Welcome to your first GP

Written by Jacob Møller Jensen Level 2, Denmark

Written by Jacob Møller Jensen Level 2, Denmark

Is your first Grand Prix or tournament held at REL (Rule enforcement level) competitive ahead of you? Then this document might just be what you need to read.

I want to take the time to welcome you. Many people feel nervous and that these events are very daunting  Here are a few tips and tricks directly from a Judge that hopefully can calm your nerves and just in general help you have a better time.



0. Call a judge

Do you think something went wrong, need help, or need to go to the toilet? Do you not understand a card? Then raise your arm and call JUDGE! Keep your arm raised and a judge will come and assist you as soon as they can.

  1. Think about what you want to ask

The judges are there to help you and your fellow players, especially when it comes to rules.
With that said, a judge will answer the question you ask and that might not be what you were contemplating.  

Here are a few examples.

Example 1.

Player: Can I use my Ghost Quarter on my opponent’s Darksteel Citadel?
Judge: Yes.

Here the judge answered your question correctly, but you probably didn’t get the answer you were looking for.
If the question would have been:
Player: If I use my Ghost Quarters on my opponents Darksteel citadel will it be destroyed.
Judge: No.

Example 2.

Player: Can my Spellskite´s activated ability taget Spell Snare.

Judge: Yes.

But if the question would have been:
Player: Can my Spellskite redirect Spell Snare to target itself?
Judge: No

In both examples the judge answered your question 100% correctly. However, both had two very different outcomes. In one of them, you didn’t get the answer you were looking for, but in the other you did. In cases like these the judges are bound to answer what you ask. This is because we have something called outside assistance. If the judge answers something you didn’t ask, it can be seen as the judge helping you.  

  1. You may always ask to talk to the judge away from the table

You don’t need to whisper and point to cards whilst talking to a judge. Instead you can ask to take it away from the table so your opponent doesn’t hear what you two are talking about.
The judges are there to help and they love to help.

  1. If you think you opponent is playing to slowly raise your arm and call JUDGE! Tell them what is going on and ask them to look for “slow play”

Judges appreciate when you call a judge when you think your opponent is playing slowly, as your match can hold up a whole event. The judge might not be able to stay around for the rest of the match, but they will do what they can.

  1. Your deck box should contain your main deck, sideboard and maybe tokens.  

This is to deter cheating with the main deck and sideboard. So really remember to not store anything additional in the box. An exception is that you are allowed to store promotional cards that got handed to you during the tournament. (A Grand Prix may have many different tournaments).

  1. If you are thinking about playing with altered cards talk to the head judge prior to the start

Altering cards and having altered cards in the deck is a common thing. BUT it’s strongly recommended that you get those cards accepted of the head judge of each tournament. There are a few rules associated with alters, and how they are allowed to be altered to still be accepted at sanctioned events. So be prepared to have alters refused by a specific head judge and have a “back up” if this happens.

  1. Use new sleeves

With time, sleeves get worn and they have a tendency to be unevenly worn.  So make sure to have new sleeves.

  1. Avoid the three most common mistakes.

There are three common things that leads to a Game loss or Match loss: Incorrect deck/decklist, being late to the match and outside assistance.

Both double and triple check your deck and deck list prior to the start of the event. Also make sure to desideboard after a match so your main deck again is correct. If you at any point think your deck is not correct and not matching your deck call a JUDGE! They have your decklist and can help you out.

At a Grand Prix there are a lot of players and no special consideration will be will be done for an individual player. If you for example need to go to the toilet and the round is about to start talk to a judge (remember the name of the judge)
If you are not in your seat when the round starts you will receive a Game loss (Unless you have permission from a judge)
If you are not in your seat within 10 minutes from start of round you will receive a Match loss and be dropped from the event. You can always re enroll at a event that you been dropped from or that you dropped from as long as it’s the same round.

It’s often one of three things that are seen as outside assistance.

  1. If you try to get help from someones else after you sat down for your match.
  2. If you give advice, tips or help someone else that is not your opponent after you or the other sat down for the match. This includes triggers. So you may remind your opponent ( though you don’t have to) but no one else.
  3. You may not look at notes taken prior to the match whilst playing a game.
  4. Remember your triggers.

At competitive you need to remember your own triggers at the appropriate time. You are not responsible for your opponent’s triggers in any way.

  1. Both are responsible for the match

Unlike triggers both players are responsible for the rules of the game. So both players share the responsibility to make sure spells and abilities are resolved correctly and that the rules of the game are upheld.

  1. Double faced cards


Double faced cards are often some sweet cards and most of us like to play with them.
How ever they come with a few problems, as these can sometimes be identified either because of worn sleeves (worn differently as they have been pulled out of the sleeves more often the other cards) or because the sleeves used are transparent and the back can be seen through. And if the judges sees a pattern you will receive a Game loss because of them.

You can sort this problem prior to the event, the fix is to get your hands on some checklist cards for the cards you intend to run. Second best thing you can do is to use none transparent sleeves, these will however in the long run get more worn than the rest of the cards and will therefore be marked.

  1. If you are not in agreement with the judge’s decision you can appeal   

At the main event of a Grand Prix, we have judges in burgundy shirts. These are our head judges and appeal judges. Their main job is to be the final arbiters of the rules, so they handle all appeals. When a judge has given their ruling (Always let them finish their ruling before appealing), if you believe it’s not a correct one, you can always appeal the ruling. In that case, they will go fetch a judge in burgundy, whose ruling is then final.

  1. Communicate with you opponent.

Try to be clear and friendly as you can towards your opponent. Most problems that occur during a tournament have their root cause in failed communication.
On that if you keep a friendly tone we increase the good feeling of being at a Grand Prix.

  1. Fill in the result slip correctly and hand it in at the correct place.

When your match is done make sure you fill in the result slip and hand it in at the designated location. And make sure to hand it in, as a missing result can delay a whole event.  

  1. DO NOT roll die or anything else random to determine a winner.

The rules are very rigged about this and there is zero wiggle room for interpretation.
If you or your opponent in anyway determine a winner with a random method you and your opponent will be disqualified from the event.
You can save yourself from a disqualification if your opponent is the one offering a random method and you directly (Like the same second) call for a judge.

  1. HAVE FUN!

Winning is nice, but that doesn’t mean you should not have fun, and help others have a fun time. being a good winner/loser can make all the difference.

P.S Don’t pick up your phone during a match without consent from a judge.

Patrik Fridland
Translation and review

Patrik Fridland
Translation and review

Oli Bird

Oli Bird

Fabio Pierucci

Fabio Pierucci