Magic tournaments

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A Magic tournament is a meeting for contest, often sanctioned by the DCI, where the game is played by individuals or teams according to the official rules. Winners will gain a prize. Tournaments are played using either a modified Swiss or a single elimination structure. [1][2]

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (October 5, 2018))

  • 100.6. Most Magic tournaments (organized play activities where players compete against other players to win prizes) have additional rules covered in the Magic: The Gathering Tournament Rules (found at These rules may limit the use of some cards, including barring all cards from some older sets.
    • 100.6a Tournaments usually consist of a series of matches. A two-player match usually involves playing until one player has won two games. A multiplayer match usually consists of only one game.
    • 100.6b Players can use the Magic Store & Event Locator at to find tournaments in their area.

Tournament rules[edit | edit source]

The purpose of the tournament rules is to provide the infrastructure to run Magic: The Gathering tournaments by defining appropriate rules, responsibilities, and procedures to be followed in all DCI-sanctioned Magic tournaments.

Types[edit | edit source]

There are two general types of Magic tournaments: Constructed tournaments, and Limited tournaments. In Constructed tournaments, each player provides his own deck, which much be constructed from a specified card-pool. At Limited tournaments, a random assortment of cards is provided by the tournament organizers, usually in the form of booster packs.

Constructed[edit | edit source]

  • Vintage — of all constructed formats, Vintage features the largest card-pool. Currently, this including nearly every black- or white-bordered card ever printed. The only banned cards are silver-bordered cards from the parody sets Unglued and Unhinged, physical Dexterity cards such as Chaos Orb, ante cards such as Tempest Efreet, and subgame cards such as Shahrazad. In other formats cards which are deemed sufficient powerful are banned; however, Vintage instead maintains a restricted list so as to ensure that a card will always be able to be played in at least one sanctioned format. The restricted list contains cards such as the famed Power Nine.
  • Legacy — smaller card-pool than Vintage, with cards deemed too powerful (e.g. Vintage's entire restricted list) banned, but other cards since Alpha allowed.
  • Modern — limited card pool allowing cards from all core sets and expansions since 8th Edition, except for some banned cards. As a rule of thumb, any card with the modern (post-Eighth Edition) card frame is allowed. Supplementary products such as Commander and Conspiracy aren't included.
  • Standard — the most commonly sanctioned constructed format. The Standard card pool generally consists of only the most recently released Core Set and the sets from the two most recent Blocks, even if the block is not complete. It only rotates once per year, so before the first set of a new block comes out, it actually contains two core sets. After Magic Origins (planned to be the last ever core set), it will instead contain the last three (two-set) blocks, rotating twice a year.
  • Block Constructed — Block Constructed has the smallest card-pool of all the constructed formats. As implied by the name, the Block Constructed card pool normally consists of only cards from a specified Block. One exception is Lorwyn and Shadowmoor blocks, which only consist of two sets each, and are therefore grouped as the "Lorwyn–Shadowmoor block".

Limited[edit | edit source]

Structure[edit | edit source]

The number of rounds is typically determined by the number of participating players. The minimum number of rounds is as follows:

Players Rounds of Swiss
4-8 3
9-16 4
17-32 5
33-64 6
65-128 7
129-226 8
227-409 9
410+ 10

Note that for the purpose of determining the number of rounds, players who are awarded byes (if any) count as more than one player, depending on how many byes they have. Players with one bye count as two; players with two byes count as four; players with three byes count as eight.

Swiss[edit | edit source]

The Swiss-system tournament is the standard scoring and pairing for Magic tournaments. The system is designed to make players face opponents with the same record within the tournament, and also to make sure players can only play against the same opponent once (though exceptions to this can occur in multi-format events). It is common for tournaments to have a Swiss portion followed by a single-elimination portion that includes only the top eight (or top four for small events or for team events) players after the Swiss rounds. Players in the Swiss portion of the event are awarded 3 points of a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Jeff Cunningham. (February 03, 2007.) “Your First Tournament”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Gavin Verhey. (February 23, 2017.) “Your First Tournament”,, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]