A Guide to Becoming a Judge
So you decided to do it. You decided to take the plunge; you decided to
become a DCI certified judge. More than likely if you are reading this
you have found your way to the best resource on the web for certified
judges, and you have read all of the topics on how to become a certified
judge. So what am I doing writing this article on how to become a judge?
As I am planning on working to becoming a level 3 judge, I offer my
insights on things to study, people to contact, social skills needed that
aren't readily apparent.
First what to study, obviously study the rules. I find the best way of
study the rules is to play the game. While you play think of what rules
govern the plays you make. For example a typical turn involves a
Beginning, Main, Attack, 2nd Main, and End phases with many steps in
between. During either Main Phases you can play one land from your hand.
When can you play that land? Can anything stop you from playing that
land? These two questions are not ones that would come up much but they
are an example of some of the common things that are overlooked when
In addition to the rules a judge has to have some knowledge of the
Penalty Guidelines, Floor Rules for Magic, the Universal Floor Rules, and
the different formats of tournaments. A good way to study most of these
things is to help at a large event such as a PTQ or a Prerelease
tournament. This leads me to who you should contact.
In addition to having to talk to the level 3 judge or higher that you
will be testing with, it is also a good idea to talk to some of the major
Tournament Organizers in the area where you live or play. The TO will
offer a place for testing as well as provide the tournaments for you to
work at for the testing and tournaments in the future. Get to know as
many tournament organizers as possible because they will always need help
and the more you get to know them the more they will help you out if you
In the blitz to study, don't forget to stay in contact with the most
important people, the players. The players are whom you are really
working for at the tournament. The better in tune with the players you
are, the more you will be receptive to their needs. Another good thing
about knowing the players is, knowing who are the troublemakers are and
who are the players who will be at tournaments to have fun.
The more experience you have as a judge the more you will realize the
immense value of well-developed communication skills. When making rulings
you must be able to communicate the actual ruling and the reasons behind
it. If you are unable to explain the rule that governs the situation, the
less likely the players will believe you.
One final suggestion, be confident. The more confident you are in being
a judge, the more the players will like you as a judge, and the fewer
mistakes you will make. I hope that this article has been of value to
you, the judge trainee, and also to anyone interested in advancing their
level. Questions or comments may be sent to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck.
DCI Certified Level 2 Judge