Judge Levels

The core of the Judge Program, the level system, affects every judge. It is the broad level of certification, quickly providing a baseline of information to an organizer about what a judge knows and has studied.

Each level has a set of criteria for advancement to that level and a further set of criteria for maintaining the level.

Judges of every level are expected to follow the guidelines of the Magic Judge Code.

Level 1 Judge — Regular REL In-Store Judge

A Level 1 judge has demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the Comprehensive Rules and Regular REL policies to run a small store-level event such as an FNM.

Level 1 judges are not tested on more complex sections of the rules, or on Competitive REL policies. Some Level 1 judges may be capable of floor judging a Competitive REL event unsupervised, but this is not a default expectation of the role, and those judges should be encouraged to certify for Level 2.

Advancement Requirements

  • Judge two sanctioned events in the previous six months.
  • Brief interview and recommendation from a Level 2 or Level 3 judge.
  • A passing score on the Level 1 judge test, incorporating JAR and subsets of both MTR and CR.
  • Agreement to be bound by the Magic Judge Code.

Maintenance Requirements

  • Judge a sanctioned event once every six months.
  • Demonstrate maintenance of rules and policy knowledge through yearly exams. Low performers will be referred to their Regional Coordinator for followup.

Retest Interval

  • A candidate who fails the Level 1 exam can attempt recertification in two months.

Read the Welcome to Level 1 letter.

Level 2 Judge — Competitive REL Judge

A Level 2 judge has been certified to run events at Competitive REL. They are responsible for PPTQs and represent the bulk of judges on the floor of a Grand Prix and other large-scale tournaments. They are expected to mentor and test Level 1 candidates. They may get the certifications to mentor and test Level 2 judges, and to team lead at day 2 of a Grand Prix.

The requirements for this level reflect the expectation of greater diplomacy and involvement for someone who will often be moving from location to location, judging for multiple Tournament Organizers and sharing their knowledge of rules and tournament practices with other judges. They may also choose to become involved in global projects as they learn more about the Judge Program.

Pre-test Requirements

  • Judge six sanctioned events in the previous six months.
  • Recommendation Review from judging together at a Competitive REL Event or at a Judge Tournament Qualifier written by a Level 2 or Level 3 Judge in the previous 12 months. See template here.
  • Enter reviews of two different judges into the Judge Center in the previous 12 months.
  • An article, a conference report, or a written tournament report from an event with multiple judges in the previous 12 months.
  • A score of 70% on a Level 2 Practice exam in the previous 12 months.

Any of these requirements can be suppressed for an specific Level 2 candidate by his or her Regional Coordinator under exceptional circumstances.

The Level 2 test will consist in:

  • A passing score on the Level 2 exam, incorporating IPG, MTR and CR.
  • Interview and recommendation from a judge certified to test Level 2s. This interview should check the candidate’s:
    • Diplomacy with players, judges and Tournament Organizers.
    • Basic investigations understanding (help the candidate to understand when an investigation is appropriate and conducting the investigation).
    • Willingness to mentor and certify other judges.
    • Regional community involvement.

Maintenance Requirements

At the end of each natural year (excluding the year the judge certified for Level 2), the following requirements have to be fulfilled to maintain the Level 2 certification.

  • Judge two Competitive REL tournaments.
  • Enter one review of another judge into the Judge Center.
  • Demonstrate maintenance of rules and policy knowledge through yearly exams. Low performers will be referred to their Regional Coordinator for followup.

The exact way and deadline to provide proof of those requirements to maintain will be set up by each Regional Coordinator. If a Level 2 judge fails to fulfill or submit those requirements their Regional Coordinator will provide the judge a path to solve the issue, if appropriate. If not solved properly or if, at the Regional Coordinator’s discretion, the issue is too big to fix the judge will be reassigned to Level 1.

Retest Interval

  • A candidate who fails the Level 2 exam can attempt recertification in three months.

Read the Welcome to Level 2 letter.

Level 3 Judge — Premier Judge

Premier judges are experts in the field and the leaders of Premier Organized Play. They are the leaders on the floor of Grand Prix events, run many other Premier Events, and share their expertise and knowledge with other judges. They are involved with the global Judge Program; participating in and/or leading program projects that interest them is an expectation of the role. They mentor and test Level 1 and Level 2 candidates.

Becoming Level 3 is a demanding process that requires the candidate to demonstrate exceptional commitment, skill, knowledge, and diplomacy. It is a substantial achievement and the highest recognized level of judge.

Advancement Requirements

Level 3 Advancement Process as currently documented, with the following changes:

  • English competency is only required to the extent necessary to lead a team at a Grand Prix and read official documentation.
  • Event leadership may replace community involvement.
  • Some parts of the current Level 3 Advancement Process are moved to certifications that can be done independently.
  • Additional requirements around demonstrated ability in Logistics and Tournament Operations.

2018 requirements:

  1. Each L3 is required to pass update exams throughout the year. There are 4 rules updates crafted by the Update Quiz project and 1 policy quiz crafted between the Update Quiz project and the GP Head Judges. We are asking that judges pass 3 of the 4 rules quizzes within 2 attempts and the policy test within 2 attempts. If someone doesn’t meet this requirement, passing an L3P will be satisfactory.
  2. Each L3 is asked to participate in the successful running of large tournaments. We are requiring that L3 judges work 12 event days. To make this easy for the team to track, we will pull event records of each L3. GPs will count as 3 days; Pro Tours, MKM Series, SCG Tour, Face to Face Games Series (and other large 2 day tournaments) will count as 2 days; RPTQs and Nationals will count as 1 day. If an L3 doesn’t meet this requirement, their RC may waive their requirement if he/she believes the L3 has sufficient activity at events.
  3. Each L3 is asked to submit a self-review during calendar year. Self-reviews submitted for L3 Maintenance must be at least 6 months after the last submitted maintenance self-review. If an L3 doesn’t meet this requirement, the maintenance team will discuss with the judge why it wasn’t accomplished. The maintenance team will grant extensions for significant and exceptional circumstances.
  4. Each L3 is asked to contribute to the development of other judges. This is a modal requirement: Choose 3, you may pick the same one more than once.
    1. Write 2 reviews of another judge based on their performance at an event you both judge.
    2. Present at a judge conference.
    3. Write an article for the judge community.
  5. At the beginning of each year, the requirements to maintain the L3 certification will be reviewed and may be subject to changes.

Advanced Roles

The Advanced Roles are additional structures for Premier Judges that represent leadership aspects of the Judge Program. The Advanced Roles are:

Read more about these roles on the Advanced Roles page.


Certifications are a smaller-scoped opportunity for a judge to take on a new challenge that exists outside their level. They are supplemental and recognize the judge as having earned an additional capability.

For Premier Judges the following certifications are available:

  • Level 3 Panel Lead

Read more about certifications on the Certifications page.
Read the Welcome to Level 3 letter.