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Filling Out Your Deck List, The Right Way

January 17th, 2012

Participating in tournaments is a fun and easy way to meet tons of Duelists and test your skills. When you want to play in a big tournament like a Regional Qualifier or Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series event, you’ll be asked to fill out a Deck List before you can start playing.  A Deck List is a list that you fill out with all the cards that you will be playing with, separated into Monster, Spell and Trap Cards, as well as what cards are you in your Side Deck and Extra Deck.

When you fill out a Deck List, you need to accurately write down all of the cards that you’re playing with in your Main Deck, Side Deck, and Extra Deck. Failing to do this correctly and accurately result in the most common penalty that knocks Duelists out of contention in a tournament: a Game Loss for a Deck Error. That means that as soon as the error is discovered, you lose a Duel. You’ll hand your opponent a free win and have to win 2 Duels with no margin for error if you want to win the Match. At some events, more than 10% of Duelists are eliminated from competition due to these 100% avoidable penalties.

Any error that results in your Deck List not being the same as the cards you’re actually playing with will result in at least a Game Loss penalty, so click “read more” for our comprehensive guide on how to get your Deck List correct and turned in so that this doesn’t happen to you!


Writing Your Deck List

Step 1 is to write down every card you’re playing with in your Main Deck, Side Deck, and Extra Deck. Step 2 is to make sure that both you and any judge that might look at your Deck List can read it. The best way to accomplish both of those goals is to use this editable Deck List from the official Yu-Gi-Oh! website. You can find it here.

If you have the editable Deck List, you can type in the names of all of your cards and how many of each you’re playing, so there’s no chance of confusion about what you’re playing. You can still turn in a hand-written Deck List if you want, but you’ll run the risk of your handwriting being illegible, which can possibly lead to a penalty.

Here are the DO’s and DON’T’s of filling out your Deck List.

DO put the complete name of each card you’re using in the large box under the appropriate heading (Monster Card, Trap Card, etc.)

DO put the number of copies of each card you’re playing in the small box to the left of the box where you put the card name.

DO write the name of the card in the native language of the country you’re Dueling in, even if the card you’re using isn’t in that language. It’s unreasonable to assume that a judge in an English-speaking country will know what an Aufzieh-Jongleur is, and since you have to have a local-language translation of the card anyway, just save everyone the time and hassle and write Wind-Up Juggler.

DO make sure your Deck is legal. That means comparing it to the Forbidden & Limited Cards list, which is updated four times a year, and making sure you have at least 40, but no more than 60 cards in your Main Deck, and no more than 15 cards in your Extra Deck and Side Deck.

DON‘T forget to write how many copies of a card you’re playing, or forget to put 1 next to a card you’re only playing 1 of.

DON‘T simply write 1 or 2 words of the card name and expect anyone to know what card you’re playing. For example, do not simply write “Gale“ if you’re playing Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind or Black Luster Soldier when you are actually playing Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. It will be flagged by a judge, investigated, and will result in both a penalty and potentially not being allowed to play with the card that you thought you had registered. Some abbreviations are acceptable when filling out your Deck List. For examples, click here.

DON’T forget to double and triple check the cards and numbers you’ve written against your actual Deck. If they don’t match, fix them so that they do match.

Before you turn your Deck List in

Some tournaments require you to turn in your Deck List when you register for the tournament. Others don’t collect it until the player meeting right before the event begins. Regardless of when the Deck Lists are being collected, here are the things you need to double check again before you hand your Deck List in.

1.  Name: Is your name on it? It needs to be.

2.  Konami Player ID: Please make sure to include your correct COSSY ID Number. This number must be 10 digits long.

3.  Date: Please include the date of the Tournament.

4.  Event: Please include the name of the Event. This is especially important at YCS events, as there are tons of tournaments being run at the same time, and nearly all of them use Deck Lists.

5.  Last Initial: This should be the 1st letter of your last name (surname). If you have more than 1 surname, please use the 1st letter of your first surname.

6.  Card Names & Totals: Make sure that all the names and card totals on your Deck List match the actual names and card totals of your Deck. Then do it again. If you use the editable Deck List, the totals are computed for you after you tell it how many of each card you’re playing. Make sure you check this for your Side Deck and Extra Deck too!

7.  Main Deck Total: Once you are done registering the Main Deck, write the Main Deck Total on the appropriate box on the top right of the Deck List. If you are using the Editable Deck List, this box is completed for you.

Once you have verified that the Deck List is complete, the Deck List is ready to be submitted!

Submitting the Deck List

Once you’ve completed all your checks and found out when and where you need to turn it in, the only thing left is to actually turn it in! Once you do, the Deck List is final and you cannot add or subtract any cards from it. Then, at last, it’s time to Duel! And since you filled out your Deck List completely and correctly, you don’t have to worry about taking a huge penalty that you could have completely avoided.

For more information on the rules that apply at tournaments, check out the official tournament policies and penalty guidelines at the bottom of this page!

Bonus information!


It is very important to register as much of the card name as possible. Certain abbreviations are acceptable, but ideally you should register the card’s full name.

Acceptable Abbreviations

Prefixes and Suffixes to card names when there is an obvious naming pattern such as Blackwing, Lightsworn, Gladiator Beast, Legendary Six Samurai, Gravekeepers, etc.
Using BW, LS, GB, GK, or LSS for Blackwing, Lightsworn, Gladiator Beast, Gravekeeper’s, or Legendary Six Samurai, respectively, etc.
Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow can be abbreviated as BW – Kalut the Moon Shadow.
Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner can be abbreviated as Lumina, LS Summoner.

Unacceptable Abbreviations / Common Errors

Using initials for the whole card name.
Registering only part of the card name, especially when the card can be more than one card printed in the TCG.
A Duelist registers “Bottomless” in his Main Deck. Currently, there are two cards this can be: Bottomless Trap Hole and Bottomless Shifting Sand.
A Duelist registers Black Luster Soldier in his Deck List but does not register Black Luster Ritual or any other card needed to properly Summon the Ritual Monster Black Luster Soldier. The Judge will need to verify that the Deck List is accurate. If the card the Duelist is running is Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, the Duelist will receive a Game Loss and then will NOT be allowed to play with Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning as that card was never registered in the Deck List.
A Duelist registers “Gale” in his “Blackwing” themed Main Deck. It is not the responsibility of the Judge to assume the player is playing Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind, but it is the responsibility of the player to accurately complete his Deck List. There are other cards currently printed in the TCG that have “Gale” in the card name, such as Gale Lizard and Gale Dogra.
A Duelist registers “Elemental HERO Shining” in his Deck List. There are other cards currently printed in the TCG that this card name could be, Elemental HERO the Shining, Elemental HERO Shining Flare Wingman, etc. This shows how important adding something as simple as “the” in the card name when registering the Deck List.
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