Eternal Weekend is right around the corner! Playing in paper might be a bit of a lost art for some Legacy players, as the majority of play has moved online. The EPIC Storm has extra rules complications in paper that you might not be used to, especially after some obscure rules changes right before the pandemic that we have not had time to ingrain into our play patterns. I interviewed the Head Judge of Legacy Eternal Weekend (and former writer) Daniel Lee about some of the obscure rules of Legacy.

Daniel Lee

Special Guest

A few words about Daniel:

Daniel has been playing Magic: The Gathering since Invasion, and fell in love with the Storm mechanic the moment it was printed. He currently plays Ruby Storm and Death & Taxes in Legacy, Tron and Dice Factory in Modern, Lotus Field in Pioneer, and Ghyrson Starn in Tiny Leaders Reborn. A certified Magic Judge since 2004, Daniel is an active Level 3 at large Magic events and was the Rules & Policy Content Manager for Judge Academy.

As a disclaimer, the answers given in this article are for general circumstances, and there may be specific actions in a game that would change a ruling one way or another. This interview was done over voice and then transcribed here.

Storm & Mana

[[Cabal Ritual|]]
[[Dark Ritual|]]
[[Rite of Flame|]]

A few years ago, with the release of Core 2020, the Judge Blog released an article that moved floating mana from “Free Information” to “Status Information”. Unfortunately, without going and reading the Magic Tournament Rules (MTR), what those categories of information are is not clear.

DL: Status Information falls under the Player Communication Policy section of the Magic Tournament Rules. Specifically, the requirements for Status Information is it must be announced whenever it changes and it must be physically tracked by the affected player. That’s text straight from the MTR. The methods for tracking must be visible to both players and a shared method is acceptable as long as all players have access to it.

That’s the text that sort of allows for both players can use one player’s phone if they’re tracking life totals at Regular [Rules Enforcement] for example and the extra line there that’s relevant to Eternal Weekend is at Competitive and Professional rules enforcement, methods that can easily be accidentally changed may not be used. It does say “such as dice”, but it doesn’t really like go into big detail about that and that’s kind of intentional.


Life total, counters that counters attached to players, that’s Energy, Poison, whatever. Monarch and City’s Blessing type things, Unspent Mana, where you are in a dungeon and how many times the ring has tempted you, that’s the extensive list (of things that are Status Information).

At a local tournament, you might be used to using dice to represent each type of mana floating and the Storm count. Unfortunately, at higher rules enforcement this is not allowed:

DL: The exact text from the MTR is at Competitive and Professional REL, “methods that can easily be accidentally changed (such as dice) may not be used.” That’s the beginning and the end of the information that we, as judges,have to sort of interpret what that means.


Some judges have interpreted this as if it is a die that is unlikely to be accidentally changed, such as my go-to example of this is the very large d6s they tend to use on coverage in a lot of places, those tend to be acceptable, but it’s very much a case by case basis and very much a the head judge’s final call on what is and is not acceptable.

If you have access to very large dice, those might be acceptable for Eternal Weekend. However, I would not want to start my tournament by having to change the way I track floating mana. The more practice one has doing things the right way before an event, the better that event will go. You get to free up brain space from thinking about how to track floating mana and instead focus on playing the game.

Fortunately, there are many acceptable methods of tracking floating mana. The TES Token Pack and writing mana down are two of the best ways to track floating mana. When asked about the token pack, Daniel replied:

DL: Bryant actually consulted with me when he was trying to come up with a solution to this and he asks, “is this something that you can easily say would be acceptable […]” and I was confident in that yes that’s very much an acceptable (solution). It may not have been exactly what Toby (Elliot) had in mind when writing this thing, but it’s definitely meets the requirements. Like it’s not going to be easily accidentally changed. If I’m pulling out an extra Storm counter to token every time I’m playing a spell that is difficult to accidentally change. If I bump the table it’s not like the cards go flying everywhere.

Part of Status Information is announcing it to the opponent as it changes. I asked Daniel how specific we Storm players needed to be when casting our rituals.

