100 Rules for Magic: The Gathering Players and Judges by Dan Gray.
Disclaimer: Virtually all of these rules are based on real-life situations
or questions I have encountered. No offense is intended to any of the
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Andrea Kunstt, Scott Larabee, Mark Chalice, and
Bob Blackman for their contributions. Thanks to Wizards of the Coast staff
and Pro Tour players in California and everywhere else, without whom, these
rules wouldn't be half as funny.
Without further ado:
100 Rules that every Magic player and judge should know:

1. Magic players always whine unless they get their own way all of the time.
2. Mana screw happens. We don't want to hear about it.
3. For every player who claims that sealed deck is all skill, you'll get
one who believes that constructed deck is all luck.
4. Yes, the judges understand how Ogre Enforcer works. No, we don't feel
like explaining it.
5. Magic players cannot do math involving a clock. If one player asks when
the next round starts, they all will.
6. The Andrew Finch Rule: Whenever a player asks you when the next round
starts, tell him to go read the sign that tells what time that round
starts. Even if there is no sign.
7. The Mark Chalice Rule: The judge is always right, even when the judge is
a clueless idiot.
8. "Lunch breaks" are for wimps.
9. Whenever a player asks a judge if a particular record can make the top
8, the judge's response should be the same as Tom Wylie's sig quote, "I
don't know and I don't care."
10. If a player thinks his opponent is stalling, that opponent probably
thinks the player is being unsportsmanlike.
11. No, just because your opponent accused you of cheating doesn't mean
that your opponent is being unsportsmanlike.
12. If you think your opponent is cheating, she probably isn't. If you
think your opponent is honest, he's probably cheating.
13. In any sealed deck Pro Tournament Qualifier, the player who is already
qualified will get the best deck.
14. A hint for judges: Players receiving four Fireballs in their sealed
deck are probably "aiding luck."
15. Whenever a player flies or drives a great distance to a tournament,
that player will do somethng stupid and get ejected. Then, that player will
argue with the judge about it for at least four hours.
16. Magic players really cannot read of write. Whenever you do deck checks
of the top 8 players in a tournament, at least two of them will have
screwed up their deck list.
17. Judges are not native guides. We don't know where the McDonald's, the
ATM, or the bathroom are.
18. A tournament that is supposed to start at 10 am will actually start at
11 am., unless it's being run by Wizards of the Coast, in which case it
will start at noon the following day.
19. Don't ask how much time is left in the current round unless you're
actually still playing. We're not here to tell you how long you have to go
visit Uncle Pete before the next round starts.
20. The Mike Long Rule: Sit in the chairs, not on them. Even if you really
are nearsighted and can't see your opponent's hand.
21. Don't ask us to calculate your opponent's match win percentage, your
DCI ranking, or the sales tax on $5.00. That's what we have a computer for,
and we don't understand what it does any more than you do.
22. Unless, of course, the judge is Henry Stern, in which case he's got a
nifty spreadsheet program that will tell you everything you want to know.
(Thanks Mario!)
23. The Hammer Regnier/Scott Johns Rule: You can only get away with
"talking smack" to your opponent if the judge thinks your jokes are funny.
24. Do not bring screaming babies, obnoxious friends, or bad lounge acts to
tournaments. It's loud enough already.
25. Don't ask what the prizes are and if you have a chance of winning one
when you're in 137th place after six rounds.
26. War stories are for soldiers. The judges don't care how much damage you
did with a Mox Monkey last September.
27. Wizards of the Coast Customer Service, Scrye, and InQuest are not
official sources for rulings. In fact, in most places, Scrye and InQuest
aren't official sources for toilet paper.
28. Telling the judge that he or she is incorrect and then citing Customer
Service, Scrye, or InQuest as a ruling source will not only fail to get the
ruling reversed, it will usually cause the entire judging staff to laugh at
29. Telling the judge that he or she is incorrect, and then citing the
judge from tournament you played in last week won't work either. Some
judges really are clueless idiots.
