Some Competitive and Professional Rules Enforcement Level tournaments use video for live streaming or replay broadcast of matches. Players may decline to appear on camera; however, players in the playoff matches of Professional Rules Enforcement Level tournaments may not decline to appear on camera.
Video commentators are considered spectators for the purpose of the tournament, but may talk during the match as long as they can’t be heard by players being covered. They are responsible for behaving respectfully to all tournament participants during coverage.
Spectators are also permitted to record matches provided that they do so unobtrusively.
The Head Judge of a World Championship, World Magic Cup, or Pro Tour tournament may, in his or her sole discretion, use video replay to assist in making rulings during a match. Video replays may not be used to assist in making rulings in tournaments other than a World Championship, World Magic Cup, or Pro Tour tournament. Players may not request that a judge consult a video replay. Video replays may also be used for investigative purposes at a later time.
There’s a few reasons why coverage was previously unable to use video replay:
- People on camera may get some additional advantage when they are on camera due to the video replay option.
- It adds time to the investigation. The Head Judge needs to head somewhere, have the video team find the video for that match, find the exact spot, and then watch it, possibly multiple times.
In the end, the pros of using video replay at higher level events outweighed the cons.
At Professional Rules Enforcement Level tournaments which use video for live-streaming or replay broadcast of matches, players playing matches in the video filming area must arrange their cards, tokens, and other accessories on the battlefield using the following layout:
- From the player’s perspective, nonlands must be kept closer to the player’s opponent than lands, and no cards should be between the land area and the edge of the table closest to the player.
- Non-creature permanents whose use may reasonably be associated with either the land or nonland area (e.g. an artifact whose only ability is a mana ability) may be located in either area, provided the overall layout is, in the judgment of tournament officials, clear. However, permanents that are also creatures (e.g. artifacts with March of the Machines on the battlefield, Dryad Arbor, or a Treetop Village that is currently a creature) must be placed in the nonland area. Players may not use other cards to intentionally obscure the presence of a permanent in any area of the battlefield.
- Each card should remain clearly associated with any permanents attached to it. For example, an Aura enchanting a land should be in the land area in contact with that land.
- The player’s library, graveyard, and exiled cards should be kept all to the left of the battlefield or all to the right of the battlefield at the player’s discretion.
- The player’s graveyard and exiled cards should be adjacent to the player’s library. All three should be distinct at all times.
- If a card is exiled by a permanent and that permanent includes a way to perform additional actions with the exiled card, that card should remain in contact with that permanent such that the association is clear.
- Each untapped permanent should face its controller. Players are permitted to briefly turn a card upside-down as a memory aid.
All of the above points were added in August 2015 to ensure that the play area on coverage is consistent among players for viewer clarity. These tips are good overall ideas in general. Players who have unclear boards can create issues due to sloppiness.
Tournament officials may make exceptions or additions to these guidelines at their sole discretion in order to keep each player’s game layout clear. Players in exceptional situations (e.g. a player playing a deck with no lands or a deck that makes significant use of the graveyard) should consult with tournament officials to determine what allowances, if any, will be made.