Magic the Gathering: Arena Rulebook

  • Rulebook

Last Modified: April 7, 2019

Welcome to the CEA Magic the Gathering: Arena tournament rules. For this tournament we will be playing the video game version of the classic card game, which you can download here.

These rules are subject to change at the administrator’s discretion. If rules should change, all captains will be notified accordingly.

The Handbook’s General Rules apply to all CEA games, please read them first!

I. Magic: The Gathering Arena Overview

  1. Player Eligibility: All players participating in Magic: The Gathering Arena (MTG Arena) competitions must have an active MTG Arena account in good standing displayed on their Battlefy profile. Only registered team members playing under their own account are allowed to play for a team.
  2. Team Roster: A team consists of 4-7 Players. Rules for qualifications for rostered members can be found in the CEA general rules.
    1. After the beginning of Regular Season play (Week 1 matches), a player rostered on a team in Battlefy may not transfer to another roster within the same company for the same game without the Game Lead’s approval.
      1. The main circumstance permitting a transfer would be a team losing players and falling below the minimum team size.
      2. Companies with multiple teams playing the same game may have one player on multiple rosters as outlined in the general rules under “Team Eligibility.” Being a floater is not considered transferring.
    2. After Week 5, removing players from the roster does not free up additional spots.
  3. Registration: The MTG Arena registration fee will be $160 per team. The Captain pays this fee during registration on the CEA website.
  4. Deck and Sideboard Registration: Players are required to register their decks and sideboards before they can play. Decklists and Sideboard must be submitted as part of Lineup submission (See I.6.d). A player cannot play without a registered deck. Registered decklists record the original composition of each deck and sideboard. Players can register one deck, with one sideboard of up to 15 cards.
    1. Decklists and sideboards cannot be changed for the regular season once tournament play begins on March 16th 2019. Players will have an opportunity to update their Decklists and Sideboards at the end of the Swiss Bracket/Before the Round Robin, and at the end of the Round Robin/Before the Playoffs. Other opportunities for new Decklist submissions may be decided by the game lead.
    2. Game Version: All players must have their game up to date with the latest patch.
  5. Weekly Structure:
    1. In-game name (formatted such as: CEA#2019) can be found by selecting “Direct Challenge” (crossed swords icon) in the top right of the client. There is a small icon beside this that will allow you to Copy it to your clipboard.
    2. Any deck color or color combinations are allowed.
    3. Monday: Matchups are released (assuming all previous round match results have been entered).
    4. Wednesday: Deadline for Team Captains to submit a lineup of players. The lineup must list all of the player's MTG Arena in-game names, their single decklist and their sideboard. If a Lineup (including decklists and sideboards) is not submitted by this deadline, then that team cannot compete.
      1. Lineups must be submitted by the Captain in the CEA Discord server ( by sending a private message to the @Neuro#1166 bot using the syntax shown in #welcome and pinned in the #Magic-the-Gathering-Arena channel.
      2. The syntax for the command message to send Neuro the lineup bot is:
        “!lineup <Battlefy-matchid> <team name> /players <player1>, <player2>, <player3>, <player4> /types <type1>, <type2>, <type3>, <type4>”
        1. The "player" field should be that player's in-game name from I.5.1.
        2. Please note that “types” are meaningless for the CEA MTG Arena, however Neuro bot requires them (a functionality used in other tournament games). Please fill in this field, with whatever value you like (e.g. “Magemaster-supreme”)
      3. To get a list of cards in your deck and sideboard, simply go to “Decks” in the MTG Arena client, select the Deck you will be playing with and click “Export”. This will copy your decklist and sideboard to your clipboard, allowing you to send it to your Team Captain via a private message. The Team Captain will relay all decks to the Game Lead.
    5. Thursday: All lineups are made public (decklists or colors of decks will never be made public). In the event a team does not submit on time, the opposing team’s lineup will remain hidden until the other team’s submission is complete. Players will be paired with their opponents in the same order listed in the lineup (the first player of Team A’s lineup plays against the first player of Team B’s lineup, and so on).
    6. Saturday: All matches are played starting at 12pm Pacific (3pm Eastern). The CEA observes Daylight Savings.
  6. Season Format: Exact season format will be announced before the season begins when we know the exact number of teams. This section will be updated along with an announcement email for all Captains.
    1. There will be two at minimum two stages: Non-elimination Regular Season (~8 weeks) and Elimination Playoffs.
  7. Definitions:
    1. Series: Total number of sets played between two teams. (4, or 5 if the score is 2-2 after 4; see II.2.11 for resolution)
    2. Set: Total number of matches played between two players.
      1. Regular Season Sets will be played as Best of 3, as will Ace Sets and all Playoffs Sets.
    3. Match: Singular game played between two players. (3 Matches per Set)
    4. Roster: Listing of all members on a team.
    5. Lineup: Ordered list of players

