Intentional Drawing, Conceding and Splitting Prizes

Written by Aruna Prem Bianzino
Level 2, Spain

Written by Aruna Prem Bianzino
Level 2, Spain

Written by Christian Busquiel Sanz
Level 2, Spain

Written by Christian Busquiel Sanz
Level 2, Spain

We find these terms quite often in tournaments. Nevertheless, sometimes they may be confusing and lead to major infractions that Wizards of the Coast strictly wants to avoid. Therefore, related penalties are rigorous.

So, which is the advantage of doing these actions when you risk so much? Let’s look at them one by one:


What do we mean by intentional draw? It means to agree on drawing that match.

Why would someone want to draw a match during a tournament? Frequently, the first eight players (Top 8) play a playoff in order to get better prizes. Since in a Swiss tournament (such as this one) winning a match gives you 3 points, drawing gives you 1 and losing none, sometimes reaching a certain amount of points allows you to qualify for the Top 8.

For instance, you are on the last round of the swiss portion of the tournament, and both you and your opponent have 12 points, while the rest of the players have 9 points or less. If you play and lose this round, you will still have 12 points but there will be other players that would get 12 points too, so you may not be able to qualify for the Top 8. However, if you and your opponent decide to intentionally draw the round, you both will have 13 points and will lock the Top 8. If you want to do this, you have to talk about it only to you opponent but not with other players- it is forbidden, you cannot see what happens in other tables in order to decide if you intentionally draw or not. Moreover, although you can id whenever you want during the round, if you do not do it at the beginning of the round, you would have to start to play; it is important not to waste time.

When recording an id for a match result it is written as 0-0-3. If you start playing and decide to ID, after a player has won a game, it has to be recorded. Therefore, the match result should be written as 1-1-1 instead of 0-0-3 or 1-0-3.


When you concede during a tournament, your opponent wins by forfeit. Any player may concede anytime during the game, and it is immediate. When a player concedes a game, this game is over and you start the following one, unless you have reached the game limit (usually when one of the players had won 2 games) during this round.

It is common that a player concedes if s/he has to drop the tournament. In these cases, the judge must be warned of this, so it can be registered in the Wizards Event Reporter, and problems because of the player missing may be avoided.

When you concede, you must write in the entry slip all the played games. That is, if you win a game and your opponent another, you must write 2-1 in the entry slip, since you have played the two first games, these must be taken into account in the pairing final result.

If time is running out, and the games are 0-0 or 1-1, you can talk about conceding the match. In order to argue about the decision, you can only use playing resources to which you have access at that point; for instance, cards that you have on your hand, but not unknown cards- you cannot see what you would have drawn the next turn. If none of the players wants to concede, this match has to be recorded as a draw; writing 0-0-1 or 1-1-1 respectively. On the other hand, if the player concedes it has to be recorded as 1-0 or 2-1.

It must be taken into account that a player may want to concede because s/he may think that has low chances of winning the tournament or a prize. In addition it may be the case that none of the players may have chances of winning a prize if the result is a draw. In this case, one player can freely decide to concede the game, but he cannot ask for anything in return- that would be bribery.


Any two players can split future prizes as they want. Usually, this means to split prizes in half no matter the result or classification of both players. Two players can take this decision because they both obtain the maximum benefit from the encounter. This minimizes the risk of not winning a prize for the players.

During the single elimination rounds, every player can equally split prizes, on the condition that the prizes are cash or boosters. For instance, the 4 players of the Top 4 can agree on split equally the totality of the 4 first prizes.


If you have any doubt when talking, ask a judge to explain what you can do. Provided that you talk first to a judge – away from your opponent – there will not be any problem.
Bribery is pursued by Wizards of the Coast and can lead to severe sanctions such as disqualifying or suspension.

It is forbidden to agree on a result and the prizes; however there is one exception:
In the final part of the single elimination rounds of a tournament (Top), the players can split prizes as they want, only if one of them drops from the tournament. If they are playing for a qualification to another tournament, this one is taken by the player who does not drop the tournament. Note that if the invitation to another tournament includes a flight, they cannot be divided.


Let’s see now situations that can take place and can be more complex to understand if the concepts previously explained are not very clear.

Nevertheless, if you have any doubt, please ask for help to a judge. S/he will help you to understand if what you are about to do is legal or not. You just explain to him/her what you want to do and what can you do to achieve that. The answer will help you a lot. You must talk to the judge privately, avoid doing it next to you opponent since that can be suspicious.

Now, here we have some exaggerated fictional situations, so you can understand this better:


Situation n.1:

Player A to player B: I have X points, you have less than me. Even if you win this match, you won’t get a prize
Player B: Well, then if I let you win this match and then you get a prize, we can share it and we both get something.
In this case, player B is committing Bribery. S/he is asking for a reward if s/he concedes to player A. How should player B have done this?

Obviously, you can talk about this in private with a judge. The judge would suggest something like this:

  • Player B: Do you want to share any prizes that we may get?
  • Player A: Sure
  • Player B: Then I concede this match. It is better for both of us, you have more chances of winning a prize.

In this way, the prizes are not a compensation for the result.

Situation n.2:

PPTQ final, when you attend to the tournament it qualifies for, you receive a promo card of great value.
Player A: I cannot go to the tournament but I want the promo. I concede the match if you give me the RPTQ card.


Player A: I just want the card, I don’t want to go to the tournament. I let you win the space if you give me the card.

In both cases, Player A is committing Bribery.

You cannot talk about prizes that are outside the tournament when you split prizes, even though it is the final match.

How could it have been done?

  • Player A: ‘I won’t be able to go to the tournament’
  • Player B: ‘Well, I really want to go to this RPTQ
  • Player A: Then, I give you the space so you can enjoy it.
  • Player B: You’re really cool! Give me your address and I send you the promo card for being so nice.

In this case, the result has not been discussed in relation to the prize or the promo card.

Situation n.3:

Two players in the Swiss last round

  • Player A: ‘I’m quite generous, concede the match and then we can talk.

Clearly this is a bribery, even though nothing is specified. Player A would be disqualified and Player B has to talk to a judge as soon as possible.


Situation n.4:

Two players in the last Swiss round, they are running out of time and the current draw would not qualify anyone for the Top8

  • Player A “Let’s throw a dice to see who concedes and then, at least one of us can be in the Top”

As it was stated before, elements from outside the match cannot be used to decide the result. Player A would be disqualified and so player B unless s/he warns a judge right away.

Situation n.5:

A player calls a judge at the table for a clarification. Right in front of his opponent the player asks:

  • Player A “Judge! If I offer my opponent 50€ to concede, is that legal?”

This behavior is considered bribery as it represents an explicit offer to the opponent, which is clearly listening to it. Even if the offer was done in the form of a question to the judge, Player A will be disqualified from the tournament.

We hope you find this article helpful when determining the results of a Magic match and avoiding dangerous situations. If you have any doubt, feel free to comment and we will be happy to answer it.


Inspired by an IMJ article and a Moxes article.

Enrique Garrido

Enrique Garrido