Suppose that at a regular REL (Rules Enforcement Level) event, you have an experienced player, and an inexperienced player, and the in-experienced player has a gideon's lawkeeper on the battlefield.

The experienced player declares the beginning of the combat phase, and the game then proceeds to the Declare Attackers step. The in-experienced player tries to tap down an experienced player's creature during the Declare Attackers step.

The experienced player explains to the inexperienced player that in order for the tapping to stop the attack, he has to do it during the Beginning of Combat step.

Are the players authorized to agree to rewind the game back to the Beginning of Combat step so that the in-experienced player can do his action correctly, or would the players have to ask a Judge's permission?

  • What does REL stand for?
    – wesdfgfgd
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 13:27
  • @wesdfgfgd Rules Enforcement Level Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 14:14
  • 2
    @wesdfgfgd, Rules Enforcement Level. Regular REL is the REL used at pre-release events, Friday Night Magic (FNM) and similar.
    – ikegami
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 15:20
  • Deserves an upvote never knew this.
    – wesdfgfgd
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 17:55
  • Your link to Gideon's Lawkeeper doesn't work. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


There is nothing in the CompRules about taking back legal actions, so when in doubt, ask the judge, unless you both want to risk a sanction in the worst case. He may nor may not allow it, and he may or may not require to be asked in the first place. In the end, a judge can give whatever ruling he wants, and the opposite of it on the next case. So there is no general answer.

That being said, in high REL, where a lot is on the line in the tournament, you probably won't see many of the situations as described by you, either because there are no inexperienced players, or nobody would agree to have a mistake taken back to get any advantage possible. In lower REL, like pre-Release or somesuch, if I were a judge I would definitely allow it to commend the sportsmanship and teaching effort of the more experienced player.

  • Also consider that a player on the other side of the table making those kinds of mistakes is probably going to lose anyway, so you have considerably less risk letting it rewind in the more casual environments. At an REL I wouldn't expect someone to let it be taken back. "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen" type thing.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 16:03
  • Where can I find a list of the different RELs and the differences between them?
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 16:13
  • Start here, and click on "Magic Tournament Rules". The "Infraction Procedure Guide" lists the offences and how they are handled at Comp and Pro REL. "Judging at Regular REL" describes how the offences are handled at Reg REL.
    – ikegami
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 15:10

The infractions are the same for all REL. The difference lies in the penalties and remedies.

Assuming it's clear the Declare Attackers step was step was entered (e.g. AP: "Declare Attackers?" NAP: "ok"), nothing in the rules allow the game to return to the Beginning of Combat step, so we're talking about Unsporting Conduct — Cheating (intentional breaking of the rules for gain) or Game Play Error — Game Rule Violation (unintentional breaking of the rules). That's not really something you want to mess with. Just ask a judge.

Of course, there's a good chance Declare Attackers wasn't actually entered, but a shortcut was merely proposed by the AP by the action of declaring his attackers. If so, the NAP could still completely legitimately use his ability in the Beginning of Combat step.

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