How to Deal with Antisocial Behavior in Magic

Likely if you’ve played a lot of Magic in local game stores (LGS) then you have heard or seen some antisocial behavior.

Other than just bad toilets I have been made to feel unconformable at LGSs due to openly expressed homophobia, sexism, transphobia, bullying and sleeves depicting semi-clad prepubescent anime girls. I have seen grown men bullied and a first time female player walk out of a store before they even started playing.

When this behavior occurs it makes me incredibly sad, but what can you do?

  1. Talk to a judge: If your store is lucky enough to have a judge then you should bring incidents to their attention as they’re trained to deal with such things and are by far the best people to sort out problems. It’s their job.
  2. Talk to the store owner or the group organizer: Be polite and open, talk about how the environment makes you feel (and could make others feel) and specific incidents. Likely you’ll be upset and this can certainly be awkward. I believe the tone is key – give them the option to change and not retreat to defense by offering a solution such as “could you talk to this person?” or “could you make an announcement about being more respectful?”
  3. Start a local Planewalkers for Diversity group: P4D groups will help to encourage a more diverse group of players in your local area. More diversity at events will improve the environment as they lose their boys club feel and what is ostensibly acceptable making your store more welcoming and friendly.
  4. If none of the above are useful then speaking with Wizards of the Coast is a great course of action. You can contact them at with information on what occurred or what is occurring.

Speaking with Hélène Bergeot (Wizard’s Director of Global Organized Play) she informed me that the company takes this very seriously and that “every complaint is treated confidentially (when we follow up with a store, the player’s name is not mentioned). Confidentiality works also both ways, meaning that we won’t disclose the outcome of any follow up we make with a store; the same applies to any investigation we conduct.”

Whilst I play Magic to compete, it is also a social activity. I have met and kept great friends through the game and having a place where I can feel comfortable and happy to play is not only important but a right. You deserve to have it and can make it happen. If you see people making your store unwelcoming then take action for everybody.

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