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Tournament Etiquette?

So, have a couple of questions regarding tournament etiquette, and proper proceedings during tournament play. These are mostly policy questions, as opposed to rules questions.

1). Are the workers tied to the colors of starters? Example: I’m playing the red starter deck. Am I required to use the Pirate workers?

Why this is relevant: when you sit down across from your opponent, do you know what starter they are playing based off of their workers? Is that public information?

2). Is number of cards in hand/deck/discard pile public information?

Why this is relevant: tracking cycles, and also ensuring proper codexing (which leads to the next point).

3). What are the penalties for improper game play? If one of us forgets to tech up at the end of the turn, what are the repercussions? What about drawing extra cards?

Why this is relevant: in a tournament, there’s a lot happening, so knowing procedural penalties will come up.

4). In tournament play, is the random resolution method the CHOICE to go first, or does it automatically mean you’re going first (if you win the die roll/coin flip/randomization method)?

Why this is relevant: some decks want to go second. If there’s no choice in the matter, then it’s no use analyzing that detail as thoroughly.

5). When time is called, and it moves to Sudden Death (assuming both bases are tied for HP), what are the exact rules for end of time scenarios? Does it immediately shift to Sudden Death?

Why this is relevant: for players that are predatory, keeping track of time is important. Knowing that time is about to be called (when bases are tied), and dawdling can mean that you can make an incredibly disadvantageous attack, as long as you deal a single point to the base. I want to know if there are going to be policies in place to stop that kind of predatory behavior.

I figure getting policy down leading into FSX Qualifier season could be useful, but more importantly, these are questions to which knowing that the answer exists prevents TO’s from being put on the spot and being forced to make a snap judgement that they shouldn’t be forced into making. Thanks for the help!

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I know little of IR tourneys, so is better to call ppl like @ClanNatioy and @MadKing or @Leontes

I’ll answer to what i can:

  1. imo u can use whatever worker, but remember that each opponent is entitled to know what are u playing in advance. This is actually kinda obvious since u have to put your heroes on the table, the less obvious is that u have to state which hero is the main one, hence the starter deck is known.
  2. yes to all. discard is face down tho, so opponent can know how bloated is your deck, not what u teched.

from 3 onwards i have no idea ?__?

The color of the worker card doesn’t matter, but it’s kind of jerky to use the wrong one. I think it’s public knowledge which is your main hero anyway, so the opponent knows your starting deck.

The number of cards in hand/deck/discard must be public information. It would make no sense to be otherwise.

Penalties for improper play can’t be answered in a paragraph. It takes a human judge to make a subjective decision. As always, a key factor is if the mistake can be undone or not. Saying you built a tech building, then 2 seconds later saying oh wait no you didn’t…is easily undone with no damage to the gamestate. But forgetting to tech then shuffling your deck then drawing and playing…it can’t be be undone. Damaging a gamestate so severely in a way that can’t be undone is usually a game loss. For other kinds of improper play, judges should take into account other factors such as how severe the improper play was, if it’s a first time offense, if it seems accidental or malicious, and so on. It’s important to take action against cheaters so that a culture of cheating doesn’t thrive, but it’s ok to try to cut people slack when it’s an honest mistake that CAN be rolled back with minimal or zero impact.

It’s just simpler if you flip and the winner of the flip goes first rather than choosing first or second.

When time is called, players finish the turn they are on, then take X additional turns. In MtG X = 5, though we can choose a smaller number, and probably should. (This doesn’t mean 5 per player btw, it means total, counting turns from each player.) If no player wins in this time, tie breaker pretty much has to be base HP. We’ve never had to use a tie breaker beyond that, though there was some talk of using total number of ATK on each side of the board in the rare case where you need a tie breaker at that point. In the ultra rare case where all tie breakers fail and you still need a winner, the tie breaker should go to the player who signed up first for the event (same as MtG tournament rules fyi).


I think the second tiebreak after base HP should be that the player who went second wins. That can never be a tie, will rarely come up, and can easily be switched to favor the first player if evidence warrents it (my current tournament statistics show player 1 winning a tiny bit more, well within the margin of error, but for something that will rarely matter, it seems good enough).

