What you thought you knew – Tournament trivia

Tournament trivia

  • Notes policy
    • Players may take notes during their games, but may not spend an excessive amount of time doing so (no writing down your opponent’s whole library while resolving a Cranial Extraction).
    • During a game, players may look at notes that they took since the start of that match, but not at any notes they had taken before the start of the match.
    • During a match, but between games (during sideboarding), players may look at any notes they had in their possession since the start of the match. This means that they can consult a brief sideboarding guide, but they cannot, for instance, read notes passed to them by a spectator after the match started.
  • After deciding who plays first, that player draws an opening hand and decides whether to keep or mulligan. After this decision is made, the opponent likewise draws an opening hand and makes the same decision. Then each player who chose to mulligan does so. Once a player decides to keep their opening hand, that player may not later change his or her mind and mulligan.
  • In order for a tournament to be sanctioned, the following minimums must be met:
    • For individual tournaments, at least 8 players must participate. The tournament must be at least 3 rounds.
    • For team or Two-Headed Giant tournaments, at least 4 teams must participate. The tournament must be at least 2 rounds.
  • Recommended tournament time limits:
    • The required minimum time for a round is 40 minutes. Under normal circumstances, the recommended round time is 50 minutes.
    • Sealed formats (such as prereleases) recommend 20 minutes for deck registration (if applicable) and 30 minutes for deck construction.
    • Draft formats recommend 30 minutes for deck registration and construction
    • Other time limits may be found in Appendix B of the MTR.

Q: Amy is playing first and says that she will keep her hand. Nicole then takes a mulligan. Nicole draws her six, then says that she is mulliganing to five. Can Amy now change her mind and take a mulligan herself?

A: No. Each player, in turn order, decides whether to mulligan. Once a player has decided to keep, that player is locked in and cannot take further mulligans.

Q: Do I know whether I’m on the play or on the draw during sideboarding?

A: The decision of whether a player will play or draw is made after presenting, but before drawing opening hands. If you won the previous game, you might suspect that you will be drawing first, but you won’t know for sure until your opponent makes that announcement, and they don’t have to do that until after sideboarding.

Q: Amy and Nicole each won one of the first two games in their match, then Amy casts a Flame Rift while each player has less than 4 life. What happens next?

A: As long as there’s still time left in the round, they shuffle up for game 4. Magic matches are played “first to two” not “best of three”.

Q: Time is called during Amy and Nicole’s match. Amy then swings for lethal and wins the game, tying their match at 1-1. What happens now?

A: Their match is over. It will be reported as 1-1, and count as a draw. Although there are ordinarily three games in a match, new games are not started after time is called in a round, even if they still have “up to five additional turns” to play.

Note: This ruling is more important to know in older formats where there are decks that could conceivably (even reliably) win after taking only two or three turns.

Q: Time in the round is called during Amy’s turn. She finishes and Nicole begins her turn, which is turn 1 of additional turns. On turn 4, Amy casts a Time Stretch, targeting herself. What happens?

A: Usually the players alternate during additional turns, but Time Stretch changes this. Amy will take turn 5 of additional turns. Even though which player takes the turns can change, the number stays fixed at five. Amy will not get to take her second extra turn from Time Stretch.

Q: Amy is participating in a Modern Masters draft. She opens pack 2 and finds that it contains a Tarmogoyf and a foil Vendilion Clique. Amy doesn’t want to pass either of these cards. Is there a way she can keep both?

A: Yes. If Amy drops from the event, she is entitled to keep any cards that she correctly has in her possession. In this case, this includes all the cards she has drafted in pack 1, the entire contents of the pack she just opened, and even the sealed pack that she would have drafted in pack 3. Unless Amy estimates that her equity in the tournament is higher than the value of one of these cards, that’s the smart “play” here.