Players are allowed to take written notes during a match and may refer to those notes while that match is in progress. At the beginning of a match, each player’s note sheet must be empty and must remain visible throughout the match.
This rule allows players to write down their opponent’s hand while resolving Thoughtseize. Players can take any kind of notes during their match, and they are allowed to check those notes anytime in the current round. This does not include notes written before the match. That is why the note sheet must be blank beforehand. There are only certain times you can access notes written before the match.
Players do not have to explain or reveal notes to other players. Judges may ask to see a player’s notes and/or request that the player explain their notes.
Since a lot of Magic events are multinational ones, players are allowed to take notes in any language they want, even in Klingon. Since those notes are only for a player’s personal use, players are not obligated to explain or translate them to their opponent. A judge may ask a player to explain what is on their notes since it is vital for the judge’s job.
Players may not refer to other notes, including notes from previous matches, during games.
While each game in the match is in progress, players are allowed only to look at notes they made during the current match. Players cannot check notes from previous rounds or notes that were created before the match during a game of Magic
Between games, players may refer to a brief set of notes made before the match. They are not required to reveal these notes to their opponents. These notes must be removed from the play area before the beginning of the next game.
Players may consult notes made outside the match in between games. This is most often used for notes on how to sideboard, which are perfectly fine. If a players are provided their opponent’s deck list, such as during the Top 8 of particular Constructed events (MTR 2.7), this is also the time they may look at them. Also note that once you have sat for your match, you are not “between games” of that match.
Excessive quantities of notes (more than a sheet or two) are not allowed and may be penalized as slow play.
Since browsing through notes can take a while, players are not allowed to have very many. While a sheet or two is perfectly fine, a player can’t go through a novel. Players should be able to find and read relevant sections of notes in a reasonable amount of time.
The use of electronic devices to take and refer to notes is permitted at Regular Rules Enforcement Level (see section 2.12 – Electronic Devices).
But not at Competitive Rules Enforcement Level. The bulk of information is in Section 2.12, this is just specifically relaxing what is allowed at Regular Rules Enforcement Level.
Players and spectators (exception: authorized press) may not make notes while drafting.
Taking notes while drafting would add a lot of time to an event, and would have serious strategic impact on the game. Since spectators in a draft may be friends with players, they are not allowed to take notes either, and sometimes for Competitive and Professional Rules Enforcement Level, spectators aren’t even allowed to watch closely.
Players may not reference any outside notes during drafting, card pool registration, or deck construction.
Rules in this section apply also to other parts of the tournament outside of matches, especially drafting and deckbuilding. In competitive Rules Enforcement Level tournaments we are challenging players’ ability to create the best limited deck they can through card evaluation and deck construction, not just following a flowchart of what cards are best for different archetypes.
Players may refer to Oracle text at any time. They must do so publicly and in a format which contains no other strategic information.
Oracle text is considered the text written on the card. Since there have been a lot of wording changes or even functional changes for a lot of older cards, Oracle is available for everyone. Players can have printed Oracle text for cards as long as there is no other information on those papers and it’s not reached via forbidden electronic devices.
Consulting online sources, such as gatherer.wizards.com, is allowed at Regular Rules Enforcement Level even if they contain a small amount of strategic information. If a player wishes to view Oracle text in private, they must ask a judge.
At Regular Rules Enforcement Level events players can access Oracle by themselves, yet you need to show what they are doing to the opponent as well. Of course players are always allowed to ask a judge for current Oracle text in private as long as they are able to identify the card they are looking for, either by name, or by description.
Artistic modifications to cards that indirectly provide minor strategic information are acceptable.
Players are allowed to have minor card alterations that don’t directly provide them with substantial strategic advice, but has some minor information. Painting a Sensei’s Divining Top on a Trinket Mage is OK. Writing the latest strategy article on a Plains is not.
The Head Judge is the final arbiter on what cards and notes are acceptable for a tournament.