Note that if the match is multiple games, then the “base damage” tiebreak is only applied if the number of wins in finished games is tied. For multi-game matches, there is a need for some arbitrary tiebreaker in the event the match finishes at 1-1 (due to game 2 ending in “extra turns”). That could be “start a new game in sudden death mode” - especially if you limit the number of “extra turns.”


Thank you for the information, everyone!

Concerning end of time turns, three seems like a reasonable number, right? Active player when time is called is zero, and with three turns, both players should have a full two turns (with the player that time is called on marking turn zero) to try to create a profitable attack that ends the game.

In the case of a multiple game match, I was under the impression that those only came up during Finals matches. Where those matches aren’t timed. Are all of the elimination rounds best of three? Moreover, what time limit do elimination rounds use?

I’m still trying to figure what times are optimal. I have been of the opinion that a game of Codex should be able to wrap up in 50 minutes (to allow hour rounds) because my own matches have always been that length or shorter. In practice, it has taken a lot longer to resolve a game (see FSX).

The hard part is striking a balance between running a tournament effectively and allowing enough time to actually play the game, especially in terms of 1 day Swiss events. I would LIKE to use Chess clocks with 25 minutes per player (1hr rounds) but maybe we have to do 40 per player (1.5 hr rounds) and extend the tournament length 50% longer.

Also these Swiss rounds pretty much have to be bo1.


Didn’t we finish 4 games in 90 minutes, when we both had familiarity with our deck?

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Tournaments are always about the slowest players. There will be someone who wants to take 10+minutes a turn if you let them.

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I know Chess Clocks are typically shunned, but an easy first tie-break is whoever used less time in the match.


Swiss round is indeed better as bo1. It works good for X-Wing tournaments and a game is 75 minutes (with a 15 minutes inbetween games).

That was my point all along; if you’re heading to a tournament, teching shouldn’t be a tough decision anymore at that point. But shrug


If you’re running a beginner tournament, or a friendly tournament, in order to help promote the game, I could see teching being a tough decision, especially for folks who buy the core set and haven’t seen Blue / Black / White / Purple before. But in that kind of tournament, you probably will be factoring a longer schedule and less games into the structure.

I agree that for a serious-pants tournament, people should probably have a good idea of what they are going to tech, and shouldn’t be freezing themselves in analysis paralysis


Tournament rounds should be 50 minutes long, with 10 minute breaks between rounds. Yes chess clocks should be used, with each player having 25 minutes.

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There’s really no need for between round breaks, the ideal would be to have the next round up the moment the previous round ends.
Possibly there could be a longer lunch break, depending on size and timing.

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Just like in MtG tournaments and in all official Sirlin Games tournaments, rounds are 50 minutes and with 10 minute breaks. It’s unrealistic to make players play for hours and hours with 0 breaks. It’s also poor project management to plan for 0 leeway at all. There must be breaks. 50 minute rounds with 10 minute breaks is tried-and-true for like 10+ years of card game tournaments.


Standard practice at mtg events is zero minute turnaroumd time after the last match finishes. Same for Game of Thrones. Of course, it takes some time to physically post the pairings, but that’s supposed to be as short as possible.

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a) that’s not true, standard is 50 minute rounds with 10 minute breaks.
b) we’ve used these guidelines for all official tournaments for the last 5+ years. We will continue to do so, case closed.


Perhaps we should compare sources of information, rather than tossing contradictions back and forth?
The MTR doesn’t have any mention of additional non-play time during rounds.
Judge discussions, seminars, and posts are all ablut minimizing between round time, with no mention of a scheduled break.
The official tardiness rules state that if a round ends early:
A. The next round can be started immidiately and
B. Players should not be considered late if they arrive before the previous round was scheduled to end (note, not “when the next round was scheduled to begin”)
I camnot recall personally attending a tournament over the last 20 years that had scheduled non-playing time between rounds.

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Being silent on how much time to give between rounds is not the same as giving no time between rounds. The only actual requirement is 40 minutes of playtime per round. TOs are free to extend this as much as they want, as well as include breaks.

Chessclock is usually frowned because it means someone has to pay for them. Also, how does it work? If someone runs out of his 25 minutes he lose?