II. Rules

  1. Tournament Format - Standard: The CEA Magic the Gathering Arena tournament will follow the rules for Standard play as defined by Magic the Gathering: Arena.
    1. Your deck must be at least 60 cards.
    2. Up to 15 cards may be included in your sideboard, if you use one.
    3. Include no more than four copies of any individual card in your main deck and sideboard combined (except basic lands).
    4. There's no maximum deck size, unless otherwise limited by MTG Arena.
    5. The following card sets are allowed:
      1. Ixalan
      2. Rivals of Ixalan
      3. Dominaria
      4. Core Set 2019
      5. Guilds of Ravnica
      6. Ravnica Allegiance
    6. Should a Set (i.e. War of the Spark, which is expected to release in "April") be added to MTG Arena during tournament play, those cards will not be accepted during the regular season. However, when players are permitted to update their Decklists for the Playoffs, at that time they may use cards from the new set.
    7. Should cards be removed from MTG Arena during tournament play, players will be given an opportunity to re-make their decks, contacting the Game Lead first.
  2. Sequence of Play: Both teams are encouraged to play their 4 Sets (One team of 4 Players vs. the opposing team of 4 Players) simultaneously in order to minimize time requirements and maximize participation.
    1. The 4 Players from each team are paired using team lineups submitted earlier in the week (See I.6.d for process). Each pair plays a Set (Bo3), and a team that wins 3 Sets wins the Series. If the score is 2-2 after 4 Sets, reference II.2.11 for resolution.
    2. Players are expected to start their first Match at 12:00pm Pacific Time. Your opponent can be found in the CEA MTG Arena 2019 bracket, along with the in-game name of your opponent you will need, in order to request a “Direct Challenge”.
      1. In the Direct Challenge window, select "Best of 3" and "Coin Flip". You may also use the "Discord Challenge" option to invite your opponent to compete in the Set.
    3. We encourage opposing Players to be in direct communication with each other prior to 12:00pm PT. Once one team checks in on Battlefy, a 15 minute clock is started for all Sets to begin.
    4. If a Player is more than 15 minutes late to their first Match, and has not been in communication with either their Opponent or Game Lead, then they will forfeit the Set.
      1. Please reports forfeits in CEA’s Discord in the #forefeit-reporting channel.
    5. If a player needs has a sudden, urgent situation to deal with (an accident, a phone call, a much needed toilet break) they must communicate a request to delay the start of their game to their Team Captain or Game Lead.
    6. Opposing Players may mutually agree to reschedule their Set if they so wish. However they must inform both Team Captains and the Game Lead if this is the case.
      1. Please reports rescheduling in CEA’s Discord in the #reschedule-reporting channel.
    7. Players use the Direct Challenge option to play their match against each other.
    8. Once a Set has begun, neither may back out of the Set for any reason. If a player should leave the game, or otherwise be absent from the rest of the Set, the entire Set is considered forfeit.
    9. In Match 1 of the Set, Players use their Registered Deck as is. After a Match has been played (i.e. before Match 2 & 3 [if applicable]), both players may edit their deck, only with the cards in their registered sideboard. Players cannot change to a different deck between games.
      1. The number of cards in both the deck and sideboard must not be changed after this process (1-for-1 swap). A Player’s Registered Decklist and Registered Sideboard are the only cards a Player may use during CEA competitive play.
      2. In the event both players simultaneously "die" during a match or otherwise create a draw, that match is immediately replayed using the exact same deck choices.
    10. In the event of a 2-2 score across the 4 Sets, an “Ace Set” is played to decide the ultimate winner. Each Team Captain chooses one player from their team (with their associated registered decklist and sideboard) against the other team’s Ace in a Best-of-5 as per the normal rules for our MTG Arena Sets.
      1. A Team's Ace must be a player who was registered to play that week in the lineup submission process. However, they do not need to have won their Set.
    11. At the beginning of their next Set (if any) against another opponent (i.e. next week), a Player returns to their Registered Decklist as submitted and un-edited by their Sideboard.
    12. Please report the final Set score in Battlefy. Good luck, and have fun!
  3. Scoring: Throughout the season, teams will be ranked by number of Series won.
  4. Coaching: Team members, who are registered to play that week in the lineup submission process, may coach fellow team members.
  5. Replays: MTG does not support replays, and the CEA does not require replay submission for MTG.

III. Technical Issues

  1. Stoppage of Play Procedure: If a player is disconnected from a match, or experiences issues during play, that player may request a replay by declaring the reason in Discord alerting both the opposing player and the Game Lead. If restarting the match is necessary, and the request is agreed to by the opposing team or required by the Game Lead, the current match may be safely concluded without result. The player requesting the replay must be experiencing one of the following:
    1. A hardware malfunction (e.g. equipment failure)
    2. Physical disruption (e.g. breaking furniture)
    3. Software Failure (e.g. crashing)
    4. Other extreme or extenuating circumstances (e.g. household emergency).
  2. In the case where service is disrupted, the interrupted match is replayed regardless of match progression.
  3. Multiple screenshots should be taken during such events to allow for quick resolution.

IV. Contact Info

  1. Discord Server:
  2. Email Contacts:
    1. Game and Rules related:
    2. Business, money, and sponsorship related:
    3. Other: