How to become an excellent judge

You might have already noticed that being a good judge does not only mean to know rulings. There is far more involved to make a good appeareance on others. So what makes you a good judge, that people will rely on and that will be recommended for future judge teams?


It might sound superficial, but it is reality: People WILL thread you differently depending on what you wear, what you do and how you do it. Therefore, most bigger tournaments have some kind of guideline to follow:

  • Wear black shoes, black throusers and a black belt: It lets you look like a professional, official representative. And it means that outsiders will instantly notice that you are part of the organizer’s team.
  • Avoid private talk: Private talk either with persons onsite or via mobile phone lets you look like you are not interested in your judging role.
  • Be attentive & judge actively: Judging does not mean to stand around until someone calls you to the table. It means to walk through the player lines and look out for potential problems. Things that you should look for:

  • if there are the same life points on both player’s notes,
  • clear communication among players,
  • cards like Thunder King Rai-Oh or Skill Drain that influence the game,
  • if „once per turn“ effects are really just played once per turn
  • Watch for the shuffling, it has to be done horizontal. It’s quite easy to look into the deck if done otherwise. Also remind players on their right to do a cut after their opponent shuffled.
  • Don’t put your hands into your pockets, don’t sit next to players & don’t lean on the walls: It makes you look very slacking. If you need a break, tell your team lead and you will get one.
  • Smile! :) : Being nice & showing people that you enjoy the tournament and your work will make a positive impression on them. Regardless if they are players, parents or the tournament organisator.

Also make sure you are familiar with the Penalty Guidelines and Tournament Policies to keep a high standard on the tournament. If you do not know how and when to give out a penalty, check our tipps on common Infraction Situations & Penalties. At an event, you can also always contact your team lead or Head Judge.