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In Magic: The Gathering, a match is a multiplayer game or a two-player series of games (usually best-two-of-three) played in a tournament.

Rules[]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (July 23, 2021—Adventures in the Forgotten Realms)

Match
A multiplayer game or a two-player series of games (usually best-two-of-three) played in a tournament. See rule 100.6.

From the Comprehensive Rules (July 23, 2021—Adventures in the Forgotten Realms)

  • 100.6. Most Magic tournaments (organized play activities where players compete against other players to win prizes) have additional rules covered in the Magic: The Gathering Tournament Rules (found at WPN.Wizards.com/en/resources/rules-documents). These rules may limit the use of some cards, including barring all cards from some older sets.
    • 100.6a Tournaments usually consist of a series of matches. A two-player match usually involves playing until one player has won two games. A multiplayer match usually consists of only one game.
    • 100.6b Players can use the Magic Store & Event Locator at Wizards.com/Locator to find tournaments in their area.

Match Structure[]

From the Tournament Rules (November 22, 2019—Throne of Eldraine)

  • 2.1 Match Structure
    A Magic match consists of a series of games that are played until one side has won a set number of games, usually two. Drawn games do not count toward this goal. If the round ends before a player has won the required number of games, the winner of the match is the player who has won the most games at that point. If both players have equal game wins, the match is a draw.

    The Tournament Organizer may change the required number of games to be won for any portion of the tournament as long as this choice is announced before the tournament begins. Match results, not individual game results, are reported to the DCI for inclusion in Planeswalker Points.

Play/Draw Rule[]

From the Tournament Rules (January 24, 2020—Theros Beyond Death)

  • 2.2 Play/Draw Rule
    For the first game of a match, a designated player - the winner of a random method (such as a die roll or coin toss) during Swiss rounds, or the player ranked higher at the end of Swiss rounds during playoff matches - chooses either to play first or to play second. They must state this choice before looking at their hand. If they state no choice, it is assumed that they are playing first. The player who plays first skips the draw step of their first turn. This is referred to as the play/draw rule. After each game in a match, the loser of that game decides whether to play first in the next game. They may wait until after sideboarding to make the decision. If the previous game was a draw, the player who decided to play or draw at the beginning of the drawn game chooses.

End-of-Match Procedure[]

From the Tournament Rules (April 23, 2021—Strixhaven: School of Mages)

  • 2.5 End-of-Match Procedure
    If the match time limit is reached before a winner is determined, the player whose turn it is finishes their turn and
    five additional turns are played in total. This usually means that one player takes three turns and the other two, but a player taking extra turns may affect this. If the active player has already indicated that they’d like to pass the turn when the time limit is reached, that is considered to be in the next turn.

    Team tournaments featuring multiple players playing together (such as Two-Headed Giant) use three turns instead of five.

    Once time is called, no new games should begin.

    If the game is incomplete at the end of additional turns, the game is considered a draw.

    If a judge assigned a time extension (because of a long ruling, deck check, or other reason) the end-of-match procedure does not begin until the end of the time extension.

    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.