Today, we’re going to be talking about dropping from a tournament. There has been a lot of confusion on the internet about when a player can drop drop a tournament. I’m just going to flat out say the answer right away: you can drop from a tournament at any point, including in the middle of a draft, and you can take the cards you have opened, the pack that’s in your hand, and any unopened booster that you have not opened from the draft, and leave. The only repercussion you should receive from that tournament is a match loss for your first round, then you will be dropped from the tournament. You will not be disqualified, and you will not face a suspension from the DCI.
Let’s look at the quote that most people think of when they claim you can’t do this. This is a quote from section 7.3 of the Magic Tournament Rules:
If the Tournament Organizer allows players to provide their own product, that product must be pooled with the rest of the product for the tournament and randomly distributed. Players are not considered to own the cards until the tournament finishes or they legally drop.
Most people jump to that second sentence and say “Right there, it says you don’t own the product until the tournament is over. Therefore, if you walk out of a tournament in a middle of a draft, you’re stealing, and that’s a disqualification.” But if you notice, there’s another sentence at the beginning of the paragraph that talks about players bringing their own product for the tournament, and how to handle that. So that second sentence is more of a modifier for that first sentence.
In addition, you’ll note that the second sentence mentions “or they legally drop”. Section 2.10 of the Magic Tournament Rules talks about dropping for a tournament. Nothing in that section says you can’t drop in the middle of a draft. All it says is that you must inform the scorekeeper that you intend to drop.
People also bring up the section in the Magic Infraction Procedure Guide, namely, the section on Theft of Tournament Materials. This section also does not apply to this situation. (more specifically, dropping in the middle of a draft is not an example of example A. That’s referring to someone in a sealed deck tournament who take a rare out of the pool that they’re registering rather than register and pass it with the pool).
So let’s say you’re in a Modern Masters draft and you open a pack with both a Tarmogoyf and a foil Tarmogoyf. You can choose to draft like normal and continue to play in the tournament. Or, you want, you can choose take your cards (including that pack you just opened) and drop from the tournament. The store owner should not attempt to stop you from leaving with the cards.
This also applies at sealed tournaments. If you’re at a sealed event (like a Grand Prix Trial) that involved registering and passing the product, and you would rather keep the cards instead of passing them to another player, you can do that.
Now, just because you’re not going to get disqualified or suspended from the DCI doesn’t mean you may not have any repercussions in your community. For instance, the store owner can choose to ban you from their store. If you can’t go into their store, you most certainly can’t enter their tournaments. You may also find yourself shunned by your local community. They may be less willing to play with you, because of dropping from that draft.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more, Level 3 judge James Bennett has written up a few posts over at Reddit on the subject. This thread (http://www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/1gwnrm/psa_dropping_from_a_tournament_before_sealedpool/) talks more about sealed, but it also applies to drafts, while this thread (http://www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/1fmfas/the_11_modern_masters_cards_youd_be_crazy_not_to/cabsl9e) is must more explicit about dropping from a draft
Today’s Tournament Tip written by Nathan Long