IPG 2.5 Game Play Error — Game Rule Violation


This infraction covers the majority of game situations in which a player makes an error or fails to follow a game procedure correctly. It handles violations of the Comprehensive Rules that are not covered by the other Game Play Errors.


  • A. A player casts Wrath of God for 3W (actual cost 2WW).
  • B. A player does not attack with a creature that must attack each turn.
  • C. A player fails to put a creature with lethal damage into a graveyard and it is not noticed until several turns later.
  • D. A Phyrexian Revoker is on the battlefield that should have had a card named for it.
  • E. A player casts Brainstorm and forgets to put two cards back on top of thier library.


While Game Rule Violations can be attributed to one player, they usually occur publicly and both players are expected to be mindful of what is happening in the game. It is tempting to try and “fix” these errors, but it is important that they be handled consistently, regardless of their impact on the game.

Additional Remedy

First consider a simple back up (see section 1.4)

If a simple backup is not sufficient and the infraction falls into one or more of the following categories, and only into those categories, perform the fix specified unless a simple backup is possible:

  • If a player forgot to untap one or more permanents at the start of their turn and it is still the same turn, untap them.
  • If a player made an illegal choice (including no choice where required) for a static ability generating a continuous effect still on the battlefield, that player makes a legal choice.
  • If a player failed to draw cards, discard cards, or return cards from their hand to another zone, that player does so.
  • If an object is in an incorrect zone either due to a required zone change being missed or due to being put into the wrong zone during a zone change, the exact object is still known to all players, and it can be moved with only minor disruption to the current state of the game, put the object in the correct zone.
  • If damage assignment order has not been declared, the appropriate player chooses that order.

For each of these fixes, a simple backup may be performed beforehand if it makes applying the fix smoother. Triggered abilities are generated from these partial fixes only if they would have occurred had the action been taken at the correct time.

Otherwise, a full backup may be considered or the game state may be left as is.

For most Game Play Errors not caught within a time that a player could reasonably be expected to notice, opponents receive a Game Play Error — Failure to Maintain Game State penalty.

If the game has proceeded past a point where an opponent could reasonably be expected to notice the error, the opponent has also committed an infraction. In most cases, the infraction is Game Play Error — Failure to Maintain Game State. However, if the judge believes that both players were responsible for the Game Rule Violation, such as due to the opponent controlling the continuous effect modifying the rules of the game that led to the Game Rule Violation or a player taking action based on another player’s instruction, they have instead committed a Game Play Error — Game Rule Violation. For example, if a player casts Path to Exile on an opponent’s creature and the opponent puts the creature into the graveyard, once the game has continued both players will have committed a Game Rule Violation.