The Level 2 exam

Purpose of the Level 2 exam

The purpose of the Level 2 exam is to assess a candidate’s intermediate rules knowledge and understanding of the policies and procedures related to Competitive REL events. Additionally, candidates are assessed on having the necessary knowledge to debrief a candidate taking the Level 1 exam. A candidate demonstrates this by scoring 80% or higher on their Level 2 exam.

While Competitive REL events represent a much smaller percentage of all sanctioned events, these events are run to a much higher standard than Regular REL events. As a result, judges at these events are expected to follow specific policies and procedures, applying these policies and procedures in a consistent fashion for the benefit of all players. Furthermore, players who participate in Competitive REL events also expect accurate rulings from judges, which sometimes requires deeper knowledge and understanding more complicated interactions between different concepts and game mechanics in some formats. Judges at these events may also be asked to provide more detailed explanations in support of their rulings. Likewise, candidates preparing for, or otherwise taking, the Level 1 exam may require more detailed explanations about material from their exams. Mentoring these candidates requires the capability of providing information and feedback to help the candidate better understand some rules or policies and procedures.

After passing the Level 2 exam, the certifying judge enters a review of the candidate into JudgeApps. The candidate is promoted to Level 2 upon submission of that review.

Materials to study

Based on the defined purposes of the Level 2 exam, candidates should study the following documents to gain intermediate rules knowledge, and be able to ensure that Competitive REL events are run properly:

These documents build upon the basic rules, policies, and procedures that you learned about as a Level 1 judge, as well as developed from judging experience, thus continuing the knowledge and skills you build as a Level 2 judge.

This means you will want to broaden your rules knowledge and understanding of policies and procedures, especially related to Competitive REL events, adding further depth to your knowledge and understanding. This knowledge and understanding will also serve your expanded role as a mentor and help with your certification of new judges, as well as furthering your ability to provide positive customer service to players and serving the community in an increasingly important role.

Subjects covered on the exam

As the exam is a general assessment of intermediate rules knowledge, as well as policies and procedures related to Competitive REL events, a specific list of subjects was developed for inclusion on the Level 2 exam. While each exam is still randomly generated to be unique to a specific candidate, you will want to make sure you understand the following subjects such that you understand game rules and concepts, as well as policies and procedures, well enough to potentially apply your knowledge to a variety of situations that may be deeper and more complicated in nature than you were previously tested on with the Level 1 exam:

  • Turn Structure, especially the names of steps and phases and what happens in those steps and phases.
  • The Combat Phase, considering what happens in each step, when steps might be skipped, and applicable timing of when players can/can’t take actions.
  • The Steps to Casting Spells and/or Activating Abilities, especially what happens as spells or abilities resolve.
  • Actions taken when Triggered Abilities are put onto the stack and what needs to be announced at that time versus what happens as the ability resolves.
  • Determining the Characteristics of a Permanent, such as its types/subtypes or a creature’s abilities and/or its power and toughness.
  • How One-Shot Effects work and how they function differently than Continuous Effects.
  • How Continuous Effects work, such as those generated by a static ability or a spell.
  • The Interaction of Replacement/Prevention Effects, in terms of identifying the affected object or player and which player gets to choose how an event may be modified.
  • How the game handles State-Based Actions, or even what the more common state-based actions are that apply to most games.
  • Copying a Permanent or a Spell, in terms of what are the “copiable values” of the object are and how the game handles copies.
  • Basic rules and policies applicable to Two-Headed Giant, such as the combat phase, additional turns, or even how some keywords might work.
  • Evergreen Keyword actions and abilities.
  • Keyword actions and abilities present in various formats, from Standard to Modern.
  • Per the MIPG, identifying an infraction per the definition and/or the appropriate penalty for that infraction.
  • Per the MIPG, applying the appropriate remedy, if any, to an infraction.
  • Per the MTR, the Player Communication Policy.
  • Per the MTR, the standard Tournament Shortcuts.
  • Per the MTR, the pregame procedure at Competitive REL.
  • Per the MTR, the end-of-match procedure at Competitive REL.
  • Per the MTR, the policies and sideboard use for Constructed events run at Competitive REL.
  • Per the MTR, the policies and sideboard use for Limited events run at Competitive REL.

This requires that you truly understand the how or why behind certain rulings, to potentially apply this knowledge to situations involving different cards. This will also require a certainly level of understanding behind the wording of cards, realizing why that wording is important, so that you can apply that knowledge correctly.

This means you will have to develop an understanding of many sections of the Comprehensive Rules, and how those rules can be applied in different ways. Likewise, you will want to correctly understand the Magic Tournament Rules and Magic Infraction Procedure Guide to apply policy and procedure in a consistent fashion. As you develop your judging skills, you may need this to properly process the information presented to you in a given scenario, gathering the necessary information to make an accurate ruling. In other situations, you may have to go back to the material you were tested on as a Level 1 candidate, so that you understand that material well enough to be able to mentor and teach your candidates on those basic rules, policies, and procedures.

Please remember that exam material is confidential, so you are prohibited from discussing that material with anyone other than your certifying judge.

Using practice exams

Candidates should prepare for the Level 2 exam using the Hard Practice exam and the Policy Practice exam available on the Judge Center. The Hard Practice exam contains questions that cover intermediate rules knowledge and game concepts you need to know as a Level 2 judge, and it also contains questions about policies and procedures that apply at Competitive REL. The Policy Practice exam focuses more exclusively on policies and procedures that apply at Competitive REL. Some of the content present in either exam pool doesn’t correspond exactly to what might appear on your Level 2 exam, as these exams do serve a broad audience. But the general format and difficulty of the questions should serve as a way to prepare for the Level 2 exam. Furthermore, by comparing material from these Practice exams to those subjects potentially covered by your actual Level 2 exam, you can focus your efforts to improve your knowledge, and study more efficiently. You should take at least four Hard Practice exams and one Policy Practice exam, trying to get at least seven questions correct on each exam you take.

Additionally, the Level 2 Practice exam has been developed to help Level 2 candidates more directly prepare for the actual Level 2 exam. The Level 2 Practice exam features content that used to be on the actual Level 2 exam, and is of comparable difficulty to the current Level 2 exam. The Level 2 Practice exam is one that you can create for yourself as a Level 1 judge, if you take the exam online. A written version of the Level 2 Practice exam may be generated for you by a Level 3 judge. While you must score a 70% or higher on an Level 2 Practice exam before you are permitted to take the Level 2 exam, taking the Level 2 Practice exam at each opportunity (as you can only generate it for yourself every 2 months) can still help you prepare for the actual Level 2 exam and otherwise focus your efforts to improve your knowledge.

Study recommendations

More detailed study recommendations and suggestions are posted on a quarterly basis to the Magic Judge Apps forum. You can visit this JudgeApps forum post to read present and pass suggestions.

This page written by Brian Schenck