AM: How precise do we need to be? If I cast Dark Ritual, do I need to pull one (token) away and then put all three down or can I use those net mana shortcuts of just adding two more Black mana tokens? Is that acceptable as long as you and your opponent are okay with it or is that kind of playing loose with the policy?

DL: I mean all of the above technically speaking. It is playing a little loose of the policy. […] I would say is best practices would be to start off playing it very tight and then if your opponent says something to the tune of “I’m F6 or or yeah do your thing show me you’ve got it” something like that. If the opponent makes it clear that they’re not actually interacting with you, then short cutting it to “Dark Ritual add one Storm add two black Mana”, that’s completely fine because at that point we’re talking about Tournament Shortcuts, not so much Status Information.

So far through this interview, we have been talking a lot about floating mana. That’s only one of the things that gets tracked on the combo turn. The other is Storm Count.

DL: Storm count falls under Free Information. The Free Information is “all players are entitled access without contamination or omissions.” If your opponent ever asks you how many spells have you played this turn, you are required to answer completely and correctly. You are not required to physically track it the same way you are for Status Information, but it is information you are required to have accurate access to at all times.

AM: Okay, I wouldn’t need to use the tokens or pen and paper. I could just use dice for Storm if I wanted tokens?

DL: Correct.

Dice (for Storm Count) and the Token Pack are not without their downsides. They do not create a history of what has changed over time this turn. Many Storm players use pen and paper to record Storm and mana over anything else. What I personally do is use tally marks to track Storm and then write my total mana floating for each color and cross it out each time it changes to write a new number. This has some added benefits in the case of a judge call.

DL: […] One of the rules of thumb that judges tend to use [is] if we come up to a call and there’s a disagreement about reality, the person that’s tracking things on pen and paper is very likely going to have an advantage when it comes to their version of events being believed [by the judge].

The Wishboard

[[Galvanic Relay|]]
[[Burning Wish|]]
[[Peer into the Abyss|]]

[[Burning Wish]] creates some amount of memory issues of putting the card back in the right spot after the game. MTGO does this for us all the time, but in paper you have to manage your deck yourself. What happens if you forget to put a card back in the right spot? What factors change the judge ruling? Let us take a look at a series of mistakes:

AM: Say I [[Burning Wish]] for a card and then I forget to put that card back into my sideboard after a game one?

DL: You [[Burning Wish]] for [[Galvanic Relay]], you cast it, and then you shuffle it in and then what we go to the next game and it’s still in your deck.

AM: You we go to game two and I present 61 cards.

DL: That’s legal! There’s actually no infraction there, you’re just stuck with that card in your deck at that point. […] You present a 61. We effectively treat it as though just sideboarded it in. So there’s nothing illegal. You can do that. Sideboarding hasn’t been required to be one for one for some time now. You can board in one card go up to 61 and just have 14 your sideboard.

The rules treat this as if the [[Galvanic Relay]] was just sideboarded into the deck normally. It is perfectly legal to present a 61 card main deck at this point. This means that if you discover that you forgot to return the [[Galvanic Relay]] to your sideboard after game one, you do not get to pick it out of your deck and fix it if you cast a [[Burning Wish]] to try to find it. You have to pick a different sorcery.

Making this error between rounds, (e.g. starting a game one with 61 cards) is a bit of a different story:

DL: Starting the next round [with 61 cards], that is what we call a Deck Problem. Fortunately, the fix for that is generally speaking to reveal whatever information is necessary in order to demonstrate to the opponent exactly what has gone wrong and then to fix it.

Let’s run through this: let’s say round one some point during game two you [[Burning Wish]] for a [[Galvanic Relay]], cast it, whatever and shuffle it in, you win that match and you’ve forgotten that that [[Galvanic Relay]] is now in your deck. So game two you show up and you present and during the game, at some point you’re like you’ve got a [[Burning Wish]] in your hand, you’re like “I’m just going to check my sideboard.” You look at it and you realize that the [[Galvanic Relay]] is not there anymore. Then you can call a judge and we would call this a deck problem. But here’s the issue: Deck Problem by itself is a Warning. Deck Problem indicates anytime that the deck list is correct and what you’re intending to play but your deck doesn’t match it when it needs to. In this case we’re in game one, so your deck is supposed to to match your deck list and it doesn’t. Normally for the vast majority of situations, that’s a warning and we fix the problem. If you’re not playing [[Galvanic Relay]] in your 60 and that’s the only one in your in your 15 you’re fine.

