OGW Policy Changes

The New Docs


Let’s start with a history lesson. Everyone loves history lessons, right?

Back in the mists of 2006, the IPG had an infraction named Failure to Reveal. It existed to deal with situations where a player failed to reveal a card, like with, say, Domri Rade (who didn’t exist in 2006, but run with it…) It also happened to deal with morph problems. These problems carried a Game Loss with them.

The thing is, that’s a pretty narrow infraction. The decision was made that it wasn’t worth devoting a half-page or so to this and it was moved into Game Rule Violation with a special upgrade clause.

That was a mistake. And it’s a mistake that cascaded for many years. Because we already had a Game Play Error infraction that carried a Game Loss with it, and that infraction was Drawing Extra Cards. (Suddenly everyone has an inkling why I’m talking about this)

Why did we opt to roll Failure to Reveal inelegantly into Game Rule Violation? Because a Failure to Reveal wasn’t drawing cards. The title itself told you why it was wrong, and nobody said “hey, that’s weird, because the two infractions share a lot in common philosophically.”

Flash forward to the halcyon days of 2015. We have a new fix for Drawing Extra Cards, so it’s no longer a Game Loss. It’s popular, and seems to be successful. Hey, we have a bunch of other situations that could take advantage of the same fix. Why don’t we throw those in there and define the infraction by a whole bunch of different mechanical situations?

That didn’t work. People got confused by all the different things in there. And, fundamentally, most of them weren’t drawing extra cards, so how can they be Drawing Extra Cards? Because we hadn’t bitten the bullet when we moved Failure to Reveal, there was no intuitiveness to the infraction. And no amount of mechanical listing was going to fix the problem because this wasn’t a mechanical grouping.

What there is is a strong philosophical similarity. What these errors all share is that they’re not fixable by someone using the publicly available information in the game. What if we used that philosophy to define the infraction rather than the mechanisms of the game?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Hidden Card Error.

Hidden Card Error doesn’t represent a lot of technical change. Most of your rulings will produce the same result as they have these last few months. But it does represent a large cleanup. Drawing Extra Cards, Failure to Reveal and Improper Drawing at Start of Game have all been merged. Oh, and we threw in the morph fix as a bonus.

So, you get into a situation where a player has made an error that can’t be fixed with public information. You remedy them by revealing all the information the opponent needs and letting the opponent make the choices on how to fix it. Didn’t reveal that card from Domri Rade? Opponent looks at your hand and removes a card. Scried two instead of one? Opponent looks at those two, removes one and you scry the other. Draw seven off a mulligan? I think you can see where this is going. Shuffle your hand into your library… hey, wait, that works too.

The nice thing about this being a philosophically-driven infraction is that fixing it should be intuitive. If you find yourself applying the fix in a situation and it seems wrong, double-check. You may find that you missed something that’s accounted for. (If you do so and still find the solution unintuitive, I’d like to hear about it). And remember, the punishment is harsh, but it used to be a Game Loss. It should be harsh!

I want to highlight a key detail: the error itself should be unfixable through public information. Subsequent actions that do this don’t count. So, for example, if I cast Divination for RRR, the error here is the mispayment of costs, not the subsequent card draw, and that’s a traditional GRV. Likewise, if the player got permission to commit the error (usually drawing a card), that’s also a GRV. As I said, functionally things aren’t all that different.

Hopefully this’ll make sense to everyone. I imagine we’ll continue to iterate as we find improvements, but this should be the major restructuring. Let us know what you think!

You’ll notice that the merger creates a hole in the numbering. No need to email about that. It was intentional! My plan is to renumber in the next edition, once we’re sure that we haven’t missed anything that might require us to add an infraction back in. I only want to make Brian and his team have to mess with all the exam questions once.

There’s a few other changes worth highlighting (along with the usual cleanup and improvements for clarity). Another significant one is a new downgrade for decks that are discovered to be missing cards after the game begins. It can be challenging figuring out what’s happened after decks are presented and a card is discovered off to the side or on the floor. Who dropped it? When? Now (assuming you believe it was unintentional) you can shuffle those cards into the deck and keep the game going.

We’ve also made a few modifications in the crevasses of Game Rule Violation. You can now partial-fix cards that were supposed to change zones but didn’t, which is most often a creature that failed to die properly. And we’ve thrown up our hands at trying to come up with a meaningful technical definition on when both players should get the Game Rule Violation; if you think both players share the responsibility for the error (thanks to replacement effects or participation in the action), then they do.