30. The Tournament Registration Rule: If a player signs up for a tournament
and claims his name is O O, be sure to check his driver's license.
31. Yes, we really only ask for your address when you sign up for a
tournament so that we can later send the goons over to your house to
install surveillance equipment to monitor your every move.
32. No, we won't refund your entry fee just because you were punted during
the first round for using a Time Walk in Type II.
33. The Preston Poulter Rule: Destroying your entire deck by spilling
coffee all over it is not a legitimate strategic move.
34. If your opponent whines at you, whine back.
35. Player death after taking lethal unprevented damage is not optional.
Some aids for translation:
36. "Time is up, the round is over" is not code for, "Each player rolls a
die to determine who wins the match."
37. "Do not begin playing until instructed to do so" does not have an
implied "unless you feel like starting anyways" tacked onto the end of it.
38. "Open your sealed decks and begin building" is not an instruction to
"Search your deck for all Cloaks of Invisibility, discard them, and replace
them with an equal number of Kaervek's Torches from your pockets."
39. If you lose a match because your opponent was a better player, blame
your deck. If you lose because you got mana-screwed, blame your opponent.
40. The Jeff Broido Rule: Giving the judges free food and coffee won't make
them rule in your favor, but it might put them in a better mood because
they're no longer hungry.
41. The Printer Driver Rule: If the tournament looks like it might actually
start on time, the computer and printer will conspire to break down in some
manner requiring at least a ten minute delay.
42. Showing your opponent your underwear is considered unsportsmanlike
43. So is spitting tobacco juice into a paper cup while play is in
44. The Cory Jones Rule: Do not use pornagraphic playing cards as Outpost
tokens when playing a player under the age of 18.
45. Whenever you see a local judge playing in a tournament, you should
always ask her, "So, you actually play too?" Really, we think this question
is hilarious.
46. The Scott Larabee Rule: When the judge asks for quiet in order to make
announcements, he really wants the players to be as loud as possible.
Some tips on getting rulings reversed:
47. The 1996 U.S. Nationals Method: Demand a players' meeting to discuss
the situation, and then threaten to quit if you don't get your way.
48. The Mark Justice Method: Start a riot.
49. The Nate Clarke Method: Call the Head Judge names, and scream loudly.
50. The Xerox Rule: When you win a tournament with a new or original deck,
you will lose to an exact copy of that deck in the first round of the next
tournament in which you play.
51. The Jason Gordon Rule: Right after you lose a match is probably not the
best time to ask the judges to check your opponent's deck.
52. If you're going to cheat, stall, collude, or be unsportsmanlike, at
least do it colorfully. Judges enjoy getting a chuckle when giving someone
the boot.
53. The Tom Wylie Rule: Yes, "pistols at dawn" really is the final
tiebreaker at a tournament.
54. Unless Tom Wylie is judging that tournament, in which case, "Tom with a
pistol" is the final tiebreaker.
55. A player copying your deck and doing well at a tournament with it is
not considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
56. Yes, the judges think Drew Tucker's art sucks too.
57. Yes, Floral Spuzzem really is sentient, and if you play with it, the
judge will have to DQ you for being coached.
58. Yes, juggling between tournament rounds is acceptable, unless you're
juggling something with a sharp edge or which is on fire.
59. Of course there's a prize for the player who does the worst in the
tournament. You're such a comedian.
60. The Joel Unger Rule: If you're going to act incredulous when the judge
makes a ruling not in your favor, at least be a good actor. "No, I had no
idea I couldn't draw four cards during my opponent's cleanup phase" just
isn't going to cut it.
61. If you can't see the Schneiderbauble, you aren't looking hard enough.
62. East Coast and West Coast players really do love each other very much.
63. "So I can win rules arguments" is not a valid reason for wanting to be
a Level III Certified Judge.
