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Tournament Policy: April 3rd 2019 Update!

April 3rd, 2019

Heading to a tournament without understanding your cards is a bad idea, so you generally make an effort to learn what your cards do. That’s part of playing successfully.

Not everyone realizes that Tournament Policy is just as important – just as Problem Solving Card Text provides instructions on how a card works, tournament policy provides instructions on how a tournament works. You need to understand policy in order to make the most of your tournament experience.

Version 2 of the KDE-US Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME Tournament Policy has undergone a number of changes, designed to make the document easier to use.
(You may notice there’s a KDE-US version of the document, and a KDE-E version of the document. The policy is essentially the same, but the contact information, etc. will vary according to region. Please be certain you are looking at the document for your region).

First, we have combined two previous documents (KDE Official Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME Tournament Policy and KDE Official TRADING CARD GAME Tournament Policy) into one single document. This makes us less likely to repeat ourselves, and makes you less likely to overlook important information. You won’t miss anything, because now it’s all in one document.

Next, we’ve completely reorganized the information.  Starting with “Preparing to Play” and ending with “Contact Information,” policy information is arranged in logical sequence so it is much easier to find the information you need.  Points of policy that were harder to understand or commonly overlooked have been presented more clearly, and we have included many new examples.

This article will provide you with a reference for the changes and updates to the current version of the policy document (Version 2).

As you read through this article, have a copy of the policy document open too, and refer to it as you go –reading this article by itself instead of reading the policy document won’t provide you with all of the information you need to be ready for tournament play.

You can find the updated tournament policy here!

We will point out the changes or updates, and explain their significance.  Most of the sections in the policy document itself will have example charts to will help you understand how the policy works.
Let’s take it section by section!


          Section I.  Preparing to Play
This section discusses the roles of various attendees at an event, including what is required and/or expected of them.
Changes to this section include:

Subsection C: Head Judge
What changed?
Assistant Head Judge/Public Event Lead duties for Tier 3 events have been added to the policy, under this sub section. 
Assistant Head Judges can handle appeals and other responsibilities of the Head Judge, and the Public Event Lead can handle appeals and other responsibilities of a Head Judge, for Public Events only.
What does this mean?
If you are at a Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series (YCS) or a World Championship Qualifier (WCQ), an Assistant Head Judge may come to answer your appeal. An Assistant Head Judge at a YCS or WCQ may sit in on Disqualification investigations. You cannot appeal the Assistant Head Judge, their ruling will be treated as final.
For Public Events, the same is true for the Public Events Lead.

Subsection D.  Floor Judge
What changed?
We have expanded and clarified Floor Judge duties, with particular attention paid to the kinds of questions Floor Judges should or should not answer.  Duelists and judges have both wondered what kinds of information judges are ethically able to provide, and this updated section presents solid guidelines.
What does this mean?
Duelists and judges should study this section, to better understand the kinds of questions that can be asked or answered during a tournament.
While judges do need to provide correct information, they should not provide strategic advice. Questions should be asked carefully and answered carefully, to ensure this does not happen.

Subsection I. Media
What changed?
The required credentials and responsibilities for media have been clarified and expanded.
What does this mean?
There are specific requirements for media clearance at a tournament – members of the media must ensure they meet them.


          Section II.  Duelist Responsibilities
This section covers expectations and requirements for Duelists attending an event. We have added some new information to this section, as well as clarifying previous policy.
Changes to this section:

Subsection C. Invites and Other Credentials
What changed?
This section has been expanded to include requirements for badges, etc. for tournaments held at some conventions.
What does this mean?

Duelists are responsible for verifying if they will need a badge in order to participate at events held at conventions, etc. This information will generally be found in the relevant event FAQ.

Subsection F. Understand Policy
What changed?
We have emphasized that in addition to understanding rulings, all persons attending a tournament must also be familiar with Tournament Policy.  This was always a requirement, but many people weren’t aware of it. Putting it next to “Understanding Rulings” makes it easier to understand.
What does this mean?
Everyone attending an event should read and understand the Tournament Policy documents for their territory. If they have questions, they should ask a judge or Tournament Official.
Not knowing policy will not exempt you from penalties you might incur by violating Tournament Policy! Do the smart thing, learn what you can and cannot do before you go to an event.

Subsection G.  Unacceptable Behavior
What changed?
This section clarifies some previous policy, and some new information has been added.
Prescription medication may only be brought to an event or used by a person for whom it has been prescribed.
Electronic devices other than a calculator may not be used during a Match. Any device such as a smartwatch, etc. that can send or receive messages must have messaging functions disabled during a Match.
Duelists may not wear headphones during a Match.
Duelists may not eat or drink at tournament tables, including between rounds.
Duelists may not wear masks, costumes, or face paints which cover their face during the registration process or during a Match.
What does this mean?
All persons attending the tournament are responsible to abide by the above restrictions.

Subsection H. Communication
What changed?
Policy about retracting moves has been clarified.
What does this mean?
Duelists may not retract moves once they have committed to them. Guidelines about what counts as “committing to a move” have been included.
The guidelines are not intended to be all-encompassing, but they will illustrate the intent of the policy.

Subsection I. Hygiene
What changed?
This is a new section, requiring all persons attending a tournament to be clean and wear clean clothing.
What does this mean?
If you or your clothing is excessively dirty or bad-smelling, you can be penalized.


