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A violation of tournament policy is called an "infraction."

If a player commits an infraction, a judge must apply the appropriate penalty. Because there are degrees of infractions with different levels of impact on the event, there are corresponding degrees of severity for penalties. The different categories of infractions can have different penalties administered, depending on severity of the infraction.

Judges must follow the guidelines listed below, and not create or implement new infractions.

A. Severity

Infraction Description
Minor This sub-category will be penalized with a Warning
Major This sub-category will be penalized with a Game Loss
Strict This sub-category will be penalized with a Match Loss
Severe This sub-category will be penalized with a Disqualification
Cheating This sub-category will be penalized with a Disqualification

B. Procedural Error (PE)

This category covers infractions involving general procedural errors a player might commit during the course of a game. There are 3 sub-categories for Procedural Error: Minor, Major, and Strict; which indicate the severity of the infraction.

1. PE – Minor: (Caution)

This penalty is only to be used at Tier 1 events. It does not apply at Regional Qualifiers, Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series tournaments, and other Tier 2 events, with the exception of the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship.
The intent of the “Caution” is to educate newer players, and may be given for initial infractions, before giving a “Warning” penalty. The player should receive an explanation of the problem, the problem should be fixed, but there is no need to record the penalty on the Match Result Slip.
Judges should exchange information among themselves on “Cautions” they have issued. This should be done to keep track of the number and type of Cautions each player has received over the course of the event, both to better educate the player or upgrade the penalty if needed.

2. PE – Minor: (Warning)

This penalty is appropriate for minor infractions where the problem can be easily corrected.
Examples Both players forget to resolve a Mandatory Effect, and the game state is repairable by a judge. Since both players are responsible, they each receive a Warning.
A player attempts to Summon a monster while an effect prohibits him from doing so.
A player accidentally changes the order of the cards in her Graveyard.
A player shifts the position of a card on his field when he has not been directed to do so by a card effect or game mechanic.
A player rushes from his Main Phase 1 straight into declaring an attack with his Monster without notifying his opponent that he is changing Phases and giving his opponent the opportunity to respond to the changing of Phases.
Players are not keeping a paper record of their Life Points.
A player Normal Summons a monster and then attempts to retract the move.
A player does not fully reveal a card that was retrieved from her Deck, Graveyard, etc. via an effect that searches for a card.

3. PE – Major: (Game Loss)

This penalty is appropriate for major infractions that cause an irreversible disruption to the current game. The game is beyond repair, so the penalty must be significant.
Examples A player shuffles his hand into his Deck by accident.
A player forgets to pay a maintenance cost and doesn’t catch it until a few turns later, after they realize they should have run out of Life Points during a previous turn.
A player forgets to discard down to the legal hand limit at the end of his turn. During his opponent's turn he plays a card that draws a card. There is no way to know which cards the player had in his hand prior to drawing the card. This is not a missed mandatory effect but a mandatory game mechanic. This action is irreparable, and it is appropriate to give the player a Game Loss.

4. PE –Strict: (Match Loss)

This penalty is appropriate for infractions that cause a player to be unable to finish the current match.
Examples A player spills water on their Deck and damages their cards, which makes it impossible to finish the current Match.
A player loses their Deck in between Matches and does not notify the scorekeeper until after the round has already been paired.

C. Tardiness (T)

This category covers infractions that prevent a player from beginning their match within the specified timeframe allowed by the tournament. There are 2 sub-categories for Tardiness: Major and Strict; which indicate the severity of the infraction.

Tardiness penalties should never be upgraded after repeat infractions.

1. T – Major: (Game Loss)

This penalty is appropriate when a player is not in their seat after three minutes has passed from the beginning of the round. A player must be in their seat and ready to begin the round within this three-minute window.
Examples A player is not in his seat within three minutes into the round.
A player sat at the wrong table and played the wrong opponent, and the mistake was caught after the three minute mark in the round, but before the 10 minute mark.
A player fails to build and/or register his Deck within the allotted time frame during a Sealed pack event.

