A Player's Guide to Tournament Play

Posted in NEWS on June 18, 1999

By Wizards of the Coast

Dorian Anders

1) You must have a legal deck and your deck must remain legal throughout the tournament.

Standard: Your deck must contain 60 or more cards. All the cards in your deck must be from sets currently recognized as legal in the Standard environment. You may use an older version of a legal card. Your tournament organizer/judge will be able to tell you what sets are currently allowed and what cards are banned (remember, there are regular changes to both). It is your responsibility to ask if you are unsure.Some tournaments require that you register your deck on a deck list form. Writing your deck down will help you to eliminate non-legal cards. If you use a sideboard, it must contain exactly 15 cards (or 0). At the beginning of each match, you must restore your deck and sideboard to their original configuration.

Sealed Deck/Booster Draft: Your deck must contain 40 or more cards. All cards not in your deck are in your sideboard.

You will be disqualified from the tournament if you have an illegal deck. Count the number of cards in your deck before you start each match. Make sure that all of your cards that are placed in your opponent's territory are returned to you after each match. Be sure to return any of your opponent's cards to him or her. The contents of your deck are your responsibility.

2) The cards in your deck cannot be marked so that you would be able to tell what card is on top of your library. If you use sleeves with holograms, all the holograms have to face inward (on inside lower left corner). All cards have to be placed in their sleeves with the top of the card near the top of the sleeve. All cards in your deck should be facing the same direction. Cards should have roughly the same amount of wear. Card sleeves should have roughly the same amount of wear. If you are using sleeves, then the sleeve is considered part of the card for determining if the card is marked.

3) While you are participating in a tournament, do not watch other player's games. Trying to obtain information about decks you might play against may be considered unsportsmanlike conduct. When you are done playing, leave the playing area until it is time for the next round. Do not take notes during a game.

4) Behave in a polite and respectful manner towards your opponent and the Judges. Foul language, threats, unwillingness to accept a judge's direction or ruling are all examples of unsportsmanlike behavior. Unsportsmanlike conduct can result in a warning or even disqualification.

5) Both players must follow the published rules found in the Players Handbook. Be particularly careful about the drawing of extra cards. You can ask how many cards your opponent has in his or her hand and you can request that your opponent hold their cards in a fan so that you can easily tell how many cards they have. All cards are to held elevated above the surface of the table. You can always count your opponent's library and graveyard. You may also look at the cards in your opponent's graveyard (just don't reorder them).

6) If you have a question about the meaning of a card, the application of a rule, or something you or your opponent has done/or is about to do - call a judge. The judge will be happy to clarify any situation for you. If you wait a couple turns, and then call a judge, it will be too late to restore the game situation.

7) Beginning the game: Shuffle your deck thoroughly. Your opponent may then cut your deck. For the first duel the winner of the die roll/coin toss selects to play first or draw first. For any subsequent games, the loser of the previous game selects play or draw.

8) Each Match is played best 2 out of 3 games. If you only play one game, whoever wins that game, wins the match. In a Single elimination tournament each match needs a winner. In this case, the tournament organizer will tell you what will be done in the case of a draw/or incomplete game. Sometimes, life totals are used for the incomplete game. In a Swiss Tournament a drawn match is permitted.

9) Each Match has a time limit. You will be informed of the amount of time to complete the match. Try to play promptly. Stalling is not allowed and can result in a warning or disqualification. Be sure to be in your designated seat when the beginning of the match is announced.

10) You are responsible for keeping track of your Life Total. You must use a physicial means of keeping your life total. The more stable the device used, the better. A pencil & paper are best. Counters are better than dice (which are easily knocked over). It is also a good idea to keep track of your opponent's life total.

11) Warnings and/or Disqualifications are sent in to the DCI and become part of a player's permanent record. Judges issue warnings (both official and unofficial) based on the severity of the offense, whether it was intentional or unintentional and whether it was disruptive or nondisruptive to the event's integrity. Cheating, for example, is considered intentional and disruptive. Single, double, & triple warnings can be issued. The default penalty for 3 warnings is ejection from the event.