Extension of the Transition Phase

May 30th: Added wording to “4. Level Maintenance in 2026” to clarify that only judges who obtain a new level (through non-automatic means) will do their first maintenance in 2026. Judges who transitioned their previous level but did not level up, as well as judges who leveled up via automatic advancement, will need to do maintenance in 2025 as usual if they want to keep their level.

Hello Judges! We are aware that the rules and requirements for the Transition Period were complex and not as clear as they should be. In order to fix this and provide a fair transition to the IJP to everyone we have decided on the following actions:

1. Extended Transition Phase

The Transition Phase is extended until June 30th, 2024. As a reminder, for L4/5 you can fill in the form even if you don’t meet all the requirements yet, you just need to provide a realistic plan to meet the requirements you’re missing in a few months.

2. New Role: Level Transition Advisor

We have created the temporary role of Level Transition Advisor.

This group of judges will help other judges through their transition from the Judge Academy era to the IJP era in their own language. Their main tasks are answering questions, clarifying concepts and raising any concern to the Program Leads.

You can find the list of Level Transition Advisors here.

3. Clarification: Paths to L4 and L5

This is not a change but we are aware of a few misunderstandings regarding the automatic advancement (Path 1) and accelerated examination (Path 2) for Levels 4 and 5 and we want to share some clarifications. It works the same for the transition to Level 4 and Level 5.

Path 1: Automatic Advancement.

This path is designed for Judge Academy L3s and to Judge Academy L2s with a Team Lead Certification who have kept very active since events started again after the pandemic break.

There are the following two requirements for path 1, and a judge must fulfill both requirements in order to advance to L4 or L5 via path 1:

  • Meet the requirements to test (Step 1) for the desired level since 1/1/2021.
  • Meet the maintenance requirements for the desired level since 1/1/2023.

If a judge meets these requirements, they can advance to the desired level without the need for recommendations and panels. However, passing the respective exam is still required as part of the maintenance requirements (but there is no additional testing if you use automatic advancement).

Path 2: Accelerated Examination.

This path is designed for judges who have the qualifications to be level 4 or 5 but have not been previously tested for similar certifications or have not been as active since the beginning of the pandemic. Path 2 differs from Path 1 in so far as the event experience portion of Step 1 does not have a time limit. Instead life-time experience is used for this portion of Step 1 if you advance with accelerated examination. In addition to this, you also need to pass an accelerated version of the panels and evaluations for the desired level.

For full information on the rest of the level transition process, please refer to the page on the Level Transition Phase.

4. Level Maintenance in 2026

The year a judge gets certified for a new level they don’t need to maintain it (except for the above PATH 1 Automatic Advancement). Therefore, the first maintenance of IJP levels will occur in January 2026 for most judges who have advanced to a new level. For judges who advanced via automatic advancement and judges who transitioned their previous level to the IJP but did not level up, their first level maintenance will be in January 2025 as usual.

We’ll be watching the Organized Play development until then and adapt the requirements to test and maintain every level before the start of every year.

5. Changes of L4 and L5 requirements

Recently we ran some online meetings with the IJP members and we received very valuable feedback. Based on that feedback we’re making the following changes:

Level 4 Maintenance (changes underlined)

Choose three, at least one A and one B must be chosen

  • 4 days total in any combination of working the Pro Tour or leading teams at competitive events (A)
  • Head-judge a medium competitive event (A)
  • Head-judge or Appeals-Judge a large competitive event (Competitive event with 20+ judges or any Regional Championship) (A)
  • Work at least four multi-day events (A)
  • Serve on one or more L4 advancement panels, regardless of its result (B)
  • Write two or more reviews resulting from L3+ certification process interviews (pass or fail) (B)
  • Actively participate in an IJP core project (B)
    Create quality educational content (ex: article, conference presentation, video, etc.) (B)

Level 5 Advancement (changes underlined)

  1. Work at least six multi-day events, acting in any of the following roles at each of them (there is no time constraint on these events):
    1. Lead a team on Day 1 of a Large Competitive event ((20+ judges or Regional Championship) or at a Pro Tour. [Editor’s note: This requirement used to be ‘Lead a team with 5+ judges.’]
    2. Shadowing, to provide feedback and evaluation, an L4 candidate in the L4 certification process
    3. Serve as head judge for a medium-sized competitive event
    4. Serve as a support judge, a head judge with a support judge, or one of multiple head judges for a single tournament.

Level 5 Maintenance (changes underlined)

Choose three, at least one A and one B must be chosen —

  • Work 6 days total in any combination of working the Pro Tour or leading teams at competitive events (A)
  • Head-judge an event with at least twelve judges (A)
  • Head-judge a large competitive event (Regional Championship are always considered large competitive events) (A)
  • Work at least six multi-day events (A)
  • Serve on one or more advancement panels (B)
  • Write three or more reviews resulting from L3+ certification process interviews (pass or fail) (B)
  • Actively participate in a core project (B)
  • Create educational content (ex: article, conference presentation, video, etc.), subject to approval (B)

Thank you all for continuing to provide feedback to us and for actively making this Judge Program the best it can be. Knowing what the judge community needs and how to adapt our system to best serve those needs is the foundation of what we do as Program Leads and we couldn’t do it without your participation and input.

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