         Section III.  Tournament Information
This section covers the basic information about tournament tiers, formats, etc.
Changes to this section:

Subsection A.  Tournament Tiers
What changed?
We have changed Tournament Tier designations, assigning a Tier to all levels of Organized Play.
We have also clarified the role of policy and rules enforcement for all Tiers.
What does this mean?
Some judges, Duelists, and Tournament Officials have mistakenly interpreted previous Tournament Policy to not apply at the Tier 1 level, believing that the more casual nature of this Tier does not require very much policy or rules enforcement.  This has led to one set of rules and policy for Tier 1 and a different set for Tier 2 or higher, which ultimately does not do anyone any good.
Tournament Policy has been clarified to stress that it applies for all Tiers.

Subsection B. Tournament Formats
What changed?
Special Formats has been added to the list of available formats.
What does this mean?
Tournaments such as Tag Duels, 3 vs. 3, etc. are now included as part of official Tournament Policy.


          Section IV. Tournament Play
This section covers information about registering for a tournament, required items or materials for tournament play, and basic policy for tournament play.
This section structure is new, it has been assembled from several different sections in the previous tournament policy documents.  Most of the information remains the same, but there have been some clarifications, some additions, and some significant changes. 
Changes to this section:

Subsection C.  Special Assistance
What changed?
Special Assistance instructions have been added.
What does this mean?
Persons attending a tournament who will require special assistance of any kind (assigned seating, accommodation for service animal, etc.) will have a clearer idea of what can be done, and how to accomplish it.

Subsection G.  Sleeves
What changed?
Additional illegal sleeve styles have been added.
What does this mean?
You cannot use sleeves with artwork or holograms on the front.

Subsection H.  Tournament Materials
What changed?
This is a new section, putting all Tournament Materials into one easy-to-see chart.
Clarifications have been given for many tournament materials, including scorekeeping materials, tokens, and Field Centers.
What does this mean?
Paper and pen/pencil MUST be used to keep score – a written record of the scores for each Duel in the Match are required. This has always been a requirement, but it was not understood very well.
You cannot use only a calculator, or any kind of surface that can be cleared.
Tokens have a clearer explanation.
Field Center requirements have been added.

Subsection I.  Field Layout
What changed?
The current Game Mat is better represented, with updates to “specified locations.”
Information for Banished cards has also been added.
What does this mean?
Cards and Deck elements all need to be in their assigned places. Banished cards should be placed next to the Graveyard, in view of both Duelists.

Subsection K.  Game State
What changed?
This is a new section explaining the concept of the Game State.
What does this mean?
It will help make other sections of the tournament policy easier to understand.

Subsection M. Private Knowledge
What changed?
This is a new section.  It is extremely important and should be read carefully.
What does this mean?
You cannot divulge any Private Knowledge information, either truthfully or untruthfully.  Revealing information that is specified as being Private, either truthfully or untruthfully, can result in a Disqualification penalty.
Please read the examples section carefully, this is information you need to understand.

Subsection N. Card/Hand/Deck Verification
What changed?
There is a major change in this section!
Previous tournament policy allowed verification of cards in the hand, for card effects such as Mind Crush. This policy has been changed – Card/Hand/Deck verification is no longer allowed.
What does this mean?
With the exception of cards retrieved via a search effect, or when directed to do so by a card effect; you cannot look through your opponent’s hand or Deck.
You cannot call a judge over to look through your opponent’s hand or Deck either, unless you have a solid reason to believe your opponent may be cheating.
Please make sure to pay particular attention to the examples in this section.


          Section VI. Tournament Infractions
This section covers information about the different kinds of infractions that can occur at a tournament. It gives a brief explanation of each type of infraction, and the penalties associated with these infractions.
You should also read the Official KDE-US Tournament Penalty Guidelines to learn more about Tournament Infractions, as knowing what you can and can’t do at a tournament will help keep you out of trouble. 
Changes to this section:
This is an entirely new section. 
Please read it all the way through!
Policy on infractions and penalties hasn’t changed, but it was previously found only in the separate policy document, Official KDE-US Tournament Penalty Guidelines; and a lot of people weren’t aware of it.  We decided to add an abbreviated version to this document, so you will be better prepared.

          Section IX. Card Legality
This section covers information about everything related to card legality. If it’s about whether or not a card can be used, you’ll find it in this section.
Changes to this section:

Subsection D. SHONEN JUMP and Yu-Gi-Oh! Graphic Novel Promotional Cards
What changed?
Card Legality for SHONEN JUMP and other graphic novel promotional cards has been added to the Tournament Policy.
What does this mean?
You will be able to easily tell whether or not these types of cards are legal to play.

Subsection H.  Cards with Updated Text or Errata
What changed?
This is a new section, explaining the policy for cards which have had changes to their text (either an errata or an update).
What does this mean?
Cards will sometimes get an errata (a clarification or change to how the card works). Older versions of cards might get their effects rewritten.  If the cards in your Deck do not have the most recent version of their card text, you will need to provide written copies of the most recent text.
Please check https://www.db.yugioh-card.com/yugiohdb/ for the most recent text of your cards.

Subsection K.  Altered Cards
What changed?
None of the previous policies on Altered Cards have changed, we have expanded the section and arranged it so it is easier to understand.
What does this mean?
It will be easier for you to understand what kinds of alterations are acceptable, and what kinds are not.

Subsection L.  Marked Cards
What changed?
None of the previous policies on Marked Cards have changed, we have expanded the section, included more examples, and arranged it so it is easier to understand.
What does this mean?
It will be easier for you to understand what constitutes a Marked Card.


We’re excited about this update to the document, and hope it makes Tournament Policy easier to navigate and understand.  Please be certain to read through the document carefully, prior to attending an event! Knowing this information will help ensure you are prepared, and allow you to make the most of your tournament experience.