Salutations Dear Gentle Entities and Adversaries Au Jus;

Today is National Cappuccino Day!

Photo by: Smiling Goat Organic Espresso Bar |

There is nothing quite so delightful as a cappuccino with one’s Gorgon friends reviewing our latest acquisitions for our book hordes together. May your local planar celebrations be sweetened or unsweetened as one prefers!

We do have a scheduling announcement to share.

For the foreseeable future Magical Manners shall be visiting this plane monthly rather than weekly. Therefore we at Mizz Mizzet’s School for Complicated Lifeforms, would like to take this opportunity to remind our gentle readers of the upcoming streaming event to honor Sheldon Menerary on November 19th-20th.

Our own Goblins of Goblin Lore will be participating, among many other worthy disciples of the art of  thematic hoards and carefully curated 100 card piles of cardboard.

As a reminder; the Cancer Research Charity Stream will be  fundraising for the Moffitt Cancer Center, (@MoffittNews) as per the Menery family wishes. This memorial fundraising stream held in Sheldon’s Honor  will be held on November 18 and 19th from 12PM to 12 AM EST on both dates.

This stream will be available on the @mtgcommander stream from 12PM-12AM EST both days.

For further information or updates we recommend following @QueenoCarboard, who announced the event on X(formerly Twitter), and here at Hipsters we will update you as we learn more in case that platform is unavailable to you.

You may also check on the Rules Committee Twitch channel as we get closer to the date here: Rules Committee Channel.

As this is our fortieth column, we at Mizz Mizzet’s School for Complicated Lifeforms would like to remind you that we answer between 1-3 letters from our interrogative entities across the multiverse each month.

If you missed our initial column, you may peruse it at your leisure at this location.

Content Warnings

Mizz Mizzet’s Guide to Magical Manners is pleased to provide Content Warnings, given that solving bad behavior often means describing bad behavior.

Dear Mizz Mizzet;

I am writing to you because in the United States we’re about to have midterm elections. Things here used to be that when you got together for games, or a convention or stuff, most people only talked about politics if they were fundraising for a charity or something. Or they did it mostly organizing or recruiting with friends or online.

Well 2016’s election shook all that up. Lots of people suddenly started being very vocal in ways and on sides their friends and family might not have predicted. Then lots of people sort of shook out their friend groups and playgroups and things kind of stabilized and I really didn’t mind that because those were some really big important differences. Then COVID happened and people didn’t play together as much. Now it feels (to me at least) like people who play in public are too young or too new to remember 2016, and things are really heated in a different way now in 2023. Elections are never easy going but the hot button issues are really very loaded from 2020 until now.

Some folk are going to be angry, or surprised, or gearing up for even bigger political stuff next year and I want to not be rude while making sure that people can still play together without actively campaigning at a game table. 

I’m fine putting in the work of making sure everyone is comfortable playing together at my house, but what is the right way to handle playing in stores or cons the week after an election where folk are probably going to be reacting to it for the next week or two. 

Referee Squad

Dear Referee,

As I am sure you are aware I come from a plane bedazzled with political strife, conflict, corruption and collusion. Every gathering of citizens for purposes of representation is literally life or death, and we are full of factions. This does indeed make it difficult to host a dinner party in the weeks immediately following any political ritual.

You describe two concerns – one is that your community has already shifted from not sharing political leanings to at least making sure that your group’s shared values are compatible with each other. The other is that this pax arcana is probably not understood by more recent community members and you are concerned that there will be a repeat of a socially fraught dangerous electoral era.

Let me start by stating etiquette is not there for you to be able to use it as a values test nor will it enable you to pass judgment on another community member – it exists to give you a set of baseline ritual defaults allowing various entities to navigate difficult social encounters without being rude.

So the problem for you is not your home, where you can screen and select who you invite, but settings where you do not control the participant mix. Post-election I suggest a liberal application of this useful phrase if an assigned competitor is wandering into political statements, gloating about electoral results or engaging in ostentatious lamentations during an otherwise non political event:

“This election was very intense for me and this subject is  distracting me from the game. Could you please not discuss it with me? “

And if that someone is rudely insistent you are within proper form to declare: “I won’t be discussing that here. I need to focus”

This tact may not make others happy. It is not meant to. It is meant to end an unpleasant conversation allowing the opportunity for different conversations to continue.