However in this particular case, because I know TES likes to play [[Galvanic Relay]]s in the main plus one to [[Burning Wish]] for that unfortunately falls under one of the upgrades. If an error resulted in more copies of a main deck card being played than were registered or allowed by companion restriction and this was discovered after the game begun, the penalty is a game loss unless you haven’t seen a [[Galvanic Relay]] yet. Because if you have seen one, now then the existence of that fourth copy has affected this game because it’s given you access to a [[Galvanic Relay]] that you may not have had otherwise.

If it is something like this what you want to do is discover it as quickly as possible because then if all four [[Galvanic Relay]]s are still in your library we can fix it without upgrading. But if you’ve seen one, then at that point this game is kind of irreparably damaged and the penalty upgrades to a game loss.

It turns out that it matters which cards you forget to board back out! If its the only copy of a card between the main deck and sideboard, its an easier fix than if there are multiples. Playing different versions of cards does not help in this case; the rules do not allow for that. What I do when I am playing paper games is I put my cards that I [[Burning Wish]] for sideways in my graveyard to remind me not to shuffle them back in. (I keep my exile above my library completely separate)

Slow Play

Between paper and MTGO, pace of play is one of the biggest differences. On MTGO, we have chess clocks to ensure that each player gets a fair amount of time to complete their game actions. In paper, there is only the nebulous slow play policy to rely on. Many podcasts just recommend calling a judge, but recognizing when to call that judge is hard.

AM: What’s the best way if you’re playing against an opponent who you feel is slow playing to know when that threshold is to call a judge?

DL: Oh man that’s a hard question to answer [Laughs] […]

One thing that I know some judges use when when it comes to determining whether or not slow play is happening in a game that we are just walking up to observe, one of the things we do is we look around and evaluate the game state ourselves, because turns out we play Magic too. If there’s one player and we’re standing behind them, we can see their hand and then we see the board if we’ve just arrived to this game and we’ve been able to evaluate everything that’s happened so far and what the options are and we can already kind of come to a decision on like well this play is probably a decent one and yet that player still has not made a decision that’s likely a point where we’re going to say “okay you need to make a play here” Because [that player is] more of an expert in this game than we are and we just got here and we were able to come to a decision before [that player]. That’s a little shaky, that’s not the greatest thing, but it is a tool that some judges will use.

If you could evaluate the game state as it is from nothing, like if you just kind of like close your eyes forget what the game is open your eyes and you see what the game state is and you kind of think through a couple permutations what your opponent can have and still they haven’t made a decision then at that point it’s more than appropriate to call a judge and ask for review for slow play.

Basically, if you think your opponent should have already come to a decision and they are just sitting doing nothing, that’s the point to call a judge to start watching for slow play. That does not guarantee a warning, but it may prompt that player to play more on time. Defending the clock as a shared resource can be important to making sure that you do not end up with a draw.

Certain cards come under fire for slow play more than others. [[Doomsday]] is a very complex card and often results in threads saying exactly how much time the paper [[Doomsday]] player has to make their pile. While TES does not play [[Doomsday]], we do play some complicated cards, such as [[Brainstorm]]. It turns out that some cards do get more time to resolve than others:

AM: A specific Legacy card is a [[Doomsday]]and there’s been some numbers thrown around about the literal amount of time you have to take to make a pile, whether that’s 60 seconds or 90 seconds. It’s obviously not the 25 minutes that MTGO gives you, but do specific cards like that that involve a lot of decisions and a lot of dexterity do you get more time to resolve a [[Doomsday]] than a [[Brainstorm]]? How does that work?

DL: It kind of comes down to a common sense thing and exactly what slow play says. The definition of slow play literally just says “a player takes longer than is reasonably required to complete game actions.” Tada! That’s the entire definition.

