While some organizers may allow other judges to attend, those judges will not be eligible for promo support. For this, the organizer will receive a single package with 4 conference promo packets for them, and enough promos for each presenter to receive 2 packs, and each attendee to receive one.”

            They are not giving promos if you attend one that is outside of your area, or if you attend something like the massive judge seminar series that was hosted last month. Only organizers, moderators, and presenters earned foils from that.

  46. Mitch

    Not a fan of these. The last set were all powerful and iconic tutors, but with the exception of Pod these feel like someone went on scryfall and just grabbed some cards with the word search. I had set myself a goal of finishing my L1 before this mailing and I probably still will, but these promos are a much less exciting reward for finishing.

  47. Joe

    I’ll agree, this set of promos is definitely less exciting from a perspective of power level and iconic-ness, but perhaps the first two mailings set expectations too high. I think it would be nice to include at least one exciting card in each mailing group like they had done in the past. With the first set it was Mentor and Chalice. The second mailing included Demonic Tutor and Enlightened Tutor. Maybe it would have been more reasonable to spread out the iconic cards instead of setting the bar so high.

    That said, I am happy to see the Seb McKinnon Sterling Grove art finally make it to paper. His art has definitely added a lot of flavor to the Magic world.

    Interestingly, these cards continue to fit the theme of “Tutors” started with the 2nd mailing and conference promos. If they are sticking to this theme, we may continue to see other Tutor cards in the future. Maybe we’ll finally see a promo for Grim Tutor, or Worldly Tutor. Maybe even a reprint of Imperial Seal with new art. I’m excited to see where they go next.

    1. Tyler Espinoza

      I think they mentioned sometime around their first set of mailings (with demonic tutor etc.) that they were going to do themes from year to year, and this year’s theme was tutoring (something to do with expanding your knowledge) and you can see it in the conference promos like sylvan tutor as well. Though since this is the last mailing of the year, I expect next year’s promo selections will have different themes.

  48. sanschutz

    These are terrible. I love the art by Seb (as always). Buy ffs. I just get into the program and this is the reward? If rewards are reduced I’m out. I can’t hit lvl 2 with covid right now anyway :/

  49. Tobias

    I think they have to do better!

    Being a judge now comes with a price tag and we all assumed that the judge promos need to make up for this. Those 4 don’t. They are not really EDH staples and in competitive play are also quite narrow. And the original printings are not really in demand.
    (And compared to the secret lairs it is even more disappointing)

    But especially in these times, where none of us can judge, this is extra crucial.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Don’t forget there are 2 member mailing in each year of membership (three if you joined early), in addition to the site, moidules, and Judge Benefits, and Promos from attending conferences (which are still available Digitally).

    1. Scarlett

      Would love to know the same. Got kind of screwed on the conferences. :/ Would loved to have gone to one, but would at least like to own the promos since they’re some of my favorites.

  50. Cody Hamlet

    To who can answer:

    Is there a way to set up JA to notify you of blog updates such as these?

    Seems strange I find out updates second hand from Facebook.

  51. Alejandro van Mourik

    “For level 2, that’s just an exam to ensure you are up to date on rules and policies.”

    As a Level 2 who wants to keep his level, where do I do this test? I can’t find it anywhere… =(

  52. Scarlett

    I’ll be honest, these are not great. Beautiful art on Grove, but not great card choices. I’m certainly not going to complain about promos, but I expect better when we’re now paying money to be judges.
    I’m still pretty bummed that I couldn’t get any of the Conference promos because there was never one near me. Would really rather have those than these.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Don’t forget there are 2 member mailing in each year of membership (three if you joined early), in addition to the site, modules, and Judge Benefits, and Promos from attending conferences (which are still available Digitally). JA also doesn’t pick promos, the Judge Program never has.

  53. Victor P

    It’s unfortunate that JA rarely replies in the comment section.

    Out of the 18 people who commented on this post:
    9 people disliked the promos.
    1 was neutral
    1 liked them
    The remaining 7 didn’t comment on the promos.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      This is true, but keep in mind we also have channels for questions and feedback, if people have questions, since people are submitting “Comments” here.

      And while I appreciate the tally, picking Promo cards is not a power Judge Academy has, and the judge program has NEVER made those decisions. Promos are generally decided by Gavin Verhey at Wizards. We have passed the sentiment along, tho.

