The First DCI Floor Rules

Posted in Feature on January 1, 2005

By John Carter

Last week we ran a transcript of the original rulebook that came with Magic starter decks, in part for nostalgia reasons but also to show just how far the game has come. For this week, I thought it would be fun to run a transcript of the very first DCI Floor Rules, posted to Usenet all the way back on January 26, 1994. This one's a quicker read, but I'm sure you'll still find plenty of things to smile at.

We've been given the OK to post these, so here it is -- the first version of the Official WotC Tournament Rules. Please note, WotC is not in any way saying that all tournaments must use these rules -- only that the Duelists' Convocation tournaments will use them.

Also, the restricted card list is still being modified.

Finally, I strongly disagree with the "floor rules" that specify all tournaments must be a strict bracket for an exact power of 2 players. I'm trying to get Steve to remove that; it's far too restrictive.

- Beth Moursund
GG-L NetRep of WotC

Duelists' Convocation
Magic the Gathering Tournament rules
Includes releases: Magic the Gathering, Arabian Nights

Deck construction rules:

1. The tournament deck must contain a minimum of 60 cards, total, of all lands, creatures, spells, and artifacts. This helps to insure more variety in play, thus testing the players' skill to a greater degree. In addition to the tournament deck, players may construct a Sideboard of exactly 15 additional cards. Players are not required to use a Sideboard, but if they do it must always contain exactly 15 cards. The use of the Sideboard will be further explained under Floor Rules (rule #5).

2. There may be no more than 4 of any individual card in the tournament deck (including sideboard), with the exception of the 5 basic land types (Plains, Forest, Mountain, Island, Swamp). This rules also expands the variety of spells and creatures that will be encountered during play, as well as the opportunity to utilize more combinations of effects.

3. The Deck Construction Rules also include what is called the Limited List. For each of the cards on the Limited List, no more than 1 may ever be drawn from a player's library, or brought into a game from outside (such as with a Ring of Ma'Ruf) during the course of a duel. If more than 1 is drawn from the library or brought into the game, the second card is called a "Limited List duplicate". As will be explained in the Floor Rules, at the end of every duel, each player will check their opponents graveyard, cards in play, cards left in their hand, and any cards that were "removed entirely from game". If any Limited List duplicates are found in any of these areas, the offending player will immediately forfeit that match. The Limited List serves to limit those cards that, in certain combinations with other cards, create situations that disturb game balance. A further explanation of how this rule is applied can be found under Floor Rules (rule #8). The Limited List may be modified at any time to include future card releases, or at any other time, by the Director of the Duelist's Convocation (see Floor Rules, rule #10). The Limited List is as follows:

Ali from Cairo
Ancestral Recall
Black Lotus
Brain Geyser
Dingus Egg
Gauntlet of Might
Icy Manipulator
Mox Pearl
Mox Emerald
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Mox Jet
Orcish Oriflamme
Rukh Egg
Sol Ring
Time Twister
Time Vault
Time Walk

4. The following cards are banned from official tournament decks:

Contract from Below
Demonic Attorney
Jeweled Bird

The first four cards in the list are not allowed because they clearly state to remove them from your deck if not playing for ante, and ante is not required to be wagered in an official tournament (see Floor Rules, rule #6). Any future cards that make the same statement will subsequently be banned. The last card on the list requires players to play sub-games of Magic; this simply takes too long and holds up the whole tournament.

5. Decks may be constructed from cards from the Limited (black border) series and from the Unlimited (white border) series. Use of cards from any of the expansion sets (i.e. Arabian Nights, etc) are permitted with the Referee's prior consent. Under no circumstances will cards from the Collector's Edition factory sets be permitted in tournament decks. They are easily distinguished from legal play cards by their square corners. Use of Collector's Edition factory set cards in a tournament deck will be interpreted by the Referee as a Declaration of Forfeiture (see Floor Rules, #9).

Floor Rules:

1. Tournaments will use a standard ladder bracket system. Single or double elimination tournaments are both acceptable. A ladder should be prepared with players' names and Duelist Convocation membership numbers clearly printed in their ladder positions. The players should be allowed to view the chart at any time between their matches, at their request.

