3. Tournament Mechanics
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. Each finalist shuffles his or her crypt and presents it to the judge for additional shuffling and cutting, if desired. The judge then draws three random cards from each crypt and reveals them: those, as well as the number of cards left in the crypt and who they belong to, are public information until all the players are seated. 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. The revealed crypt cards are shuffled back into their owner's crypt.
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.
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Player 2 chooses to create a space between players 5 and 4 and places his card in that space.
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Player 1 (the highest qualifier) chooses to create a space between players 2 and 4 and places her card in that space.
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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.
2. Tournament Responsibilities
2.1. Event Knowledge Responsibilities
Competitors, judges, and organizers involved in sanctioned tournaments are responsible for knowing and following the most current version of the V:EKN Tournament Rules and any other applicable regulatory documents, including the game rules and official errata.
All new cards and game rules go immediately into effect for V:EKN tournaments. Whenever a ruling is reversed or new errata is issued, the ruling reversal or errata doesn't go into effect for 30 days.
2.2. Tournament Organizer Responsibilities
The tournament organizer for an event is ultimately responsible for all tournament operations and event reporting for the event. The tournament organizer's responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Selecting the site for the event
- Providing all materials to operate the event (product at Sealed Deck events, and so on)
- Retaining all tournament results for one full year after the event's completion
- Reporting to the V:EKN of all event results, including winner, in a timely manner
- Staffing the event with appropriate personnel (including finding an appropriate head judge for the event)
- Advertising the tournament sufficiently in advance of the event date
The tournament organizer may choose to delegate some or all of these responsibilities.
2.3. Player Responsibilities
Players must follow the rules interpretations and guidelines for play set forth by the V:EKN, the head judge, and other tournament officials. Players are expected to behave in a respectful and sportsmanlike manner at all times. Players who argue with the head judge or other tournament officials may be subject to the appropriate provisions of the V:EKN Penalty Guidelines. Players are not permitted to waive penalties on behalf of their opponents. The judge must ensure that the appropriate penalty, if any, is imposed.
2.4. Spectator Responsibilities
A spectator of a game is defined as any person other than a judge or an organizer who is not playing in that game. A player who is ousted from a game is considered a spectator for the remainder of the round. All spectators are expected to remain silent during the course of a game and are not permitted to communicate with players in any way while a game is in progress. Spectators who believe that they have observed rules violations should inform a judge, but they must not interfere with the game. Players have the right to request that any spectator not observe their game. All such requests must be made through a judge, who may grant or deny the request as he or she sees fit. The judge or organizer may choose to prohibit all specatators at any table(s) or round(s) of the tournament.
2.5. Judge Responsibilities
All judges have the responsibility to deliver fair, impartial rulings and to assist the head judge and other tournament officials in any area that is required to ensure a smooth tournament. Judges must take action to resolve any rules infraction (whether a violation of the V:EKN Tournament Rules or the game rules) they notice or that is brought to their attention.
2.6. Head Judge Responsibilities
Officially sanctioned competition requires the physical presence of a head judge during play to adjudicate disputes, interpret rules, assign penalties, and make other official decisions. The head judge may, with the tournament organizer's agreement, appoint any number of other judges to help in the performance of the head judge's duties and to perform other tasks the head judge may require. The head judge is responsible for reporting all warnings issued at the tournament to the V:EKN either directly or through the tournament organizer's event report.
The head judge and the tournament organizer can be, but do not have to be, the same individual. The head judge is the final judicial authority at any V:EKN-sanctioned tournament (see section 2.5 - Judge Responsibilities).
2.7. Appeals to the Head Judge
If players should disagree with a judge's decision, they are free to appeal the ruling to the head judge. The head judge has the right to overrule other judges' decisions. Players may not appeal to the head judge before the judge responding to the situation renders an initial decision. The head judge's decision is final.
2.8. Lengthy Rulings
If a judge uses more than one minute to make a ruling, he or she may extend the game time appropriately. The extra time must be clearly communicated and recorded immediately by the judge.
2.9. Multi-Judge System
The Multi-Judge System may be used at any non-qualifier, non-championship tournament with at least eight participants (i.e., having at least two tables). Organizers choosing this system must announce its use before the tournament begins and identify six judges as head judge, secondary judge, and third, fourth, fifth, and sixth judge. Organizers should use good judgement when selecting the Multi-Judge System and should ensure its use will not disrupt the event. Tournament organizers may only participate in events they sanction if they are using the Multi-Judge System. These types of events are the only ones in which judges and/or tournament organizers are allowed to participate.
When using the Multi-Judge System, the head judge makes all rulings, except when a decision is needed in a game in which the head judge was seated as a player. If a ruling is needed in a head judge's game, the secondary judge makes the call, except in games in which both the head judge and secondary judge were both seated, and so on. The only time the sixth judge makes a ruling is when the head judge, the secondary judge, and the third, fourth, and fifth judges are seated at a game.
1. General V:EKN Tournament Rules
1.1. Player Eligibility
Any player is eligible to participate in an open, non-invitational, V:EKN-sanctioned tournament (for non-open tournaments, see section 9.8) except for the following:
- The tournament organizer of record (unless he or she is participating in an event that uses the Multi-Judge System; see section 2.9);
- The head judge and any other listed judges of record (exception: see section 2.9);
- Players currently suspended by the V:EKN;
- Playtesters of card sets used in the event (until one month after the official release date of those card sets);
- Other players specifically prohibited from participation by V:EKN or White Wolf, Inc. policy.
Any ineligible player participating in a V:EKN-sanctioned tournament will be subject to the Judges' Guide and further V:EKN review.
1.2. Necessary Tournament Materials
Players must bring the following items to a tournament in order to participate:
- A visible and reliable method to maintain and record game information (counters for the Blood Bank, pen and paper to record deck information if required, and so on).
- A valid and unique V:EKN number registered in the participant's name.
Note: New players must register for V:EKN membership at their first tournament. Players may only have one V:EKN number. Tournament organizers must report any player using more than one V:EKN membership number.
- Any materials specifically required for a particular tournament format, as required by the V:EKN Floor Rules or the tournament organizer.
Example: Players need to bring their assembled decks to Constructed tournaments.
Players and tournament officials may not wager, ante, or bet on the outcome of any portion of a tournament.
1.4. Taking Notes
Players are allowed to take written notes of their opponents' decks and activities, so long as doing so doesn't interfere with game play (especially the speed of play).
1.5. Electronic Devices
The head judge or tournament organizer may choose not to allow players to participate with electronic devices (such as cellular phones, pagers, and/or portable audio units) turned on.
1.6. Publishing Event Information
White Wolf, Inc. reserves the right to publish event information such as the contents of any player's deck as well as transcripts or video reproductions of any sanctioned tournament. The tournament organizer is also permitted to publish event information.
1.7. Document Updates
The V:EKN reserves the right to alter these rules as well as the right to interpret, modify, clarify, or otherwise issue official changes to these rules, with or without prior notice.
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