Keep the wording of your refusals event and location based. Center the choice to avoid the discussion grounded your competitive need, rather than any type of political or social neutrality. Claims of neutrality can act as a challenge to someone who is passionate about change and you want to avoid inciting that rhetorical impulse. It is also unlikely you are actually neutral so this also prevents any type of accusations of dishonesty.

If you hear, or are suddenly surrounded by individuals discussing the electoral results  amongst themselves, it would be rude to interrupt if you are directly  engaged with them, however  it is polite to pick up your materials and sit elsewhere unless it is during a match.

If it is a larger event with a full judging staff and your fellow competitor does not move to either a new topic or selective silence, please do not hesitate to call a judge to explain that discussion of politics after request to stop is making you feel uncomfortable.

Should you feel enough discomfort to do this, it is both polite, and good sportsmanship to inform your opponent that if they do not drop the subject you will be calling a judge. It gives them a fair chance to desist on their own.

If you are in any form of competitive event, the rules for communication in unsporting conduct may cover continued political discussion after being asked to refrain as something a judge could be called over for unsporting conduct, however one must be aware that if you are playing in a small community store it will not avoid the social issue you are trying to navigate of avoiding discussion of political outcomes or finding out more than you wish to about your opponents.

In your own house the only polite way to handle the current political climate is to set the rules for acceptable topics as the host upon informal invitation. “Hey I’m putting together a Tuesday night game, you need to know we are multicultural and LGBTQ friendly but I want to make it really clear that I’m uncomfortable discussing electoral politics so if you’re good with that I’d love to have you join us.”

Your final election season etiquette scenario is one where the electoral results will lead to a catastrophic harm for someone who is playing with you, and they are in crisis but are attending an event anyway.

This will be one of those situations where etiquette gives you the wording, but  good manners will demand that  you engage any such entity with empathy centered on the other person, even if their reaction is outside of your personal belief system.

“Hey, I know that this is something at the forefront of your mind for good reason at the moment, but if you would like to escape thinking about it for a little while; we can just play this game for a bit to give you a break and put the election on hold until afterwards.”

This will prevent you from having to voice a specific political point of view, while recognizing the distress of the person with whom you are interacting. It also doesn’t indicate that they should have to ignore the harm being done by putting a limited duration on “the break.”  You aren’t asking them to accept or ignore the harm, You are asking for a temporary time out from the topic.

If they press forward, revert to “I have a really firm no-political discussion during the game rule” the same as you would with less significant political discussion – consistency is key, but empathy is still required for good manners. If they cannot separate the harmful electoral outcome from their participation it will be up to you to excuse yourself, but under no circumstances should you attempt to minimize their concerns while extracting yourself from the table. A simple “it was nice meeting you” is a fine and neutral segue into leaving the conversation or the table.

If you gauge a circumstance where your conversational partner simply needs a moment of validation to move on, and you are willing to participate in such a social nicety (even if you don’t necessarily fully agree with the political position of your distressed companion)  you can consider something akin to offering condolences without discussing YOUR political position; “I’m sorry your candidate lost. This was a difficult election. Are you still up to play the game?” and if they say yes, you may then invoke the request to refrain from speaking of politics during the game that we outlined earlier.

It speaks well of you that you have given the comfort of others as well as your own comfort  in these polarizing times. May your election day outcomes  bring you public servants that are better behaved and more service oriented than our guild leaders on Ravnica. I wish you low conflict competitions and shared social baselines for your playgroups.


Thank you to Adrienne Reynolds, for her interplanar transcription services.
Mizz Mizzet Portrait by Andres Garcia

Delightful Readers, Please Submit Your Questions to Mizz Mizzet.

You may submit your questions to Mizz Mizzet using this form.

New Mizz Mizzet columns are posted every Wednesday right here as well as in Hipsters of the Coast‘s weekly email newsletter. You are also encouraged to follow her at @MizzMizzet on Twitter.

Any questions answered publicly will be made anonymous, and noms de plume will be created to represent any parties mentioned.

Born a perfect dragon in an imperfect multiverse, Mizz Mizzet (she/her) is the pioneer broodmother of today’s multiplanar civility movement.  She is now working to persuade Planeswalkers to participate in it.

Her tireless efforts to expand the understanding and exercise of etiquette beyond the stereotypical terror of too many pieces of silverware, and whether to use poisons or explosives at celebratory conquest dinners, have not escaped official notice.

She specializes as a consultant in seating arrangements for inter and intra planar political events as long as contracts include the option to eat the rude.

Out of respect for her relative’s delicate sensibilities regarding draconic rank, she does not reside on the plane of Ravnica.

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