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Mnemonic Betrayal in MTG Arena

Every online game can be prone to abuse, hacking, or people who are simply annoying. Although MTG Arena tries to prevent this as much as possible with the option to turn off emotes, providing no chat boxes, and a fairly balanced timer system, you might still feel the need to report someone for a variety of reasons.

Reasons to Report Players in MTG Arena

Roping

MTG is a much more complicated game compared to some of the other digital collectible card games out there. It’s not unusual to play a match that lasts half an hour or more, and in order to make sure players are kept in line, MTG Arena has a fitting timer system: a match timer and an overall timer.

While playing, you’ll see an hourglass icon on your screen. If you’re playing fast, you’ll earn up to three of these. When you take around two minutes to complete your turn and burn the fuse (rope) that appears in the middle of the game, you’ll automatically spend one of your hourglasses to get the extra time you need. And, as you can imagine, if you run out of hourglasses and waste your overall timer, you automatically lose the game.

Your fuse (rope) timer in MTG Arena

This extra time might be necessary, especially if you are fond of playing decks with lots of activated abilities. Occasionally, though, you’ll face a player who just waits just until the fuse starts even if there is no complicated decision to make. This becomes extremely frustrating when you know that your opponent has already lost the game or is on the way. This is commonly known as “roping”.

Opponent's fuse (rope) timer in MTG Arena

Abusing Bugs

Another way your opponent can abuse the system is exploiting bugs. There’s no way to really sum up how this can happen as it depends on what the bug is, but we can give you a well-known example.

During the beta, when Mastery Cat was first introduced, some players took advantage of a bug that caused even good PCs to slow. If the cat was spammed (by clicking on it repeatedly), it would cause their opponent’s PC to slow to the point where taking action was impossible or the game itself just gave up and crashed to the desktop.

No Win Conditions

Aside from the obvious things, there’s another way that your opponents can frustrate you so hard that you’d wish them exiled from the field: dragging the game to a point that neither of you can win. This is not an easy feat, as first your opponent has to build a deck that has no win conditions. Second, they need to take control of the game so much so that they won’t allow you to even take turns.

Nexus of Fate MTG instant card

There was actually an instance of this experienced by Magic Pro League member Shahar Shenhar, who found himself in a 107-minute game. By using Ascanta, the Sunken Ruin with few cards remaining in his deck and looping Nexus of Fate, his opponent managed to stall the game for about 50 minutes. Thankfully, MTG Arena’s Game Director Chris Clay came to the rescue and banned Shenhar’s opponent by contacting customer service. Absolutely ridiculous! Here’s a quick video of Nexus of Fate being looped:

There is no clear rule breaking here, and some might even argue that if the cards aren’t banned then you’re allowed to play however you want, but it’s not exactly in the spirit of the game. You wouldn’t pull that stunt if you were playing face-to-face with a friend, would you?

Inappropriate Names and Hacking

You can also report people for inappropriate names, though WotC does its best to prevent them already. There’s also just plain hacking. I haven’t seen an instance of hacking yet, but the game is still fresh. If you think your opponent pulled up a questionable play without explanation, reach out to support for help.

When Not to Report MTG Arena Players

As frustrating as some people may be, very annoying behavior that doesn’t actually break any rules shouldn’t be reported. If your opponent spams emotes, you can just turn them off for the match and be done with it. There can be times you think that your opponent is exploiting a bug, only to find out that WotC designed a broken card and turned MTGA into an elk-ian nightmare.

Oko, Thief of Crowns MTG planeswalker card

In fact, the number one reported bug in MTG Arena is “broken shuffler”. We’ve all experienced times when we just couldn’t get a single land and had to mulligan to four and still not manage to get a decent opening play. That’s just the game and the reality of true randomness: we get unlucky sometimes. Reporting this as a bug would be the same as your opponent reporting you for drawing the perfect opening hand.

Quick side note about randomness: if enough people use the same random shuffler enough times, patterns are bound to pop up, because: statistics, and you’ll also likely see clusters of similar results in a truly random system. This can make it seem like you’re not experiencing true randomness, when the truth is the opposite: if something seems truly random to the human mind (no patterns, everything’s always different, nothing repeats ever, etc.) it actually probably isn’t.

Dice rolling

This article over at geekandsundry has a neat little paragraph about dice and probability that actually fits really well with MTG Arena’s “broken shuffler”. To sum it up: even if the probability of getting six awful deals in a row is incredibly low, the shuffler’s probability of giving one is the same every time and doesn’t go down just because you’ve had five bad deals the past five games.

And of course, there will be some opponents who are just trying to annoy you by playing slowly (but not quite roping) or having decks that are immaculately designed to tilt an opponent. At these times, we can all understand getting angry or frustrated, but this doesn’t mean there’s anything to be reported. Maybe slowing down and having a cup of tea is a better choice. And hey, if you win anyway, then all they did was waste their own time.

Kermit the Frog sipping Lipton tea

Source

Reporting MTG Arena Players

How to Do It

Reporting an MTGA player is fairly easy, thankfully. Once you’ve made sure that you’re not reporting your opponent for luck, being annoying, or spamming emotes, follow these steps to submit a ticket for player conduct:

MTG Arena support website "Submit a Request" button
  • Select “Report Conduct” from the What would you like to contact us about? drop-down menu
MTG Arena "Report Conduct" ticket option
  • Fill out each field that appears on the page (make sure to select “Player/Person” from Type of Report and “MTG Arena” from Where did this occur?)
MTG Arena report player ticket options
  • Don’t forget to include a log file (check out our explanation here to find out how to get that), a description of what happened, and any relevant attachments and then click “Submit” at the bottom of the page
MTG Arena log file, description, attachment ticket options

What to Expect After Submitting Your Ticket

Congratulations, your report is submitted! But, what now? How long should you expect to wait to hear back, or will you even hear back at all?

If the screenshots and game logs you provided are solid proof of misconduct, your opponent could face suspension or a permanent ban in extreme cases. WotC is trying hard to make sure that people aren’t exploiting the MTG Arena system, and so they’re encouraging people to report any kind of misconduct or rule breaking.

Of course, some of the community doesn’t feel that. There’s a sense that nothing is really done when players are reported, especially for roping. A lot of players also feel like there should be an easier way to report players, the most common suggestion being an in-game option or “report” button during matches. The latter could easily be abused, but an in-game option definitely sounds reasonable.

MTG Arena has a pretty active official twitter. If you run into a major bug or exploit or feel like your issue is being ignored, you can tweet or message them (within reason) and you’ll likely get a quick response. You can also contact WotC directly either through the previously mentioned help twitter, customer support, or their corporate line here. Hopefully, though, you won’t have to resort to any of that and will have a perfectly respectful, non-rule breaking opponent every match.

As for when or if you’ll hear back on tickets, you’ll receive an automatic response once you’ve submitted the report, according to the WotC twitter help account. If the team needs any more info from you for the ticket they’ll follow up with you, but it doesn’t seem like you’ll hear anything other than that.

@Wizards_Help twitter account confirming response time for reporting players in MTG Arena

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