Endorsement and Recommendation Clarifications

We have had some great feedback, questions, and comments come from the community over the last week or so, and we wanted to take some time to clarify a few things about the recommendation and endorsement portion of the Level 1 and Level 2 advancement processes.

Level 1 Endorsement:
We’ve had questions come up both from L1s looking for endorsements and from the Level 2 and 3 Judges writing endorsements. I’ve clarified a lot about what the endorsements are and why they exist in different places but wanted to make sure there was a clear and single place to get that information. We’ve added Endorsement Information under the MTG Resources tab. Hopefully, this helps answer most of the questions that have come up!

Level 2 Recommendation Review:
Short version: Only reviews from in-person, Wizards sanctioned events run at Competitive REL meet the requirement for the L2 recommendation review.

One of the requirements that has been in place for Level 2 since Level restructures were announced back in July was – “Must have a recommendation review from judging together at a Competitive REL event written by a Level 2 or Level 3 Judge in the previous 12 months.” A lot of thought went into this requirement from an advancement standpoint. I’ll explain a little of our philosophy about it below. First, let’s take a look at the definition of what it means to be a Level 2 Judge.

“A Level 2 judge has been certified to run events at Competitive REL. They are responsible for most in-store Competitive REL events and represent the bulk of judges on the floor of a Grand Prix and other large-scale tournaments. 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.”

The required review is intended to ensure that L2 Candidates have demonstrated proficiency at running Competitive REL events and applying the IPG. We believe that proficiency check is necessary. If you have worked at a Competitive REL event with an L2 or L3 judge in the last 12 months but do not yet have a recommendation, this review may still be written retroactively. However, If you have not worked a competitive REL event with a Level 2 or Level 3 judge in the last twelve months, you will not be able to advance to Level 2 until you this requirement is met.

With that in mind, let’s address two of the most frequent questions we receive about this.

1. Can unsanctioned events be used to satisfy this requirement?

We are aware that in-store play has been suspended by Wizards in many parts of the world. With everyone’s safety in mind, we support that decision. We’ve received queries about whether or not events run without Wizards’ sanctioning can be used to satisfy the requirement, and we want to clarify that only Competitive REL events that are sanctioned by Wizards can be used for the L2 Recommendation. This means that if you are in a part of the world where Wizards has suspended In-Store Play, you will need to wait until In-Store Play resumes in order to get your recommendation. Much like with Physical conferences, we cannot in good conscience have policies that might encourage or incentivize judges to gather together before it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, while many of us wait for the safe return of in-store play, there are 2 additional Badges (Competitive REL Policy, and Adv. Comprehensive Rules) that are available and can set you apart from other Level 1 Judges. Those indicate to any tournament organizer or staffing manager that you have at least passed the “theory” portion, even if you have not been able to show your proficiency at an in-person event yet.

2. Can Digital Events be used to satisfy this requirement?

If what you want to do is show your competency at digital events, we want to give you a badge that shows that specialty. To that end, we’ve launched the “Digital Events” courses on our web page, and are awaiting the last few modules in that tree. This badge that will be available will have its own test and be separate from level 2 Certification. However, just as the L2 exam doesn’t test for skills specific to running digital events, online events do not allow a candidate to show proficiency at running in-person Competitive REL events. They do not have the same logistical challenges and, most importantly, digital events do not apply the infractions, penalties, and fixes of the Magic IPG, which is the backbone of Competitive REL events. Therefore, reviews from online events may not be used for the L2 recommendation requirement.