Cheating will not be tolerated. The head judge reviews all cheating allegations, and if he or she determines that a player cheated, the head judge will issue the appropriate penalty based on the V:EKN Penalty Guidelines. All disqualifications are subject to later V:EKN review, and further penalties may be assessed.
Cheating includes, but is not limited to, the following intentional activities:
- Receiving outside assistance or coaching
- Looking at opponents' card faces while shuffling or cutting their decks
- Collusion to alter the results of a game
- Misrepresenting rules or card texts or errata
- Using marked cards/sleeves (see section 4.6)
- Drawing extra cards
- Manipulating which cards are drawn from your deck or from an opponent's deck
- Stalling to take advantage of a time limit
- Misrepresenting or obscuring public information (pool totals, number of cards in deck, and so on)
5.2. Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Unsportsmanlike conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at any time. Players who engage in unsportsmanlike conduct will be subject to the appropriate provisions of the V:EKN Penalty Guidelines and will be subject to further V:EKN review. Judges, players, spectators, and officials must behave in a polite, respectable, and sportsmanlike manner. In addition, players must not use profanity, argue, act belligerently toward tournament officials or one another, or harass spectators, tournament officials, or opponents. See also "Play to Win" in section 4.8 above.
5.3. Slow Play
Players must take their turns in a timely fashion. Whereas taking a reasonable amount of time to think through game strategy is acceptable, playing excessively slowly or stalling for time is not. If a judge determines that a player is stalling for time or playing excessively slowly at any point during the tournament, the responsible player will be subject to the appropriate provisions of the V:EKN Penalty Guidelines.
5.4. Marked Cards
A card is considered marked if it bears something that makes it possible to identify the card without seeing its face, including scratches, discoloration, unnatural bends, and so on. If a player's cards are sleeved, the sleeves are considered part of the cards, so:
- For cards placed in clear sleeves, both the sleeve and the card must be examined to determine whether a card is marked.
- For cards placed in opaque-backed sleeves, just the sleeve must be examined to determine whether a card is marked or not.
If the head judge determines that a card in a player's deck is marked, that player will be subjected to the appropriate provisions of the V:EKN Penalty Guidelines.
4.1. Cards Allowed
All cards in a player's deck must be genuine Vampire: The Eternal Struggle or Jyhad cards or official V:EKN issued cards from the only authoritative source www.vekn.net. When using V:EKN issued cards they must be preferably color printed on standard paper and inserted into opaque sleeves before another Vampire: The Eternal Struggle or Jyhad card, this requires opaque sleeves for the whole crypt and/or library.
If cards with distinct backs are used in the same deck (e.g., Jyhad and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle cards, or upside-down 3rd Edition cards and right-side up cards, or mis-cut cards, or cards without the Deckmaster logo) are used, in order to prevent a significant advantage, all cards from the different sets, printings, etc. must be of sufficiently mixed card type, unless they are all sleeved with opaque sleeves (recommended).
Banned List: The following cards are banned in all V:EKN tournaments:
- Anthelios, the Red Star (Promo)
- Dramatic Upheaval (V:TES)
- Edge Explosion (NoR)
- Kindred Restructure (V:TES)
- Lilith's Blessing (Promo)
- Madness of the Bard (Dark Sovereigns)
- Memories of Mortality (Ancient Hearts)
- Protect Thine Own (Ancient Hearts)
- The Return to Innocence (Ancient Hearts)
- Seeds of Corruption (Ancient Hearts)
- Succubus Club (V:TES)
- Temptation of Greater Power (V:TES)
- Any cards that are usable only when playing for ante, including:
- Cunctator Motion (V:TES)
- High Stakes (V:TES)
- Playing for Keeps (Dark Sovereigns)
Note that rules cards from Nights of Reckoning are legal for V:EKN play in both Constructed and Limited formats.
