So you’d like to become a Magic Judge…
What is a Magic Judge?
Judges are neutral arbiters of the game. We ensure that the game is fair, friendly and fun for all of the players involved in an event. We are there to run consistent and fair tournaments.
Judges help players learning the rules, give advice and build communities.
Judges also provide a myriad of benefits to tournament organizers and customer service to players. Judges ensure the tournament is running smoothly, efficiently and fairly. Judges are there to answer calls, help fix mistakes and ensure integrity of the event.
Outside of events, judges are ambassadors of the community. We help players, store owners, and judge candidates. Judges help make Magic: The Gathering™ a great experience for players!
Getting ready to test
Getting the first judge level might look an overwhelming task and takes some time – the test is only the final step on the road. The following provides some guidelines on how to become a judge.
Work at tournaments
Start working as a judge! You don’t need to have a level to judge at your local tournaments – just ask some organizers in your area if you can help at their tournaments. With this you gain hands on experience in judging and you learn how tournaments are run. Focus on learning about the basic functions of the Wizards Event Reporter software and become as comfortable as possible in running smaller events first (8-16 players).
Contact other judges
Get in contact with other judges or candidates – be it in “real life” or online. You should try to know several judges (or candidates) and be in closer contact with one of them, preferably a Level 2 or higher judge to help guide your preparation. If you don’t know any other persons ask your tournament organizer, find judges in your region in the Judge Center, or contact your Regional Coordinator. With them you can discuss rulings, situations, procedures, judging life in general and likely make some friends.
Learn the rules
Learn the rules. Start with the Basic Rulebook and after this the most important documents are the Comprehensive Rules, the Judging at Regular REL and the Magic Tournament Rules. Learning the game rules is harder than it looks, as you have to transform your knowledge from knowing how the cards work to knowing how the underlying rules work so that you can apply this knowledge to any game situation, not just with the cards and experiences you are most used to.
Work with a mentor
Work some tournaments with a more experienced judge, preferably a Level 2 or higher judge. Ask questions and ask to be challenged with rules and policy questions – these judges will be able to give you the preparation you need to grow into what we hope is your new roles as a Level 1 judge. Try to understand what infraction happened in a given situation – applying the appropriate penalty comes automatically once you have delineated the infraction that took place. Again, ask many questions and listen to what these judges have to tell you – they want to see you succeed!
Find a test administrator & take the test
Find someone who will test you for Level 1 (any Level 2 or higher) – the test normally includes working with the tester at two events, a preliminary interview, a written test and another interview after the written test.
Enjoy your new status as a judge and judge as many tournaments as possible. You should create an account on JudgeApps and check out the forums. Help your local scene grow as a Magic: The Gathering™ community and if possible, come join a staff at a local Grand Prix Trial or Pro Tour Qualifier event in your area. Congratulations on your accomplishment, and welcome to the Magic Judge community!
There exist lots of online resources for future judges. A good starting point is this website you’re reading!
On this site you’ll find general information about the judge program, how to become a judge, the roles and responsibilities of the different levels and a huge archive of judging related articles.
The next stopping point should be the Judge Center (DCIX). Login with your DCI number and your DCI password – you don’t have to be a judge to access this webpage. There you can take tests and search for other judges, among other things.