September Magic Tournament Rules Release Notes

Posted in News on September 25, 2017

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.

The Ixalan Prerelease took place this past weekend, so it's time for a Tournament Rules update.

In each update, most changes are small—grammar corrections, changes in language to provide better clairification on the intent of a rule, "housekeeping" updates (items that are updated each release due to new set announcements), etc. However, we sometimes have substantive changes, and those changes are listed below:

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 2.13 (Video Coverage): We are updating to clarify that standard card layouts for video coverage apply to Grand Prix.

Section 3.3 (Authorized Cards): Lack of a defined border on a card does not necessarily mean that the card is unauthorized. Yes, this means basic lands from the Unstable set will be legal in tournament play.

Section 4.2 (Tournament Shortcuts): Players cannot assume their opponents took a non-visible shortcut during one of their spells. For the full explanation of these changes, see Toby Elliott's breakdown here.

Section 5.2 (Bribery): Wording changes to make the rules a bit more explicit.

Section 8.3 (Team Communication Rules): All communication rules have been consolidated in section 4.5.

Appendix B: Sealed Deck tournaments during the weekend of a new set's release give an additional 15 minutes for deck construction.

Appendix D (Recommended Booster Mix for Limited Tournaments): Various updates and additions due to the announcement of new expansions.


That's all for this update! If you have questions about the 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 fundamental 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
@ScottLarabee

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