Level Two Certifier Guidelines

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AuthorDamián Hiller, Kevin Binswanger, Fabian Peck, Jeff Morrow
Date Published2011-09-07
Original SiteJudge Wiki
LinkThis article is only available on the wiki; see below.
LanguageEnglish
Tagstesting, Level 2
Recommended for Level3
Notes
AbstractThis describes the process and new guidelines for evaluating and promoting a candidate to level 2. Updated 2011-12-14 because of changes in MTR



Introduction

In the past year, the program need for L1 judges has changed. We are not asking them to be the stalwart PTQ judges. Instead we are asking them to be the numerous and hard-working store level judges. Knowledge of Competitive REL is a growth area for experienced L1 judges. Consequently the program need for L2 judges is changing. We are going to rely more on our experienced Competitive REL judges in the coming years with the increased number of Grand Prixs and Grand Prix Trials. The requirements for L2 judges now focus on creating a minimum set of standards to indicate more experienced judges that we can also trust to certify and teach new L1 judges. The things we require from an L2 judge are: willingness and technical knowledge to administer the L1 exam, knowledge of Competitive REL, and rules knowledge and skills to the point where they can be a resource and reference for less experienced judges.

The present document aims to clarify exactly what should you be looking on each of the L2 definition items, both for preparing candidates and assessing passing or failure in a L2 interview.

Pre-test Requirements

The list of pre-test requirements is the list of experiences a candidate must have in order to be eligible to test. These are preconditions to being certified as an L2 judge. Because these are a simple Yes/No checks that can be established before the interview, we ask that the candidate demonstrate them before they can ask for an L2 interview. If there any doubts, you can verify these requirements are fulfilled by contacting the candidate’s Regional Coordinator.

Must have written at least one review

This is a technical requirement. The quality of the review is not a significant issue here. The important thing is to verify that the candidate can create and enter a review in the Judge Center. This is a requirement because it is a necessary part of certifying a judge. Feel free to ask the candidate to share a review they wrote with you; you can use this as part of a dialogue about writing better reviews.

Must have judged at least one Competitive REL event with a second judge (can be at their primary location and other judge can be a L0)

L1 judges are the only judges who can get away with working alone. L2 judges have greater responsibility and a greater emphasis on teamwork. After all the principal function of L2 judges is to work with and create other judges. We want to establish Competitive REL skills and teamwork. Someone who has never been exposed to other perspectives, no matter how skilled they may be, is inappropriate for L2. An actual investigation on whether this has been done or not isn’t really needed. The fact that this point exists will make candidates aware of the need to work together with someone else. Usually just asking the candidate when, where and with whom should suffice.

Must have acted as Head Judge at least in one event with a second judge (these last two can be the same event)

As people respected on their communities and trusted to run competitive tournaments, L2 judges are expected to show some experience in decision-taking situations. It is therefore asked that candidates have at least a small amount of experience and exposure to this kind of responsibility by taking the Head Judge position in at least one tournament which had another judge in the staff. Again, some simple questions of when, where and with whom, and how was the experience should suffice.

Interview Instructions

The interview with an L2 candidate is one of their potentially limited opportunities to work with a higher level judge. We don’t expect L1 judges to be at every PTQ and GP anymore; we expect that the majority of their judging is going to be in stores at Regular REL. There is an incredibly long learning path from base L1 judge to base L2 judge, and it is expected that the interview is part of it. Consequently you are not only here to judge whether their skills or knowledge are adequate. You are here to help them become a better judge. If their understanding of one of these items is not sufficient, it isn’t your job to simply decline them and just give them a review with areas of improvement. It is instead your job to help them gain those skills to the appropriate level. If you have a “perfect” L2 candidate except they’ve never checked a deck before, teach them how to check a deck! Then pass them. On the other hand, your responsibility is not to pass everyone. Your job as an interviewer is to assess the candidates on the areas in this document. If your evaluation is that the candidates are up to the specified level in each of the indicated areas by the end of the interview, pass them. Otherwise, don’t. The point here is that the interview can be used to give them that last push in an area or two, but if you feel you cannot bring them up to the specified standards in an hour, you should not advance them.

