Event Admin Certifications

Historical Article

This article was written during the time between when Judge Foundry was announced and when we launched. While we’re keeping it live (for transparency and historical purposes, as well as to elucidate our philosophy), some of our policies and requirements might have changed. For the most current version of the process to advance to and maintain Event Admin, see this page.

When we announced Judge Foundry to the world, we received a ton of feedback on what judges, tournament organizers, publishers and players might want in a new judge program. Among that feedback was “Why not certify people for other roles you’ll see at major tournaments?” 

No previous Magic judge program has tried to create certifications for the hard-working folks you see taking registrations, exchanging tix for packs at the prize wall or flipping rounds at the scorekeeping station. In part, that’s been a function of the problem being too big to solve globally, but in the new era of regional programs, we believe it’s possible to design a certification that works for events in the United States and Canada.

Today, Judge Foundry is excited to introduce the Event Admin certification, the first new certification as part of the operations track. Large events have a wide array of tournament staff beyond just judges. Event admins are needed to run registration, handle customer service, help players at the Prize Wall, and scorekeep for the event. These customer service-oriented roles are indispensable for a well-run tournament. This certification will cover not only the basics of these roles’ responsibilities, but also some common resolutions and escalations. The Judge Foundry Event Admin certification will assure Tournament Organizers (TOs) that you have training in large event structure, management, and customer relations.

Ben works the prize wall at MagicFest Toronto in 2018. Photo © John Brian McCarthy
Ben works the prize wall at MagicFest Toronto in 2018. Photo © John Brian McCarthy

Purpose of Judge Foundry Event Admins

Well-trained and competent event admins help events flow smoothly and create a better customer experience. This is incredibly important since players are customers at the TO’s event and it is important to the TO’s reputation and success that their customers have a great time!  A poor interaction or resolution at one event could cause players not to attend future events. Worse, one bad interaction could cause major damage to a TO’s reputation. 

Conversely, if the event staff are able to handle complicated situations well, they can create a lifelong customer. While judges have to keep this in mind, they have to balance the integrity of the event with each player’s experience; no one can say that it’s a good customer experience for the player who gets disqualified for cheating, but it’s sometimes necessary. While judges must balance tournament integrity with customer experience, admins must instead balance the needs of the TO and those of players. Doing this in a way that fulfills the requirements of the TO while also making customers feel heard and respected is critical and the best admins can help a player understand and accept a resolution even if they don’t agree with it.. 

Andrea processes package entry vouchers at MagicFest Memphis in 2018. Photo © John Brian McCarthy
Andrea processes package entry vouchers at MagicFest Memphis in 2018. Photo © John Brian McCarthy

Who needs an Event Admin Certification?

The Judge Foundry Event Admin certification is designed to be flexible and focused on core skills that translate across multiple roles such as Registration, Information, and Prize Wall.   

The Judge Foundry Event Admin certification can be earned by anyone, whether they are also certified as a judge or not. Very little rules and game knowledge is required for Event Admins, since they are not involved in game play. The certification informs TOs of competencies outside of the game, focused on customer experience. It also recognizes the crucial contributions of admins to the success of events, and solidifies the understanding that customer experience roles are skilled jobs, just like judging, and that people should be trained and evaluated on their proficiency at performing them.

While the judge qualities we outlined here don’t precisely map to event admins, judges with very strong Personal Skills could consider adding this certification to their qualifications.  The certification can help to diversify a judge’s skills and make them more marketable.  The more a judge knows about other roles, the better equipped they are to handle questions or concerns that come their way on the event floor. It is also useful to be cross-trained, since this allows flexibility to TOs who may need someone to step into an admin role at an event.  Working as an admin can also help judges improve their judging skills in a number of areas, including Tournament Operations, Diplomacy, Stress Management, Conflict Management, Maturity, and Teamwork. 

The Event Admin Certification is intended as the foundation of the Operations Certification Track. It’s vital to demonstrate these base competencies before certifying as operations roles, because they all require some degree of customer service expertise.


