In MTG official tournaments, is there a maximum duration for matches?
Or, can each match last as long as it takes to end the game normally (and therefore there are pauses, in case of particularly long games) ?

If the first is correct, and therefore there is a maximum duration established before the start of the match, what could be the criteria for deciding who should be considered the winner in that case?

  • Before downvoting this question, please make sure if someone hasn't already asked it before. If your search should be in vain - as I think I can say without any doubt - then I think your low rating is completely arbitrary and fanatic. Feb 8, 2020 at 10:31
  • The official tournament rules are available online - it is true - but I think it is still appropriate to clarify this important issue with a specific question, and to add - as Ben did well - other information, such as the very long game he mentioned in the comment below. Furthermore, by creating a post with such a question, you can create a discussion point for anyone who has something to say on related issues: for example, to discuss wheter the current criteria by which you choose the winner of a game that went too far long are right or not. Feb 13, 2020 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


The MAGIC: THE GATHERING® TOURNAMENT RULES are the authority here.

The question of whether or not there is a time limit is covered by Appendix B. Essentially, there is no requirement, only a recommendation. In practice, most swiss rounds have time limits and most single-elimination rounds do not (though I have played in a tournament with timed single-elimination rounds once in my life).

Section 2.5 covers what happens if a match ends due to time.

  • If one player has won more games than the other, that player wins the match. Otherwise...
  • In swiss rounds, the match is declared a draw.
  • In single-elimination rounds, the winner is the player with the highest life total. If both players have the same life total, the game continues until someone loses due to having less life than the other.

In single-elimination rounds, matches may not end in a draw. If all players have equal game wins at the end of additional turns, the player with the highest life total wins the current game. In the event all players have equal life totals (or are between games and the game wins are tied), the game/match continues with an additional statebased action: if a player does not have the highest life total, they lose the game. Two-Headed Giant teams are treated as a single player for determining a game winner.

  • 4
    For fun: here's a high-profile match that lasted long enough that the tournament organizers instructed other players to move on to a later stage of the tournament while this match was still playing out: magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/event-coverage/…
    – Ben P.
    Feb 6, 2020 at 17:23
  • Highest life total will probably be unfair in the case of platinum angel on the battlefield.
    – Joshua
    Feb 7, 2020 at 2:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .