July Magic Tournament Rules Release Notes

Posted in Competitive Gaming on July 8, 2019

By Scott Larabee

Scott Larabee started at Wizards of the Coast in 1998, having organized premier Magic tournaments since 1996. He is currently the E-Sports and Premier Play Programs Design Manager. He enjoys Commander and board games.

Magic: The Gathering Tournament Rules Updates

Here are the Magic: The Gathering Tournament Rules update notes for the latest release (which can be found here), listed by the section number of the rules. To have more context, you should refer to the actual wording in the document itself.

Section 2.5 (End-of-Match Procedure): Clarification added that if the active player merely indicates they would like to pass the turn, this is sufficient to move to turn zero for the opponent.

Section 3.8 (Game Markers): The information on tokens has been moved to section 4.7 (Game Layout).

Section 4.1 (Player Communication): Two updates here. First, the amount of mana floating in a mana pool has been changed from "derived" information to "status" information. Second. "status" information may not be misrepresented by a player.

Section 4.2 (Tournament Shortcuts): The "X-spell" shortcut has been removed now that floating mana is now status information.

Section 4.7 (Game Layout): The rules for token representation have been move to this section (from section 3.8).

Section 6.3 (Standard Format Deck Construction): Clarification added about snow-covered basic lands. While snow-covered basic lands are not legal in Standard, language has been added to make sure that players are not penalized. Snow-covered basic lands should be treated as the non-snow equivalent and should be replaced when discovered (without penalty).

Section 6.4 (Modern Format Deck Construction): Bridge from Below has been banned in the Modern format. For a complete explanation, please read Ian Duke's article here.

In addition to these updates to the Magic Tournament Rules, a few updates have been made to the Infraction Procedure Guide and the Judging at Regular REL documents. Toby Elliott has a full write-up on these changes in his blog.

That's all for this update! If you have questions about Magic Tournament Rules, I recommend the following resources:

Magic: The Gathering Tournament Rules (viewable here)

This is the main rules document that governs competitive tournament play. It defines:

  • The fundamentals parts of a tournament;
  • The various roles and responsibilities of participants;
  • The mechanics of a tournament;
  • The violations that come with tournament play;
  • The various formats for tournament play; and
  • Sanctioning rules.

Infraction Procedure Guide (viewable here)

This document provides the recommended penalties and procedures to handle rules violations.

I encourage anyone who is interested in tournament-level Magic to read these documents. They are the rules under which a tournament is run, so being familiar with these documents can help you to become a better player. In some cases, the Magic Tournament Rules supersede the Magic Game Rules, so knowing these rules can keep you from entering some awkward situations. You can also contact Wizards of the Coast Game Support. Information about how to do that can be found here.

—Scott Larabee

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