Recommended Staffing Guidelines

These staffing guidelines below take into consideration the level of rules and policy knowledge, customer service skills, and event management a judge has been tested on. While some individual judges may exceed the expectations for their level, following these recommendations are the best way to ensure that your event is fair, fun, and well run.

For all recommendations below the terms “L1+” and “L2+” are shorthand meaning any judge that holds that level certification or higher.

Regular Rules Enforcement Level Events:

  • 8 – 32 expected players: One Level 1+ judge.
  • 33 – 64 expected players: Two Level 1+ judges.
  • 65 – 128 expected players: Level 2+ or a Level 1 with the Adv. Comprehensive Rules badge as Head Judge, with a total of one judge per 35 players or fraction thereof.
  • 129+  expected players: as above, but a Level 2+ Head Judge is recommended

Competitive Rules Enforcement Level Events:

  • 8 – 32 expected players: Level 2+ or a Level 1 with both the Adv. Comprehensive Rules and Competitive REL badges.
  • 33 – 64 expected players: Two Level 2+ or Level 1 judges. Level 1s should have both the Adv. Comprehensive Rules and Competitive REL badges.
  • 65 – 128 expected players: A Level 2+ judge as Head Judge and two other L2+ or L1 Judges. Any L1s on staff should have both the Adv. Comprehensive Rules and Competitive REL badges.
  • 129-226 expected players: A Level 2+ judge as Head Judge, with a total of one L2+ or L1 judge per 35 players or fraction thereof. Any Level 1s on staff should have both the Adv. Comprehensive Rules and Competitive REL badges.
  • 226-409 expected players: as above, but a Level 3 Head Judge is recommended
  • 410+ expected players: as above, but a Large Tournament Head Judge* or at least two Level 3 judges are recommended.

*Currently the LTHJ Certification is on hold as we figure out more about Organized Play and it’s return post-COVID. If you have a competitive event that you expect to exceed 409 players, consider staffing at least two Level 3 judges in order to ensure appeals, investigations, round turnovers, and breaks can be easily managed.

Additional Guidelines:

  • These recommendations are the minimum. Unusual circumstances may make extra judges or higher level judges necessary, for example a playing area divided into several separate rooms or multiple smaller events happen at the same time, or an extremely high prize pool.
  • For any tournament expecting over 128 players, depending on how results will be reported, a dedicated Scorekeeper is recommended on top of the above listed judge staff.
  • If you are interested in building up the experience of your local judges, we recommend staffing at most 1 judge who does not meet the qualification recommendations listed above for every 2-4 judges needed. That judge may not be prepared for the level of logistics, rules and policy knowledge, and customer service skills needed, so in order to ensure you are not compromising event quality, it’s important to not count that judge in your minimum staffing calculations. We highly suggest only staffing this kind of position if you can pair that judge with a qualified judge during the event to ensure they are not answering questions alone.

Consult with your Head Judge for further advice on extraordinary circumstances.

Reasoning and common questions on the above guidelines.

Where do I find Certified Judges?
The best way to find judges for your event is to use our Event Management portal. You can find a walkthrough on how to create a new event here. Additionally we also have a Judge Academy User Search, where you can search for judges near you. This website requires a user account and is subject to judge privacy settings.

Why are judges Level 2+ or L1s with the Adv. Comprehensive Rules and Competitive REL badges recommended for Competitive REL events?
Certification for Level 1, its test and its training do not dive deeply into the Comprehensive rules or cover the Infraction Procedure Guide which is used in Competitive REL events. Therefore, Level 1 judges have not shown proficiency in the skills needed for a Competitive REL event.

Why is a Level 2+ judge recommended for Regular REL events with more than 128 expected players?
This tournament requires at least two other judges in addition to the Head Judge; and logistics to efficiently run an event increase exponentially with the number of players. Those two factors make the tournament beyond the scope of the training and certification a Level 1 judge has.

Why is a Level 3 judge recommended for Competitive REL events with more than 226 expected players?
Larger events require an experienced Head Judge due to the more complex logistics and management skills required. Level 3 judges are experts at Competitive events and have the required leadership skills.

Why is at least one judge needed every 35 players?
As the number of players increase, so do the judges’ responsibilities: judge calls, number of decks to check, results to enter, matches to watch, and situations requiring further investigation.

Why is a dedicated Scorekeeper recommended in events larger than 128 players?
The more results there are, the messier and slower things get. Entering results, making pairings, and taking appropriate safety measures takes a significant amount of time. Expecting someone to do this at the same time this person is taking judge calls increases the risk of mistakes significantly . Those mistakes are slow to fix and will cause significant delays in the tournament.

I have more questions, not answered in this document.
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