64. Yes, some judges have friends at Wizards of the Coast. No, that doesn't
mean they can get Mark Rosewater to show up at your cousin's birthday party
wearing a clown suit.
65. War cries and tribal chants are unacceptable while play is in progress.
66. Calling the multi-lingual judging staff, "Hairless maggot-infested
pooh-faces" in Swedish is probaby not a good idea either. Even if it is
67. The Mark Rosewater Rule: If you don't know what "caballeros sine
cajones" are, you probably are one.
68. The Brian Weissman Rule: It's definitely not all about Crash of Rhinos.
69. No, you may not draw from your opponent's deck just because you like it
better than your own.
70. Making sexual or romantic overtures to your opponent is considered
unsportsmanlike conduct. Even if the opponent accepts.
71. The QT Rule: If it's still daylight outside and the tournament is over,
you didn't run enough rounds.
72. The John Magee Rule: The Duelist life counter is known as the "Confuse
opponent device" for good reason.
73. If you want the DCI to do something, tell them not to do it.
74. If you want the DCI to do something right, seek divine intervention.
75. Yes, we judges thought banning Mind Twist and Channel was pretty unfair
76. The Andrea Kunstt Rule: When judging, tact is for weenies, but subtlety
is the key.
77. The Sam Heckman Rule: Any deck can be made more fearsome by adding
"Turbo" to its name.
78. The PT Dallas Rule: The larger the number of competitors in a
tournament, the farther away the nearest source of cheap food.
79. The Chris Pikula Rule: Having a fit at the judges before the final
round of a tournament in which you make the top 8 anyways is always a good
80. It's all about chicken strips.
81. The Truc Bui Rule: It's important to record cards other than basic land
on your deck registration sheet.
82. The Kai Martin Booster Draft Rule: Power Leak and Leviathan are not
strong first picks.
83. The Jamey Billig/Nick Krestoff Rule: Whenever you come in 9th at a
Qualifier, it will be because you lost in the final round to a player who
is already qualified.
84. The Hotel Bed Rule: Playing to determine who gets the beds in your
eight-person hotel room at a convention is a poor idea unless you're Mark
Chalice and never lose.
85. The Magic: The Game Show Rule: Always gang up on the Crew. Unless
Donais and Gray are playing.
86. The David Johnson Rule: Whenever a new ruling comes out, scream and
yell about it. When that doesn't work, call Dave DeLaney or Tom Wylie
87. The Brian Hacker Rule: If you don't know what the Costa Mesa Serpent or
the "Undo Voice" are, you need to move to California.
88. The Magic Lingo Rule: Speaking so that no one understands you isn't
considered unsportsmanlike conduct, but it is pretty funny.
89. The California Regionals Rule: Only Santa Barbara may win. Unless the
year is 1997.
90. Whenever you carefully read the directions and starting time to a
tournament, you'll get lost and show up late. If you just get in your car
and drive around, you'll wind up in the right place on time.
91. Believe it or not, it really was once all about the FatMoti.
92. There is no such thing as an "accurate price guide."
93. The Gabe Higa Rule: It is considered impolite to pass your opponent the
94. How to win in sealed deck: Beat them down with creatures before the
Death Star clears the planet.
95. The Backseat Finalist Rule: Yes, the player who came in second screwed
up big in the final game, and, yes, 250 other people saw it and could have
done better. Nevertheless, the guy who made the mistake has $15,000. So
96. If your opponent asks a judge to shuffle your deck, next game, get the
judge to shuffle your opponent's deck.
97. How to get revenge for being kicked out of a Pro Tournament: Win the
National Championships.
98. The Real Jeff Donais Rule: Skills in Extended are inversely
proportional to skills in Type II.
99. The CanAm Rule: It's generally considered bad luck for an annual event
when the trophy gets broken before the first event ever takes place.
100. The Ernest Alexander Rule: It's not all about trying to qualify in Los
Angeles. Even if the players there do suck at Pro Tournaments.