Outside Assistance!

Whether in a tournament or in a casual game, if you’re a gamer, you know that it’s always fun to watch games. There are times that you’ll say, “he should had done this!” or “that’s a lame move…”. Sometimes, you want to get involved in the action yourself. In Magic: the Gathering games, it’s the same thing. But of course, there are limits that you can do, and there are things during games that you shouldn’t do.

Let’s say you’re playing with friends in a casual game of Magic.


In this setting, you’re the spectator. You want to tell your friend that he shouldn’t do what he just cast. “Oh, okay… so that’s how it goes.”
This is called, “Education”. You are willing to teach your friends what good plays should be done, and what good strategies they should do. But of course, this doesn’t apply to tournaments.

In a tournament, spectators are expected to be silent at all times. They shouldn’t interfere with the current games, except when they notice something during a game that isn’t supposed to happen. And if they do, they should notify a judge immediately. The spectator can ask the players to pause their match, as they saw something wrong. This way, possible errors are minimized and the game state is maintained.

What are the things spectators shouldn’t do?

  • Give out strategical advices to players during matches.
  • Help out sorting their decks during matches (like helping them shuffle).
  • Give players a note containing strategical advice during games, in which the current game is involved.
  • Comment on plays the players are doing, which may lead to one player getting an advantage over the other due to the comment.
  • Point out misplays during matches. If the play was legal but otherwise no sense at all, the action is still legal and therefore, shouldn’t be pointed out.

As much as we want to help our friends during tournament, we are also expecting them to play with the knowledge of the game. As such, joining in competitive events requires them to know the rules and such. We can probably help out our friends during the tournament, like providing them something that’s not going to help them during their matches (strategical advices can be given, but only after their game is done).

According to the IPG, “Outside Assistance” merits the player a match loss. That means the entire game. We don’t want this happening, so it’s advised to spectators to be careful not giving players information that they don’t want (as I mentioned above). In Regular REL events, this may lead to serious problems, so we don’t want this as well.

Above all, enjoy the game, and keep working hard to win more!


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