2. T – Strict: (Match Loss)

This penalty is appropriate when a player is not in their seat after 10 minutes has passed since the beginning of the round. A player should be in their seat and ready to begin the round at this time.
Examples A player is not in his seat within 10 minutes into the round.
A player sat at the wrong table and played the wrong opponent, and the mistake was caught after the 10 minute mark in the round.

D. Deck and Deck List Errors (DE)

This category covers infractions associated with registering incorrect contents on a Deck List, or playing with an illegal Deck. If an error is caught prior to the start of the first round, it is acceptable (at the Head Judge’s discretion) to correct the player’s Deck List without applying a penalty. There are 2 sub-categories for Deck Error: Minor and Major; which indicate the severity of the infraction.

1. DE – Minor: (Warning)

This penalty is appropriate when a player realizes they have an illegal Deck or Deck List and brings it to the attention of tournament staff before the tournament begins. This penalty is also appropriate if a Deck List content needs to be confirmed.
Examples A player accidentally marks two copies of a Limited card on her Deck List and brings it up to a tournament official prior to Round 1.
A player has 39 cards in his Main Deck and brings it up to a tournament official prior to Round 1, and is able to add another tournament legal card to bring the total to 40 before the round begins.
A player arrives at his Match and prior to presenting his Deck to his opponent to randomize, realizes he forgot to remove Side Deck cards from the previous Match. The player must restore the Deck within the three-minute window, or risk an additional penalty for Tardiness.
A player has accidentally shuffled an Extra Deck card into his Main Deck, and draws it from his Deck during a game. He should show the Extra Deck card to his opponent and a judge, return the Extra Deck card to his Extra Deck, and draw a new card.
A player’s handwriting is impossible to read, and a judge is obligated to clarify the name of a card or cards by checking with the player.
A player is playing with a legal foreign language version of a card but does not have a translation kept outside of her Deck.
A player unintentionally registers a card incorrectly during Sealed pack play and the error is caught during Deck construction. The player that registered the card pool should receive a Warning.
A player unintentionally enters an event with a card that is determined to be counterfeit. The player should be allowed to replace the card with an actual version of the card and receive a Warning.

