Judge Academy Badge Glossary

Judge Academy members unlock and receive badges for their accomplishments. You may have seen some of them on different user profiles and were wondering what exactly they all meant. This page serves as a handy guide to all of existing badges and will be updated as new ones are created! If you notice any errors, discrepancies or unclear explanations, please reach out to Advancement@JudgeAcademy.com.

MTG Rules Advisor

The Rules Advisor certification allows for a player to set themselves apart in their communities by recognizing a heightened understanding of Magic rules and interactions. This certification is perfect for a individual who wants to offer additional assistance in resolving complicated game situations or answer rules-related questions from other players.

RAs are only tested on the rules of the game, but have not been tested on how to run a tournament or deal with player issues.

MTG Level 1 Judge

In addition to demonstrating sufficient knowledge of the Magic Comprehensive Rules, a Level 1 Judge understands the Customer Service skills and Regular REL policies needed 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 will be capable of floor judging a Competitive REL event unsupervised, but this is not a default expectation of the role.

MTG Advanced Comprehensive Rules

Typically, the Advanced Comprehensive Rules badge will be earned on the pathway towards Level 2 certification or by a Level 1 Judge that desires a deeper understanding of Magic’s rules.

This badge indicated that the Judge has familiarized themselves with the more complicated rules, interactions, and situations that may arise during high level play.

MTG Competitive REL Policy

Similar to the Advanced Comprehensive Rules badge, this designation is often earned during the path to Level 2 or by a Level 1 Judge that wants to understand the foundations and philosophy behind the policies of running competitive Magic events.

This badge demonstrates an understanding of the Infraction Procedure Guide (IPG), and a level of proficiency in identifying the infractions, penalties, and game/tournament fixes that occur at Competitive REL.

MTG Level 2 Judge

A Level 2 judge has been certified to run events at Competitive REL, and has a higher knowledge of the rules than that of a Level 1 Judge. They are responsible for most in-store Competitive REL events, and represent the bulk of judges on the floor of large-scale tournaments. A beginning Level 2 will be expected to have an understanding of the Comprehensive Rules that exceeds that expected of Level 1 Judges, including which section to refer to when they are unsure.

A newer Level 2 may find themselves placed into leadership roles for the first time, including head judging smaller events with other judges in their store, or possibly leading a team at a mid-sized event. Because of this, it’s important that a new Level 2 is familiar with Event Logistics concerns such as Appeals and Deck Lists/Checks, which are generally not used at Regular REL events or small events with a single Judge.

MTG Sides Lead

An advanced role for level two judges, showing that a judge has demonstrated the skills required to lead a team of judges covering On-Demand Events and/or Scheduled Events. Sides Lead judges have been evaluated on Leadership, Presence & Charisma, Stress & Conflict Management, Development of Other Judges, Teamwork, Diplomacy & Maturity and Logistics & Tournament Operations.

The evaluation takes place at an event, leading a side events team, with an L3 or Tournament Organizer who shadows the candidate and provides feedback and an evaluation. Leading this team includes developing a schedule, managing the staff and their breaks, determining the specific logistics of the event space and tournaments for the weekend, and providing mentorship and feedback to judges on staff.

This is an early step in the level three process, but not restricted to judges interested in advancing to L3.  

MTG Day 2 Team Lead

This is another advanced role for level two judges that is acquired after the Sides Lead badge and is a part of the level three process. A judge with this badge is certified to team lead on day two of large competitive events.

In addition to having been previously evaluated on several pillars as part of the Sides Lead badge, the candidate will have a one-on-one interview with a Large Tournament Head Judge, covering both their Investigations and Penalty & Policy Philosophy

This is an early step in the level three process and expires one year after being earned. Therefore it is suggested that only candidates interested in exploring L3 should pursue this certification. 

MTG Level 3 Judge

Premier judges are experts in the field and the leaders of Premier Organized Play. They are the leaders on the floor of large competitive events, run many other Premier Events, and share their expertise and knowledge with other judges. They are involved with the global program at Judge Academy, and you will often see them participating in and/or leading program projects, discussions, etc.

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 Magic Judge.

MTG Level 3 Evaluator

An advanced role for level three judges who are interested in being involved in the L3 process. The evaluation is the last step in the path after the candidate completes a day one team lead practical examination. Evaluators review self-evaluations, recommendations and the results of various practical examinations and participate in a panel interview with the candidate.

This role requires having held a level three certification for a year.

MTG Level 3 Evaluation Lead

The L3 Evaluation Lead role takes more responsibility in the L3 Evaluation. The lead is in charge of determining the direction of the interview as well as writing the evaluation of the candidate at the end of the discussion, and either recommending or not recommending the candidate for advancement.

This role requires having been an active L3 evaluator and having been a part of at least three prior evaluations.

MTG Large Tournament Head Judge

While all L3s are expected to be able to Head Judge mid-sized, there will be events that occur that are larger, more logistically complicated, or have high enough prizes on the line that the level of experience needed of a Head Judge to ensure all appeals, investigations, round turnovers and breaks are handled appropriately is not necessarily expected of all Level 3s.

The Large Tournament Head Judge certification ensures that judges have practical experince as the Head Judge or Appeals Judge for an event with 410+ players or takes place over two days.

Level 3 Emeritus

The Level 3 Emeritus badge was created to make the considerable achievements and impacts that a Level 3 Judge has made to the program, while not being currently certified at that level.

Their experience, insight, and mentorship is invaluable to the Judge community and their service should be recognized and celebrated.

MTG Digital Events

The Digital Events badge is an additional badge available to every certified judge that shows that the judge has studied the different tools and logistics required to run digital events. This includes events that are run using official tournament software such as Arena and MTGO as well as virtual paper tournaments and events.

Completing the modules and and tests in the MTG Digital Events category will unlock this badge.