Road to L2 Series: Call for Submissions

Written by Kenny Dolson

Written by Kenny Dolson

Let’s talk about advancing as a judge in Canada. As we can’t go more than a few blog posts without mentioning it, Canada is kind of an enormous region, boasting 339 certified judges and counting across its 10 million km2. In a region this large, it’s inevitable that some of our judges may be geographically isolated and, ultimately, feeling stuck when trying to advance without nearby peers in the program to work with and learn from. Part of the goal of this blog – and the Canadian judge community’s internet presence in general – is to shorten that distance by facilitating knowledge-sharing and regional discussions. To that end, the Canadian Judge Family will be hosting a series of articles about navigating the icy northern road to Canadian L2 status and we need your help!

How Can I Help?

You’re an experienced judge who leveled up in Canada. You’ve been around the block a few times, and you know how hard it can be to gain experience in such a spread-out region. We want you to share your knowledge with the masses! We’re looking for an author for each article in this series. We’ve broken the subject down into ten topics, each listed below and accompanied by a brief description of how we envision the corresponding article. While most of the articles are geared toward L2 candidates, a couple of the topics are aimed at shiny new L2s – we recognize that they may have been the first in their area to certify, and don’t want to leave them hanging as soon as they level up!

Requirements and Expectations

Each of the topics that follow encompass a significant hurdle that prospective L2s must clear. As we’ve pointed out, these challenges are often exacerbated by isolation in the program and unique circumstances depending on your locale. Thus it’s important that these articles take into account varied experiences from different judges in the program. We will expect that your article will highlight personal anecdotes, as well as the experiences of other judges (fellow L2s, or L2Ts and L3s) via interview questions.

There are a host of valuable judge resources available, so selected authors will be expected to provide articles that are versed in available resources so as to help L2 candidates identify valuable resources and discern how regional differences may have impacted certain resources. Where gaps are identified, the author should aim to fill them in with material specific to the Canadian Experience.


Making Every Event Count

In Canada, especially in its many remote areas, it can be difficult to find a tournament needing (or wanting) a certified judge. When we can’t get as many reps in running tournaments, we need to make sure we learn as much as possible from each event we judge. This article will explore the purpose of the “six sanctioned events” requirement on the L2 checklist and talk about what skills an L2 candidate should be taking away from those events. It will also describe ways to learn more from each event judged.

Reviewing in Canada

Reviews are most commonly written when judges work together on an event. When you live in an area where “large event” means you almost broke 20 players, it can be hard to find opportunities to work with other judges. This article will discuss some tips and best practices for generating feedback and writing reviews. It should also containing a section geared toward solutions for judges in smaller communities without the means to work on a team of judges.

The L2 Rec Review

While a brief, general framework for the L2 Recommendation Review has been provided on the official blog, it isn’t very detailed. This article will discuss how the L2 Recommendation Review is used by the certifying L3 or L2 Tester: what information do they look for and what qualities of a candidate can you highlight with this review to sway their advancement decision. This information can be useful either to somebody who has been asked to write an L2 Recommendation Review or to an L2 candidate looking for ways to improve prior to requesting one.

Writing About Magic

How should I structure my article, conference report or tournament report? How broad should the scope be? How long should it be? What kind of material should I focus on? How can I engage the reader enough to potentially provide me with feedback at the end of the piece? The intent of this article is to break down the process of writing about Magic in order to make the relevant item on the L2 checklist less challenging. It will mention relevant criteria to consider and common pitfalls to avoid when creating structured Magic writing.

How to Pass the L2 Exam

The L2 exam has been called “the meat grinder” for a reason. Not only does it test a much broader and deeper knowledge of rules and policy than the L1 exam does, it’s also twice as long. The exam can be daunting to many candidates. This article will portray the exam in a more surmountable manner: breaking down its contents, recommending good resources for different types of learners, and providing tips and tricks for writing the exam itself.


One of the requirements of the L2 interview is to check the candidate’s basic understanding of how to conduct an investigation and when it might be appropriate to do so. This is a skill developed through practice, so judges in smaller areas without as many chances to work their investigation muscles may be looking out for resources enabling them to practice more efficiently. The purpose of this article will be to define what an investigation is (it’s more than just probing for cheating!) and when it should happen, then provide some guidance on how to conduct one.

Head Judging Your First PPTQ

Being in charge of a PPTQ for the first time is exciting, but at the same time it can be intimidating because the onus has been placed on you to provide the players with the best possible tournament experience. This article will walk through the steps of preparing to head judge a PPTQ, including arrangements which may need to be negotiated with the TO, materials required for the event, and most importantly how to help your players feel like they are in a professionally run event.

Mentoring and Certifying Your First L1

Promotion to Level 2 grants a judge three superpowers: an L2 can submit exemplar nominations, head judge PPTQs, and certify Level 1 judges. Writing Exemplar nominations bears some similarities to writing reviews, and the mechanics of running a PPTQ are ultimately similar to those of running any other tournament, but certifying another judge is a completely new concept. While it is an expectation that an L2 understands the requirements to become an L1 and has sufficiently good judgment to identify which qualities in a person might affect their performance as a judge (both positively and negatively), putting that knowledge and understanding into practice for the first time is a very new experience. This article will cover topics like common opportunities for mentorship, ways to gauge a candidate’s readiness to test, guidelines for conducting the interview, tips for writing the L1 advancement review, important information to pass on to your newly minted L1, and the follow-up check-in.

Regional Community Involvement

As a judge moves up through the judge program, their focus becomes more outward in nature. An L2’s diplomacy has higher baseline expectations, and they are expected to mentor other judges, but regional community involvement will also be probed on the L2 interview–and is often overlooked by candidates pushing for L2. This article will explain the criteria with which the interviewing L3 or L2T might evaluate a candidate’s involvement and provide some suggestions for how to become more involved with one’s regional community.

Common Reasons L2 Candidates Don’t Level Up (and How to Improve in the Future)

Many judges don’t pass the L2 certification process on their first try. It’s quite difficult, and requires both hard and soft skills to meet a certain standard. This article will cover some of the more common reasons candidates fail a certification attempt – such as failing the test, poor diplomacy, insufficient regional community involvement – and how they can improve those skills or qualities to meet the requirements of Level 2 for their next attempt.

How do I Apply?

If you are interested in writing one of these articles, or if you have a suggestion for another article topic you believe would be helpful to an L2 candidate or new L2, please let us know by filling out this Google Form. Applications will close July 2nd.

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