Say I'm playing against a player and we finish game 2 with 5 minutes left in the round. If we draw, both of us will be knocked down, and most likely neither will be eligible for prizes.

I know bribery is against the rules, but could we agree (before the match starts) to something along the lines of "If we draw, whoever has fewer life points will concede so at least one of us can have a chance at prizes"?

As I understand it the answer will come down to if this is defined as collusion, but I'm having a hard time determining how Wizards defines it.

  • When you say "we" can have a chance at prizes, do you mean you're talking about deciding who will concede but splitting hypothetical prizes? Or do you simply mean that one of you will bow out and give the other a chance at it?
    – Cascabel
    Sep 21 '14 at 17:19
  • @Jefromi I mean one will bow out and give the other a chance at it. There will be no prize splitting, that I know is bribery and is illegal.
    – Fr33dan
    Sep 21 '14 at 17:22

Bribery and Collusion do not really factor into this. If there is no agreement (or offer) to exchange something of value for a particular match result, there is no bribery. "Collusion" is not inherently illegal in the absence of bribery (No rule says I can't concede to my friends because they're my friends.)

You are running afoul of 'Unsporting Conduct - Improperly Determining a Winner'. Entering into (or offering) an agreement with your opponent to choose the winner of the match by any means not included in the rules of the game is a disqualification.

  • 1
    Note that if, with no prior agreement, you simply choose to concede game 3 (possibly because you're lower on life, or just because you know draw or lose you're out of the running for prizes), this is fine. Even if you're 'winning' during extra turns. If you're in your last extra turn and you know you can't win, you can concede as a courtesy to your opponent. Even if time hasn't even been called yet, if you look at your hand and know there's no point in playing out game three because you'll never finish it in time, you can concede to skip the pointless half-game. Sep 21 '14 at 23:17
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    As I read the player's guide (that I found here: blogs.magicjudges.org/whatsupdocs/mipg/4-unsporting-conduct/… ) I'm not sure this answer is supported. The four examples they mention as against this rule are: coin flipping, dice rolling, arm wrestling, and rock-paper-scissors, and the phrase "outside-the-game" is mentioned multiple times. In fact, in single-elimination tournaments, life total is the tie-breaker.
    – corsiKa
    Sep 22 '14 at 2:45
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    I'm just saying that because the life totals are part of the game (while rock paper scissors are not) that opens the door for confusion among players who may consider life total to be a perfectly valid victory condition when they're actually committing a penalty. This confusion could easily arise even from the July 2014 edition of the IPG.
    – corsiKa
    Sep 22 '14 at 6:32
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    I know the question didn't explicitly ask, but as long as we're here, could you explain what you can do in this kind of situation?
    – Cascabel
    Sep 22 '14 at 14:55
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    @Jefromi, That would make a great separate question. Ask it!
    – VolleyJosh
    Sep 22 '14 at 15:03

The rules of Magic itself don't allow for players to change the win conditions. Win/lose/draw conditions are defined in the rules, and unless a tournament director decided differently, you have to play by the win/loss/draw conditions written in the regular rulebook. (And at an official MTG event, the tournament director wouldn't allow otherwise).

  • 1
    Can you elaborate a bit? It's still okay to decide, at the end of the match, to concede (getting nothing in return) and let the other player move on, right? And even to discuss who should concede, as long as it'd not done before the match?
    – Cascabel
    Sep 21 '14 at 17:35
  • @Jefromi, when you say "concede", do you mean in the sense of conceding the tournament, and not playing further matches? Or conceding the game, as in deciding to treat it as though you had lost the game? There's a difference, because once the game has ended, in a draw, you cannot then concede that game... it's already ended in a draw, too late for you to concede the game and lose.
    – GendoIkari
    Sep 21 '14 at 17:44
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    I think the idea of the question is for one player to concede before the match ends in a draw - for example, if you run out of time and the last game goes to extra turns, you could concede the game/match at any time before the end of the last turn. (I do now notice it says "if we draw" not "if we're about to draw", but that's not that big a change to make, and I'm sure the OP would be happy to know what can be done in that case. Maybe I've misunderstood though!)
    – Cascabel
    Sep 21 '14 at 17:45
  • @Jefromi, I suppose in that case it is more of an issue of knowing specific tournament regulations (which I am not that knowledgeable about). It does sound like a form of collusion to me, though. But I was originally reading the question as basically saying that they would have a draw, but then based on criteria they had decided, one player would act as though he'd lost, and report that the other player actually won. This should be clearly illegal, as it would be falsely reporting the results of a game.
    – GendoIkari
    Sep 21 '14 at 17:53
  • @Gendolkari While the rules don't allow for the players to change the win conditions, they do allow for a player to concede at any time for any reason. Without tournament rules, you could agree to flip a coin and have the loser concede the match, you could bribe, or you could just punch the other player in the face until they concede (assuming you are the stronger one).
    – Rainbolt
    Sep 22 '14 at 13:53

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