  54. Victor P

    Would be great in the events that are scheduled on JudgeAcademy mention which of the 2 types of Support they have chosen. They don’t seem to make any mention of it at the moment.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      We’ve already asked organizers to make sure it is clear to attendees which type they are doing in their application/event page. If someone doesn’t, I’d suggest asking for clarification from the organizer, but this should be a small scale issue.

  55. Macedo de Araujo

    I’m not hate these cards at all, but thinking about the distribuition, the first wave has a blue, black, red and white tutors; to conferences we have a white and a green tutor; a land tutor (eye of ugin) makes sense to complete the pack, but the others are too weak or too specific to use properly, mainly in commander. if the objective is make a bond between waves, i assume it’s fair give to us huge wincon to be searched with these tutors.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Currently they are only hosted on Judge Academy, and Wizards is using the documents for their premier play tournaments, but they are not mandatory or anything yet. These will likely go through some number of iterations before settling in, and I imagine being shared more .

      1. Nicolette Apraez

        On your Skill Tree there is a list of modules under the Community Building Track.
        Those required classes were:
        Fostering a Positive Environment
        Encouraging Sportsmanship
        Conflict Resolution
        Public Speaking
        Teaching Skills
        Event Promotion and Marketing
        Building Relationships with Local Game Stores
        Demoing Magic
        Building Your Judge Brand

  56. Hara-chan




    セノ アキラ
    ナガシマ アスカ
    ガスリー ケンタロウ

    必要に応じて、期間中に応募者に対して質問をさせていただきます。その際には、お問い合わせフォームから「フィードバック」チケットをお送り下さい。 にメールを送ってください。






  57. kaoru ogawa


  58. Charles Johnson

    I see that sodium levels are extremely high for these foils. I think they are fine foils. I’m grateful to receive any foils given. I have people that look for these and value them highly, so I can trade them for things that I need.

  59. David Schumacher

    Hey Nicolette,
    I was wondering what one should do if, their waiting for confirmation on a digital conference in August?
    Previously, I sent emails through the website while relaying as well. Speaking to other Judges the consensus is that presenters/advertising takes time.
    Thanks for the feedback
    David Schumacher (Level 1) USA-East Region

  60. David Schumacher

    Hey Nicolette would you be so kind to check something for me. In regards to the Zoom Digital Conference S.H.O.C.K. under USA East Region that I have organized/posted, I was wondering about verification on my address for the sponsored promo package since, I’m handling redistribution as well. I have received a package from Judge Academy before but, since we are using Google as part of organizing I just want to avoid any issues. Thanks so much

  61. Alex Bauschke

    So they picked 2 cards that are banned in Modern the premier format that these cards would see play and two cards that will basically never see play in any format other than Enchantress EDH deck will like Sterling Grove. It sucks that these cards will do nothing but sit in a binder since they are largely unplayable.

  62. David Schumacher

    Hello Nicolette, I had to cancel the Digital Conference on Aug 15th due to a family emergency. I sent messages over Facebook/email. I’m reaching out to all participants and I have already deleted the event. Let me know if there’s anything else I need to do. Thanks

  63. Kyle weaver

    hey as well i recently change addresses and i have all mail forwarded to new address but if something goes wrong do i just get in contact with you guys about it

  64. Nerdles

    Hey, sorry I was trying to follow what you were saying about the mailing timeline in the post but wanted to clarify. In the last 2 weeks since the email saying cards were en route, they’re now at shipping hubs and awaiting dates to be sent to street addresses? The mailman here has been placing things at the wrong address, so just want to make sure I know when to start asking questions about “where’s my package”.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      As of this week, as soon as the distributors are ready, they have the green light to send them out! So yeah they should be on their way or about to be depending on where you are.

  65. Billy Siefferman

    Is there a delay in shipping? Not sure were to post this. I’ve seen before that July 15th was the ship out date on the promos, but it’s July 30th, and no promos. I’m in Seattle WA btw, last time Judge Academy sent me stuff it was from Portland Or. usually takes a day or two mail time.

    I get things are a little sower with Covid about, but just hoping stuff has not gotten lost in the mail. Anyways Stay Safe Y’all

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Hey Billy, promos were en route to distributors on the 15th, but then they needed to get them and then create all the packs and packages safely, covid precautions, etc.
      So, no nothing is lost yet, and I’d expect it early next week. Distributors around the world got the go ahead this week, so as soon as their hub is ready to mail them out, they have the green-light from us.

