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WGP Advisor / Winner Manual

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This document is for those running or helping advise WS WGP USA Regionals. Note that an advisor, with contact with the head judge, may both play in and help organize at the same time. In doing so, they are taking onto themselves an important responsibility for fairness. Fraud will be dealt with severely.

Please read the entire document. If there are any questions, please contact the Head Judge immediately via email. You will receive Skype / Phone information when the tournaments draw near.

Tournament info:

You may not charge any sort of entry fee to the tournament. Optional fees for prize structure, refreshments, and so on are allowed, but players must be able to play in the full tournament with an equal chance at the invitation for free if they so choose. Note that convention entry fees are not subject to this rule (but extra fees charged for your tournament are).

Due to the many instances of incorrectly-followed instructions, HotC now handles pairings and seedings for all tournaments.

All players who do not yet have an entry must be allowed to enter - only if they break the rules of the establishment the regional is hosted in (foul odor, theft, etc) can you disallow them entry to the tournament.

Step Zero: Bring extra decklists to the tournament, enough Player slips (here) for everyone, a printout of the What a Player Should Know and Advisor Manual, the list of the Preregistered players given to you via your password, a few WGP Sign-In Sheets (here), and some extra paper and pens for tournament organization. Contact HotC before you start, to confirm that you are starting. Set the Pairing Software to REGIONAL MODE (instead of Training Mode). If you will not have internet access, let HotC know at this time.

Step One: Write down the name of all players that want to enter. Have them print and sign their name on the Tournament Entry Sheet. Fill out a Player Slip for each player (download and print here). Collect their folded (so you can only see the top row with their name) decklist. Ask if they preregistered at least 24 hours previously, and put a mark next to the names of those that did and give them a promo. If someone who preregistered attempts to check in more than once, ask them for their confirmation number to confirm they are who they say they are. People don't *need* their confirmation numbers, they serve as a way to prove they signed up early enough to avoid Round Zeroes and to get their promo. Once everyone is in, it is at or past your tournament's posted Start time, and there are no players waiting, close the rolls. At this time, if you have enough promos, give one to each non-preregisted player. If you do not have enough, do a lottery for the remaining promos (use to shuffle the names and hand them out in order, for example), and tell all other players to read the website for info on how to get their promo. If there are more players than seating, you will have to perform a Round Zero. Contact HotC immediately for approval. Should you ever be unable to contact HotC (this will be exceedingly rare, as you should have a Skype contact, multiple phone numbers, email, and other players with phones and contact abiltity) do what you can to keep the event moving smoothly, and report to us what the problems were ASAP. Note that if HotC feels that your actions and/or lack of communication is deliberate, your entire Regional could be invalidated. Signups close for everyone who has not arrived by the time noted as your regional start time - this means players 'in line' to sign up or 'waiting' to sign up once that time hits are still allowed.

Step Two: Announce to all players at the start of the tournament the following:

1. any rulings that other players or advisors give them may be appealed to the Head Judge. This judge will be reachable via the advisor during the tournament. Should the judge be unreachable, use your best judgement in solving the situation, and have all players involved write a report to HotC so the Head Judge can see if anything needs to be done.

2. winners must report their Full Name, Email, and Phone Number to the Advisor. If they do not do this, or fail to receive contact from HotC within one week regarding Nationals, they should contact HotC on their own. Failure to do so may forfeit their invitation.

3. Time will be announced each round when 20, 10, and 5 minutes remain. Failure to report Slow Play before time is called cannot be undone - both players will receive a Loss.

4. If you need help from a Judge, raise your hand and say "Judge". If you need to report your match, raise your hand and say "Report". You will be around soon to help them. Your game timer stops the moment you raise your hand, your time will be added on at the end of the match.

Step Three: Input their information into the HotC Online Pairing System and begin running the tournament. Use Player Slips for each player so everyone can keep track of what is going on. Do not make non-deliberate actions with the software - every action is recorded and important. Read all warnings. If you do not have internet access, request pairings from HotC Head Judge. Write down all pairings, for each round, circling the winners, so there is a hard copy of the tournament as well. Take an overall picture of the seated players for Round One.

Step Final: After the tournament is complete, mail back to us the remaining promos, all decklists, and your tournament notes. Include a sheet with the info of all invitation winners. Mail it to the Points Exchange address, "Attn: WGP Regional YOURSTORENAME". Try to keep the cost of the mailing under $10. Upon receipt, we will Paypal you a reimbursement.

If you make a mistake in the Pairing Software, or you feel that it made a mistake, Contact HotC Immediately.

