With the first YCS (Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series) event in the UK fast approaching I thought it might be a good idea to take a little break from the Weiss Schwarz articles. So today I’ll be presenting some of my thoughts on preparing for the event, both for players and for judges. Due to length I’ve split things into general advice, and advice related specifically to actually playing. I’ll be starting with the former.
1. Food and drink
This will be very important for both players and judges to pay attention to. Whilst it is possible to go through the day of a large event on very little sustenance (as I found out in Euros 2008) you will probably be left worse for wear by the end of it. By making sure you eat and especially drink you can keep your mind working properly, which can be especially important for players, where one wrong decision can make the difference between winning and losing. You also want to try and avoid collapsing during an event if possible.
What you do outside of the event is up to your own discretion but there are a few things to bear in mind. You can be removed from a venue for being intoxicated, so please try not to arrive at an event still drunk, unless you’re good at hiding it. For players turning up hungover is fine, although it might negatively impact your performance. Judges on the other hand should never arrive at an event hungover. You are meant to be a representative of Konami and should not be giving the general public a negative impression.
You will have a long day or weekend surrounded by other people (let’s be honest, mostly guys) and maintaining at least some level of personal hygiene would be of great help. No one wants to be stuck in a room all weekend with several hundred to a thousand smelly, sweaty guys. Admittedly sometimes there’s not much you can do if it’s a long day and it’s been 12 hours since you last had any chance to wash, but you could at least make sure you do this before coming to the venue. This is doubly true for Judges who must make themselves presentable as representatives of Konami.
This might seem obvious, but try to get enough sleep over the weekend. Different people can function on different amounts of sleep and you should know what your limits are. It’ll also put you in a much better mood during the day. This is more important for judges, since their failures can reflect badly on the entire event, whereas a player performing badly will only disappoint themselves and maybe their friends.
Check that you’ve written yours correctly. Check the names and amounts are correct, and that the deck and decklist match and are both legal.
Do not use ambiguous abbreviations. Noting something like BW=Blackwing on your list then using BW throughout should be okay, but please check with the Head Judge to be certain. Using abbreviations such as Stardust is not okay, since there are several possible cards with Stardust in the name. Most people will probably mean Stardust Dragon, but who’s to say someone won’t mean Stardust Shimmer?
If you can’t fit everything in one row/column continue to the next row/column as long as you make it clear that you are doing so.
It is okay to write/print them out in advance, and you do not have to use the official Konami ones. However please make sure your decklist is legible. It makes deck checks rather difficult if judges can’t read your list.
Finally remember to put your name down. There’s always one person who forgets.
6. Know how your cards work and how popular cards work
This is probably obvious to most players but it helps to actually know how your cards work in advance of the event. This will no doubt help you win games, and will also lead to less disputes over how cards work. It also helps to know how the currently popular cards work, for exactly the same reasons. For judges it of course helps to know all this stuff too, so that rules disputes can be settled quickly.
Neither players nor judges can be expected to know everything about all cards. The judges are there to aid the players when they’re not sure, and the judges go to the Head Judge or rules documentation/resources when they’re not sure.
There are a few things players should be doing more often with regards to this, but judges can also be lacking in this respect too.
If you are unsure of how something resolves /works or disagree with your opponent over an issue please call a judge to try and get the situation resolved. Players should not be reluctant to do this. Several times I have spoken to players at events who have been concerned their opponent has been making plays that are illegal, but have been afraid of being accused of Rulesharking, so never called a judge over. Wanting to check the game is being played correctly is not Rulesharking, and if you’re unsure of something you should always call a judge over.
It is a judge’s responsibility to answer rules questions, solve disputes and resolve unclear situations, it is not their place to make plays for one of the players. They can say if plays are legal and how cards and game mechanics function, but they should not be coaching the players. If players wish to ask a rules question it must be public knowledge, and both players should be aware of the question and answer given.
Asking “Can I use card X?” is a bad question, because it likely isn’t what you actually want to know. What you often actually mean is “How will this situation resolve?”, which isn’t really the sort of question a judge should be answering, since it will influence the player’s choice. Often the answer to “Can I use card X?” will be “Yes”, since it’s not an illegal move, but it often won’t work in the way the player hoped it might, which can leave the player frustrated.
Different people disagree over good judging practice, but personally I feel it is better to try and explain to the players how certain cards and mechanics function, so they can try and deduce for themselves how a situation resolves, and learn for next time. As opposed to just thinking it worked some way because a judge said so. Often it is sensible for a judge to stick around to see how things actually play out, because it’s likely the players will also want a check that something has been resolved correctly.
Judges should provide players with enough information to make legal plays, they should not be helping them with what would be a good or a bad play.
When giving a ruling judges should always try and explain the ruling, since it will teach the players and leave them more satisfied with the response.
Players always have the right to appeal. Players should remember this, and judges should remind players of this fact. If you disagree with the judge, appeal and get a ruling from the Head Judge. Sometimes you’ll be wrong, sometimes you’ll be right, sometimes you’ll be both wrong. It’s better to know there and then, than complain about it on the internet after the fact.
Players have the right to translation of a card into their own language, which judges can provide. If translation is required for a ruling, the translator should only be there to provide translation. Any conversation between a player and a translator should be conveyed to the other player and the judge answering the rules question. All information should be provided to both players and judges should remember this fact. If the judges are not doing their job properly the players should remind them of this fact, or report them to the higher ups. A judge should not be giving a player preferential treatment because they share a language.
10. Beware Thieves
Unfortunately these sorts of events attract thieves, so you must always keep a close eye on your belongings, and report any incidents to the Konami staff or the judge team.
This is one of the most important things to bear in mind whilst playing. At all times be clear what you are doing and try to make sure your opponent is too. Many arguments are the result of the players not communicating properly.
Often players can get by with shortcuts whilst playing to speed things up, but this is the usual source of conflict.
Remember to check if your opponent has a response to your actions and make sure they give you the same courtesy. This helps avoid arguments over whether one of you was rushing and not allowing the opponent to respond, or at least makes them easier to resolve.
Declare all your attacks in order and ask the same of your opponent. Pushing all your monsters forwards at once is not attacking. This helps avoid conflicts with regards to Gorz or Tragoedia, where a player will try to gain advantage through sloppy play.
If you do not share a common language you can try to devise some kind of system for indicating these things, with hand gestures etc.
12. Life points
Please remember to record both players lifepoints on paper, and make sure both players are doing this. Feel free to use a calculator to work things out if you’re not great at maths, but don’t use it as the only means of keeping record. If there is a dispute over lifepoints it becomes much easier to resolve if there are two records there. Sometimes it’s as simple as one player taking lifepoints off the wrong player. If you haven’t been recording lifepoints don’t expect to be believed if you say the opponent has been keeping them wrong.
13. Bring supplies
You will need pen/pencil and paper and should not expect to be provided with them. If you need dice or coins to resolve your effects please bring them. You’ll probably also need tokens during games. You may need to change sleeves during the tournament, so it helps to bring extra copies with you. Finally make sure to bring enough extra money with you in case of emergencies/ needing to buy some of the previously mentioned supplies.
In the next part we’ll be looking at some matters with regards to how Yu-Gi-Oh! and its cards work, which can be useful to know.