  66. Chriga

    I can’t use Zoom for security and privacy reasons. As this is the only tool that I’m explicitly not allowed to use (Company policy and I’m using company laptop/phone), would it be possible to encourage organisers to use the other tools?

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Absolutely worth asking your local organizer (or working with people to organize your own)! The sooner you get involved in a conference, the earlier in the process they will be and you’ll be able to find out what they intend to use, and point them towards whatever options work!

  67. Victor P

    Any update on when the last two Level 2 Modules and the three Level 2 test will be available?

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Test is ready, and will be up as soon as the last module goes live.
      Last two modules will be up as soon as their corrections/edits are finished.

  68. Robert Hinrichsen

    Are there any updates on L3 educational content? With all due respect, I signed up for Judge Academy as an L2 almost a year ago now, with the promise that there would be educational content that would be relevant to me and help me grow as a judge. While I understand the decision to prioritize L1 training content, I am beginning to feel like I’ve been forgotten. As far as I can see, NONE of the L3 modules are live yet (if this is incorrect, please link me the active module(s).) When December rolls around and I have to decide whether to renew my subscription, what assurance can you give that next year there will be content I can use?

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      L3 Modules have been completed by the judges and are going to go up as soon as L2 is done, we have ~25 in total at this point, and given the fact that we used L3s for all of them as the creators or paired with L2s, I’m hoping that when it comes to editing, we won’t have to correct a bunch of mistakes/errors.

  69. Miguel Angel

    Hello: Very nice detail from the organization when making those acrylic plates. My question, to those of us who were in the top 8 of each region, will you mail each one or each regional manager? Waiting for an answer, I say goodbye congratulating you for the initiative of the event.

  70. Nicolette Apraez

    Hey! These were for the Top 8 of the finals. Top 8 from each region’s leaderboard should have received Judge Academy sleeves either with their promo shipment or shortly after. If you believe you should have gotten those and didn’t, feel free to contact us via email or the Contact Us form so we can look into what happened!

  71. Nicolette Apraez

    If they are skilled enough that you feel they are trusted to be educating Judges on a topic, then they are contributing and should get counted as a presenter. Especially if they are bringing in non-judge expertise. If they are presenting on a strictly judge topic, I’d be curious why they would be chosen to present over a Judge, but assuming they can justify to the attendees why they should care what this person is presenting, I don’t see a problem.

  72. Yud

    Hi, I have been told Hispanic America – South Conferences won’t handle promo distribution by the event organizer as described here but by a third party located in Argentina. Is there any particular reason this is not mentioned on this blog post? I just learned about this on Facebook, which I don’t consider a place for official Judge Academy announcements. I also wonder if this is gonna happen on other regions as well and the reasons behind it. I strongly believe conference participation not only comes from personal interest but also from the organizer having a level of renown, good organization or management skills and in many cases they are referred to inside the judge community. This makes any Hispanic America – South conference less attractive since it increases the amount of people you need to organize with.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Last year, we utilized Logistic Coordinators in a number of areas where shipping from the US was not reliable, including LatAM, APAC, Eastern Europe/Asia, etc.

      For 2021 It’s really dependent on what the postal capabilities in an area are, and we have been listening to our members to determine when and if we need to make other arrangements, which are done on a case by case basis. It should not increase the number of people an attendee needs to work with, though, since the organizer should still be the one coordinating with whoever is responsible for shipping, whether they are in the US, EU, LatAM or elsewhere.

      That said, this should actually make organizing (and attending) LatAm conferences more attractive since it addresses the concerns and feedback those organizers and attendees have shared with us over the last year around issues with customs/shipping and lost/tampered shipments.

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      Anything that isn’t one of those will need to be manually approved, but as long as it isn’t offensive or otherwise inappropriate for something intended to be used in a professional setting, it should be fine!

      As long as you keep in mind that what’s on there will be viewable for better or for worse to players, other judges, and TOs, and that the name tag is intended to help players and judges know how to best interact with you at an event, you should be good.

    1. Urban_Kenobi

      Should produce and ship within a couple of weeks of the batch order going out at the end of the month, according to the last line on the MTG Pro Shop order page.

      “These items will be produced on demand. The preorder period will begin April 9th and run through April 30th. Prices shown represent a 10% discount from pricing good through the initial preorder period. At the end of the preorder period, those initial orders will be sent for production. Additional production will be sent once per month. The deadline for adding to the monthly production order is the last day of the month. Orders will be pulled and sent to production on the last day of the month, with the new order period beginning on the 1st of the following month.

      Any items ordered at the same time as a Judge Academy Apparel item will ship at the same time the Judge Academy item ships.

      Once the products are sent for production, it will take about 10 days to 2 weeks to complete, items will ship as soon as they are complete by the method selected at checkout.”

  73. Eser Unger

    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.

  74. orca-

    ” The other option includes promotional support for all JA Judges that attend the conference, in addition to the organizers and presenters. For this, each presenter/organizer still receives a total of 2 promo packs, each basic attendee will receive 1 promo pack, and each L3 at the conference to receive 1 additional promo packet.”

    I really feel the bonus value if a L3 is present at a conference, and not holding a presentation! (This is sarcasm)

    Remove this already!

    1. Nicolette Apraez

      You might not feel it, but the majority of judges do!

      Many Level 1s are excited to meet and interact with leaders in their communities, and the idea of attending a learning opportunity with someone who is the highest level of Judge is exciting to them. There are also many times where we’ve seen evidence of presenters looking to the L3s in the audience if they get a question they are unsure of, or give some misinformation. It’s not exclusive to L3s, but they make up the majority of it, and their experience is something where we want to encourage their attendance, even in situations where they are not presenting, because they might stand back to give presenter opportunities to others. While this is mostly true at physical conferences, due to COVID we did not change digital conference support, so it is the same as what you would have gotten for a physical conference, since many areas do not have a choice at the moment between physical and digital.

  75. Nicolette Apraez

    So, this is mainly discussing your rules and policy knowledge, which you mentioned struggling with. What about your understanding of the philosophy behind it?

    For example, you mentioned wanting to fix things at regular because the policy is making things worse. Questions for you:

    1. Can you give an example of this (when has this come up)?
    2. In that situation, why do you think the policy says what it says to do?
    3. What situations would it make sense for the policy to be written that way?
    4. What is the “spirit” of the policy intending?
    5. Which fix (yours or the documents) matches the spirit of the policy better in that particular instance?

  76. Nicolette Apraez

    Depending on the quality, sometimes watching recorded coverage can help because you can jump to a spot where you see the board clearly, and try to figure out what turn it is, and then go back to the start of the game and watch to see if you were correct.

    Also consider pausing any EDH game (or if you pause for a food/bio break at some point) and counting cards there. You don’t have to wait for an event to practice!

  77. Tobias Vyseri

    Maybe I wrote ambiguously, I don’t usually fight with policy at regular REL if that’s what you’re saying here, (since policy at Regular REL is very much ‘do a good thing not a bad thing’), so with the intention of answering your questions in the spirit that they are asked, I’ll mention a comp REL policy situation that I currently disagree with policy on.
    1. how missed trigger handles chalice of the void when I miss my own chalice trigger for instance, I think a short backup would be generally fine.
    2. policy is written this way because for most other missed triggers it’s fine to let the opponent put it on the stack (if advantageous to them) or not (if it’s bad for them) but for chalice putting on the stack after the spell has resolved does nothing because of how the game works
    3. most other triggers are handled totally fine by MT policy.
    4. the spirit of policy is trying to counterbalance the potential advantage gained by AP for missing a trigger, by allowing NAP to choose to put it on the stack or not,
    5. I think my fix is more in line with policy since allowing NAP to put the MT on the stack now does nothing and doesn’t combat any advantage gained.

    Hopefully I answered that right, or in line with the intention in which the questions were asked, if I didn’t though lmk

  78. Tobias Vyseri

    My default conflict management strategy is to attempt to prevent conflict from escalating. A while back on a PTQ my paper lead proposed a place for the pairings boards that I felt was in the middle of the aisle, I was concerned about players clumping or bumping into them since the proposed orientation was non-standard. My lead had some good rebuttals for my arguements, and I decided that it was worth giving a shot, since if it ended up disastrously we could always just move them later.

    Recently at MF Vegas I was giving a contentious ruling, one of the players was giving me considerable pushback, since they were unhappy with the ruling, I explained my reasoning to them but they didn’t agree. I ascertained fairly quickly that I wasn’t going to be successful in convincing them, and noticed I had a shadowing judge, I sent the shadowing judge to get the HJ while I finished the explanation, finalizing my ruling, and letting the player know that it seemed like they would like to appeal and that I’d already gotten that set up for them.

    I’m not entirely sure if this demonstrates good conflict management or good conflict avoidance. I guess I’d venture to say that often the best strategy for conflict is avoiding it.

  79. Nicolette Apraez

    This is great! As an L2 who currently endorses more candidates than most judges (~14 in the last 2 months) I’d love to understand what your typical process is for endorsing. Can you walk me through what you do with a candidate from the time one approaches you to when they are endorsed and what if anything you do beyond that?

  80. Lando

    Hey Nico,
    So the question I always ask first, after being generally friendly and making someone’s acquaintance, is “Have you reached out to an L2 in your area yet?” Usually the response is either, “There are none” or “That’s why I posted publicly in need of people”. From here, the next question I always ask is, “Why do you want to be an L1?”
    This allows me to gauge not only intentions, but also it allows me to preliminarily determine how to best mentor that person if they decide to ask for more mentorship opportunities. I won’t waste both myself and the mentees time chatting about the journey to L2 if they want to remain their store’s champion for FNM and event planning.
    Once I get that answer, I ask any follow up questions that I may have formed. Concerns about intention or understanding are usually addressed here. Then, I always offer myself as a continuing resource for any and all judge questions. And I do hold to it. I spoke to an L1 who had just certified two nights ago. We had a conversation about the changes in judging since JudgeApps and JA switchover.
    This is the real reason I endorse so many – I find that many L1s are given this “Here’s your endorsement, have a good life” response even when they’re local. So many judges have questions that they’re either afraid to ask or don’t know where to ask that go unanswered; it is my opinion that the community is far from welcoming currently. I’ve had voicecalls with multiple mentees this week that I’ve only met once online. Making people feel welcome is my favorite and a need right now 🙂

  81. Charles Ferguson

    This is a well written article and a good resource to quickly refer to a asking questions in this area.

    That being said, one of the biggest things I take issue with here, philosophically speaking, is with how you define ‘endorsements’ is through the process of mentorship, it is simply not the standard that is enforced by the JA nor has ever been a consensus philosophy of the Judge community, i.e. mentorship, or even any kind of relationship with a L1 candidate is necessary to issue an endorsement.

    For the longest time, L2s and 3s have been completely on the honor system when it comes to certifying L1s. Having to judge *any* kind if event being the old, system wide barrier at least insured that there was some kind of need for a judge in that community, and combined with a physical test being mostly the norm, you also had the candidate meeting with the person who was administering the test.

    But with the JA now being the certifying institution, neither of those very minor barriers are required. Sure, a candidate now has to engage with online coursework as their barrier, but they can go through that whole process alone. Once they are ready to take the test, all they really need from an L2 is a “ya this person can take the test” aka an ‘endorsement’. Basically, the nature of JA certification has completely warped the safeguards that used to, at the very least, gave the opportunity for mentorship to happen.

    There will always be bad actors without much stricter enforcements of the mentorship philosophy you detailed here, and the both the former and current L1 process don’t do much to prevent that. But, the problem I often run into as a ‘good actor’ is what justification, philosophical or otherwise, do I really have to prevent someone from taking the test? when the only effort that is required is telling some entity they are good to go. There isn’t even a physical justification that can be used anymore, any L2/3 can endorse a candidate anywhere. Accountability isn’t even a question; if you certify a “scummy” person, there is no means by which I can look up the judge who certified them to even give a “wth were you thinking”.

    Its good you define what endorsements could or even should be, but it would be nice if the JA could codify some of these things so that, by mandate or method, forces L2/3s to actually follow these definitions.

  82. Dave

    “Branded limited edition merchandise, available only to certified Judges and in limited quantities.”

    “Preorder Timeline:
    L3/L3E February | L2+ March | L1+ April”

    Am I understanding this wording correctly to mean that by the time L2 or L1 judges could pre-order whatever the merch bundle is, that it could be sold out by that point and they never had a chance to get it?