4.2. Card Interpretation
The head judge is the final authority regarding card interpretations. All cards are to be interpreted according to their most recent printing. If the head judge determines that a player is using older cards and/or misprints to create an advantage by using misleading text or artwork, that player will be subject to the appropriate provisions of the V:EKN Penalty Guidelines.
4.3. New Releases
New V:TES cards and rules (new expansions, new editions of the basic set, new rules released in expansions or basic sets, and promotional cards) are allowed in Constructed tournament play beginning 30 days after their retail release date. V:EKN announcements confirm the exact date that each new card set enters tournament play before the set is released.
New cards or rules are allowed in Limited tournament play immediately, including before the release date (for example, at a Prerelease tournament).
4.4. Card Elevation and Disposition
Players must keep their cards above the level of the playing surface. Revealing cards in your hand or uncontrolled area to any opponent is not allowed.
4.5. Proxy Cards
As long as the game is not under production, the organizer of an event that is neither a National Championship nor a Continental Championship can choose to allow proxy cards in his or her event. For events where proxy cards are allowed, several points apply:
- there are no limit to the number of proxy cards a deck can have
- every proxy card must be a color-copy of the original card, on standard paper
- the quality of the print must allow the reading of the illustrator's name
- the organizer must mark the event as 'allowing proxy cards' on the VEKN calendar"
As for VEKN-issued cards, proxy-cards would have to be inserted in an opaque sleeve (along the rest of the crypt and/or library), before a regular VTES card.
Otherwise, the use of proxy cards is not permitted, unless a judge provides these cards. If a card becomes excessively worn through play or accidentally damaged in the current sanctioned tournament, or if the owner of the card must leave prior to the conclusion of a game, the judge may provide a proxy replacement card or (in the case of damaged or worn cards) require the player to sleeve all of his or her cards before play continues.
When a judge creates a proxy for a player, it is included in the player's deck. The original card is kept close at hand during the game, if possible. When the proxy is in play, replace it with the original. When it returns to the player's deck/hand, swap it with the proxy. This replacement method helps ensure that the opponent is able to clearly see the intended card and to avoid confusion.
The term "proxy" includes counterfeit cards or any card that is not a genuine game card. Counterfeiters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
4.6. Card Sleeves
Players may use plastic card sleeves or other protective devices on cards. If a player chooses to use card sleeves, all cards in the player's current deck must be placed in the sleeves in an identical manner. If the sleeves feature holograms or other markings, cards must be inserted into the sleeves so these markings appear uniformly on the cards (all markings on the face or all on the backs, but not mixed). A player may choose to sleeve his library but not his crypt, or vice-versa, and the crypt and the library may be sleeved differently from each other.
Once a game begins, players may request that the judge inspect an opponent's card sleeves. The judge may disallow a player's card sleeves if the judge believes they are marked, worn, or otherwise in a condition that interferes with shuffling or game play. To avoid confusion, a card sleeve may also be used to mark a player's card if the card is in an opponent's playing area.
4.7. Locked Cards
If a card must be locked as a part of the game rules, it must be turned approximately 90 degrees from the normal position.
4.8. Play to Win
One aspect of sportsmanlike conduct is that players must not play toward goals that conflict with the goal of the game as stated in the V:TES rulebook (e.g., attacking certain players on the basis of their V:EKN ratings or overall tournament standing, etc.). For tournaments, playing to win means playing to get a Game Win if it is reasonably possible, and when a Game Win is not reasonably possible, then playing to get as many Victory Points as possible.
Neither the basic game rules nor the tournament rules enforce or regulate deals made between players. The tournament rules acknowledge deals, however, in that a deal which represents the best interests of the players involved at the time the deal is made is allowed to be honored, even when the normal play to win rule would indicate that a deal should be broken. This only applies to deal that are in the best interests of the players involved at the time the deal is made. That is, it applies only when making the deal is playing to win. (It is also allowable to break such a deal, of course).
During the finals, playing to win means playing to finish as tournament winner (as defined in 3.7.5).