How to run a tournament round

After the pairing software gives you the pairoffs, announce the pairings and make a hardcopy for later submission. Fill out each player's Player Slip and place it at their seat. Note that you cannot 'reroll' pairings, and all information is locked in and transferred to HotC immediately.
Number each table, and direct players to their seats. Once all players are at their seats, have them confirm they are facing the proper opponent, and perform the following.
1. Players shuffle and cut.
2. Rock paper scissors (RPS). Please pre-confirm with your players how to play RPS, as there are many regional differences. HotC recommends says "rock, paper, scissors, shoot", pumping a fist after the first three words, and revealing the chosen symbol simultaneously on the fourth. In the case of a tie, repeat the process.
3. The winner of RPS is the first turn player. They do not decide if they go first or second.
4. The turn player draws five cards, and the opposing player draws five cards.
5. The turn player chooses how many cards to mulligan, discards them, and then draws back up to five. Then the opposing player does the same.
6. At this point, all players are at their "final five" (Bushiroad's term for 'ready to compete'). Once all players are at "final five", the advisor starts the clock and announces that the round has begun, and players begin playing.
At 20, 30, and 35 minutes past, announce the remaining time (20, 10, 5 minutes). You cannot give exact time remaining amounts on request - only "there are between 40 and 20 / 20 and 10 / 10 and 5 / less than 5 minutes left".
When someone calls for a judge, stop any game you are in, note the time, and go help them. If you need to contact us, do so. Once they are done, note the time again, and then when time is called, tell them to freeze, then unfreeze them with added time equal to the amount they were stopped.
When someone calls a report, confirm with both players the outcome (ask for names - "Joe won", not "I won"). After everything is confirmed (remember to contact HotC before any Game Loss / DQ / Double Losses are given), start the next round.
Rounds continue until there are less X-0 players than spots available and at least 3 rounds have passed. At that time, the Swiss ends, and the top players are noted. Should there be a perfect tie that lies across the 'bubble', they will play each other, as directed by the software. After that, Deck Check all players. If someone fails Deck Check, and HotC upholds the penalty, the next player down below the cut takes their place. Get a photo, name, and contact information from each for us, and send it immediately.
Should you be playing in the tournament as well, please let your opponent know that you may need to stop in between turns to help other players.

Seating space concerns

If you do not have enough seating area for the event, perform the following actions - in these situations, a "Round 0" is defined as "a 1 round best-of-one single elimination tournament. Eliminated players may not compete in this regional". Unregistered player means "a Player that did not sign up for your tournament at least 1 day before your tournament":
If the number of players there that have pregistered online is less than your seating capacity, perform a Round 0 with all non-preregistered players. at the end of each round, if the number of pre-registered players + the number of non-eliminated unregistered players is equal to or less than the seating capacity, stop the "Round 0"s and begin the tournament proper. Repeat the Round 0 with the unregistered, uneliminated players as necessary.
If the number of players there that have pregistered online is equal to your seating capacity, only those players may play.
If the number of players there that have pregistered online is greater than, but less than double, your seating capacity, X equals the number of players over capacity you have. The X*2 last registered players perform a Round 0. Unregistered players may not play.
If the number of players there that have pregistered online is double your seating capacity or more, Perform a Round 0 with all players until remaining players are within capacity.

Pairing Software Details

How the Pairing software works:
- Short version -
Swiss pair, avoiding double pair-ups / pair-downs.

- Long version -
1. Do not pair players who have dropped out.

2. If there are an odd number of players, one random player with the least number of wins+byes gets a bye.

3. Group all remaining players by number of wins. Starting with the most number of wins, pair each group. Randomly shuffle ( the group and pair them off, one at a time. Should a pair occur with people that have played each other, re-pair those two with the next two from the unpaired section. Should there be less than two players remaining in that group, re-pair the entire group.

3A. If there is one player left in that group, and they have not yet been "paired down', "Pair them down" by pairing them first in the next highest group. The one they pair with is considered to be "paired up". If they are paired with a player who has already been "paired up", or if they have already been "paired down" before, re-pair - unless there is no possible way to pair without A: pairing people who have already played and B: avoiding pair downs (such as a solo 0-X player who has already been paired up once in an even tourney, or a single X-0 that already has a pair-down), you may double pair-up or -down.

repeat 3 and 3A until all players are paired.

If a player drops, for tiebreaker purposes they are considered to have still finished out the tourney, playing and losing to placeholder players that themselves have 0 Wins.

