|English Nationals Briefing
If you have rules questions, then ask a judge. If that judge doesn't
know the answer, ask a taller judge.
What is shuffling? Shuffling is any method that can be used to
randomise a deck. This is basically limited to "riffle" shuffling, as
other common methods of shuffling such as "pile" or "overhand" are not
truly shuffling. There is three minutes allowed for (de-)sideboarding
and shuffling before each duel.
What should you do? A reasonably good shuffling method is to do 2
riffle shuffles, a pile shuffle, 2 riffle shuffles, a pile shuffle and
2 final riffle shuffles. With practice, this can easily be completed in
2 minutes or less. You should shuffle your opponent's deck, even if
they have shuffled. Don't just cut. This is the only way to be sure
that your opponent has not stacked his or her deck.
What is deck stacking? Deck stacking is cheating. Anything that makes
you able to predict the order of cards or sets of cards in a deck, or
increases your chances of drawing a certain card is deck stacking. For
example, "mana weaving" (Land; Spell; Land; Spell) and "separation"
(deliberately splitting up your 4 Replenishes so they're in different
areas of your deck) both increase your chances of drawing a useful
card, and are both cheating unless they're followed by a very thorough
What should you do? There is no reason to separate out spells and land
during a match - your shuffling method will make the deck random again
anyway, and doing so just wastes time. If you suspect that a player has
stacked his or her deck, call a judge. The judge may ask why you think
the deck is stacked, and then will check the deck and assess an
appropriate penalty. If you're caught deliberately stacking your deck,
the penalty is disqualification.
What is slow play? Slow play is defined by the rules as playing at any
speed that will not allow the match to be completed in 50 minutes. If
you're playing a deck that requires a lot of time to finish a match,
you need to play quicker than you would normally play.
What should you do? If you think your opponent is playing slowly, ask
them to speed up a bit. If that doesn't help, call a judge over. It's
very important to call a judge over early - we can't do anything if we
are called over with only a couple of minutes left in the match.
What is stalling? Stalling is deliberately playing to take advantage of
a time limit. This is cheating - if someone is caught stalling, they
will be disqualified from the tournament.
What should you do? Call a judge. If you wait until a minute before the
end of the round, then calling a judge isn't going to help you. Call a
judge as soon as you think that your opponent might be stalling.
What is unsporting conduct? Generally, anything that wouldn't be
acceptable if done to a ten-year-old child, your fiancee's grandmother
or your own mother. Swearing, asking for a penalty for your opponent,
arguing with a judge and generally behaving in an obnoxious manner are
all examples of unsporting conduct. Different levels of conduct have
different penalties. Generally, the worse the behaviour, the harsher
What should you do? Call a judge. If you don't, we can't do anything
The Upkeep Step
Fading Counters: Fading counters must be removed from a permanent at
the beginning of the upkeep step (as a triggered ability). If you
forget to remove Fading counters, you will receive a Warning and the
counters will be removed.
Upkeep "costs": Payments for cards such as Masticore also trigger at
the beginning of the upkeep step. If you forget to discard the card,
the Masticore will be sacrificed and you will receive a Warning.
Parallax Wave, Tide and Nexus: There are set rules for what to do with
the cards that are removed from the game with these cards. The cards
should be placed under the card that faded them out, face-up. This is
to keep track of which cards are removed with which Parallax card.
The draft format for the Nationals is Booster Draft. Here are some
common answers for booster draft questions:
You can't talk during the Draft. Talking will get you warnings and
worse. If you need to speak, ask a judge.
You can only look at the cards you've drafted between packs (you'll
have 1 minute to do this). At all other times, they must be in a single
face-down pile in front of you.
If you don't choose a card in the time available, you'll be given a
Warning and a random card from the pack. Once you've picked a card, you
can't change your mind.
Don't touch the cards you've drafted and the cards in the pack at the
You're not allowed to show people what's in your pack, or what you have
Pass the first Masques pack to your left, the second Masques pack to
your right, then the Nemesis pack to your left.
After the draft, you'll have 30 minutes to build your deck, including
logging all 45 cards that you drafted. Don't forget to write down the
basic land you'll be playing in your deck (decks must be 40 cards or
All rounds are 50 minutes long, with the "five extra turns" rule in
effect. When time is called, the active player finishes that turn, then
there are five extra turns for the two players, so the player who was
not the active player when time was called will take the last turn in
When the pairings are posted the time that the next round is scheduled
to start will also be posted. The pairings will be posted at the time
shown on this sheet. When the pairings are poster, an announcement will
be made. After this announcement, players will have five minutes to
find their seats before the round begins.
If you are not sitting in your seat when the start of a round is
announced, you will lose the first game. If you are not in your seat
ten minutes after the start of the round, you will lose the match and
will be dropped from the tournament.
If you don't think that a ruling given by a judge is correct, you can
appeal to the Head Judge. The Head Judge's decision is final. You're
not allowed to appeal to the Head Judge before the judge has given his
or her ruling. Doing this will just annoy the Head Judge, which is not
a good thing to do.
The match results slips are very important. If they are filled in
incorrectly, they will not be changed. To fill one in, write the match
score in the spaces provided, then sign (don't sign before writing in
the score). Once both players have signed, call a judge over. The judge
will confirm the score with both players, sign the scorecard, then take
Warnings and Penalties
The tournament is run under Level 4 rules enforcement. The penalty
guidelines have the following to say. Note that these all assume that
players aren't cheating (except the "Cheating" ones). See the Penalty
Guidelines for more details - many infractions carry additional
penalties. Repeating the same offence will also carry a more severe
The default penalty for an illegal decklist is disqualification. A
Match Loss will be given instead if the error is obviously a clerical
error, and easily correctable.
Rolling a die or tossing a coin to decide who would win a tied match
falls under Cheating: Collusion.
Taking an Intentional Draw is never cheating.
Conceding to your opponent is not cheating, as long as there is no
discussion about the concession.
Yes, stacking your deck land-spell-land-spell or swamp-ritual-negator,
or putting a certain card in a certain position in your deck is
cheating. Don't do it - you'll be disqualified.
|Illegal Main Decklist
||Improper Drawing at Start of Game
|Illegal Main Deck (Legal List)
||Failure to Draw
|Illegal Sideboard List
||Marked Cards: No Pattern
|Illegal Sideboard (Legal List)
||Marked Cards: Pattern
|Procedural Error: Minor
|Procedural Error: Major
||Exceeding Time Limits
|Procedural Error: Severe
||Unsporting Conduct: Minor
|Failure to De-Sideboard
||Unsporting Conduct: Major
||Unsporting Conduct: Severe
|Drawing Extra Cards
||Cheating: Bribery, Collusion, Stalling, Fraud, Deck Stacking
|Looking at Extra Cards