So you’re interested in becoming a judge, or at least learning more about the judge program. Great! Whether you are your local store’s rules expert or you have aspirations of judging at a pro tour there are many great opportunities available to you in the judge program. The first step in becoming a judge is showing some interest, which you’ve probably done if you’ve found your way here. But where do you go from there? If you have any judges in your local area getting in touch with them is very useful; they might be able to mentor you, or at least give you some advice to get you headed in the right direction.
What does it take to become a judge? It’s quite simple actually, you need to pass a written exam and have a short chat with the Level 2+ judge that is testing you. Most times the testing judge would prefer to work an event with you to see how you work. At Level 1 we expect judges to be able to answer basic rules questions concerning situations that commonly occur at FNM level events. We also expect you to be familiar with the Judging at Regular document, which covers how we handle errors at regular level events. In addition you should be familiar with how a basic tournament such as an FNM is run, from handling match results to end of round procedures.
So you don’t know the rules, well how do you start to learn them? You may take one glance at the comprehensive rulebook and be overwhelmed by its scale, all 200+ pages of it; it can be quite a jarring experience diving straight into it. Thankfully, there are many resources out there that cover various aspects of the rules. Check out our full list of resources. Once you register for JudgeApps, our exam guru, Brian Schenck, has shared some tips about what to expect from the Level 1 test. There is also our handy L1 Certification Guide that you may find quite helpful!
Once you are comfortable with most of the basic rules it’s time to start helping out at events. Perhaps your local store could use someone with rules knowledge to act as a judge. You don’t have to be certified to help out! Often times many small stores don’t even have a “judge”; by default the tournament organizer assumes the head judge roll if there are no other judges there. Some of you may already be acting in this capacity without even knowing it. Are you someone that your store looks to in order to settle rules debates? Why not make it official? Contact your area captain or our regional coordinator today and get in touch with someone to help you get started.