    1. William J Boyson

      Hiya Dave,
      If i remeber the facebook comments on the post regarding this correctly; each level has their own limited qty’s. L3’s can only order the L3 boxes, once they’re gone, they’re gone

  83. AlexPanebianco

    I believe the Facebook comments stated that L3 could order any tier, L2 could order from the L2 or L1 tier and L1 could only order from L1, however, each tier will have increasing quantities available, to help ensure there should be enough stock available for the expected number of orders. It is also the case that each set of boxes will be unique from one another, so items in the L3 box won’t all be available in the L2 or L1 boxes. It might be the case there are some consistent items between the three, but the total contents will not be the same between tiers.

  84. Nicolette Apraez

    A lot of this is really good, but focuses more on self-evaluation than necessarily your underlining understanding of philosophy.

    – “Often, pushing current standards can be met with resistance. We are taught as judges to cling to the policy we’ve been given. This can create environments of defensiveness and warranted hesitation to new ideas and suggestions.”
    What I don’t see here, is showing an understanding that not liking something in policy, or having an idea/suggestion for something better. is not reason enough to justify deviating. We are taught to cling to policy for a reason.
    Q.1 What are some of those reasons, and why are they important?
    Q2. Can you give me an example of when you’ve deviated from stated policy and why? What made it significant and exceptional, or how was it not covered in current policy?
    Q3. What about a time where you have wanted to deviate, but showed restraint because it was not significant and exceptional?
    Q4. If you could change one rule in the IPG, what would it be, how would you change it, and why?
    Q5. Now that you have an improvement in mind, what’s your “next step”? Maybe it from a situation where you ended up deviating, maybe you decided not to but you don’t love the solution. What could you do next, after the event?

  85. Nicolette Apraez

    I think you may have attached the wrong document, this is only:
    “Logistics and Tournament Operations
    So I guess a good way to start this is to rate myself out of 10 (10 being the best and 1 being the worst) 7/10”

  86. Tobias Vyseri

    That is odd, when I download it and look at it, there are paragraphs here, so I’m not sure what’s up. I also can’t find the attach file button again to attach a new file, so I’ve just pasted it below, hopefully that is ok

    Logistics and Tournament Operations
    So I guess a good way to start this is to rate myself out of 10 (10 being the best and 1 being the worst) 7/10
    Hmmm, I feel fairly confident in my ability to logistic and tournament operate. I’ve worked a lot of large events at this point (70+ or something IDK) I’ve been on every team multiple times, including scorekeeping and ops, which a lot of judges don’t get the opportunity to do. I’ve lead side events, main event teams and PTQs so I’ve got a lot of perspective on different judge roles. This doesn’t mean I’m amazing at every role, and team leading in particular is something I still need a reasonable amount of practice at. My strengths I guess are just having done so many events and worked in so many roles I can kind of work in any part of the event competently (well except for registration, I have no idea what’s going on with that these days. It’s changed since I last worked it). And having been in lead roles, I think my event awareness is pretty solid, as a FJ I can keep an eye out for when something might be falling apart and advise my lead on it. My weakness is definitely planning, me and planning don’t get along so it takes a real force of will to get me to make a plan. I think bouncing ideas off judges who have planning as a strength will help me with this, and also just slowing down a bit, I find a lot of the time when I make a plan if I don’t scrutinize enough there are a lot of places that I unconsciously insert “I’ll just work it out on the day of”. But mostly getting others to look over any plan I make I think would be a big help.

  87. Tyler Espinoza

    I may be a little late to the party, but I think Charles summed up my concerns quite thoroughly. I’m not an L2 yet, but I hope to be in the near future and I really want to be that mentor to those folks that are starting their judging journeys, but there will also be folks online that haven’t participated in the judging community before and are looking for blind endorsement handouts. The question I’ve struggled with is “should I intend to be the person who helps someone get endorsed even if I haven’t mentored them personally?”

    There are a couple big factors that push towards indiscriminately offering endorsements. Firstly, there’s JA’s own written guidance on endorsements: “Although we ask that you put some thought into the conversation you have with the candidate, we do not expect the process to take more than 30 min or so.” It’s incredibly hard to accurately judge the competency or personality of a candidate in “30 minutes or so” and yet that expectation is now laid out for both the candidate and the endorsing judge, so what does an endorsement mean after such a short introduction to a candidate? The second concern I have is “If I don’t endorse this person, they’re just going to get endorsed by someone else who doesn’t know they already got turned down by me. Might as well save everyone the time and effort and just dish out endorsements when asked for them.”

