The Secrets of Sportsmanship

Amir is playing against Nemo at a large Competitive REL Modern event. On his first turn of the match, Amir plays an Island and puts an unchecked Shadows over Innistrad checklist card onto the table, saying “Delver”, and gets a Delver of Secrets from his box to represent it in play. Nemo calls for a judge and points out the issue with the checklist card. Nemo explains that he doesn’t think Amir should be severely penalized, and even offers to give Amir 4 Innistrad checklist cards so they can continue the match from here. What do you do?

Judges feel free to answer on Judge Apps!

Amir receives a Game Loss for Deck Problem, as his deck contained a card that wasn’t listed on his deck list. The penalty is a Game Loss because it was discovered by an opponent.


Abagail is playing in a sealed PPTQ. She sits down for game 1 of her match, grabs a pile of roughly 40 sleeved cards out of her deck box, shuffles, and presents to her opponent. Upon drawing her opening hand, she immediately calls a judge and explains that this is her sideboard. She has several other sets of cards sleeved for quick sideboarding, and she just grabbed the wrong pile from her deck box.


Judges feel free to submit your answer here!

This is Tournament Error – Deck Problem. The penalty is a Warning, as none of the upgrade paths apply. Fix the deck to match the list by having Abagail find her correct deck, and verify it matches the list. Since this error occurred during drawing of opening hands, Abagail must take a mulligan, so her new opening hand after shuffling the correct deck will be 6 cards, she may continue to mulligan from that point.

Landed in Hot Water

During a deck check in round 4 of a PPTQ, you quickly spread out the player’s deck, face down.You notice that five of the cards seem to be in sleeves that are a millimeter or two smaller than the rest. Those 5 cards are a Botanical Sanctum, an Island, an Aether Hub, a Spirebluff Canal and a Servant of the Conduit. You ask the player about his sleeving process, and he says that he sorted the deck, filled out his deck list, then shuffled his deck a bit, then sleeved. He also mentions that he had to use two packs, because the first pack didn’t have quite enough sleeves for his entire deck. You’ve ruled out any type of Cheating. What do you do?

Issue the player a Game Loss for Marked Cards. The five cards which are discernable from the rest are all blue lands or are able to produce blue mana within a turn. Knowledge of this could enable a player to gain substantial advantage, so the penalty is upgraded to a Game Loss.

Judges feel free to answer here!

A Weak Link in the Chain?

In a Legacy GP match that you are observing, Apollo is at 3 life while playing against Neptune, who is at 5 life. Apollo casts Chain Lightning, tapping one of his two Mountains, targeting Neptune, who has several red mana available. Neptune says “it resolves” and marks herself down to 2. Apollo looks at you, waits a few seconds, then announces he’s casting a second Chain Lightning targeting Neptune. What do you do?

Apollo has committed a CPV for not confirming that Neptune was opting not to pay RR to copy Chain Lightning. Issue him a CPV-warning and back up to the point where Neptune has the option to pay RR to make a copy.

Judges feel free to answer on Judge Apps!

Mutually Beneficial Assistance

Aidan is playing against Naaraa in the top 8 of a large Competitive REL tournament that has video and text coverage. Both players were given access to each other’s decklist prior to the start of the match, as they had been previously posted online. During Game 2, you turn around from watching another match and see that both players are reading their opponent’s decklist during the game. When asked, they explain that they thought this was okay, and both wanted to review what their opponent might have sideboarded. What do you do?


Judges feel free to answer on Judge Apps!

Both Aidan and Naara have solicited and received Outside Assistance. The information they acquired was available to them between games, as the decklists were effectively part of their sideboard notes, so the downgrade clause in OA applies. Each receives a Game Loss for Outside Assistance, these game losses are not applied as they were issued at the same time. Game 2 of the match ends and is not recorded, a new Game 2 begins. Be sure to remind both players what constitutes notes, and that they should not look at their notes during a game.

It’s Time to Drain the _________

You are the Head Judge of your local Standard PPTQ. You have collected all the decklists and round 1 has begun. While ensuring that all of the lists are present, you notice that one player has a blank line with a number next to it on his decklist. He is playing Black/White control, and has registered

(42 other cards)
4 Concealed Courtyard
6 Plains

What do you do? Consider when you would like to talk to the player, what you’re going to tell them, and what infractions and/or penalties they will receive.

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As the Head Judge, you have the option to not apply Decklist Problem here. The player has submitted what appears to be an illegal decklist, but it is obvious that the card in the blank is Swamp. Double check that the player is indeed playing Swamps, and after the round find them and let them know that you fixed the list and to be more careful in the future.

