Am I allowed to look up a card during a game, if it's being played with serious Rules Enforcement? Either to read the full card from the Gatherer, or to try to find the exact card I'm vaguely thinking of.

Two possible scenarios:

  • An opponent has revealed a card previously, and I want to remember the exact details. (Something like the exact wording of a sorcery, mana cost, keywords on a creature, subtypes, etc. etc.)

  • I have a "name a card and remove it from the opponent's deck" type card, and I want to, say, ask google for "Blue Gearhulk" to remember that it's that that one is called "Torrential Gearhulk".

Obviously, in casual or semi-casual games neither of these are a problem. Any reasonable opponent will just re-reveal the known card (assuming it IS still guaranteed to be known) or will accept "I name the Blue Gearhulk".

Also obviously, it seems unlikely that I (or anyone else) would get to the stage of playing at the REL without knowing the cards too thoroughly for this to be relevant.

But in principle... is it permitted? Or not? (and if not, is there a good reason, or just "we decided 'No'"?)

  • You're allowed to ask a judge about any card (e.g. "what does card X do?" or "what's the name of the blue gearhulk?") – Samthere May 8 '18 at 8:57

You can't lookup things on the Internet during a match per MTR 2.12:

At Competitive and Professional Rules Enforcement Level during drafting, deck construction, and playing of matches, players may not use electronic devices capable of taking and storing notes, communicating with other people, or accessing the internet (with the exception of taking brief personal calls with the opponent’s permission).

As for the Torrential Gearhulk. I've asked a judge at a Standard PPTQ Tournament (Competetive REL) if it's enough to name a card by describing it as "Blue Gearhulk". His answer was that it's OK, because there is exactly one card that can be described as "Blue Gearhulk" in the sets permitted in the format we are playing. This is per MTR 3.6:

A card is considered named in game when a player has provided a description (which may include the name or partial name) that could only apply to one card. Any player or judge realizing a description is still ambiguous must seek further clarification.

MTR 3.6 also clarifies that:

Players have the right to request access to the official wording of a card the can describe. That request will be honored if logistically possible.

So yes, you can ask about the card.

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    Model answer: Yes, you have the right that information (and here are the rules citations); but No you can't acquire it in that particular manner you've asked about. Thank you! – Brondahl May 8 '18 at 9:32
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    "That request will be honored if logistically possible." Then I guess the judge can look up the card on Gatherer, or show you a copy if they have one handy. – Arthur May 8 '18 at 12:54

As a supplement to piotrek's answer, there is a story in which Gerard Fabiano repeatedly attempted to name "Humpus Wumpus," for the ability of Demonic Consultation. Humpus Wumpus was not allowable in order to specify Hunted Wumpus. My point is that one judge may take "blue gearhulk" to uniquely describe only one magic card, but a judge may not allow "Humpus Wumpus" to uniquely describe Hunted Wumpus. Meanwhile, they might allow a mispronunciation like "Tarmogoof" in place of Tarmogoyf, and you might get away with naming a legendary creature without enumerating its entire name. A judge might know absolutely for certain what creature you're trying to name, and still not tell you what card it is you're thinking of; similar to Wheel of Fortune* not accepting a mispronunciation, even when all of the letters on the board are filled-in. So a description is acceptable when it is literally correct, rather than commonly clear.

*Originally I had accidentally said The Price is Right instead of Wheel of Fortune.

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    Is "The Price is Right" a mispronunciation of "Wheel of Fortune"? – Acccumulation May 8 '18 at 15:03
  • What is The Price Is Right? – Pedro A May 8 '18 at 22:49
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    That's a very old article; it's not optional that you have to specify a real Magic card, so nowadays if "Humpus Wumpus" were not accepted your opponent would have to clarify as you made the choice, not after it's resolved. – Samthere May 9 '18 at 11:44
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    Maybe a more relevant example (which I believe is still compatible with the current rules) would be the "Borborygmos/Borborygmos Enraged" flap from a couple years ago. – Micah May 9 '18 at 15:39
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    I would like to point out that in the story you refer to, the very next line says "Nowadays it would be acceptable to say “Humpus Wumpus” and describe what card you wanted to name, but 9 years ago the rules were different", and that article was published over 8 years ago. Overall, this entire answer is based on a very outdated view of the rules. – murgatroid99 May 9 '18 at 17:52

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