A player violates the Communication policies detailed in section 4 of the Magic Tournament Rules and the judge believes their opponent has taken an in-game action or clearly chosen not to act based on the erroneous information. This infraction only applies to violations of that policy and not to general communication confusion.
It is important to remember that this infraction only covers violations of the Communication Policy in the Magic Tournament Rules (section 4) and only if the judge believes that the opponent has made decisions based upon the incorrect information.
- A. A player is asked how many cards they have in their hand and answers “Three.” A few moments later, their opponent casts a discard spell and they realize that they have four.
- B. A player keeps their Llanowar Elf in with their land, and their opponent attacks thinking they have no blockers.
- C. A player casts Path to Exile, and forgets to remind their opponent that that they have the opportunity to search for a basic land.
In each of these examples, a player takes an action or fails to take an action in a way that is impacted by illegal communication. In the first example, the opponent makes a choice regarding the discard spell assuming that the player has three cards in their hand, while they actually have four. In the second, the player has violated section 4.7 of the MTR by keeping a creature with their lands, and the opponent assumes that the player has no blockers. In the third case, the player violates MTR 4.2 by assuming that the opponent chose not to search. In each case, it isn’t the illegal information that causes the infraction, but rather the opponent acting on the illegal information. If a player keeps their Llanowar Elf with their lands, but the opponent doesn’t make an attack assuming that the player has no blockers, then no infraction has occurred. However, judges should step in to clarify the board state before an infraction occurs.
Clear communication is essential when playing Magic. Though many offenses will be intentional, it is possible for a player to make a genuine mistake that causes confusion and these should not be penalized harshly.
We all agree that playing magic face to face is quite different from playing Magic Online on a computer. Clear communication should help players express their thoughts and ensure that the game can be played. We want players to talk to each other. We want them to communicate. But players are human, and they will make mistakes. For these violations, the player should be given a Warning. We don’t want a more severe penalty, because we don’t want players scared to communicate with each other for fear of getting a penalty.
A player may commit this infraction in situations where they have not spoken.
This can occur in many different ways. As another example, a player might control Dusk Charger, but not have represented that they have the city’s blessing. If the opponent acts on the belief that the player does not have the city’s blessing and assumes that the Dusk Charger is only a 3/3, a CPV has occurred.
A physically ambiguous board state is not automatically a penalty, but judges are encouraged to tell players to fix ambiguous placements before they might become problematic.
As above, in the example where Llanowar Elves was with the player’s lands, no CPV occurs until the opponent acts on the bad information. Judges should encourage clear board states even before an infraction occurs.
Misapplication of a shortcut is usually not a Communication Policy Violation, as the default interpretation applies in ambiguous situations and the opponent is able to act on that shortcut. Any deviation from a tournament shortcut requires a clear explanation.
Just misunderstanding a shortcut isn’t a CPV. Since the default shortcuts described in MTR 4.2 are well-defined, those definitions can be applied in ambiguous situations.
A backup may be considered to the point of the action, not the erroneous communication.
Sometimes a violation of the communication policy doesn’t matter. Sometimes it does. Typically a judge, will only get calls “when it matters,” and will need to consider if a backup is appropriate. If when asked what the power/toughness of a creature is, the player responds “2/3,” the opponent might feel safe attacking with a 3/3. If during declare blockers it’s discovered to be a 3/4 then different choices could have been made. This wasn’t a play mistake or a strategic error, and if a judge is being called, it is clear that a player took actions based upon that incorrect information. In this instance a backup to before attackers have been declared, as outlined in section IPG 1.4 Backing Up, should be considered.
Any backup should only go to when the opponent acted on the incorrect information, and not before then. Any backup should only go to when the opponent acted on the incorrect information, and not before then. If a Llanowar Elves were with a player’s lands since turn 1, but the opponent only attacked into them on turn 10, the backup isn’t to turn 1.