The term “reasonably” is built into that right? We can make evaluations on things like [[Brainstorm]] might take a little bit if you already had seven cards in your hand and then you cast [[Brainstorm]] so now you’re up to nine cards in your hand. Like yeah maybe that’ll take you a moment to make a little bit of a decision, though chances are you had some idea of what you were probably going to put back anyways when you cast the [[Brainstorm]], but I’ve played Legacy I know how this works!

In a similar vein you can make a close-ish argument when it comes to [[Doomsday]]. A lot of times when a [[Doomsday]] player casts their spell, they have some idea of what five card pile they’re going to put together. That said, you mentioned dexterity. It takes a little bit of time to go through your deck and then also maybe you’ve actually figured some things out. We can intelligently say [[Doomsday]] is a significantly more complicated card to resolve than [[Brainstorm]] is which is a more complicated card to resolve than [[Mystic Confluence]] is because it’s like cool bounce that draw a card. There’s some spells that are very simple, some spells are more complicated, and then even fewer like [[Doomsday]] are very complicated and take some time to go through.

Trying to throw out a specific number like 60 seconds 90 seconds like that’s nonsense and is not going to be helpful. I can tell you how I would approach it if I’m there if I’m there watching it. If I’m watching a player for slow play and they resolve a [[Doomsday]], I’m looking for are they making progress towards the resolution of the spell or are they just looking through their Library? If they’re setting some cards aside or if they’re pulling cards to the front as some people like to do, if you’re making progress I’m much more likely to keep letting you make progress and if you’re not making progress then I’m going to tell you you need to make some progress.

AM: Obviously, [[Doomsday]] can be slow for the opponent to resolve too. As you know, there ends up being this giant stack of exiled cards that’s now in a public zone that they’re going to look through [it] to try to determine what’s in the pile. They’re not specifically resolving a spell, they’re just sitting there looking at public information. How does that also affect slow play from the Doomsday opponent seat?

DL: You obviously are entitled to that information. Giving some amount of time for a player to review that is, I think, reasonable. I would say I probably wouldn’t give you as long to review the cards in Exile as I gave them to resolve the [[Doomsday]]. I feel like those are two those two things are going to take different amounts of time, with the reviewing the cards being shorter. I would hesitate to put an actual time limit on it though.

AM: Yeah actual times seem not reasonable given the lots of variables that could be happening at any given moment.

DL: Well right and it also depends on what deck you’re playing. If you’re playing Burn against a [[Doomsday]] opponent you don’t care about most of those cards. You’re going to look through for a couple of key things. You’re either going to see them or you’re not. Whereas an opposing a Storm deck that actually cares about what kind of interaction is left you’re going to count and be like “oh there are three [[Force of Will]]s here you’ve still got one”, things like that. […] There’s also some allowance if you’re going to take notes. If you’re going to write down a few of the cards also that’s fine. I’m not going to let you write down their deck list. That’s not reasonable! But I think being like, “Oh I see “3 [[Force of Will]]s 2 [[Force of Negation]]s” like things like that totally fine go for it, but don’t think you’re going to be writing down their whole deck list.

The key to slow play with and against [[Doomsday]] is to stay reasonable. Do what makes sense and not much more while constantly making forward progress. This applies to cards like [[Brainstorm]], [[Ad Nauseam]], etc. When you have a lot going on, you get more time.


Over the course of the pandemic, many Magic players started to get their cards altered. With the lack of sanctioned events and the rise of Commander, having a unique printing of a card became popular. Unfortunately, a lot of these alters are not tournament legal. Most players probably have not thought about what a tournament legal alter is in a long time and have hoped that the policy has become more lax because Wizards of the Coast is printing more variations of cards than ever. As the Head Judge, Daniel has the final say on any alter that one would want to use at Eternal Weekend.