Going into the interview you should have:

  • The rules exam, personalized to the candidate
  • A deck and decklist, to demonstrate deck check procedure (if you haven’t already seen them demonstrate the ability to check a deck)
  • A list of the L1 requirements to discuss with the candidate

The Exam

The rules portion (35 questions) examines whether the candidate knows the rules well enough to go over an L1 test with a candidate, as well as be able to judge an Extended-format event. The following areas of the rules are covered by the L1 test pool:

  • General Game Concepts (such as Converted Mana Cost)
  • Zones
  • Turn Structure
  • Handling Combat Damage (damage assignment order and assigning damage)
  • Casting Spells
  • Activating Abilities
  • Handling Triggered Abilities
  • Mana Abilities
  • Loyalty Abilities
  • Resolving Spells and Abilities
  • Interaction of Continuous Effects (basic knowledge, such as determining a creature’s power and toughness)
  • Interaction of Replacement/Prevention effects (basic knowledge, such as how regeneration works)
  • State-Based Actions (basic knowledge, such as lethal damage)
  • Copying Objects
  • Two-Headed Giant (basic knowledge, such as damage assignment)
  • Keyword Abilities/Actions present in Standard.

Since L1s are typically going to judge FNM, most judge calls can be handled just by knowing these topics. An L2 needs to know and understand these rules better than an L1, including having read the appropriate sections of the Comprehensive Rules, be able to apply these same rules in an Extended-format event, and know and understand the keyword abilities/actions that may be present in that format. The reason for this increased knowledge requirement is that an L2 needs to know the rules well enough to explain it to an L1.

The policy portion (15 questions) examines the candidate’s knowledge of the MTR, MIPG and JAR. Candidates can expect to be tested on MTR sections 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.9, 3.4, 3.8 (was 3.7), 3.9 (was 3.8), 3.15 (was 3.14), 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 6.2 and 7.2, to know how to judge at CompREL events and test L1 candidates. Candidates can expect to be tested on identifying CompREL infractions and/or associated penalties, or assessing a situation and the infraction that took place to identify the penalty and/or corrective action. Candidates can expect to be tested on handling “Serious Problems” at Regular REL events, to remind L1 candidates of the proper way to handle such situations if they come up.

The passing rate of 80% is a standard passing mark required for all candidates. While we understand that errors due to misreading or similar hiccups may happen, it’s been already considered when setting the passing mark. Under exceptional circumstances, a score below 80% is acceptable under the testing judge’s discretion, though reasons for such deviation should be entered on the Interview Review.

If you feel a question is very difficult/easy for the L2 exam or there’s some mistake of some kind on it, please give some feedback on the question in the Judge Center.

Must demonstrate knowledge of deck verification procedures

L2 is the first level where judges are expected to be able to judge Competitive REL events. All Competitive REL events should be using deck check procedures. An L2 must be able to run a Nationals Qualifier or a Grand Prix Trial and therefore must be able to demonstrate the ability to do a deck check. To achieve this item, the candidate must, by the end of the interview, know the basics of a deck check including how to do it and what to look for. Sticking to time limits stipulated for deck checking, checking basics (such as Deck/Decklist correlation, marked cards, when to grab the decks from players) should suffice. In case a deck+decklist isn’t available, some open questions such as “How do you do your deckchecks” or “What do you look for and how in your deck checks” should give you a clear idea on the candidates knowledge and experience on this.

Must show knowledge of requirements for testing a new judge

The interview may be the first time the candidate has discussed the L1 standards; it is certainly the first time their standards matter. We do not require the candidate to have a perfect understanding of L1 standards going into the interview. This should be an opening to a discussion that does not necessarily end just because the interview ends. Help the candidate get on track with their L1 standards, and if they are reasonable, consider this item achieved.

Must show willingness to mentor and certify other judges

The expectation is not that beginning L2 judges will go out and recruit Rules Advisors to become judges. Upon certification, a new L2 judge should be willing to discuss certification and judging with uncertified judges, and be willing to learn to administer the L1 exam. Actual experience training judges to become certified is not required, merely willingness to learn and do so.

Must show diplomacy with players, judges and TOs

The program has a higher standard for L2 judges than L1 judges. At L2 a judge is not just a representative of the program but also a role model for other judges. L2 judges are also asked to work in more than one location. It can be sufficient for an L1 judge to have a relationship with the players in one store and fit into the culture there. An L2 judge needs to be able to go to a new store or TO and be accepted easily.

