I want to buy a few booster pack from a local shop that only gets them in French. Is it generally acceptable to show up to a tournament with cards in different languages?

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    Keep in mind that regardless of the legality to do so, you're not making it easier for players to read and understand the card by playing in languages that aren't in the native language of your local game store (or English). While you should be fine playing French cards in a local tournament in France, you likely don't want to buy Chinese boosters and use those cards, just because it's the only language available in your French store, even if you personally understand it - in that case, you're probably better off finding another seller. Commented May 15, 2017 at 14:40
  • Well, at least German/French/Italian/... are all easy to translate if you have access to Google. Translating cards with chinese/japanese text can be fairly difficult if you're on a English/European keyboard.
    – fgysin
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 9:30

2 Answers 2



Under official Magic, they're all the same card regardless of the printed language. From the comprehensive rules:

201.2. A card’s name is always considered to be the English version of its name, regardless of printed language.

From the tournament rules:

It is not required that players play with cards that are printed in the native language of the area in which the tournament is being run. If a player needs to know what a card does, either because it is in a language they cannot read, or it is a textless printing, they may call for a judge and ask for the Oracle text.

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    A textless printing?
    – Oliphaunt
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 21:04
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    @Oliphaunt Yep, promos like this Textless Disenchant.
    – BradC
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 21:31
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    Ugh, and the there's the textless Cryptic command, which is a lot to understand even when all the rules test is there.
    – ryanyuyu
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 15:14

As per Sarnthere's answer it is legal to use non-English language cards in official tournaments. However though legal, some people find the use of non-English cards in predominately English speaking areas a bit unsporting. It is not an uncommon strategy for some people to use non-English cards to obfuscate their board state.

For example: In a tournament game a friend of mine won because he had a German Dragonlord Kolaghan and his opponent forgot about its second ability:

Whenever an opponent casts a creature or planeswalker spell with the same name as a card in his or her graveyard, that player loses 10 life.

Even though his opponent had asked for clarification from a judge on what the Dragonlord did earlier in the match, he had forgotten the ability in the heat of the moment. This lead to him playing a creature that was also in his graveyard. My friend let the creature resolve after which he stated the ability triggered, the opponent took 10 damage and the following turn my friend won the game.

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    You can forget abilities that cards have even if those cards are in your own language. This answer adds nothing more than anecdotes / anecdotal evidence which seems more appropriate as a footnote or comment to the other answer or as a comment to the question. Anecdotes don't seem to be in line with the "no-distractions answers-by-experts" approach that Stack Exchange seems to be going for.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 20:01
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    @NotThatGuy This was originally a comment but was moved to an answer by others request.
    – Malco
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 20:33
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    @NotThatGuy This meta discussion says that in addition to data and rules citations, "specifics of experience that go into some detail" are acceptable sources of answers for this site. "This is how an officially sanctioned tournament handled this, which is consistent with the rules cited in another user's answer" seems to me like it definitely fits that criteria, and is therefore a great answer. Commented May 16, 2017 at 14:01

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