There’s a few changes in the MTR (welcome, Wastes!) and one small but important one I want to call attention to, because it’s been a source of misunderstanding over the years: “The philosophy of the DCI is that a player should have an advantage due to better understanding of the rules of a game…” This has sometimes been held up as a defense of rules lawyering, which could not be further from the truth. Knowing what the rules are gives you an advantage because it opens up your decision tree; you may be aware of paths to take that other players might not be, and so that sentence has been altered to make this clearer. Of course, knowing the rules isn’t always an advantage. Sometimes you can see too many paths!

That’s it! There’s a few other small tweaks and clarifications, so check the changelogs. As always, thanks for all the feedback. Special thanks to Jeff Morrow for his advice and guidance, as well as Sean Hunt, David de la Iglesia, Will Anderson, George Gavrilita, Lyle Waldman, and the whole L4 crew, who wrestled with this one for quite a while.

Enjoy the new cards!

69 thoughts on “OGW Policy Changes

  1. 2.2 LEC still references Drawing Extra Cards in caps like it is a named infraction. “A player can accidentally look at extra cards easily. Drawing Extra Cards is a separate Game Play Error and does handle looking at extra cards in certain circumstances.”

  2. With the new clarification to GRV, and the philosophy of grouping like penalties, It would seem that Failure to Maintain the Game State is obsolete as well. Is there any talk of rolling this infraction into GRV?

  3. It looks like a “failure to reveal” that is placed on the top of the library would require the card being shuffled back into the library rather than revealing the card. There doesn’t seem to be any language about the card being in a verifiable location leading to revealing it instead of shuffling it back in. Or is that what this is supposed to mean, “Be careful not to apply this infraction in situations where a publicly-correctable error subsequently leads to an uncorrectable situation.” ?

  4. Hi Toby!
    two questions:
    1) AP, with no reasons, put back in his hand a creature he had on the battlefield.
    A turn later, both player realize his honest mistake. With no DEC, is this now an unfixable GRV? I see only the backup option.
    2) While playing, I discover my deck to have 59 cards, because my Pacifism is in my opponent’s library. What should we do?
    Thank you!

  5. So does this mean that if a player commits [formerly] Improper Draw at Start of Game, that player now has the choice to either get Thoughtseized or to mulligan?

      1. Point of inclarity: by “mulligan”, in both Jeph’s question and your (Toby) response, do you mean mulligan to 6 or to 5?

  6. Good day,

    I read the section about renumbering the paragraphs. I suggest another fix for that.

    I suggest to keep the numbers as is, and adding the mention “Deleted”. This elevate any future problem when referring to the IPG; e.g. If someone has a publication referring to the IPG para number, that author needs to change its publication, creating a cascading effect of changes.

    You can find an example at: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_bgbeg/index.html#gl_p0008

  7. Sound very interesting. I was a bit upset because some past cases of LEC and GRV were now DEC so were cumulative. And I saw the Domri cases as LEC with the fix of DEC, so they were directly named so. Ok that is a great advantage to do ScryX+1 but… I wasn’t very convinced.
    Furthermore, the DEC as Warning just like the IDaSoG but a bit different… made think of another change.
    So a new description including these two cases and the old LEC now as DEC sounds first a bit radical, but it makes sense. I think it will make things easier to understand to all.
    Finaly, the FtMGS change. When I didn’t have experience as judge I was a bit confuse with this infraction, but when you see some cases it is clear. I think it we’ll be the same now with the change.
    Than you for explainig the reasons of the changes, it makes all easier to understand.

  8. What does it exactly says by the first sentence of Remedy in HCE? For example, draw before choosing color in Chromatic Sphere? (in this case just choosing a color and no fix?)

