Magic: the Gathering in the UK
The vast majority of Magic players play for fun and enjoyment, and see a tournament as a social event. To encourage this environment, we (as judges) want to curtail certain behaviours while fostering others. For example, letting players chat during a booster draft is fine – up to the point of giving strategy advice, which is where we draw the line. This document draws those lines, and helps you help your players have a fun event.
Your players, in turn, are expected to do their best to play correctly. However, Magic is a complicated game, and it is pretty easy to make a mistake – here we're talking about playing a spell without the correct resources or neglecting to take a mandatory action - we can't protect players from playing badly!
While it is important that players are trying to play correctly, it is also important they know that when something goes wrong, calling a Judge is the best course of action – you will do your best to fix the situation. Ask some questions and if you're confident that the error was accidental, it will usually be for one of the common errors included in this document. When delivering a ruling, be sure – or go and check the answer. Players will appreciate you making this effort, and you will give better rulings. If your situation is not covered by this document use your experience and common sense to make the best ruling you can, then find out an answer afterwards. Remember that the Head Judge has the last word and after the HJ has given a ruling, the players are expected to play on.
Beyond fixing the error it is also important to remind the players to play more carefully – in effect this reminder is an Official Penalty, but avoid being heavy handed as you want to keep your events fun and relaxed. However, there will be times when simply reminding players to be more careful will not be enough. If a player repeatedly makes the same mistake despite your increasingly stern reminders, warn them that the next occurrence will likely earn them a Game Loss. Hopefully this final step will not be required, but knowing it is possible should get the player to correct their behaviour.
Furthermore, some extreme behaviour (covered below) will result in the most serious penalty – being ejected from the event. If you do have to hand out a Disqualification, let the players know that while your decision is final, the DCI would still like to hear their side of the story. Allow them to complete a statement, including their DCI# and contact details, which they can forward to the DCI – and you do the same. Disqualifications can be hard to deliver, but you are protecting all the other players in your events and demonstrating that sportsmanship and fair play rule the day.
If your event requires deck lists, provides large prizes or is otherwise of a more Competitive nature – run the event at Competitive REL rather than Regular. This will require use of the full Infraction Procedure Guide instead of this document, as some rulings require more complex solutions.
- Common Errors -
A player realises they have forgotten to take an action required by the game
If the action was optional, assume they chose not to - and no further fix is required. Otherwise, resolve the action now. If several instances of an action have been forgotten, resolve any that have been missed this turn.
A player accidentally flipped over a card while shuffling or saw a card they shouldn't have
Find out if any of the deck is “known” (perhaps a previous spell put cards on the bottom?) then put the revealed card/s back into, and shuffle, the “unknown” portion. They can then continue playing normally.
Instead of drawing the correct amount of cards, a player has accidentally drawn more
Determine how many extra cards have been drawn, then take that many cards at random from the players' hand and replace them on top of the library – or if this was their opening hand, shuffle them back in (they can make mulligan decisions based on this new hand).
A player makes an in-game error not mentioned above
This will be the bulk of player errors – and we will usually leave the game as is. However, if the error was caught straight away, and you are confident no major decisions have been made then you can back up the game to the point of error. If you do choose to back up, it's important to reverse all the actions – no partial fixes!
A player has illegal, insufficient, another players' cards or sideboard (Game 1 only) cards in their deck
Remove any cards that shouldn't be there and replace any cards that should - or Basic Lands of their choice if the deck/sideboard is short. Additionally, recommend that the players count their deck before they start a match – this can help avoid these simple errors.
- General Unwanted Behaviours -
There will sometimes be issues that do not have official fixes, but need to be discouraged. These include, but are not limited to;
- Players showing up late to their match
- Players taking unreasonable amounts of time side-boarding or making play decisions
- Inadequate shuffling after a search
- Asking for, or providing, strategy advice during a tournament match or booster draft
In all of these cases, educate the player on better behaviour – for example, alternate shuffling techniques or the importance of allowing players to make their own decisions. Once a player has been asked to correct their behaviour, treat any further instance of the same problem as you would any repeat infraction.
- Serious Problems -
There are also certain behaviours that will not be tolerated in any sanctioned event. Any player engaging in the following must be disqualified from your event;
- Aggressive, violent or abusive behaviour (physical or verbal)
- Cheating, lying or intentionally making illegal game actions or avoiding penalties
- Influencing Match outcomes, either by incentives, coercion or random methods
- Theft (this includes things like replacing a chase rare in a draft with one from their binder)
If a player engages in conduct that you feel is likely to upset, offend or affect the safety of others, but falls short of violence or abuse, you may decide to give the player a stern chat about what is expected in your event – and let them know that failure to curb this behaviour will result in their ejection.
- Resources -
Need an answer now? Try logging in to http://dcifamily.org/askthejudge/ – and ask!
Want to find a local judge? Log in to the Judge Center at https://membership.wizards.com/login.aspx and click on the People tab – use the filters at the bottom to narrow your search, then send them a message!
Event Sanctioning How-To - http://tinyurl.com/TO-Sanction
Wizards Play Network FAQ – go to the http://wizards.custhelp.com/ site and search for WPN FAQ
TO Community Forums - http://tinyurl.com/TO-HQ
Magic Document Center – Home of the Tournament Rules and the Infraction Procedure Guide http://tinyurl.com/DCI-Docs
Magic Rules – also links to Gatherer and Set FAQ's (in various languages) http://tinyurl.com/DCI-Rules
Umm, it looks blank to me...
Amar Dattani said:Umm, it looks blank to me...
Looks okay to me.
I think this needs to be posted on the wall at TGC in addition to here - the players that would most benefit from reading this information, are the less frequent attendees who don't post on DT, and who may still have biases against judge calls, etc.