2. The total number of players in the tournament should be an even factor of two (i.e. 16, 32, 64, etc). This is to avoid the problem of assigning byes during a tournament in which individual rounds will most likely not be concluded simultaneously. Byes can be assigned, however, and if necessary should be used.

3. Tournaments will be presided over by a Referee, who may be assisted by as many Assistant Referees as they may need. A Referee may be required to interpret rules, to terminate an excessively long match, to interpret a Declaration of Forfeiture, or make any other adjudication as necessary during the tournament. The Referee is also responsible for maintaining the ladder chart, and only the Referee is permitted to write on the chart (i.e. listing advancing players on the bracket). Assistant Referees will aid by answering rules questions on the floor and being available to the Referee for any other assistance they may require. Any Referee's decision is final, however in necessary cases, the Referee may overrule any decision made by an Assistant Referee. The decision of the Referee is always final.

4. A duel is one complete game of Magic. A match is defined as the best two out of three duels for standard rounds, and the best three out of five duels for semi-final and final rounds of a tournament. A player may advance in the tournament bracket after successfully winning one match, and reporting this victory to the Referee.

5. Players must use the same deck they begin the tournament with throughout the duration of the tournament. The only deck alteration permitted is through the use of the Sideboard (see Deck Construction Rules, rule #1). If a player intends to use a Sideboard during the course of a match, they must declare to their opponent that they will be using the Sideboard prior to the beginning of that match. Players may exchange cards from their deck for cards from their Sideboard on a one-for-one basis at any time between duels or matches. There are no restrictions on how many cards a player may exchange in this way at any given time. Prior to the beginning of any duel, each player must allow their opponent to count, face down, the number of cards on their Sideboard. If a player's Sideboard does not total exactly 15 cards, the Referee or an Assistant Referee must be consulted to evaluate the situation before the dual can begin. If a player claims that they are not using a Sideboard at the beginning of the match, ignore this counting procedure for that player, but no deck alteration of any kind will be permitted by the Referee for that player for the duration of that match. Any violation of this rule may be interpreted by the Referee as a Declaration of Forfeiture.

6. Players are not required to wager ante during the tournament. Players will remove a "fake ante" from their decks prior to duels, using the same process as real ante. "Fake ante" is not claimed by the winner; instead it is returned to the owner's deck at the conclusion of the duel. Players may play for real ante, providing that both participants in the match give their consent.

7. Players may not have any outside assistance (i.e. coaching) during a match. Players in violation will receive one warning; any further infractions will be interpreted by the Referee as a Declaration of Forfeiture.

8. At the conclusion of every duel, each player must show the remaining cards in their hand to their opponent to verify that no Limited List duplicate cards appear there (i.e., prove that a second Orcish Oriflamme wasn't drawn from their library). Players may then check their opponents graveyards, playing fields, and areas where players have stored cards that have been "removed entirely from play" during the duel in order to assess that no Limited List duplicates appear in any of those areas. Once this has been accomplished to both player's satisfaction, the duel can be considered officially finished, with a winner declared. If there are any disagreements between the players, the Referee must be consulted to officially close the duel and declare a winner. If Limited List duplicates are found, the Referee will enforce the forfeiture of the match by the offending player (see Deck Construction Rules, rule #3). Note: it is possible for both players to forfeit the match in this fashion, in which case they will both be removed from the tournament bracket.

9. Failure to adhere to the above rules, or any other rules specific to a particular tournament, may be interpreted by the Referee as a Declaration of Forfeiture. This is a more pleasant way of stating that if a player cheats, the Referee will remove them from the tournament.

10. Rules note: The Director of the Duelists' Convocation reserves the exclusive right to add, delete, alter, transmute, polymorph, switch, color-lace, sleight of mind, magical hack, or in any other way changes these rules, whole or in part, with or without notice, at any time that it is deemed necessary or desirable. This right is non-negotiable.

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