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Magic the Gathering Etiquette Part 2 December 6, 2009

Posted by James in : all, random, theory , trackback

This is a list of my personal etiquette rules for Magic: the Gathering. These are rules of thumb based on my personal experience. They are only rules to follow “if you want to have good etiquette” and/or “want to make Magic: the Gathering more fun.” (An obligation of etiquette is only a requirement to have good sportsmanship.)

I don’t actually expect anyone to have good etiquette, and there can be moral considerations that override etiquette. Sometimes honesty is of greater importance, but not always. Philosophers have found out that questioning people’s beliefs is often taken as an insult, but sometimes it is morally praiseworthy to do so anyway.

However, we do want people to have good etiquette in general. We just can’t demand it of others. Etiquette is not a moral obligation; it’s just a way to help others have a good time.

I will use the following categories to list the etiquette rules: obligations, impermissible behavior, encouraged behavior, discouraged behavior, and indifferent behavior. Impermissible behavior is behavior we are obligated not to do. Encouraged and discouraged behavior are both “above the call of duty.” Indifferent behavior is basically neither good nor bad as far as etiquette is concerned.






You can now download my etiquette ideas here as a PDF.


1. Alex - December 21, 2009

If I can’t do a victory dance in front of my opponent, then what good is playing Magic, really? :)

2. James - December 21, 2009


There is some truth to that. It’s rude to do it to someone you don’t know well, but it can be a lot of fun with closer friends.

3. Tim - November 23, 2011

How about when an opponent moves your cards like if they destroy a card you control and just say “thats dead”, they then proceed to pick your card up n put it into your graveyard without asking permission to touch your cards or see if you respond with a counter etc….

4. James - November 23, 2011

Tim, my thoughts on the topic are the following:

First, I said it should be discouraged “to pick up an opponent’s card without permission.” Second, players often don’t wait to see if the opponent has a response. That should also be discouraged.

The specific situation can be important. Is the opponent trying to be rude, or is she thoughtless? Is she trying to be funny? Is she your friend?

The behavior should certainly be discouraged in general, but I don’t think people do it to be rude on purpose very often and I’ve seen similar behavior and rarely or never seen an offended opponent as a result. That is an indication that no one should expect it to be a big deal.

5. Tim - November 24, 2011

Its at my local club, the player in question is relativly new to the game I think that its a combinstion of things. I dont know thd guy, I think he has probably always done it. Would it be rude if I told him it was my job to put my cards in the grave yard, also he should wait to see if I have a response. After only the second game I felt I did not want to play him again. I felt I was being wound up.

6. Tim - November 24, 2011

I dont think they realised they were being rude, I got the feeling he wanted to be in control of things.

7. James - November 24, 2011

He would likely think it is rude of you to correct him or give him advice concerning etiquette. If anything, you might say that “someone might not like him to do it.” It’s very hard to think of ways to word things that would often be considered to be offensive.

I don’t want to say it would be immoral to tell him how you feel. Players violate rules of etiquette all the time including myself. Sometimes etiquette can “get in the way” of other goals and interests we have.

8. Tim - November 24, 2011

Its a difficult position to be in as it would be hardd not to come across as rude. It just makes me not want to play him again. If I do have no one else to play I am going to mention it as it winds me up so much.