If this is a live disqualification situation, click on "information for [your role]" in the index below to find instructions on what you should do.
- Information for players
- Information for judges
- Information for scorekeepers
- Information for tournament organizers
For a long time, information on disqualifications was available on the Judge Program website, magicjudges.org. For example, here is their Head Judge Disqualification Procedure, and here is their Player Disqualification FAQ.
When Judge Academy was created, those resources went out of date. Wizards moved the info to their own website; you can see an archived version here. They created an updated FAQ which I've archived here. That information is now also out of date.
Judge Academy hosts a module on the disqualification process for judges here, but it's only available to people who have paid for an L1 certification. It is also out of date.
As a result, there is no official source that provides the relevant information to players and judges who are involved in a disqualification. For the past few years, judges have had next to no guidance in handling disqualifications, and have handled the process inconsistently.
This page is an attempt to provide a single central location for information about what to do when a player is disqualified. I will do my best to update it as things change. If you find out any more information, or otherwise know of anything I should add, please contact me about it as soon as possible.
Thank you to Jonathan Wilson for suggesting I put this together, to Tobias Vyseri and Jonathan Wilson for creating the updated player FAQ linked below, to Lu Cordeiro for translating it into Portuguese, and to Joe Klopchic for apparently having already done all this work already, which let me confirm my information was accurate.
Information for players
If you haven't already, you should write a statement explaining your side of what happened. This is not required, but it's a good idea, since it means Wizards of the Coast and the tournament organizer have your side of the story. You can give your statement to the head judge or tournament organizer, or send it directly to Wizards of the Coast at email@example.com.
Your statement should include your name, Wizards account email address, and the name of the tournament in which this occurred. You do not need to write your statement immediately, but it's best to write it while the memory of what happened is still fresh. Delaying or refusing to provide a statement will not result in a better outcome for you; it just means the people reviewing your case won't get to hear your side of the story.
Wizards no longer maintains a public suspended player list, but they do maintain a private one. You may receive an email from Wizards with a verbal warning or a notification that you've been suspended from sanctioned play for some length of time.
Separately from this, tournament organizers may choose to not allow you to play in their future events, even if Wizards takes no action. If you've been disqualified, you should talk to the organizer before entering in any more of their events.
You will not receive prizes after a disqualification, though you may keep any prizes you've already been awarded.
If you believe that the tournament organizer and/or head judge handled your disqualification inappropriately, you can submit a report to Judge Academy here. You should also mention this in your statement to Wizards of the Coast.
Information for judges
If you are not the head judge of your event, you should not be disqualifying a player. You should instead notify the head judge about your concerns. If you are the head judge, continue reading below.
Deciding whether a player should be disqualified is outside the scope of this document. If you're uncertain, you can try asking in the Judge Academy Discord #sos channel the MTG Rules IRC channel, or the MTG Judge Questions Facebook group. There's also a good primer on investigations here.
Once you have determined that the player is going to be disqualified, you should communicate this to the scorekeeper so they can remove the player from the event and print out the Player Disqualification FAQ. (Portuguese version here.) You should also communicate this to the tournament organizer, so they're aware of what's happened in their tournament.
You should sit down with the player (away from everyone else) and explain to them in detail why they are being disqualified and what they should do to avoid this in the future. Give them the FAQ that the scorekeeper printed out, and answer any questions that they may have about it. Make sure that the player knows they have the opportunity to write a statement about what happened. (Don't forget to get their email address.)
Do not force them to write a statement if they don't want to, but make sure they know that it's in their best interest. If they don't want to provide a statement, note down the reason so you can include it in your own statement. They can also write it later and submit it by email to you, the tournament organizer, or directly to Wizards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If this disqualification happened in the player's match, explain to the player's opponent that they've won the match, and that they should also provide a statement on what happened.
You should write a statement yourself that includes your observations and your reasons for disqualifying the player. You should not read the player's statement (or anyone else's) until after you're finished writing your own. If after reading their statement you have additional information you want to provide, add this on to your statement as an addendum rather then editing anything you originally wrote.
Your statement should include all of the information that went into making your decision. You do not need to include other information about the game that was not relevant to the disqualification.
If any other judges, players, or spectators were involved in the disqualification, get statements from them as well. Each statement should include the name and email address of the writer, along with their role in the tournament.
