I recently managed to certify as a level 1 judge so I thought I would
offer some thoughts to anyone out there thinking of certifying.
I am a player who decided to help out the local area by doing some
judging. This is my history on how I ended up a level 1 judge.
My first event judging was as a Level 0 helper at the Team Sealed
Qualifier held in Denver, Colorado. It was a great learning experience.
Waylay was still broken, people were confused, I was still learning. I
knew the rules side of magic well, I had taken a lot of time to learn the
new 6th edition rules as I felt I needed that knowledge to continue as a
successful player. However stepping in as a judge showed me what was
My knowledge of the floor rules and the penalty guidelines were lacking.
While been able to explain why Waylay worked and why you couldn't "waylay"
with a Prodigal Sorceror was a useful skill on that day, not being able to
confidently adjudicate a disagreement over a players life total was
definitely a shortcoming.
I learnt from that one day, that I had a lot to learn. Judging is about
much more than knowing the Magic Rules. Since that day I have made great
effort to learn about judging, I have sought out and gained an excellent
Mentor who has been invaluable helping me gain these skills.
I now judge our local weekly tournaments about 2-3 times each month. It
was the step to judging the weekly tournaments on a regular basis that
provides the most reward. Sure early on you might make some mistakes, but
very quickly you learn how to handle the common situations and have the
confidence to deliver a ruling or a penalty and be able to support your
I recently Head Judged the JSS Qualifier here in Denver, running a
tournament with 62 players ranging in age from 8 to 16 was a challenging
and fun experience.
Watching good judges is a good way to learn, recently at Grand Prix -
Seattle I had the pleasure of watching Cyril Grillon (Level IV from
France) in action. I was able to see how he handled some very difficult
situations and took a few tips away to add to my own bag of tricks.
I am now planning on attempting to certify to Level II at our next
Qualifier when James Lee is in town - wish me luck !
If you are thinking of certifying here are some tips from a relative
newbie to the role.
1. Find a good judge and ask to help judge a couple of events with him or
2. Talk to your local Tournament Organizer and arrange to solo run a few
3. Watch for excellence - Watch how good judges work - steal their
4. Never stop learning - read the rulebook, read the floor rules, play the