Making the Cut

You are judging at a standard PPTQ. While performing a beginning of round deck check, you see that Osiris is playing with 59 cards in his main deck and 16 in his sideboard. Upon counting his decklist, you read there are actually 59 main deck and 16 sideboard registered. His sideboard lists the following:

3 Never // Return
2 Insult // Injury
3 By Force
4 Magma Spray
2 Harsh Mentor
2 Cut // Ribbons

You bring Osiris to the deck check table and ask him about the problem. He tells you he thought he registered 60 cards main deck and 15 sideboard. He quickly gathered 75 cards last minute before the tournament started and mistakenly classified one maindeck card as sideboard while writing his decklist.

What do you do?

Judges feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!


Osiris has committed two separate tournament error infractions. One is Decklist Problem for submitting an illegal decklist, the penalty for which is a game loss right off the bat. The other is Deck Problem for presenting an illegal deck and sideboard to the opponent at the beginning of a game. The penalty for this infraction is generally a warning, however there is a particular upgrade path outlined in section 3.4 of the MTR…

“If the deck is discovered to be incorrect during the presentation period, and the missing cards are not in the opponent’s deck, the penalty is a Game Loss.”

Thus the Deck Problem infraction yields another Game Loss for Osiris. Although both penalties will be recorded, only one will affect his match score. In other words, the double game loss doesn’t technically become a match loss for Osiris. Section 1.2 of the IPG:

“Infractions with the same root cause, or multiple instances of the same infraction that are discovered at the same time, are treated as a single infraction.”

To remedy the main deck problem, have Osiris choose one of the five traditional basic land cards to be added as the sixtieth card. As for the sideboard, remove one Cut // Ribbons. Annotate the decklist to reflect the changes. The match will continue starting from the second game and Osiris has the choice for the play/draw rule.

Ajani By Any Other Name


You’re the Head Judge of a Standard PPTQ. While verifying that you have all the lists, you notice that Percy’s list has “2x Ajani” on it. You go to Percy’s match and notice that he has one Ajani Unyielding in his graveyard, and another in his hand. What do you do?

Judges feel free to discuss this on Judge Apps!

Although players are allowed to truncate names of Legendary or Planeswalker characters, they can only do so if there is only one instance of that character in the format they are playing. Ajani, however, shows up twice in Standard: once as Ajani Unyielding, and once as Ajani, Valiant Protector in the Planeswalker Deck. Therefore, Percy has committed a Deck / Decklist Problem, and receives a Game Loss.

Because this decklist error was not discovered during a deck check, the penalty should not be applied until the beginning of the next round. Wait until Percy’s match is finished, then explain the penalty, and update his decklist to match his deck, being sure to check for any other errors as well. The penalty will be enforced at the start of Percy’s next match.

Why did it have to be snakes?

Anna is playing against Nigel at a Sealed PPTQ and round four has just begun. Anna asks to speak to you away from the table, shows you her hand, which contains 3 copies of Narnam Cobra. Anna explains that she is only playing 2 copies of Narnam Cobra in her main deck, and has one more which she sideboarded into her deck in round three. You confirm that Anna has just drawn her hand, and called you immediately. What do you do?

Judges, feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!


Anna receives a Game Loss for Deck/Decklist problem. While Anna has notified a judge immediately following drawing an opening hand with a wrong sideboard card, the downgrade does not apply when the extra sideboard cards also appear in the main deck.

Do not apply this downgrade if the error resulted in more copies of a main deck card being played than were registered. For example if the decklist has two copies of Shock in the main deck and two in the sideboard, but there are three copies of Shock in the library, the penalty is not downgraded.

Have Anna fix her deck to match her decklist, and the match will begin on game two.

Always double-check

At the beginning of round three at a standard Grand Prix Trial, you deck check table 5. Elspeth’s decklist says “4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy”, along with a variety of other blue and black spells and lands. Her deck, however, contains 56 cards and 4 unmarked Magic Origins Checklist Cards. Her box also contains 4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy in clear sleeves. There are no other cards which can be represented by a checklist card on Elspeth’s decklist or in her deck. What do you do?

Judges, feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!

Many of you correctly identified this as a Tournament Error – Deck / Deck List Problem, with a penalty of Game Loss. Unmarked Origins checklist cards in a deck that can produce multiple colors of mana could feasibly be used to represent multiple cards, so they can’t be allowed. Elspeth should clearly mark those checklist cards, the players will start game 2 without sideboarding, and Elspeth will choose whether to play or draw.