2. DE – Major: (Game Loss)

This penalty is appropriate if a player registers an illegal Deck List, has an illegal Deck, or the Deck List does not match the contents of the Deck and the player does not catch the errors before Round 1 begins.
If the player has registered a legal Deck List but the Deck is illegal and/or does not match the Deck List, the Deck List takes priority over the contents of the Deck. In this case, the Deck should be fixed to match the Deck List.
It is the player’s responsibility to obtain any cards needed to match the Deck to the Deck List before continuing game play. If the player does not have access to the necessary cards the player may add only enough cards to the Deck from the Side Deck to make the Deck legal, then correct the Deck List. If the player is not using a Side Deck, and cannot make the Deck match the Deck list, the player cannot continue in the tournament and should be dropped from the event.
If a player registers the wrong card name in the Deck List, and the card written is an Official Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG card, then the Deck List is still legal. The Deck is illegal and should be fixed to match the Deck List. If the player does not have access to the listed card or is unable to use the card in that portion of the Deck (Synchro Monster listed in Main Deck, etc [sic]), then if the Main Deck total is still legal, fix the Deck List. If the Main Deck total is illegal, the player must use cards from his/her Side Deck to make the Main Deck legal. If the player is not using a Side Deck, and cannot obtain the necessary card(s), the player cannot continue in the tournament and should be dropped from the event.
If finding the necessary cards makes the player tardy for the Match, the appropriate Tardiness penalties apply in addition to the Deck Error Game Loss.
If the player has registered an illegal Deck List but the Deck is legal, a judge should ensure the player fixes the Deck List to match the Deck.
If a player registers the wrong card name on the Deck List, and the card written is an Official Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Card, but the card is a Forbidden card, than [sic] the Deck List is illegal. If the Deck is legal, the Deck List should be fixed to match the Deck.
If the player has registered both an illegal Deck List and Deck, a judge should ensure the player fixes the Deck first by removing all illegal cards from the Deck (Forbidden Cards, OCG Cards, extra copies of Limited/Semi-Limited cards, etc [sic]) and then fix the Deck List to match the Deck. If removing the illegal copies makes it so the Deck is still legal, no additional cards may be added to replace the illegal cards and the player must correct the Deck List. If removing the illegal copies makes the Deck illegal, the player may add only enough cards to the Deck from the Side Deck to make the Deck legal, then correct the Deck List. Cards may not be added to the Side Deck to replace the transferred cards. If the player is not using a Side Deck, and cannot make a legal Deck, the player cannot continue in the tournament and should be dropped from the event.
If a Deck Check has already been performed in which the Deck List has been verified as legal, the Deck List cannot be changed. In this case, if the Deck does not match the Deck List, a judge should ensure the player fixes the Deck to match the Deck List.
Examples If both the Deck List and the Deck are legal but do not match, a judge should ensure the player fixes the Deck to match the Deck List.
A player has 41 cards listed in his Deck List and has 41 cards in his Main Deck. The player lists Sangan, a Limited card, three times on the Deck List. He also has all three copies in his Main Deck. The two illegal copies of Sangan should be removed from the Deck. Since the player now has an illegal Deck (39 cards), he must choose one card from his Side Deck and add it to his Main Deck. The Deck List should be fixed to match the Deck.
A player has 42 cards listed in his Deck List and has 42 cards in his Main Deck. The player lists Sangan, a Limited card, three times on the Deck List. He also has all three copies in his Main Deck. The two illegal copies of Sangan should be removed from the Deck. Since the player still has a legal Deck (40 cards), he may not modify his Deck. The Deck List should be fixed to match the Deck.
A player has 39 cards in her Main Deck. The player will add a card to the Main Deck from the Side Deck. The Deck List should be fixed to match the Deck.
A player forgets to remove Side Deck cards from his Deck in between rounds, and the error is caught after the Deck has been presented to his opponent for randomization.
A player registers “Bottomless”, “Mirror”, “Stardust”, etc [sic], on her Deck List. The Deck List should be fixed.
A player registers Black Luster Soldier in her Deck List. Upon verification, the player is playing Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. If Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning is not on the forbidden list, and it is an actual card in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, the Deck should be fixed to match the Deck List – the player must play with Black Luster Soldier, the card named on the Deck List.

E. Drawing Extra Cards (DC)

This category covers infractions associated with drawing cards from the Deck outside of when a player is allowed to do so. There are 2 sub-categories for Drawing Extra Cards: Minor and Major; which indicate the severity of the infraction.

1. DC – Minor: (Warning)

This penalty is appropriate when a player has drawn cards from their Deck when not allowed to do so, and the cards can be clearly identified by both players or logically identified by a judge. This penalty also applies to situations in which cards are accidentally revealed. The cards should be shown to both players and then returned to their original areas, in their original order.
Examples A player accidentally draws a card when not allowed to do so but does not add the card to her hand.
A player accidentally draws a card and adds it to his hand. A judge is able to logically identify which card was drawn due to effects that have already been played.
A player accidentally knocks over cards from the top of her Deck.

2. DC – Major: (Game Loss)

This penalty is appropriate when a player has unintentionally drawn cards from their Deck when not allowed to do so, and the cards cannot be clearly identified by both players or logically identified by a judge. Drawing extra cards when not allowed to do so damages the game state and must carry a heavier penalty. A judge should always attempt to recreate the situation to logically determine which card(s) were drawn. If the judge and/or both players are not completely sure which card(s) were drawn, this penalty applies.
Examples A player accidentally draws an extra card via an effect and adds it to her hand, with no way to correctly identify which card was added.
A player resolves an effect that searches for a card, selects a card from his Deck, and then adds it to his hand without revealing the card to the opponent. Neither the opponent or a Judge is able to positively identify the card that was added to the hand.