DL: Pulling up “authorized cards” in the MTR. A lot of these are going to fall under what the MTR classifies as “artistic modifications” and this particular chunk of policy hasn’t changed in a while. [Alters] are accepted provided the modifications do not make the card art unrecognizable contain substantial strategic advice or offensive images. They may not cover or change the mana cost or name of the card. […] I’m really by the book on this. If I can see all of the original artwork or at the very least the majority of the original artwork, the name is not obstructed, and the Mana cost is not obstructed, I’m good. […] (As long as the) Art is unobstructed, I can tell from across the table that those that that’s a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], that that’s a [[Lotus Petal]] and as long as the card’s thickness is not such that it makes the card marked which then would fall under “marked cards” in the IPG as as long as those things are true I have no problem with them.

Complex Cards

[[Tishana’s Tidebinder|]]
[[Opposition Agent|]]
[[Triumph of Saint Katherine|]]

Wizards of the Coast has started to print cards that are very complex, to the point that sometimes they do not have the correct rulings on Gatherer or have unintuitive interactions. We talked a bit about some of the cards Daniel has run into recently that have caused multiple judge calls, headaches, and Twitter arguments.

AM: Are there any other rulings or rules interactions that you would want players to be aware of before Eternal Weekend?

DL: [[Tishana’s Tidebinder]] is a Magic card.

I had judged an RCQ for Modern last Saturday and I’m pretty sure that card was was the subject of conservatively 75 percent of rules questions I had. It was a lot and that card just does more things in Legacy. It’s three mana so I don’t know how many people are playing it. […] That card does a lot of wacky things.

AM: That’s the stifle a trigger and then that card can’t be triggered or activated anymore.

DL: Right, correct. But it’s important to note that card only applies if it’s an Artifact, Creature, or Planeswalker.

Here’s the weirdest interaction] with it I’ve seen and this could very easily come up in Legacy. A player has an [[Urza’s Saga]] or plays [[Urza’s Saga]] as their land for the turn. It gets a lore counter as it enters and then it’s first trigger goes on the stack. You can [[Tishana’s Tidebinder]] that trigger and then that [[Urza’s Saga]] will never be able to tap for Mana because it’s a triggered ability that grants it the ability to tap for mana. […] It won’t be locked down, but it will never gain the ability to tap for mana. I generally think the better play is when the second lore counter is put on it […] there’s a triggered ability that’s going to grant the land the ability to pay two [mana and] tap, make a construct, you can counter the trigger with [[Tishana’s Tidebinder]] and then it will not be able to make constructs.

AM: I know that [[Opposition Agent]] recently had its Gather rulings updated to be more clear, but I know that some people were arguing that off of [[Intuition]] the [[Opposition Agent]] player only got one card. I believe they get all three cards and if you [[Beseech the Mirror]] into [[Opposition Agent]], you definitely don’t get to cast the card you find even if you Bargain right?

DL: [The cards] are getting exiled. If your opponent is casting [[Intuition]] […], you do get to find three cards and those cards all get exiled and [[Intuition]] loses track of them and you get to cast all three.

[[Opposition Agent]]’s Gatherer ruling sates, “The cards found in the search will be exiled rather than be put wherever the spell or ability tells the opponent to put them after finding them. Any other effects the spell or ability has will still apply. If such an effect refers to the found cards, it can’t see them in exile.” (emphasis added). For [[Beseech the Mirror]], even though [[Beseech the Mirror]] is exiling the card it finds, [[Opposition Agent]] overrules it and it can not act on that card any further.

The last card we talked about is a paper only card: [[Triumph of Saint Katherine]]. This card is seeing play in the Four Color [[Up the Beanstalk]] Decks and has some weird rulings about how its death trigger works.

DL: If [[Triumph of Saint Katherine]] isn’t in your graveyard as its triggered ability resolves or you have fewer than six [in your library], you can’t pay the cost associated with that ability and no cards are exiled. The ability just won’t do anything.

Final Thoughts

DL: Just come come get ready to have a fun time at Eternal weekend, freaking love Eternal Weekend!

We here at team are ready for Eternal Weekend and are super excited to play The EPIC Storm v15.5. If you are looking for the deck list and the sideboard guide, it is on our Patreon! We have put so much time into prepping for this tournament and believe we have one of the strongest versions of TES ever. If you have more rules questions or other questions about Storm, feel free to contact me on Twitter and Discord. Have a great Eternal Weekend!