After the required number of rounds, determine each player's Personal Strength.

Personal Strength (PS):
Number of wins (not byes), divided by number of rounds they played: This does count rounds that occur after they drop (if they dropped), but does not count rounds in which they received byes. If their PS is less than 1/3, their PS is 1/3.

Rank the players by the following metrics. If they are tied at one level, move to the next, and so on.
1. Largest Number of (Wins + Byes)
2. Smallest Number of Rounds played with a Timeout that had no Slow Play calls
3. Strength of Schedule: Strength of Schedule is the average of the Personal Strength of all non-bye opponents a player have faced.*
4. Strength of Strength of Schedule: Strength of Strength of Schedule is the average of the Strength of Schedule of all non-bye opponents you have faced.
5. Previous Head to Head Winner: If two players are tied at this point, and have played each other previously, the previous winner is ranked higher.
6. 1-Game Single Elimination Match (this game does not affect any other schedule)
7. Coin Flip (Player registered first in the lineup is Heads, selected player is ranked higher)

Top Cut:
After less players are lossless than the count of Invitations, the Top X players (determined by Invitations) continue on to a Single Elimination Best of 1 Finals. Players are randomly seeded and then play out the bracket.

Deck Check:
Head Judges may call deck checks to determine if a player has marked cards and if they have a legal deck. Note that while a player may be caught with an illegal deck (banned cards, too many climaxes, etc.), deck checks are designed to catch more transient forms of cheating - tapped sleeves, and so on. Note that some regionals may only have advisors - in these cases, deck checks will be performed by the advisors of the winners' deck, and players are requested to check their opponent's deck for tapped sleeves and marked sleeves.
If you reveal another player's decklist without permission online or to others, that player will have an open-and-shut case to get you banned from Organized Play. We take this very, very seriously.
This is a link to the current Ban list.

Deck Check

Performing a Deck Check:
In this explanation, the words "Strip Check" means "remove cards that have imperfections, or sleeves that are a different size, or any other thing that makes them different than the other sleeves, and put them in a facedown pile without looking at which card it is. After this, flip the cards over all at once, and see if they are related (all climaxes, etc)". If they are related, this is defined as "failing Deck Check". If they are not, this is defined as "requiring a resleeve".
- Look at the deck from the side, at the edge of the sleeves, for a Strip Check.
- Look at depth of the cards in the sleeves from the top, for a Strip Check.
- Look at the backs of the cards, sleeve opening in one direction (left, for example) for a Strip Check.
- Turn the deck around (still looking at the back of the sleeves, but now upside down - in this same example, now the opening would be to the right) for a Strip Check

If a player requires a resleeve, show them why, and have them resleeve. If they cannot resleeve, they have to play without sleeves, or purchase / borrow sleeves on the spot. If they are playing without sleeves, and the the cards are marked, contact the Head Judge.

If a player fails Deck Check, contact the head judge.

Translation Issues

If there is an issue with a translation, contact the Head Judge. we strive for accuracy, but there is always a chance something is wrong.

If a card is not yet translated, again, contact the Head Judge. This should not be a problem, but we cannot officially post translations of cards until they are on the Bushiroad site. Players with cards that are not yet translated are urged to find cards with identical text and use that, showing that they are identical. Again, contact the Head Judge, and we will fix the problem ASAP.

Note that electronic translations are not allowed. Players must have in-sleeve translations, sheets, or cards with official translations to hand to their opponent.


Any penalties / game state changes must be cleared with the head judge. Accusations of cheating are taken very seriously. Should a player note that a deck is marked or illegal, they can call "Judge" for a Judge. Both players *immediately* stop playing - no tapping their cards on the table, no putting things back - they freeze. The judge / advisor will come over, listen to both sides starting with the person who called judge, and make a ruling, explaining why they made that ruling. If either player has a problem with it, they can contact the Head Judge via the method given to the advisor. We ask that players be familiar with the rules so events are kept to a minimum - the Head Judge will often be helping out at multiple tourneys simultaneously. Should an advisor have to stop their own game, they will receive extra time equal to the stoppage amount + 1 minute.

Please note: all of these examples are situations that the Head Judge would have to handle. This is just to show the 'method' of applying judge situations.

