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WS US 2013 WGP National Tournament Format

(This is for WGP 2013. If you are looking for this year's WGP, please check the main page)

A new tournament format has been put in place by Bushiroad Japan at the National and World level. This format becomes effective starting with the US 2013 WGP National Qualifier - the National Qualifier this year will be using this new format.

Note that this does not affect Last-Chance Tournaments for this year. This only effects the Nationals and Worlds. We'll go over it in detail below.

  1. The tournament is a Swiss Double Elimination tournament with a Top 8.
    • Matches are 40 minutes long. This is the standard Bushiroad WS 30 minute limit, with a special +10 minute dispensation for the North American Circuit to allow time for translation.
    • Matches that go to time are a Double Loss, unless a Slow Play call was upheld by a Judge, in which case only the Slow Play-called player loses.
  2. Players that receive two losses are eliminated.
  3. Players are matched randomly in a Swiss Format.
    • Players with the same number of wins are paired off randomly against each other.
    • Pairing Rule A: No players play each other more than once if possible.
    • Pairing Rule B: Once Pairing Rule A is fulfilled, no players receiving multiple 'pair-downs' if possible.
    • In the case of an odd number of uneliminated players, One 'Bye' (Win) is given to a non-eliminated player with the least number of wins.
      • No multiple 'Byes' per player if possible.
  4. Step 3 is repeated until there are less "players with all wins (X-0)" than there are spots in the Top 8.
    • Note that "less" specficially does not mean "less than or equal to" - in this Top 8 example, the required number is "7 or less".
  5. At this point, players with one loss are allowed to drop out of the tournament if they so choose.
  6. All players with "all wins" are admitted into the Top 8.
  7. The remaining spots in the Top Cut (minimum 1) are then distributed randomly amongst those who fit both of the following conditions:
    1. not yet eliminated (players with more than one loss have been eliminated) or dropped out, and
    2. have not received any losses due to Slow Play/Time.
  8. The Top 8 is a single elimination tournament bracket.
    • Seeding is determined randomly.
    • Matches that go to time are a Loss for the current Turn Player, unless a Slow Play call was upheld by a Judge, in which case the Slow Play-called player loses. Note that matches at this point will be carefully monitored, and players attempting to abuse this rule may be given Slow Play penalties by a Judge.
Eliminated players may go to the Free Fight area to play casual matches against people for promos.

Please note that we at Heart of the Cards take the random aspect of it very, very seriously, and will be using an atmospheric randomizer with independent verification for all random decisions / pairings / seedings.

Here's an example tournament:
  • 70 people enter.
  • After Round 1: 35 1-0, 35 0-1.
    • During Round 2 pairings, 17 1-0s are paired with 17 other 1-0s, 17 0-1s are paired with 17 other 0-1s, and one 1-0 is paired with one 0-1 and they play. In that last pairing, the 1-0 wins their match.
  • After Round 2: 18 2-0, 34 1-1, and 18 0-2 are eliminated.
  • After Round 3: 9 3-0, 26 2-1, and 17 1-2 are eliminated.
    • During Round 3 pairings, 4 3-0s are paired with 4 other 3-0s, 12 2-1s are paired with 12 other 2-1s, one 2-1 receives a bye, and one 3-0 is paired with one 2-1 and they play. In that last pairing, the 2-1 wins their match.
  • After Round 4: 4 4-0, 19 3-1, and 12 2-2 are eliminated.
  • The Top 8 is those 4 4-0, and 4 random players chosen from the 19 3-1 (as none of them lost due to Slow Play and none of them dropped). All others are eliminated.
  • Those 8 are randomly seeded into an 8-person single elimination tournament and play until one remains (Rounds 5-7).
  • That remaining player is the National Champion.
If you have any questions about the format, please email us. We'll post answers that help out others on here so that everyone can better familiarize themselves with the format.

Doesn't the 'Active Player Loses' rule allow the timeout system to be abused?

1. Judges will be watching for this specific instance. The way a Slow Play call works is this:
  • A player calls their opponent on Slow Play. This should happen if the player feels the opponent is taking too long to perform actions, or if during the "match time remaining" announcements that their match has not progressed far enough. The reason it is not allowed after the fact is that Judges cannot then watch the Match in progress to see how the situation should be handled. It is vitally important that players be mindful of the time, and is the main reason time remaining is announced in 10- and then 5- minute increments throughout every round.
  • The Judge watches the match to see the speed of play.
  • If the Judge feels one player is playing too slowly, that Judge will uphold the call. The opposing player is now under the Timeout loss condition of "Slow Play"*.
  • If the Judge feels they cannot uphold this decision, they will have the match continue, adding time to the match so that any possible Slow Play up to that point does not have any effect.
Via this method, Match Timeouts are greatly avoided - players should be mindful of the time their matches are taking and use the Judges properly.

2. All matches run under HotC are 40 minutes - this is 10 full minutes longer than the Japanese format, to allow for translation of effects. That is 10 uninterrupted minutes of card- and/or translation-reading added to every match, far more than is usually necessary. This allows for players to announce all abilities fully, and players to also read every card translation fully, without coming even close to cutting into the amount of time native-language matches are supposed to take.

During the Top Cut, the Head Judge will be actively watching for any instance of Slow Play, and will not hesitate to monitor, add time, and/or give Slow Play infractions. Please play with confidence.

(*: should two players successfully call each other on Slow Play, the match will be supervised to ensure it is played through properly).

How are random decisions made fairly?

All random decisions are performed by the Heart of the Cards Head Judge. Players in any randomized list are pre-ordered in player number order (so the situation can be recreated during an audit). The judge uses an atmospheric randomizer (hosted by, and all seeds for each randomization are recorded in order, including timestamp and reason. Every step of the entire process is recorded via video camera, all of which is made available to auditors to ensure fairness. Heart of the Cards and the Head Judge take this duty very, very seriously - we all love WS very much and are supremely grateful to Bushiroad for granting us the opportunity to carry out the National Selection, and take it with the utmost seriousness. This includes following all Tournament Rules and Restrictions to their utmost, to give players an authentic WGP experience.

Do you need an invite to come to Nationals?

To play in Nationals for a chance at the spot for Worlds? Yes.

To get the promos and free stuffs and meet players from all over the continent? Not at all!

Anyone can show up and play in the Free Fight area, get promos, trade and collect and have fun! Try to let us know that you are coming in advance, though, so we can make sure we have enough room - and free things - at the venue for people to enjoy! © 2011- Heart of the Cards. Intellectual Property Notice