Exception: when only two Methuselahs remain, the tournament rules no longer acknowledge any deals. Prior deals are voided, even if they were play to win when made. When only two Methuselahs remain, both Methuselahs must play to win based only on game state, without regard to any deals.
4.9. Infinite Loops
When a loop is detected (meaning game state has been completely restored to a previous state and could be repeated without limit except for the round's time limit), the activity cannot be begun again (until and unless game state changes). This includes actions, sequences of combats, rounds of combat, and everything else. Note that game state includes all players' hands, ash heaps, and libraries, as well as available maneuvers and presses from cards in play, and master: out-of-turn plays.
3.1. Round Structure
V:TES tournaments shall consist of a minimum of three rounds. After the preliminary two or more rounds, the players are ranked according to the number of Game Wins (see section 3.7.1). For players with the same number of Game Wins, the players' total accumulated Victory Points from the preliminary rounds are used as a tie-breaker. In the event that ties still exist, Tournament Points (see section 3.7.3) are used. Remaining ties for any of the top five rankings are resolved using any fair random method (e.g., a coin toss or a die roll). The five highest-ranked players advance to the final round.
3.1.1. Round Time Limits
Each round in the tournament has a time limit. The minimum time limit used in V:TES rounds is two hours. The time limit must be announced before play begins. The final round may last longer than the preliminary rounds, at the judge's option.
When the round is over, the judge will notify all players. The game will end with the current minion action - if any -, or at the end of the current phase, if the notification didn't happen during the minion phase.
3.1.2. Preliminary Rounds Seating
The judge will group players randomly and impartially, using prepared index cards, a computerized system for generating random groupings, or another impartial randomizing method. Regardless of the method used, the players are to be grouped randomly and impartially, without regard to the identities of the players behind the numbers (or cards or other method used to designate players in the system) and without regard to any personal relationship between the players or personal disposition of any player toward another. Use of the optimal seating chart, found in The Archon tournament tracking spreadsheet, is encouraged.
The judge will randomly and impartially assign players in groups of five. In the event that the number of players is not evenly divisible by five, the judge will assign players in groups of four and five, such that as many groups as possible contain five players.
If the players cannot be divided into groups of 4 and 5 (i.e., there are 6, 7, or 11 players), then the judge may elect to use a seating arrangement in which some players sit out each round (while still ensuring that every player plays the same number of games, usually equal to one less than the number of rounds).
Each table has five positions, numbered one through five, arranged clockwise around the table. The first player assigned to a table occupies position one, and so on. When play begins for each round, the player in position one plays first (with a default of one transfer during the influence phase), and so on. At tables with only four players, the empty position for turn rotation is ignored.
The judge must ensure that exact predator-prey relationships are not duplicated from round to round whenever possible. When this occurs, the judge will randomly and impartially rearrange the seating assignments of all players at the affected table. The judge may, at his or her discretion, reseat players who were assigned to table together during any previous round to different tables (doing so impartially).
3.1.3. Final Round Seating
Table positions are not assigned in the final round. Instead each of the finalists is given an index card (or reasonable substitute) with his or her name on it. Starting with the lowest qualifier, each qualifier places his or her index card faceup in a row on the table. When placing his or her card, each player must choose to position his or her card at either end of the row (one end of the row is equivalent to the other) or may create a space between two cards already placed. After all cards have been placed, they are read from left to right to determine seating positions in the final round. The judge will then determine randomly which player will play first.
Player 5 (the lowest qualifier) places her card.
Player 4 chooses to place his card at the right end of the row.
Player 3 chooses to place her card at the left end of the row.
3Â 5Â 4
Player 2 chooses to create a space between players 5 and 4 and places his card in that space.
3Â 5Â 2Â 4
Player 1 (the highest qualifier) chooses to create a space between players 2 and 4 and places her card in that space.
3Â 5Â 2Â 1Â 4
3.1.4. Bowing Out of an Event
Players choosing to leave (quit playing) an event must inform the scorekeeper before the seatings for the next round are generated. Players leaving the tournament after the scorekeeper begins seatings for the next round receive a "Loss" in the upcoming round and will be removed from the event after that round.