    The unfortunate reality is that I’ve seen folks get certified without a thorough examination from their endorsing “mentor,” and with little-to-no expectations for the endorsing judges it’s tough to justify the increased effort on the judge’s part if the candidate isn’t also willing to put in the work. So at the end of the day, the L1 endorsement becomes meaningless and we end up with a degradation of L1 quality even compared to what it was before. I’m not ultimately sure what the fix should be (especially since I haven’t hit L2 yet myself), but I imagine there has to be a better way to ensure a higher caliber of entry level judges.

  88. Ryan Scanlon

    I have had some concerns with the endorsement policy myself. I am only a level one, but I have pushed interested players to take the courses for a few reasons, such as a better rules understanding for playgroups and potential game stewards. I would not endorse some of these individuals but would direct them on how to reach out for their growth. Unfortunately, the current endorsement/Testing procedure does not highlight the interpersonal skills that Judge Academy promotes in its modules. My L2 had required me to run a prerelease to demonstrate how the skills I picked up in the modules were put into practice, and I wish this would be made into a requirement. Nothing prevents an L2 from endorsing a candidate they have never met, and this is concerning for me for the integrity of the judging community. I believe that this promotes endorsement “phishing” for candidates that need more experience and have been turned down by others. This can degrade the player’s view of what an L1 judge is and undermine the goals of the judge program. I would never dissuade a person interested in pursuing certification, but I am respectfully concerned that the lack of accountability weakens the program’s integrity.

  89. Nicolette Apraez

    Needs some more detail. What types of conferences and processes? What did you learn? What makes your investigations thorough and efficient? What types of investigations are you good at? Which do you need to improve on? For example, are you better at card counting or marked cards investigations? GRV cheating? Bribery and collusion? Where do you tend to need help during investigations? Where do you give help? Is it determining if they broke a rule? Is it evaluating the gamestate to determine if there’s an advantage to be gained by the mistake? Is it just deciding if they did it knowingly?

    What are you doing now to improve your investigation skills? You mentioned being more decisive but that’s not going to improve the skills themselves, just how quickly you make a decision, which could be good or bad. What can you do in the next say, 3 months to get better at investigations?

