Floor judges are available to players and spectators to answer questions, deal with illegal plays, or assist with reasonable requests. They do not have to be certified.
When it comes down to it, the biggest responsibility of Floor Judges is to be there to answer questions, fix play errors, and providing other assistance to help the event to run. They are the lifeblood of the event. Floor Judges at events, both at Competitive and Regular Rules Enforcement Level, do not need to be certified in order to judge at an event, however it is recommended that the judges at higher level events be certified or be working toward certification.
Judges will not generally assist players in determining the current game state but can answer questions about the rules, interactions between cards, or provide the Oracle™ wordings of relevant cards.
Judges are able to answer questions about the rules and interactions between cards as long as they do not provide strategic advice regarding plays to make in a situation. Oracle text is the authoritative rules text for a card. Oracle text can be found on gatherer.wizards.com, but many other sources such as phone apps will have up to date Oracle text as well. More reading on what type of information judges can assist with is available in section 4.1.
At Regular Rules Enforcement Level, the judge may assist the player in understanding the game state in the interest of education.
Regular Rules Enforcement Level events provides an entry into the game for players. As a result floor, players may ask judges what the game state is and why something is the way it is. The emphasis is on education and helping new players, and there are likely smaller prizes on the line. This doesn’t mean the judge can tell the player what he or she should do, but the judge may assist a player in understanding a more complex interaction or game state in a less formal way than at Competitive Rules Enforcement Level.
If a player wishes to ask his or her question away from the table, the request will usually be honored.
If the player wants to ask a question that he or she feels may give too much information to his or her opponent, the player may ask to have the question answered away from the table. A good habit for judges is to stand far enough away so opponents cannot hear them or the player asking for assistance.
Players may not request specific judges to answer their calls, but may request a tournament official to help translate. This request may be honored at the discretion of the original judge.
Players may not request that a specific judge answer their call, as it would compromise tournament integrity and give the impression of partiality. But there are tournaments throughout the world, and players may not speak the local language. If there are tournament officials that speak the player’s language,they may help to translate in order to ensure clear and efficient communication. At international events like an European Grand Prix, there is often a list of judges who speak different languages as a resource provided to Scorekeepers and Judge Managers.
Judges do not intervene in a game to prevent illegal actions, but do intervene as soon as a rule has been broken or to prevent a situation from escalating.
Like in other sports, judges aren’t there to prevent mistakes. However, as soon as a game infraction happens, judges step in and apply the necessary corrections and penalties. Judges may step in if they believe a tense situation would otherwise escalate to unsportsmanlike conduct.