Judge Foundry Event Admins understand the responsibilities of the different admin roles at a large tournament, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Registration
  • Customer Service/Information
  • Prize Wall or Prize Distribution
  • Scorekeeping

This isn’t intended to be a Scorekeeping certification, but an Event Admin is expected to understand the basics of the Scorekeeper job in order to be able to direct players and judges to the right place, and facilitate smoother interactions.

These roles are all unique, but work together to create a cohesive and consistent customer experience. We recognize that while judging is often a similar experience irrespective of the TO, the specific responsibilities of admins are going to vary greatly from one organizer to another. As a result, we designed this certification to focus on the fundamentals of customer service, rather than delving into the peculiarities of each TO. A Judge Foundry Event Admin is someone on whom any TO can rely to put player experience first, to be open to learning new skills and procedures, and to working diligently as part of the TO’s team. The types of things that an Event Admin can be expected to know at an event include:

  • Answers to common facilities questions.
    • Where is the closest ATM?
    • Is there an ungendered/family washroom available?
  • Answers to common event questions.
    • Where can I register for a draft?
    • Can you help me find table 308?
  • Answers to common tournament questions. (These will often be referenced and not memorized.)
    • How many rounds is the 2pm Modern event?
    • What are the prizes for Super Sunday Series?
  • What fixes are available?
    • Walking someone to a judge if they are late for their event and explaining the situation.
  • When a situation should be escalated.
    • If a customer is yelling, cursing, or being disrespectful.
    • If anyone’s safety is at risk.
    • If the customer would like to provide feedback to the TO.
  • Who is the escalation point at the event for certain situations.
    • Admin leads, stage managers, event HJs, etc.
    • Generally use an up and over method of escalation.

Judge Foundry Event Admins are prepared to answer most non-game-related questions that players are likely to ask, either from memory, or referencing documentation they have close by. When they are unable to answer a question or address a concern, they should seek the answer quickly and efficiently or escalate the issue to the appropriate person.

Event Admins must also be proficient with spreadsheets, word processors and other tools used to manage player registration, create signage, print decklists and other common tasks. Admins need to be tech-savvy enough to work on documents collaboratively without causing data issues that can slow down the entire event. And while being a wizard with pivottables or knowing how to resolve “PC Load Letter” isn’t a requirement for this certification, it can only increase an admin’s marketability.

Chris gets ready to launch an event for Steven at Grand Prix Portland in 2017. Photo © John Brian McCarthy
Chris gets ready to launch an event for Steven at Grand Prix Portland in 2017. Photo © John Brian McCarthy

How to Become a Judge Foundry Event Admin

1. Become a member of Judge Foundry

To take an exam, a candidate must be a member of the organization.

2. Receive an endorsement review from a Judge Foundry Event Admin, including at a minimum the following evaluated items:

  • Demonstrates compassion, kindness, and respect for all customers.
  • Can remain calm in a busy environment and stressful situation.

3. Pass the Event Admin exam with a score of 70 or better

This exam will cover the general responsibilities of each admin role at a large event, common player questions, and common player interaction scenarios.


The Judge Foundry Event Admin certification bestows several benefits. Judge Foundry Event Admins are valued members of the Judge Foundry community, who are part of the community and may voice their opinions in leadership elections. 

Certified Event Admins receive the following privileges as members of Judge Foundry

  1. Use of title Judge Foundry Event Admin
  2. Access to private Judge Foundry resources, forums, and chats
  3. Right to vote in Judge Foundry leadership elections
  4. Ability to certify Event Admins
Matt and Steve enroll players at Grand Prix Atlanta in 2016. Photo © John Brian McCarthy
Matt and Steve enroll players at Grand Prix Atlanta in 2016. Photo © John Brian McCarthy


Like we’ve said before – we’d love to hear your feedback.  Let us know if you have thoughts, suggestions, or want to help out with new content for this new certification!  As always, you can weigh in on JudgeApps or Reddit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or email us. And stay tuned, because Event Admin is just the first piece of our new path for operations staff.