Must show willingness to participate in the judge community and its communication channels.

As mentioned, L1 is the last level at which you can operate on your own. It is therefore required that the candidate has shown some will to participate in the judge community. What kind or level of involvement is needed here should be regionally considered but it should be noted that this required involvement/participation should be kept at a minimum. Contact your Regional Coordinator to align your requisites with the rest of your regional pals. To achieve this standard, the candidate must demonstrate willingness (and maybe ideas) but they do NOT need to have already become a frequent participant in a judge community outside of events (local or global).


Non-Requirements for L2

The following items are NOT required for a candidate to be considered for L2. These represent optional growth areas that are not expected of a starting L2 judge. You are strongly encouraged to discuss this material, train the candidate on it, but do not let it be a negative factor against the candidate in the interview in case the candidate shows lack of knowledge or even interest in these. Hopefully you will be a resource to the candidate in the coming months to help them learn these skills. It is not our expectation that a new L2 be able to Head Judge a PTQ out of the gates; we expect that these advanced skills will come with time and training.

  • Knowledge on how to conduct a certification process.
  • How to create an exam.
  • How to enter a disqualification report.
  • How to fill a penalty in a Result Slip
  • Head Judge of Qualifier Events
  • How to work on a team in a professional event (GP, Nats, PT)

An Unsuccessful Interview

A candidate not passing the interview is not an endpoint; it is the middle of a journey to that candidate passing the L2 interview. The goal of an unsuccessful interview is to develop a plan for the candidate to be able to successfully test next time. The candidate should be able to say, “Here are the things I need to do in order to pass next time.” You should make sure the candidate is involved with an L3+ who can help them along their way; this may be you or their local L3+. You should also provide the feedback and the plan you’ve worked out with the candidate’s Regional Coordinator who can provide that information to the next interviewer. A candidate who fails may reattempt certification in 3 months.

A Successful Interview

Your relationship with the new L2 is not expected to end with the entry of the exam and the post-interview review. One of the things that we don’t expect from new L2 judges is that they know how to conduct the certification process or how to create an exam. As the interviewer, you are likely going to be their point of contact for this education. Frankly you are going to be one of the judges the new L2 can turn to when they need to ask, “So I have this L1 candidate, how do I test them?” Hopefully you can provide this education during the interview, but if not, this should be part of your follow-up with the candidate.

After you complete the interview, you should inform the candidate’s Regional Coordinator about their new Level 2. You should inform them of any specific feedback, positive or negative, you have about the judge so they can help continue the learning process of the judge. You do not need to send an advancement e-mail to DCIJUDGE-L, since the list of advancements is posted by Carlos Ho. Do post it on any regional mailing lists or social networking sites!

Requirements to maintain

The requirements stated for L2 judges are not automatically checked. They are designed to give the new L2 judge an idea of the baseline they are expected to keep. If you are worried an L2 judge has dropped below these requirements, you should get in contact with that judge’s Regional Coordinator. The Regional Coordinator will work with the Judge Manager to see if this is true, and if so, to give the candidate a friendly push in the right direction.

Act as a judge at a sanctioned event once every six months, and a sanctioned Competitive REL event once every twelve months

We expect L2 judges to maintain their skills and experience by judging. It is sufficient for L1 judges to simply judge, but L2 judges need to be involved with Competitive REL to ensure they stay up to date with the tournament documents and competitive play.

Act as a judge in at least two different locations every twelve months

For an L1 judge it is sufficient to simply be involved in one store with one community. This is not sufficient for L2. To remain at their level, an L2 judge must continually expose themselves to outside ways of doing things, perspectives, and attitudes on Magic.

Enter one review once every six months

An L2 judge must demonstrate a basic competency with reviews and feedback. For this, a certification interview (pass or fail) will be sufficient, but a self-review will not be.

Maintain qualifications above

We expect L2 judges to maintain the level of competency that got them to their current level.

Retest interval

The 3 month retesting interval is meant to allow the candidate to review the items which proved problematic in the prior instance and digest them with ease. If for some reason you feel like deviating from this (ex: taking an exam after 1 and a half months cause the candidate happens to be in town while he lives far from any tester), please contact your Regional Coordinator in advance before going forward. Template:L2 Box