For most players, the JAR — or Judging at Regular document — isn’t something that you’re going to need to read in order to participate in a tournament. However, if you’re involved in running events for your local store, you’d like to become a judge someday, or you just like to know as much about the tournament policies as possible — read on!
The most recent update spells out, in more clear terms, what player behavior is to be expected at Regular REL events like Prereleases and FNM. Specifically, players should refrain from behavior that might make the environment feel unwelcoming, upsetting others, or making them uncomfortable. It’s worth noting that what constitutes “appropriate” behavior can vary based on the environment; although Magic is advertised as a game for ages 13 and older, there are plenty of venues that cater to small children at which certain behaviors won’t be as acceptable as in an all-adults setting. Remember also that the standard is not whether anyone is in fact upset or offended, but rather whether the behavior tends to contribute to an unwelcoming environment.
If a judge does take you aside and tell you that you’re demonstrating unwanted behavior, resist the urge to get defensive. Remember, judges are not out to “get you”, and we don’t enjoy giving out penalties; however, we don’t enjoy being in an environment with disrespectful behavior either. Ideally, the judge will identify the specific behavior, explain why it’s a problem, and politely request that you make a good faith effort to stop. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask questions about why what you did was inappropriate, or how you can modify your behavior to comply with DCI standards. It’s better to ask and understand, than to just carry on because you didn’t like the judge’s explanation, since this could result in upgrading to a game loss.
Finally, although the JAR is a kinder, gentler, penalty document, the same prohibitions against harassing or threatening others still apply. In these situations, the judge and store owner are empowered to remove you from the event, no questions asked.
Today’s Tournament Tip written by Jen Wong