  9. I’m not sure I got it: if a player draws 7 off a mulligan, the opponent chooses the card to shuffle back?

  10. With the new D/DLP Downgrade, if player a&b of round 1 are using the same sleeves and end up having a card moved to the wrong deck making player a have 59 and player b have 61 cards, go to round 2 and present and are either deck checked or during sideboard realize this mistake has been made, are they both given the downgrade? game loss? or does 59 card player get downgrade, but 61 card player get game loss? The above only looks to cover a downgrade for the player with not enough cards as opposed to the normal rules for the player who presented an illegal deck, though the root of the problem is the same. (Obviously only if this was unintentional)

      1. I believe his question is with regards to the card getting misplaced in game 3, then players moving to round 2 against different opponents.
        So two players in different matches are getting D/DLP due to the same error (card from player 1 is in player 2’s deck, but player 1 is no longer playing player 2), is this treated differently for the two players?

  11. An odd wrinkle about the ’59-card’ deck problem I saw someone bring up.

    Alice and Bob are playing Oath of the Gatewatch limited.
    Alice casts Isolation Zone exiling Bob’s Kitesail Scout.
    When Game 1 concludes, Alice accidently shuffles the Kitesail Scout into her deck.
    Halfway through Game 2, Alice draws Kitesail Scout and calls judge.
    Assume all accidental, the sleeves are identical, and there is no Kitesail Scout in Alice’s pool.

    Prior to this update this is a double-Game Loss, so it would offset.
    With this update, Alice has an illegal deck, so gets a game loss. Bob has a 39-card deck, but the 40th card can be found (Alice is holding it), and it’d be simple to shuffle into Bob’s library.

    I feel like under this new policy, as written, it’d be a Game Loss for Alice but not Bob. But this would give a strong incentive for Bob to be quiet, should he notice Alice shuffling it in. So I feel like it should remain an offsetting Game Loss.

    (Note I’ve seen in similar situations Alice shuffle the Kitesail Scout into her deck, or for Bob to shuffle the Isolation Zone into his. I don’t think it matters for a policy discussion).

      1. Had Bob decided to board in an extra card, perhaps a naturalize effect, but had not counted his library yet still presented a legal deck, the penalties would not offset and only Alice would get the GL?

  12. To continue with an example above: If my hand is empty when I activate Domri, see that it’s a creature card, and draw it (without revealing), what happens? Since it’s the only card, it would be uniquely identifiable, right? Or would my opponent choose a card to put back?


  13. If I mulligan and then draw 7 we will apply the hidden card error fix OR I can mulligan to 5. If I accept the fix do I then have the choice to mulligan to 5 afterwards?

    I ask because the old infraction for this (ID@SoG) explicitly stated that you could continue making mulligan decisions.

  14. Also: I love the change to GRV where we can fix things that should’ve changed zones but didn’t. Is there any thoughts as to also allowing us to return something that changed zones when it shouldn’t have as a default fix?

    This came up at SCG Worcester with Foul Tongue Invocation. Player revealed a dragon and then ended up putting both the spell AND the dragon into their graveyard. As written our only option here would be to backup or not.

  15. The new documents say the head judge “may” downgrade a D/DL to a warning if a card is missing from the deck and is able to be located. Do you envision any specific circumstances where a judge might chose not to apply this downgrade, or is the “may” intended just to be a safety valve?

  16. According to the HCE text, failing to reveal from a Dark Confidant trigger uses this fix. I understand this, but my question is how much life the player will lose from the trigger? Would the card chosen by the opponent be used for the purpose of CMC for Dark Confidant?


    1. They lose no life. They lose the chosen card entirely. It’s like the Dark Confidant trigger never happened.

      1. So does that mean that they lose their normal card draw for the turn as well as the confidant trigger?

        AP starts turn, untaps, draws for turn. Opponent calls on missed Dark Confidant trigger, hand is revealed, one card is shuffled back into library.

        The end result is they have the same number of cards after their draw phase as they did before turn started (instead of +1 from drawing on their turn, or +2 if they remembered the Confidant trigger)?

      2. “Opponent calls on missed Dark Confidant trigger” means trigger was missed.

        The example there explicitly talks about “resolving” a Dark Confidant trigger – i.e. saying “Dark Confidant” or drawing two. Not assuming that a draw is a Dark Confidant trigger.

  17. The new IPG says “A player may concede or mulligan (if applicable) to avoid the additional remedy.”
    Should we check applicability such as announcement of keeping or scrying?
    Or, is mulligan always applicable at beginning of the game in spite of such actions?

  18. A couple real comments:

    1) It’s round x of a tournament and A and B are opponents. A and B are using identical sleeves. A casts an Oblivion Ring-type effect and takes one of B’s cards. After the game, A accidentally walks away with B’s card. Next round begins and A and B both present illegal decks due to the error. Are either player eligible for the new downgrade for improper presentation? If the answer is conditional, what are the conditions?

