Beginner Planeswalker Guide: Tournament Rules & ProcedureMarch 14, 2019
This is the final article in an ongoing series of Magic articles aimed at welcoming people into Magic: The Gathering!
You did it! You successfully know how to play Magic: The Gathering. Maybe you’ve played in a Prerelease event or some Friday Night Magic events. But what if you are yearning to try something even more competitive?
There are lots of Magic tournaments available at a variety of competitive levels, the highest being Premier Events. If you are interested in some of these higher level play experiences, here are some rules you’ll need to understand and follow. I recommend following these rules any time you participate in Magic in-store events.
In order to play in an official sanctioned tournament, you must have a registered DCI Number. Anytime you play in a sanctioned event, you earn Planeswalker Points and each time you win a game you receive more points. These points can provide advantages in future tournaments and the highest of points can even help you qualify for major events.
In addition to being respectful, there are many procedural rules for tournament play.
- Be clear about where you are in your turn at all times and ensure that life totals are accurately reflected for you and your opponent. Also, be sure you know where your opponent is during their turn at all times and confirm with them if you are unsure.
- If at any point in the game there is a discrepancy, any confusion, or a disagreement about how something works, always call a judge.
- I highly recommend tracking your life total and your opponent’s life total via pen and paper. This provides a clear record for the judge to follow.
- Rounds will be timed, so be sure to keep track of the clock and follow instructions when time runs out. Do your best to keep the game moving at all times.
- Do not use your phone during drafts, deck construction, or while playing games.
- Lands must be closest to you, with non-land cards in a separate area closer to your opponent.
- Your library, graveyard, and exiled pile must all be on one side of the battlefield.
- Do not ask for or accept help from spectators outside of the game or during deck construction (help during deck construction is acceptable during Regular tournaments).
- Do not speak during drafts (this is fine during Regular tournaments).
Deck Registration is a requirement in Competitive and Professional tournaments, such as Grand Prix, Pro Tour Qualifiers, and above. You must fill out your deck registration before Round 1 starts. You cannot alter your deck once the form has been submitted. Below is what the form looks like for Constructed decks:
In addition to these procedural rules, it is also in the official rules to not cheat, bribe an opponent, or bet on the results of a match.
There is also a guide in the official rules for avoiding Unsporting Conduct that further explains what I mean by being respectful. These rules include refraining from using profanity and provide a policy against harassment and bullying.
Lastly, know that the Tournament Organizer and judges are there to help you. Feel free to ask them any questions you have.
I hope that this series has been helpful for sparking the interest of new Planeswalkers and has been used to help teach people this amazing game from the comfort of their own home. Thank you for reading!