Suppose that a game play error occurs during a tournament. Both players agree that they would rather handle the error themselves than call a judge, and so they agree on a resolution and continue to play.


  • Sarah accidentally looks at the top two cards of her library during her draw step. She asks her opponent, "Is it okay if I just take the top card, and shuffle the other card back into my library?" Her opponent says that this is okay, and so Sarah does this, and both players continue.
  • During combat, José mistakenly believes one of his creatures has taken lethal damage, and puts it into his graveyard. His opponent doesn't notice the mistake. A couple of turns later, José's opponent realizes José's mistake and points it out. José says, "It's okay, we'll just keep playing", and his opponent agrees.

Is this legal, or is it an infraction of some kind (perhaps collusion or cheating)?

  • 2
    (As a side note, those are awful resolutions for those errors. I wouldn't accept either of those!)
    – ikegami
    Jan 11, 2016 at 0:20
  • 3
    Those are the correct resolutions in both cases, the only additional consequence of calling a judge would be the warnings...
    – Affe
    Jan 11, 2016 at 6:40
  • @Affe You are in fact incorrect. The first is not the correct resolution, even in Regular REL, and DEFINITELY not the correct resolution in Comp REL.
    – Waterseas
    Jan 11, 2016 at 15:00
  • 1
    It is highly recommended to call over a judge if anything like this occurs regardless of legality.
    – Waterseas
    Jan 11, 2016 at 15:26
  • The first one is close. The actual resolution for "looking at at extra cards" is "shuffle the random portion of the library".
    – murgatroid99
    Jan 11, 2016 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, there is no specific rule in the tournament rules that requires a player to call a judge when a rule is broken. All it says is that a player is responsible for

Calling attention to any rules or policy infraction they notice in their matches.

In fact, the infraction procedure guide says

If a minor violation is quickly handled by the players to their mutual satisfaction, a judge does not need to intervene.

You should consider, though, that it may be unwise to make such an agreement when your opponent breaks a rule. These agreements are informal and do not involve a judge, so your opponent is under no obligation to extend the same courtesy to you. Plus, an unscrupulous player could use these agreements to their advantage.

  • 1
    Also, repeat offenders will not be noted, so they can feel free to "oops, let's just take that back" in round after round.
    – corsiKa
    Jan 10, 2016 at 7:00
  • 1
    This is pretty much how it has to be. There aren't enough judges with enough time to deal with every tiny thing (and it'd slow down games) so some things are best handled by players. And trying to set up rules about whether every last possible situation requires a judge or not is futile, so there's bound to be some room for players to decide when a judge is needed.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 10, 2016 at 7:49
  • @Jefromi There are enough judges to handle all the errors at most tournaments. While there are crunch times where all judges are busy, they commonly spend much of the day discussing things with other judges. The reason the rule is this way is more to do with us not wanting to penalise players for just being friendly.
    – LovesTha
    Jan 15, 2016 at 3:45
  • @LovesTha Exactly: there are enough to handle the errors that players actually ask them about. That's how you know it's working. If people were bothering them with every last tiny tiny thing, they wouldn't have so much free time. (And then crunch times would be even worse, and not all events are as well-staffed as major tournaments.) Not wanting to penalize players for being friendly is a good reason too, of course, but giving judges a little time to breathe is still important.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 15, 2016 at 3:53
  • @Jefromi I meant to say that there is usually a surplus of judges for most of the event. The crunch times are usually when there aren't any or many games going on anyway (at large events, less matches than their are judges)
    – LovesTha
    Jan 15, 2016 at 4:50

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