Level Clarifications and Updates: Overview – 2023

Hey folks, as you may have discerned from the title, we’re working on clarifying and updating the various judge levels and certifications. This post is just covering what the changes are, so you can quickly look and see what’s different. This is not a redefinition – the general scope of each level is remaining the same, with some changes to advancement procedures.

If you’re interested in the thought process behind these choices and other options we considered, check out this more in-depth post regarding the philosophy of the clarifications and updates. These updates will go live on January 1st, 2023. You can look at the future home for level information here. Finally, if you want to look at the fully revised expectations documentation you can head on over here.

Developing these clarifications we had three primary goals. First, we wanted to make sure that expectations were more clearly set out. In a lot of places the expectations for levels, endorsements, and recommendations were unclear, so getting everyone onto the same page was a priority. Second, we wanted to increase accessibility. The judge program is a powerful force in so many people’s lives, but it can sometimes be difficult to figure out how to advance or complete the necessary steps. We wanted to cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and hoop-jumping and make your lives easier. Finally, we wanted to accomplish both of the prior goals without compromising what it means to be a Magic judge.

Some of these pages are still under construction but will be complete by January 1st (ideally sooner!). The judge program is a constantly evolving entity, and we’re always eager for feedback and to help shape the program to fit the needs of organized play as well as the needs of its members. If you have any feedback, please don’t hesitate to email Advancement@JudgeAcademy.com.

We’ll have bonus office hours on Monday, December 5th at 9 AM and 4 PM PST to discuss these updates. I hope to take any questions from that discussion and have a broadcast early the next week where I will take more questions and cover frequently asked questions.

Level 1

General Expectation:  The floor for an L1 judge is someone who is capable of running a 16-player FNM or prerelease on their own.

  • New Requirement for Advancement: L1 candidates judge an event prior to certification.
  • New Option for Endorsements: WPN recognized Tournament Organizers can endorse L1 candidates that they have observed.
  • New Documents: Concise L1 Evaluation Guidelines and Detailed L1 Evaluation Guidelines

Level 2

General Expectation: The floor for an L2 judge is someone who is capable of running a 16-32 player Comp REL event on their own and can Floor Judge a larger Comp REL event.

  • New Requirement for Endorsing L2s: An L2 must have held the certification for at least one year or worked at least six Competitive events as an L2 to be able to endorse an L2 candidate.
  • New Advanced Role Badge: Small Event Lead Badge
  • Revised Advanced Role Badge and Updated Requirements: Medium Event Lead Badge*
  • Revised Advanced Role Badge: Policy Expert Badge
  • New Documents (In Progress): Concise L2 Evaluation Guidelines, Detailed L2 Evaluation Guidelines, L2 Philosophical Questions

*(Candidates with the Day 2 TL badge will be granted the Medium Event Lead Badge)

Level 3

General Expectation: The floor for an L3 Judge is someone who is able to effectively HJ a 227-player+ Comp REL event, TL a 410+ player event, or FJ a Professional REL event.

  • Updated Pillars: Teamwork, Diplomacy & Conflict Management, and the newly named Personal Accountability (Stress Management, Maturity and Self-Evaluation)
  • Updated Self-Review Requirement: Self-Reviews now require a demonstration of understanding the pillar, examples, and an explicit score.**
  • Updated Recommendation Requirement: Pillar-by-pillar recommendations are no longer used. Candidates must receive at least one comprehensive evaluation, and either a second comprehensive evaluation or three general evaluations.**
  • New Documents (In Progress): Detailed L3 Evaluation Guidelines, L3 Self-Review guidance, L3 Pillar expectations.
  • Updated L3 Path Progression: L3 Exam, Pre-Interview and L3 Practical have more flexible ordering. L3 Exam, Pre-Interview can end a candidate’s progression.
  • Removed Certification: Large Tournament Head Judge
  • New Certification (In Progress): Professional Tournament Head Judge

**Candidates with previously accepted self-reviews and recommendations will retain those approvals. Any new documents will need to meet the updated requirements.