Statements should be written while the memory of the incident is still fresh, but they don't need to be immediate. Don't delay the rest of the tournament just to get statements written.
Please ensure that all statements are easily readable before accepting them. If any handwriting is unclear, ask them to rewrite the unclear portion, or type it out instead.
Finally, provide all of this information to the tournament organizer so they can submit the necessary paperwork. Many tournament organizers will be unfamiliar with this process, so make sure they understand what they need to do and try to help them out as best you can.
Information for scorekeepers
You'll also need to issue the player the appropriate infraction and penalty. The infraction will be one of the Unsporting Conduct infractions; ask the Head Judge for the exact one. Select "Disqualification" as the penalty. In most tournament software this does not automatically remove the player from the event, so you will also need to drop them separately in order to ensure they are not paired for future rounds. If this happened before their match result was submitted, make sure that they are recorded as losing the match.
If you're using Eventlink/Companion as your tournament software, you can do this by either clicking the "penalties" button in the lower left, or the "add penalty" button next to the player's name on the list of matches. Then enter a match result that has the disqualified player losing the match, and check the appropriate "drop player" checkbox.
If you're using MTGMelee as your tournament software, you'll also need to go into the player card and set their status to "Disqualified".
If you're using Best Coast Pairings as your tournament software, there is no penalty entry, so you can ignore that part. You'll need to go to the "roster" page, click the player's name, click "details", and drop them from the event. You'll also need to submit a result for them on the pairings page.
Information for tournament organizers
If there is no acting judge at your event, then you are the acting head judge, and you should first read the head judge section of this document. Otherwise, continue reading below.
The head judge for your event should already have explained to the player what they did wrong and what is happening to them. The head judge should also have written a statement about what happened, and collected such a statement from the player and any other relevant parties. Your job is to submit the paperwork to Wizards of the Coast and to decide on how this player is going to be handled going forward at your events.
By default, disqualifications from a tournament occur without prize. Players may keep any prizes they have already been given, but are not entitled to any prizes they have not yet been issued. If you believe that an exception should be made and you would like to award the player some or all of their prizes, you are allowed to do so. You should explain to them clearly that this is an exception, and does not normally occur when a player is disqualified.
By default, a disqualification from your event does not come with further penalties for the player. They may remain in your play space, spectate other player's matches, and continue to play in your other tournaments. If you believe that their behavior is too disruptive or otherwise inappropriate to allow them to do so, you may ask them to leave the premisses and/or ban them from your future events. Such a ban could be temporary, permanent, or conditional on the player changing their behavior in some way. Any bans and their conditions (if any) should be clearly communicated to the player, so they know what to expect and what they need to do.
If this disqualification occurred at a sanctioned event, you should submit a report to Wizards of the Coast within a day or two. The best way to do this is to use their form here. (The form asks you to include people's DCI numbers. You can ignore that, since DCI numbers don't exist anymore.) Alternatively, you can send an email to email@example.com. The email should include:
- The name, statement, and email address of the player who was disqualified.
- The names, statements, and email addresses of the relevant tournament officials. (The Head Judge and any floor judges who were involved.)
- The names, statements, and email addresses of any other tournament participants that were involved in the disqualification. (The player's opponent and/or any spectators that observed the infraction.)
- The date on which this occurred.
- The location in which this occurred. (Tournament name, store name, city, country.)
- The languages in which the statements are written, if any are not in English.
- Any other evidence that may be relevant to the disqualification. (Pictures, decklists, etc.)
You may or may not hear back from Wizards about this incident. Wizards no longer publishes a banned player list, but they do have a private one. If they choose to ban the player from sanctioned Magic, they will likely inform the player of this, but may not inform you or the head judge. A ban from Wizards means that the player will be unable to sign up in Eventlink, and cannot play in certain tournaments on Arena. This ban is unfortunately easy to circumvent by creating a new account, so if you don't want this player playing in your future events, you should use some other system to ensure they can't do this.
If the person being disqualified was (or claimed to be) a certified judge, you should also submit a conduct report to Judge Academy here, or send them at email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know their mentor in the judge community, it would also be good to notify them of the incident. (The head judge may be able to help you with this.)