Players are responsible for ensuring that their cards and/or card sleeves are not marked during the tournament. A card or sleeve is considered marked if it bears something that makes it possible to identify the card without seeing its face, including(but not limited to) scratches, discoloration, and bends.
Cards must stand out when in the deck to be considered marked. If you have to bend the card and look at it from funny angles to get the light to hit it just right, it is not marked.
If a player’s cards are sleeved, the cards must be examined while in the sleeves to determine if they are marked. Players should use care when sleeving their decks and should randomize their decks prior to sleeving them to reduce the possibility of cards becoming marked with a pattern. Players should also keep in mind that cards or sleeves may become worn and potentially marked through play during the course of a tournament.
Many brands of sleeves will have inconsistencies in their coloring or cut. Players should shuffle the sleeves and cards prior to sleeving to prevent the inconsistencies from creating a pattern. Additionally, a good rule of thumb is: If you think a judge might consider the deck marked, go ahead and change your sleeves.
The Head Judge has the authority to determine if a card in a player’s deck is marked. Judges may request that a player remove their current sleeves or replace any of the deck’s current sleeves immediately, or before the next round.
If the sleeves are marked enough that you are giving a Warning at Competitive Rules Enforcement Level, instruct the player to replace them between rounds. If their round runs late, give them a reasonable time extension in the following round to facilitate re-sleeving. If the penalty is being upgraded to a Game Loss, the player needs to replace the sleeves immediately. Judges are often tasked with assisting the player to expedite the process. Make sure to follow-up with players after instructing them to replace sleeves to ensure that they have done so.