Requirements for Leveling Up

What is a Magic Judge?

Judge Academy is proud to be a part of your journey to becoming a certified Magic: The Gathering Judge. We have designed a curriculum to help develop your game knowledge, tournament familiarity, and interpersonal skills – all things that combine to form an effective judge and community leader.

There are four levels of Magic certification, each designed to allow judges to follow their passions in the Magic community:


Rules Advisor

The Rules Advisor certification allows for a player to set themselves apart in their communities with 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 answers rules related questions from other players.

Click here for more detailed information on the requirements for achieving Rules Advisor certification.


Level 1

A Level 1 judge has demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the Comprehensive Rules, as well as the Customer Service and Regular REL policies 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 may be capable of floor judging a Competitive REL event unsupervised, but this is not a default expectation of the role.

Click here for more detailed information on the requirements for achieving Level 1 certification.


Level 2*

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.


Requirements for Level 2 Certification

Until at least April 1, 2020 we will continue to use the previous requirements for certification –

  • Judge at least six sanctioned events in the previous six months.
  • Recommendation Review from judging together at a Competitive REL Event written by a Level 2 or Level 3 Judge in the previous 12 months.
  • Submit reviews of at least two different Judges the previous 12 months.
  • An article, a conference report, or a written tournament report from an event with multiple judges in the previous 12 months.
  • A score of 70% or better on a Level 2 Practice exam in the previous 12 months.
  • A score of 80% or better on the Level 2 Completion Exam.

If you believe you are ready and have had your L1 certification for at least 6 months, please head to your profile page to let us know you are ready and interested!


Level 3*

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

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 judge.

*A redefinition of Levels 2 and 3, as well as the prerequisites and course material for these levels is currently in development. Much like the addition of Customer Service and Tournament modules to Level 1, if the redefinition includes any additional coursework or materials, judges will be given adequate time to complete those supplemental materials.


Requirements for Level 3 Certification

Until at least April 1, 2020 we will continue to use the previous requirements for certification  –

  • Must be a Level 2 judge, in good standing, for at least 12 months.
  • Must have scored at least 80% on a Level 3 Preliminary Exam in the last 6 months.
  • Must have acted as Head Judge or Team Leader for at least 5 Competitive (or higher) REL events, managing at least 2 other certified judges, including at least 2 such events in the last 12 months.
  • Must have acted as Head Judge for at least 20 other events, including at least 5 such events from the last 12 months.
  • Must have participated extensively in the pre-certification training and mentoring of at least 2 different judges who certified for Level 1 or Level 2 in the last 12 months.
  • Must demonstrate communication skills sufficient to act as a Team Leader at large, international scale events, such as Grand Prix. Must understand English well enough to be up-to-date on official documents.
  • Must demonstrate participation in the judge community on a regional or global level beyond just being on staff at events (examples include mailing lists, seminars, articles, projects, etc.).
  • Must have written a general (i.e. non-event-specific) self-review in the last 12 months, covering all of the Qualities of Level 3 judges listed above, graded as Strengths or as Areas for Improvement. If that self-review is more than 6 months old, your application must include a brief update indicating progress on the Qualities of Level 3 judges.
  • Must have submitted at least 6 event-specific (non-certification) reviews on other judges in the last 12 months, demonstrating the ability to provide accurate and constructive feedback, on both Strengths and Areas for Improvement.
    • Must include at least one review of a Level 1, of a Level 2, and of a Level 3 judge.
    • Must include reviews on judges of at least 2 Regions.
  • Must have received two written recommendations from Level 3 judges.
    • Each recommendation must cover at least 7 of the 9 Qualities, each graded as Strength or Area for Improvement. Each quality must be supported by specific examples.
    • One of the two recommendations may be co-authored by two Level 3 judges; in that case, the primary recommender is the judge who enters the review and thus vouches for your Level 3 candidacy. Each observation must be credited to one of the recommending judges.
  • Must hold a valid Team Lead Certification or have received confirmation from a GP Head Judge within the last 36 months indicating success in a Team Lead position at a Grand Prix where the evaluating judge was the Head Judge.

If you are interested in the Level 3 Process, are partway through the process and have questions, or need to submit any portion of the checklist, please email Nicolette.