Alice and Nathan are playing in a Competitive REL tournament.

Alice mulligans to six cards but accidentally draws seven cards. Alice and Nathan agree to not to call a judge, and instead apply their own solution where Alice mulligans to five cards. After drawing her five cards, Alice has a change of heart. She calls a judge to get an official ruling.

If Alice had called a judge before applying the solution she and Nathan agreed to, then the judge would have applied the remedy described in the Infraction Procedure Guide.

If the player has too many cards in hand, he or she may choose to reveal his or her hand, and his or her opponent chooses a card from it to be shuffled back into the library. If more than one excess card was drawn (for example, eight cards drawn during a mulligan to 6) his or her opponent continues removing cards until the correct number has been reached.

If cards are not removed from the hand this way (either due to an error that didn’t lead to too many cards, or by the player choosing not to reveal), that player takes an additional mulligan.

Players may continue taking mulligans after the remedy has been completed.

Should a judge fix or partially fix a solution that was implemented by the players, or should the judge let the situation stand?

  • Yes, very. I do think that you've now made the title and body slightly inconsistent. The title asks what a judge can do, and the body asks what the judge will do. I would recommend using the way you wrote the title, because the question about "Will a judge...?" appears to be asking the answer to predict the actions of an individual, while the question about what the judge can do is more a question about the rules.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 18:24
  • I honestly don't think this question is answerable, since it's entirely subject to the judge at hand.
    – Waterseas
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:05
  • @Waterseas I would accept an answer stating that it is up to each judge to decide whether to override a solution agreed upon by the players. It might take me a few days to accept an answer like that, since the only way to convince myself that it is correct is lack of evidence to the contrary, but I would accept it nonetheless.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:27
  • @Waterseas Agreed there's no general answer, but it's not so much the judge that matters, it's the situation. As with everything judges do, they'd have to look at what's happened and figure out the best way to fix it. But sure, different judges might end up making different decisions.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


Players cannot make rulings, that should be obvious; only judges can.

From the Tournament Rules:

Judges do not intervene in a game to prevent illegal actions, but do intervene as soon as a rule has been broken or to prevent a situation from escalating. More information on floor judge responsibilities can be found in the Magic Infraction Procedure Guide.

So if a rule has been broken but the game has continued, whether or not the players are aware that a rule has been broken, the judge will intervene as soon as he or she is aware of the situation.

Players can only make decisions regarding how to play the game, and if it comes to the attention of a judge that game rules have been broken, the judge will try to restore the game to a correct state as best as possible up to and including restarting the game, and/or will issue the necessary penalties according to the Judging at Regular REL rules or the Infraction Procedure Guide after evaluating all the evidence and assessing the situation.

  • 2
    This quote from the IPG implies that players can agree on a fix that mutually satisfies them: "If a minor violation is quickly handled by the players to their mutual satisfaction, a judge does not need to intervene."
    – Rainbolt
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 18:59
  • 1
    I edited the question to avoid calling the "fix" a "ruling", since that seems to be the cause of confusion here.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 19:08
  • 1
    @rainbolt Yeah I don't feel confused by the question, and if you have the feeling that I answered a different question than the one you asked, let me know.
    – Hackworth
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 19:18
  • 1
    Also, the ruling you quoted governs whether a judge should intervene in a situation before it escalates. I am asking about a situation that has already escalated and then been resolved (albeit incorrectly). The only way it could escalate further is if continuing the game would make it more difficult to rewind, but that isn't the case in the example I gave. The game is already impossible to rewind because Alice already took a mulligan to five. Therefore, I don't think that section of the TR applies, or at least doesn't apply to all scenarios.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 19:28
  • 1
    @Rainbolt Alice called a judge in the end, they did not in fact fix their issue on their own. If she had not called a judge, that would be a different matter, but she did. I bolded the part about escalating because if a player starts the game with an incorrect number of cards in the starting hand, it will have repercussions on the rest of the game.
    – Hackworth
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:42

If a judge is made aware of a situation where the players agreed to a fix that does not follow the rules they need to intervene and make sure appropriate action is taken. The reason is that even a single match can change the tournament standings if tiebreakers are needed between different players.

Tournament Rules

The following tiebreakers are used to determine how a player ranks in a tournament:
1. Match points
2. Opponents’ match-win percentage
3. Game-win percentage
4. Opponents’ game-win percentage
Definitions of these tiebreakers can be found in Appendix C. Not all of these tiebreakers may be used in formats with single-game matches.

A mistake in a game where players agree on a solution that can end up changing the tie-breaking formula if the correct ruling would have ended up with a different game/match winner.

  • It seems like most of this argument is just about why it's important for judges to make the right rulings, not why the right ruling might be to attempt to undo the players' attempted fix.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 1:04
  • It is more that if the players make the wrong call it can impact players that where not involved in the game which is why judges always need to fix bad calls by players.
    – Joe W
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 1:08

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