  90. Lando

    What types of conferences and processes? What did you learn?
    – The processes I’ve gathered from conferences and in real world experiences are to consider how advantages can be gained, and how players can sense advantage though it may not be present. Learning about advantageous cheating versus opportunistic cheating versus ignorant cheating (which now has its own place within the IPG) and how those can manifest in very different ways.
    – Sometimes asking questions to bring players into an air of truth can manifest in them slipping into a lie by becoming more comfortable. Questions like, “How is your event?” “What’s your record?” “What deck are you playing?” bring players into a comfortable state. This allows us to further the investigation by making the player more comfortable talking to us.
    What makes your investigations thorough and efficient?
    – I find that I am wildly afraid of making the wrong call. I understand that this is “generally detrimental” to me, and I work hard to allow myself more room to breathe in my own skin. However, it tends to make me quite thorough in my investigations.
    – I also find that I choose to consider all options, then narrow down to the most likely. In an example, if we think a player is cheating by cutting their opponent’s draft deck and placing rares on the bottom of the library after looking while shuffling, we have many options to consider.
    Is the player a terrible shuffler and needs to look at their opponents deck every time they shuffle?
    Is the opponent’s deck in slippery sleeves that make it difficult to shuffle?
    Is the opponent taking actions that would make that player extremely nervous? (“Wow, I opened some good cards. You better not drop those” “My last deck got destroyed by my opponent, I honestly need you to be careful when you shuffle those.” etc.)
    While these may seem ancillary or redundant, having the most information (gathered in a timely-fashion) is what I consider to be a strongpoint of mine.
    What types of investigations are you good at?
    – I am good with investigations regarding sleight of hand or physical manipulation cheats. I find that I am able to determine the proper distance to stand and position myself to best be able to see how cheating is taking place. This kind of “hiding in plain sight” comes easy to me as I tend to be a shorter and more innocuous person. I have also spent time practicing this “shadowing” at Grand Prixs while working on sides or while a draft is being called on the main floor.
    – My background in care-giving and social work lends itself well to investigations involving player intent. I find that Bribery/Wagering and Improperly Determining a winner are investigations I excel at. Obviously, intent is important in all investigations, but understanding why a person did the thing they did comes into play heavily when we look at Unsporting Conduct. Having an upfront and information gathering dialogue with players can make some judges feel uncomfortable. I find it like attempting to solve a puzzle, where the puzzle could have a million different outcomes and endings.
    Where do you tend to need help during investigations?
    – Often I find myself unable to take emotion fully from the picture. When a player says, “Well I wasn’t cheating, I was trying to do X, Y or Z,” it often throws me into a compassionate state of mind that alters my investigations. It also pokes at my issues with self-esteem, causing me to second guess my investigation and due diligence. Having a second judge come in to say, “Yes I also observed this,” is something I find invaluable.
    – I also continue to struggle with mathematical elements, such as determining player rankings “if they won this match, and the next one”, complex card counting, and other variable heavy investigations. I call on other judges who are more intensely wired that way.
    Where do you give help?
    – When judges are having issues reading players within their interviews, I tend to step in and assist. I find that, as I mentioned before, the “soft-interrogation” skills are those I possess and enjoy employing.
    – Going back to my time in social work and security, I find that my de-escalation techniques are well-matured. Understanding how to assist judges with possibly distraught or upset players is something I pride myself on.
    What are you doing now to improve your investigation skills?
    – Truly my largest issues with investigations lie in my lack of self-confidence in my skills. Though these lie in the next category of improvements, (as I feel confidence building is a much more long-term goal) I think it’s important to call this out.
    – I find myself digging through articles and books about body language and investigations on a fairly regular basis to becoming more quick to understand para-verbal and non-verbal communications. I’ve just begun reading “Duped” a book about the Social Science of Lying and Deception by Timothy Levine.
    – It is tough for me to consider the things I can do now to improve my investigations. I find that I learn most by being at events.
    What can you do in the next say, 3 months to get better at investigations?
    – To build my self confidence/negate imposter syndrome
    – I surround myself with fantastic people who I believe are better judges than I am, or at least exemplify skills I need more work on. I interact with these people on almost a daily basis for one reason or another. In those interactions, I find moments where I can strengthen my
    self-confidence by receiving feedback or asking for ways to improve in specific areas. I look to those people to emulate certain mannerisms or actions they take.
    – I go to conferences. I’ve already presented or attended 3 conferences this year, with another coming up in 2 weeks. I have never attended conferences at this rate, and I’m already feeling better about my confidence.
    – I go to events. I’ve been attending events like crazy. I am working four events between the end of March and the end of April, and I intend upon keeping this rate if possible. I find that being in places where I can allow myself to learn and grow by putting my knowledge to work boosts my confidence a little each time.
    – Aside from this, I’ve already contacted people at events that I am working to assist me with areas I feel I need more work in. At Fort Wayne NRG, Abe Corson will be shadowing me while I HJ to both write L3 Rec reviews, but also to assist in giving me feedback on investigations (among other things).

  91. Wendel Lemos

    Nice article Daniel! It would be interesting one regarding alters! My local community had a great discussion recently and JudgeCast made a episode regarding it =)

  92. Nicolette Apraez

    So an exercise for you on all the (Leadership, Presence, and Charisma)!

    Imagine you somehow got put in charge of an event, where the TO is not the most popular. But you still needed to fill your staff. Who are the people you feel you could call up that if the event was in 2 weeks, and you asked them to be there, they would do it. Imagine comp is fine, average. But this is really about your own social capital.

    On short notice:
    Do you have L3s in mind that would come out to TL your event?
    What about L2s that would come out to Floor Judge?

    1. Isaac King

      I’m confused by your question. Staffing an event doesn’t seem like something that I should be calling in favors for. If the TO is unpopular enough and/or the comp is low enough that there aren’t enough applicants, I could certainly try to signal boost it in judge spaces, get the TO to increase compensation, and/or get them to change whatever behavior made them unpopular, but I wouldn’t try to push someone into working an event that they don’t want to work.

  93. Anniek

    Which notification settings should I use to be notified of Regional Championships / Showdowns? I don’t see them listed as an event type and ‘Other’ seems a bit broad to set continent-wide notifications for…

    1. edb

      We couldn’t add them to the event list prior to the announcement, but those should be updated over the next couple of days.

    2. Jonah Kellman

      They have now been added. The open enrollment, store-level tournaments are “Regional Championship Qualifiers” and the invitation-based regional tournaments are “Regional Championships”.