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How to Say Something When You See Something

March 10th, 2021

While we haven’t been able to enjoy in-person Organized Play for a while now, Remote Duel has filled the gap with monthly Extravaganza events along with ongoing Invitational tournaments. Some accommodations and changes are necessary to translate tournament play to a virtual environment, but the fundamentals of policy have not changed.

Spectators at an in-person Sanctioned event have very specific guidelines in place that dictate what they can and cannot do, if they notice an error in game play or other cause of concern.

Let’s take a look at the Official KDE-US Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME Tournament Policy and review the procedure!

From section I.  Preparing to Play,

“H. Spectators
Spectating at an event is a privilege, not a right, for tournament attendees. It is a spectator’s duty to remain neutral while observing game play, and to make sure their presence does not disrupt the event.

  • At the discretion of the Head Judge, spectating of a tournament may be limited or restricted.

Spectators must abide by the following rules:

  • Spectators should not speak to or communicate in any way with Duelists who are currently engaged in a Match.
  • If a spectator notices any violation of game play rules or Tournament Policy, they must alert a tournament official immediately.

This means spectators should not interfere in a Match by speaking to either of the Duelists or attempting to pause the Duel. They should not stand around commenting to other spectators, they should simply alert the nearest judge and explain what they observed.

Remote Duel spectating is a bit different – you aren’t standing next to the table watching the Duel in person, you are observing the action via livestream. It’s a slightly different perspective, and while it is clearer in some ways it will also limit the amount of information available to you.

 Sometimes, while watching a livestream, you may see something that doesn’t look right – a Duelist appears to use an incorrect ruling, a mandatory card effect does not appear to resolve, game phases might look out of order.  Duelists might not follow Best Practice instructions about their hand or their field, or they may appear to be playing excessively slowly

On livestream, you cannot notify a judge – so what should you do?

If you are observing the stream and participating in the chat, you can alert a moderator. The moderator can alert the judge team, who can evaluate the Duel.

You should:

  • remember that livestreams are on a time delay. What you are seeing on screen actually happened slightly earlier.
  • alert a moderator. The moderator can communicate to the judge team. Do not @ spam the moderation team. Pointing out the issue in chat or via whisper once is all that’s necessary.
  • stick to what you actually saw – “It looks like (Duelist’s name) didn’t banish PSY-Framegear Gamma and PSY-Frame Driver after they were Special Summoned by PSY-Framegear Gamma‘s effect.” “It looks like (Duelist’s name) might have an extra card in his hand.” Not “(Duelist’s name) is cheating! (Duelist’s name) is a cheater!!” —  it is up to the Head Judge of the tournament to investigate if needed and determine whether something was intentional or unintentional.
  • leave it to the moderator and the judge team after you’ve said something.
  • be sure you understand the rulings you think may be incorrect. You may be wrong about what happened.
  • be sure you understand infractions and their associated penalties.  You may be mistaken about the correct penalty for an infraction you have witnessed.

You shouldn’t:

  • keep repeating comments from yourself or from other spectators.
  • accuse, criticize or attack the Duelists or the judges.
  • call for specific penalties to be assigned to a Duelist. That is a job for the judge team, not a job for the spectators.
  • harass the moderators.

Sometimes, spectators have concerns after an event has concluded. Without any moderators or judges, you might wonder what to do about a potential problem you’ve observed. 

In these kinds of cases, you should:

  • contact KONAMI’s Organized Play team. For North America’s events, you can email us-opsupport@konami.com.  For Latin America’s events, you can email la-opsupport@konami.com.
  • explain what you observed, clearly and concisely – for example, “During the second Duel in Round 4, in their third turn it looks like (Duelist’s name) activated Virtual World – Fanfan’s effect but put the detached materials in their hand instead of in their Graveyard.”
  • understand that the Organized Play team has access to additional video, as well as other tournament data.  They can evaluate your information and refer to available resources, including talking to judges and to Duelists.
  • realize that examining other data may lead to a different conclusion than yours.

You shouldn’t:

  • expect KONAMI to provide you with information about other individuals. Privacy laws prohibit this.
  • call for specific penalties to be assigned to a Duelist.
  • harass the Duelists, judges, or other tournament officials.  Whether you do this by creating accusatory or defamatory online content about your perception of the issue or repeating accusations of Unsporting Conduct, either posting online or in person; this is never an appropriate way to express your concern about a tournament issue.

When you publicly accuse someone – whether you make videos about them, demand that KONAMI suspend them, spread rumors about them or make online posts about them, you can destroy their reputation.  If you join in with repeating accusations made by others, you contribute to the damage. 

This can very quickly become harassment, which is something for which you can be penalized.

Please refer to the Official KDE-US Tournament Infractions and Penalties Policy, section VI. Suspension and Suspended Persons:

“B. Suspension for Infractions Outside of Sanctioned or Official Events
An Unsporting Conduct – Severe or Unsporting Conduct – Cheating infraction does not have to have been committed or discovered at a Sanctioned or Official event, in order to result in a Suspension.

• KDE reserves the right to suspend persons from KDE’s Organized Play program for infractions not connected to a specific Sanctioned event, as long as the infraction impacts or connects to a Sanctioned event; in the past, present, or future.

• In these instances, Persons do not need to have been disqualified at a Sanctioned or Official event in order to warrant additional penalties from the KDE Penalty Committee.

These include but are not limited to:

• Severe or ongoing harassment of another person.

If you are genuinely concerned about tournament integrity, the correct course of action is the one described above. Contact KONAMI’s Organized Play team, provide them with the information you have, and let them evaluate the issue. They can and will pass your information and the results of their own investigation along to the KONAMI Penalty Committee if this is indeed a case that needs to be reviewed

It is never acceptable to attack someone – regardless of whether you believe you have witnessed Unsporting Conduct.  Once accusations have been made they cannot be easily unmade, even if they are discovered to be unfounded. The damage done to someone’s reputation may never be mended.

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