Some rather interesting news for those of you readers who venture beyond your local Friday Night Magic events and go on to play in the big league. We've done a very brief summary here for you but suggest you hit up the mothersite to get the full monty over here.
First up however, let's talk about hard to get judge foils which may actually may become a titch more difficult to obtain (on the secondary market).
The Magic Judge Exemplar Program is a brand new Judge Reward Program just recently announced this week. Magic Judges certified by the DCI are often the un-sung heroes of large tournaments where they provide consistent rules enforcement and promote fair play among a myriad of other tasks. Judges are typically unpaid for their very hard work but are rewarded through a Judge figt card program where foil Magic: the Gathering cards were either handed out or mailed out to judge staff who worked at MTG tournamdents and events. Started in 1998, the Judge reward program evolved over the course of the years and in recent years provided approximately eight to ten possible promo cards to be 'earned'. A number of these promo cards are actually worth a bit of money and has in the past helped some Judges offset the cost of their participation (travel and accommodation) in said event / tournament. These cards would often find their way on to eBay or retailer's websites where collectors would snap them up.
That has all changed now - for the better or worse, it is up to you to decide. Announcements on 'The Magic Judge' blog introduced the Exemplar Program as the new method of distributing foils to judges in the DCI judge program. The most immediate effect of the foil “policy” change is that judges at GP events will no longer receive foils from WotC as gifts for their efforts. The Exemplar Program will begin in 2014 for L3+judges and will be fully implemented for all judges in 2015. While judge activities will continue as before, in 2015, judges foils will only be available as part of the Exemplar Program which will use a recognition-based process that will award judge foils to a wider audience of judges based on their contributions to the judging community. This may mean fewer Judge foils making it on to the secondary market and may impact large tournament organisers latter in the 2015 schedule as they may be required to offer additional incentives or compensation for certified judges - it really is too early to tell.
Yesterday on the mothersite was a series of important updates from Helene Bergeot, Director of Global Organized Play Wizards of the Coast. We suggest that if you are a regular at the large tournaments, you read all four articles to get a handle on the number of changes to the Pro Tour Qualifying (PYQ) System which is to take effect starting with the qualifiers in December.
Essentially your local gaming store will still be running 'Preliminary' PTQs from which the winners will be qualified to attend a Regional PTQ and from here, potentially on to the Pro Tour. Other changes include an adjustment as to how Pro Points are earned but since we're not ever expecting to go pro nor do we think that Pros will ever stop by our little MTG Realm Blog, we will just direct you to read this on the mother site. There are also a planned increase in the number of Grand Prix tournaments and more specifically, a total of 54 GPs in the 2015 calendar year in the following regions :
• 24 in the United States and Canada
• 14 in Europe
• 5 in Mexico, Central America, and South America
• 7 in Asia-Pacific
• 4 in Japan