Five Development Tips for L2 Advancement

The judge center has been down almost eight weeks, and has left many judges on the Road to L2 asking the question, “How do I keep progressing towards L2 without use of practice exams?”  L3 Judge Steven Briggs has certified more L2 judges than anyone in program history and provides us with valuable insight on how to study effectively.  We also get input from current L2 candidates on what they are doing to stay sharp without access to the Judge Center!

Development Tip #1 – Read and Study the actual CR and IPG documents

“Read the rulebook,” says Briggs.  “You can no longer rely on “I saw something like this,” and expect to demonstrate the technical knowledge the L2 exam expects.  This test really looks at your understanding of processes and details of those processes, such as Damage (CR 119), the various steps of Combat, as well as Casting a Spell or Activating an Ability.  Do you actually know step by step how these work?  When do players receive priority within each step/phase?  What are the similarities and differences between Declare Attackers and Declare Blockers, or between Casting a Spell vs Activating an Ability?”

Briggs offers the following advice on the IPG, “It is just as important to know the FIX as it is to know the penalty.  When looking at an IPG question, narrow down what infractions it can possibly be.  Then, think about the details with respect to each possibility to rule out bad options.  Once you have identified the infraction, then think about what the penalty is, and then finally what the appropriate fix should be.  There can be questions where three answers have the same infraction and/or penalty but different fixes, so you may not eliminate the field of solutions that much by getting the right infraction.”

Development Tip #2 – Know Your Learning Style

Not everyone is able to sit down and read page after page of the CR document.  “If you are not primarily a visual learner, play to your strengths.  Make a sound recording if you’re an auditory learner and play it back, or make flash cards/matching game between definition and ability.  Invite a judge to create a quiz about a particular section of the rules and go through it together.” Says Briggs.

For visual learners, Chase Shank, a L1 judge from Davenport, IA, recommends using a judge box for studying.  A judge box is a concept where an individual takes cards or proxies of cards that cause rules interactions to come up and group them together in a penny sleeve.  This is great for visual learners who like to see the actual cards.  It can be leveraged not only for CR studying, but also for IPG studying as well!

Development Tip #3 – Develop a Study Routine

“Put the time in daily. 15 minutes a day for three months is way better than three weeks of an hour a day.”  Says Briggs. “Do not cram for this test – be intentional in what you are studying, and spend at least 5 of those 15 minutes daily reviewing previous content, which helps commit that knowledge to long-term memory.”

Another suggestion to develop a routine is to form a study group.  Social media makes it incredibly convenient to form a study group with other L2 candidates in your Region.  The Central USA Region has a “Training Room” and “Rules and Policy” channel through Slack that enables users to ask questions on specific sections of the IPG and CR.  This helps generate instant feedback to users and sounding boards when trying to learn new material.

Joshua David Wiltse

Development Tip #4 – Self Evaluate

Understanding your improvement areas can help you know where to focus your study efforts.  This is the biggest void that is left from the Judge Center, as the questions allowed you to instantly see areas that you need to improve at.  So how can you evaluate your progress without use of the judge center?  Start with fully understanding the areas of the L2 exam.  Which of these do you read and understand at first glance?  Which ones give you pause?  How have you handled questions around these topics on previous exams?

As you approach the L2 Practice test, take time to get the most out of it.  L1 judges Joshua David Wiltse and Christopher Strachan recommend submitting your L2P as normal, but before looking at the scored test, going through each question and determining the correct answer by leveraging the CR and IPG documents.  This provides a great opportunity to evaluate areas of the L2 exam where you may have gaps and where to focus your studying going forward!

Self-evaluation can be a difficult exercise, but it is critical not only on the Road to L2, but to become a better judge.

Development Tip #5 – Don’t Overlook the Fundamentals

Take time to focus on your skill development.  L2 judges need to have capabilities above and beyond the L2 exam including investigations, diplomacy, deck checks, and more.  Steven Briggs offers some more insight in this area as well:

“Do not overlook the Basics of the MTR and JAR.  You are not only expected to have knowledge of these documents, but realistically you are going to be potentially coaching new judges on these topics.”

Continuing focus on the fundamentals may not be a key to passing the L2 exam, but will make you a better judge regardless of your aspirations in the judge program!

Bonus Study Tip – Read this blog and send us your feedback!

Our goal here at Journey of Discovery is to be a resource for you on your Road to Level 2!  We can do a better job if you reach out to us and let us know what you want to learn more about, or what kind of content you want to see!

Thanks for reading and thanks to Steven Briggs and our L2 Candidates for their insight on L2 development!

Have a topic you’d like us to discuss?  A new L2 we should interview?  Any other feedback?  Email us at