So... my friend has won a Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier that qualifies him to play a Regional Pro Tour Qualify in the format of Team Standard. He is allowed to bring two friends. However, he can't go. If me and two other friends go instead, with me pretending to be him (giving his name and DCI number instead of my own), then:

A) Would we get away with it?

B) What is the consequence if we are caught? Would I be banned from tournament play for instance?


There are several possible, and likely, punishments if you get caught.

First of all, if you are caught, you are all but guaranteed to be disqualified from the event you're participating in on behalf of your friend. Impersonating another player would be "Lying to a tournament official" when you register for the event, and therefore fall under Cheating in the Tournament Rules.

The Head Judge still has the authority to issue rulings even if the situation is not covered in the tournament rules:


Only the Head Judge is authorized to issue penalties that deviate from these guidelines. The Head Judge may not deviate from this guide’s procedures except in significant and exceptional circumstances or a situation that has no applicable philosophy for guidance. Significant and exceptional circumstances are rare—a table collapses, a booster contains cards from a different set, etc. [..]

Your behaviour will be reported to Wizards, where it will be reviewed according to the Wizard Terms of Use and additional penalties might follow:


b. Rules and Enforcement. By participating in organized play, you expressly acknowledge and agree to comply with any official organized play and tournament rules (see rules for Magic: The Gathering and Kaijudo) updated and published by Wizards from time to time and incorporated herein by reference (see applicable game websites for current rules). Organized play events are adjudicated by members of the Wizards’ community who provide us with reports regarding play (win/lose records) as well as player behavior, conduct, and violations of tournament rules and the Code of Conduct, and recommendations regarding disciplinary actions. [..] You also agree that all disciplinary decisions regarding actual or alleged violations of tournament rules and the Code of Conduct are final, at Wizards sole discretion, and that Wizards has no liability to you whatsoever in regards to such investigations and decisions.

By impersonating another player, you are breaking the Wizards of the Coast's Code of Conduct, which explicitely states:

  1. Do not impersonate other persons, including fellow users or Wizards of the Coast staff, by screen name or self-representation, or attempt to obtain sensitive information from other members.

If you demonstrate that you cannot follow this Code of Conduct, the Terms of Use, or the Privacy Policy, then you may lose access to ALL of your accounts and all associated content, usernames and screen names. You may also be suspended or expelled from organized play and the Wizards Play Network.

Therefore, it's entirely possible your and/or your friend's account might be temporarily or permanently banned.


I found a couple of links from 2009 (1, 2) indicating that this used to be explicitly listed in the infraction procedure guide as an example of cheating/fraud. The current infraction procedure guide (PDF) doesn't have this example anymore, but I'm fairly sure this would still be considered cheating. If nothing else, it seems like a clear-cut case of lying to a tournament official, which is explicitly listed as an example of cheating.

The penalty, if you were caught, would be immediate disqualification from the tournament at a minimum, plus additional consequences imposed at the DCI's discretion. In practice, there's a good chance that would be a lengthy ban (perhaps a year or more) from tournament play.

As for the chances you actually do get caught, I'm not sure. As far as I know, tournament officials are entirely within their rights to check IDs or otherwise verify that participants are who they say they are. I don't generally see that happen in low-level tournaments, but I imagine it would be more common at higher-level events like an RPTQ.

  • Normally, something being removed from any of the rules documents would indicate that this is no longer to be considered. While I agree that it's hard to believe that this is no longer applicable, the rules documents are carefully put together and as such should leave no room for interpretation. Could you possibly provide any proof of your reasoning that it's still Cheating under the current rules, seeing as the argument of consequences is built entirely on that guess? – TheThirdMan May 5 '18 at 10:21
  • (1) Actually, my argument isn't built entirely on that guess. I also gave the separate line of reasoning that presenting someone else's DCI number as your own is lying to a tournament official, and that is explicitly listed in the current rules as cheating. (2) I don't think your reasoning is valid, anyway. An example being removed from the rules doesn't necessarily indicate that the thing described in the example is allowed. Sure, we might wonder why it was removed, but the IPG has been reduced from at least 6 sections in 2009 to 4 today, and I think that's a plausible explanation. – David Z May 5 '18 at 10:56
  • (3) But no, I don't have any proof. If I did, I would have included it in the answer. – David Z May 5 '18 at 10:56
  • Yeah, that makes sense. I read it differently at first, not realized you meant that only an example was removed, but that the entire section about it was removed. – TheThirdMan May 6 '18 at 8:22

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