3.1.5 Multi-Deck System
Players are prohibited from making modifications to their decks between rounds unless the tournament uses the following multi-deck rules. The multi-deck system can be used at any tournament with fewer than 12 players (i.e., fewer than three tables). Organizers choosing to use this system must announce its use in advance of the tournament date. Players may choose to bring any number of tournament-legal decks to the tournament and/or extra cards to exchange with cards in their decks (also known as a sideboard in some games). Between rounds, players may freely switch decks (or cards in their decks). A tournament begun with the multi-deck system cannot admit more players between rounds if doing so would create a round with 12 or more players.
3.1.6 Tournament Without Final
In a very small tournament, one with fewer than 8 players (i.e., fewer than two tables), the organizer may choose to omit the final round altogether or may choose to run an additional "preliminary" round in place of the final. This decision must be made and announced to all the players prior to the start of the first round. With no final, the results of the preliminary rounds (including the additional preliminary round, if any) are used to determine final standings in the same manner as described in 3.1 above. The no-final rules can be used in conjunction with or without the multi-deck system above, at the organizer's option. A tournament begun under the no-final arrangement cannot admit more players between rounds if doing so would create a round with 8 or more players.
3.2. Pre-Game Procedure
The following steps must be performed in order before each game begins.
- Players shuffle their decks.
- Players present their decks to their predators for additional shuffling and cutting, if desired.
- Each player draws seven cards from his or her library and four cards from his or her crypt.
All shuffling must be done so that the faces of the cards cannot be seen. Regardless of the method used to shuffle, players' decks must be sufficiently randomized. Each time players shuffle their decks (before the game or during the game), they must present their decks to their predator for additional shuffling and/or cutting. At the judge's discretion, players may request to have a judge shuffle their cards rather than pass that duty to their predators. By presenting their decks to their predators, players state that their decks are sufficiently randomized.
After decks are presented and accepted, players who do not consider their opponents' decks to be sufficiently randomized must notify a judge. The head judge has final authority regarding whether a deck has been sufficiently randomized.
Once predators have the opportunity to shuffle and/or cut players' decks, the cards are returned to their original owners. If the predator has shuffled the player's deck, that player may make one final cut.
Players are expected to be in their seats when each round begins. Players arriving at their seats after the round begins may be subject to tardiness penalties. Players who fail to arrive at their seats within 15 minutes of the scheduled start of a round will receive a "Loss" in the round. This section should not be construed to apply in the case of Late Arrivals who were not assigned a seat in a given round (section 3.3.1.).
3.3.1 Late Arrivals
Players arriving for the event after the start of the first round may, at the judge's discretion, be added to the event and may play in subsequent rounds. Such players may begin play at the start of the next round. Players may not be added to games already in progress.
3.3.2 Early Departure
Players leaving ("dropping out of") an event before all of the preliminary rounds are finished must notify the judge as soon as possible. If the judge has already set seating assignments for the round, the judge may treat this as per section 3.1.4 above, at his or her discretion.
3.3.3 In-game Breaks
Players are not premitted to take breaks in the middle of a game without notifying a judge. Players should take any necessary personal breaks between rounds, but if it is necessary to take a break in the middle of a game, a judge should be called first to ensure that the proper amount of time is given to the game (extending the time limit for that table as needed).
3.4. Pre-Game Procedure
At the start of each game, competitors shuffle their decks and present them to their opponents for additional shuffling and/or cutting. Any shuffling of opponents' decks must be done in a timely manner before the game begins. Shuffling requirements specified in section 3.2 apply during these steps.
If the head judge determines that a player uses shuffling as a stalling method, that player will be subject to the appropriate provisions of the V:EKN Penalty Guidelines.
3.5. Conceding Games
Players may concede a game at any time provided all but one of the players agree to concede, and provided it doesn't violate the play to win rule, with the result that game is recorded as if the remaining player had succeeded in ousting the conceding players in sequence. Please note that players who attempt to bribe, coerce, or otherwise improperly induce their opponents to concede will be subject to the appropriate section of the V:EKN Penalty Guidelines.