If a player willingly passes an optional action, they may not go back. If a player rushes another player past an optional action, rewinding occurs if it does not help the infringing player. Only if an infringing player gains helpful information does things like reshuffles and so on have to take place.
- Player A has an Character with ability "when this Front Attacks, you may X". They attack and trigger. They may not 'go back' and do X.
- Player A has an Character with ability "when this is Front Attacked, you may X". Player B attacks, and triggers. A wants to go back and use their ability. The game is rewound to that point - no shuffle occurs, knowledge of that trigger is allowed.
- Player A has an Character with ability "when this is Front Attacked, you may X". Player B attacks, and triggers. A begins taking damage. A wants to go back and use their ability. They cannot, as they willingly moved through the counter to the damage step.
- Player A has an Character with ability "when this is Front Attacked, you may X". Player B attacks, asks A if they want to do anything, A says 'no', and then B triggers. A wants to go back and use their ability. They cannot, as they willing passed their activation step.

If a player mistakenly passes a non-optional action, the game must be reverted to that state, the action carried out, then the game wound forward with as little change as possible. If an infringing player gains an advantage by doing so, the necessary steps are taken to redo the game state in a non-advatageous manner. In simple situations such as 'forgetting to Stand', the characters Stand, and the players are cautioned to maintain the game state more correctly. In more complex situations, such as mandatory power pumps in attacks, contact the Head Judge for more details in specific cases as they arise.

Should a color Match / level match error be discovered and can be immediately rectified without advantageous information (unknown Stock reveal, etc), do so. If it is more complex or more late than that, contact the Head Judge.

When the Deck Check for the Top Cut is complete, those players receive an invitation to Nationals. If players desire, they may play out the remainder of the tournament. Take a Picture of each winner, and mark their name down.

Players with Invites must report their Full Name, Email Address, and Phone Number to the Advisor, who is responsible for reporting them to HotC. You are under no obligation to play the same deck at Regionals as you did at Nationals - the invite is to you as a player. The may feel free to build something completely different, even in a different Title.

Post-Event Reporting

Advisors must send the following back to HotC within 48 hours:

1. The Decklists of the tournament (not rewritten - the original physical lists or scans thereof)
2. The Names and Contact Information of each Invitation Winner.
3. A labeled photo of each invitation winner.
4. The tournament record you wrote down. This shows who each player played each round, and who won.
5. A photo / photos of the start of Round 1, showing all players, and of the winners.
Each part may be physically mailed, or emailed. Note that this information is not the property of the advisor - while they may promote the event, they may make no public release of decklists without the express permission of the creator, who is under no obligation to give them. While the advisor may be required to do a deck check, or another player to check the advisor, this knowledge is private, and someone dispersing it without express permission will face severe penalties.

Also, advisors *must* send the unused promos and original signup sheet back to HotC, to the same address as Points Redemption, attn: (Name of city and State) Regional. They cannot scan or otherwise virtually send this, it must be the original. Note that by accepting to run the tournament, they are agreeing to return all unused promos, and that they are not their property, but instead Bushiroad's.

Invitations do not "move down" if players do not attend Nationals. All players who feel they can play at the National level are encouraged to register for and attend the Last-Chance Regional the day before Nationals. Last-Chance is Swiss to 1 X-0, then ranking is compared to open slot count at Nationals to determine entry.

Failure to follow the rules above may result in your regional being declared invalid.

If a player just wants a promo (but does not want to play), confirm their name, ID, and email address. Then, tell them to email us with the subject "Regional Non-Player Promo". We'll check your notes, and if they are on there and we have enough extras, we'll have them send a SASE.

Invitation Winner Instructions:

Players that receive invitations will be contacted 1 week (or 24 hours in the case of Last-Chance Tourney) from the National tournament to ask them to confirm that they will or will not be showing to Nationals. Note that if you do not get an email or phone call by then (it gets caught in your spam filter or such), it is your responsibility to contact HotC and confirm your attendance, (use the subject "WGP Nationals Invitation") or you may not be allowed to play. If you decline your invitation, you can still receive your thank-you gift for reaching the National level, information will be emailed to you on how to have it sent.

Missing Promos
If you do not receive your promos in time for the event, we will allow those players to send us an envelope to send them back their promo. Make sure every player remembers their Player Number (the order they signed up - 1, 2, 3, and so on), and reads about the Promo Promotion in the Player Manual (here is a link). Note that if your event is overpopulated, there is still a chance that we can send them a promo, but not for sure, as this is only while supplies last.

Will my decklist be published on the website?
Regional Decklists are not published - sometimes there are problems getting them posted in a timely manner due to mail delays / coordinator mistakes, and we don't want to treat different qualifying players differently. If you want your decklist posted, feel free to post it on the Forum. © 2011- Heart of the Cards. Intellectual Property Notice