IPG 1. General Philosophy

1.1. Definition of Penalties 1.3. Randomizing a Deck
1.2. Applying Penalties 1.4. Backing Up
 1.5 Sets

Judges are neutral arbiters and enforcers of policy and rules.

A judge shouldn’t intervene in a game unless they believe a rules violation has occurred, a player with a concern or question requests assistance, or the judge wishes to prevent a situation from escalating.

Judges don’t stop play errors from occurring, but instead deal with errors that have occurred, penalize those who violate rules or policy, and promote fair play and sporting conduct by example and diplomacy.

Judges may intervene to prevent or preempt errors occurring outside of a game.

Knowledge of a player’s history or skill does not alter an infraction, but it may be taken into account during an investigation.

The purpose of a penalty is to educate the player not to make similar mistakes in the future.

This is done through both an explanation of where the rules or policies were violated and a penalty to reinforce the education.

Penalties are also for the deterrence and education of every other player in the event and are also used to track player behavior over time.

If a minor violation is quickly handled by the players to their mutual satisfaction, a judge does not need to intervene.

If the players are playing in a way that is clear to both players, but might cause confusion to an external observer, judges are encouraged to request that the players make the situation clear, but not assess an infraction or issue any penalty.

In both these situations, the judge should ensure that the game progresses normally.

More significant violations are addressed by first identifying what infraction applies, then proceeding with the corresponding instructions.

Only the Head Judge is authorized to issue penalties that deviate from these guidelines.

The Head Judge may not deviate from this guide’s procedures except in significant and exceptional circumstances or a situation that has no applicable philosophy for guidance.

Significant and exceptional circumstances are rare—a table collapses, a draft booster contains cards from a different set, etc.

The Rules Enforcement Level, round of the tournament, age or experience-level of the player, desire to educate the player, and certification level of the judge are not exceptional circumstances.

If another judge feels deviation is appropriate, they must consult with the Head Judge.

Judges are human and make mistakes. When a judge makes a mistake, they should acknowledge the mistake, apologize to the players, and fix it if it is not too late.

If a member of the tournament staff gives a player erroneous information that causes them to commit a violation, the Head Judge is authorized to downgrade the penalty.

For example, a player asks a judge whether a card is legal for a format and is told yes. When that player’s deck is found to be illegal because of these cards, the Head Judge applies the normal procedure for fixing the decklist, but may downgrade the penalty to a Warning because of the direct error of the judge.

If a player clearly acts on erroneous information provided by a judge during the game, the Head Judge may consider a backup to the point of the action taken, even if that action did not lead to a violation.