3.6. Intentional Draw
Players may mutually agree to accept an intentional draw at any time before the game results are submitted. If an offer to intentionally draw is declined, the game must continue as normal without any further coercion to accept the offer. Declaring an intentional draw has the same results for competitors as playing to the time limit (see sec 3.7.2).
3.7. Determining a Game Winner
There are three different types of scoring points in V:TES tournaments:
- Game Wins are awarded to the winner of each game.
- Victory Points are awarded when a player's prey is ousted and when a player survives a round (or as otherwise specified in the game rules or by effects of cards played, but with only a half Victory Point awarded for withdrawal).
- Tournament Points are awarded based on a player's table ranking at the end of a round.
3.7.1. Game Win Scoring
A player receives a Game Win at the end of a game in which they have received at least two (2) Victory Points and have more Victory Points than any other player in the game. (No game win is awarded in the case of ties.)
3.7.2. Victory Point Scoring
A player receives one Victory Point each time his or her prey is ousted during a game (or as otherwise indicated in the V:TES game rules or by cards played during the game).
Unlike the standard rules, however, a player receives only a half Victory Point for withdrawing, not the full Victory Point the normal rules award.
A player receives a half Victory Point if he or she has not been ousted when the time limit is reached, marking the end of the round, unless that player is the last one surviving at the table, in which case (as indicated in the V:TES game rules) the player receives a full Victory Point, as normal.
With all the Victory Points recorded, players are then ranked at their table from first through fifth place. The player with the highest total Victory Points places first, and so on.
3.7.3. Tournament Point Scoring
Five-player table: First place receives 60 Tournament Points, second place receives 48 Tournament Points, third place receives 36 Tournament Points, fourth place receives 24 Tournament Points, and fifth place receives 12 Tournament Points.
Four-player table: Players are ranked first, second, fourth, and fifth - third place is taken by the "table bye" position, an empty position.
If more than one player is tied for a particular table ranking, the tournament points are averaged (see section 3.7.4 - Scoring Examples).
3.7.4. Scoring Examples
Example (five-player table): Players A and C ousted one prey each. Players B and D were ousted by A and C, and did not oust any prey during the game. Player E did not oust any prey, but survived the round (along with A and C).
Therefore, Players A and C each receive one and one-half Victory Points - one Victory Point for ousting one prey, and one-half Victory Point for surviving the round. Player E receives one-half Victory Point for surviving the round. Players B and D receive no Victory Points.
Players A and C tie for first place (first and second) at the table, so each receives 54 Tournament Points ([60 + 48] / 2 = 54). Since they are tied (and since neither scored at least 2 Victory Points), no Game Win is awarded. Player E is clearly in third place, and receives 36 Tournament Points. Players B and D tie for fourth (fourth and fifth) place, and each receives 18 Tournament Points ([24 + 12] /2 = 18).
Example 2 (four-player table): Player A ousts one prey and survives the round. Player B was ousted by Player A. Players C and D did not oust any prey during the game, but both survived the round.
Therefore, Player A receives one and one-half Victory Points - one Victory Point for ousting one prey, and one-half Victory Point for surviving the round. Player B receives no Victory Points, and Players C and D each receive one-half Victory Points for surviving the round.
Player A finishes in first place at the table, and receives 60 Tournament Points. Players C and D tie for second (second and fourth, because third place at the table goes to the "table bye"), and each receive 36 Tournament Points ([48 + 24] / 2 = 36). Player B finishes in fifth place with 12 Tournament Points.
3.7.5. Final Round Scoring
The player with the highest total of Victory Points from the final round only is the tournament winner. In the event of a tie, the players' rankings at the end of the preliminary rounds will be the deciding tiebreaker. The rest of the finalists tie for second, with no additional criteria considered to attempt to break that tie.
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