    2) Just wanted to throw out there that I’m not sure I’m a fan of ID@SOG having the same penalty as DEC. Reason being that ID@SOG is usually due to a dexterity error (sticky sleeves, etc) while it is more common for DEC to be the result of an error in-game. I feel like having a player get Thoughtseized due to sticky sleeves is much worse than the previous fix (same fix, but random card instead of Thoughtseize). Just wanted to put that out there in case anyone cares.

    1. 1) B is eligible if it’s caught after the game has begun.

      2) The previous fix was 2 random cards, not one.

  19. Hi guys! I dont know If someone already pointed this out, but I think theres some strategic information given to the player making the mistake when he uses scry 2 instead of scry 1, or when he goes for anticipate/DTT +1.

    In that kind of escenarios, the oponent chooses a card from a pool of choises, using the information about his game plan and what he is “afraid of”, in the other hand, the player making the mistakes, now gets to choose a card from a pile, knowing exactly what his opponent doesnt want in his hand. To fix this “free information” we could change the fixing from scry-type escenarios, and force the player making the mistake to reveal his hand along with the hidden zone cards. In this way, we make sure that the oponent is choosing something to punish the game plan of the player making the mistake, and not givin away information on his own gameplan.


  20. Aren’t we giving a free mulligan to cheaters like this?
    Say I mulligan, draw 6 one at a time, don’t like my six, and quickly draw one more for the “oops, better take six new, sorry”.

    1. I’m not sure I see the cheat here. Your choices at this point are opponent taking a card from your hand, or mulliganning to five.

  21. Could you explain the ratio behind this paragraph?

    “What a player actually remembers is not a consideration when issuing this infraction, only what information has been publicly revealed.
    Hands that have previously been looked at are not public information, but cards previously revealed on top of the library are”

    Why are cards on top, and only cards an top, public information?
    Does that apply if the card was revealed, say, 4 turns ago?

    1. We don’t want people having to argue about what was in a hand revealed a few turns ago.

      Cards on top are usually the cards directly involved in an infraction, so there’s a reasonable expectation that the player knew that card.

  22. A player illegally adds a card to an empty hand.
    GRV and backup by putting the card on top, right?
    (and then the player cracked a fetchland, shuffled, and drew a different card *hmmmm*)

    It seems to me we lost a “minimal disruption” clause somewhere.

    1. Well, the vast majority of situations in which this is an issue, it’s a reveal issue and solved by revealing it and carrying on.

      Not sure what putting in a minimal disruption clause would accomplish here. They get to keep the card instead?

  23. A player plays Fertile Thicket, and when resolving its ETB ability, puts the card in his hand without revealing.
    What do you do? [grin]

    1. Opponent picks a card from their hand and shuffles it in. I feel like I’m missing a quirk you’re looking for here.

  24. I don’t understand why the example of, “A player scries two cards when he should only have scried one” is in HEC and not L@EC, especially because Sensei’s Diving Top is still in L@EC. Why don’t Top and Scrying fall under the same GPE?

    1. That example is kind of misleading at this point; I should probably remove it.

      Fundamentally, though, if you look at HCE, the underlying assumption is that we give agency to the opponent to fix it. What agency are we giving here? They won’t be involved at all.

  25. I’m not sure I understand hte mulligain fix. In a comment above you confirmed that “(…) if a player draws 7 off a mulligan, the opponent chooses the card to shuffle back.”

    Does this mean I have to reveal my whole hand to my opponent? Or does he choose a card without seeing the hand (which is almost the same as at random)?

    Does the REL of the event have any influence on the fix?

  26. You mentioned the case where a player shuffles their hand into their library, in that case, would the opponent look through their deck and choose cards to give them (Head Games)? In that case, does the player have the option to decide that keeping the contents of their deck secret is more valuable than some number of (presumably) lands, and play on with no cards?

  27. Hi, Toby!

    You mention that shuffling your hand to your library applies. I assume there is not really a fix if the player shuffles his hand after fetching?

      1. I’m sorry. I’ve just read the next article and read the fix for shuffling your hand in your library. It wasn’t clear for me in this article, but it is clear in the next one. Thank you!

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