F. Marked Cards (MC)

This category covers infractions involving Marked Cards and/or sleeves. A card or sleeve is considered to be “marked” if it can be distinguished from the other cards contained in a Deck. It is a player’s responsibility to maintain un-marked cards and sleeves throughout the duration of an event. There are 2 sub-categories for Marked Cards: Minor and Major; which indicate the severity of the infraction.

1. MC –Minor: (Warning)

This penalty is appropriate when a player has minor markings on one or very few cards in their Deck that show no significant pattern. If the markings are on the sleeves, the player should be required to change the sleeves so that the entire Deck matches. If the cards themselves are marked, the player must replace the cards. It is appropriate for a judge to allow a player to change the sleeves in between rounds as to not hold up the current match. It is important for judges to understand that a pattern should not be presumed merely because the card(s) marked are “good” cards.
Examples A player has two random sleeves in his Deck with minor wear and tear, [sic]The two cards in the sleeves bear no pattern.
A player has three cards in his Deck with minor bends that can be noticed through the sleeves. The three cards bear no pattern.

2. MC –Major: (Game Loss)

This penalty is appropriate when a player has a significant number of cards marked and a judge notices a pattern. This penalty should be applied if the Head Judge determines that the pattern is unintentional. Although this infraction assumes the marking is unintentional, any markings on a card or sleeve can give a significant advantage to a player, so it carries a heavier penalty. It is very important for a Head Judge to investigate further to make sure the markings are not intentional.
If a player is assessed a MC – Major penalty, they will have 10 minutes to change the marked sleeves and/or cards before they can continue playing. If they are not able to change their sleeves within 10 minutes, they will be given a Tardiness – Strict (Match Loss) penalty.
Examples A player has 12 sleeves with what seems to be wear and tear on the top left corner. The marking is on eight of the 12 Spell Cards the player is playing in his Main Deck. The Head Judge determines the markings were made accidentally due to the way the player holds his cards.
A player has 14 normally-sleeved cards turned upside down in his Deck during a mid-round Deck Check, ten of which are Monster Cards. The Head Judge determines these cards made up the player’s Graveyard during the previous Game, and the player unintentionally shuffled them back in the wrong direction.
A player has 3 cards with additional wear and tear on the top left corner. The marking is the only three Trap Cards the player is playing in his Main Deck. The Head Judge determines the markings were made accidentally based on how the player handles his face-down Spell/Trap Cards.
A player is playing with cards that have been altered from their original manufactured state. The markings make it so that the player/Judge is unable to determine which card it is at first glance or the rarity has been altered from how it was manufactured by Konami. The player should receive a Game Loss for Marked Cards and is required to appropriately replace the card(s) in question.

G. Slow Play (SP)

This category covers infractions associated with the pace of a player’s game. Players are expected to play at a reasonable speed, regardless of the complexity of the game situation, and should not waste time during a Game. Slow Play infractions are always administered a Warning at first, and then upgraded as appropriate if the infraction is repeated. Slow play is presumed to be unintentional.

1. SP –Minor: (Warning)

This penalty is appropriate when a player unintentionally plays slowly, causing a minor delay in the Game. It is a player’s responsibility to play at a reasonable pace, regardless of how complex a situation may be.
A time extension of at least three minutes should be given following a Slow Play warning.
Slow play infractions that continue throughout an event should be upgraded.
Examples A player is excessively slow while searching his Deck with an appropriate effect.
A player constantly requests to see her opponent’s Graveyard, or constantly requests a hand count during a given turn.
A player takes longer than the 3 minutes allowed to access his Side Deck in between games of a Match.
A player arrives at his table after three minutes have passed in the round, then takes an additional length of time to roll out his Game Mat, rummage for his Deck, or otherwise get set up for the game. The Slow Play penalty should be given in addition to the Tardiness penalty.

H. Unsporting Conduct (UC)

This category covers infractions associated with inappropriate behavior from a player during an event. Unsporting Conduct infractions are considered to be intentional. It is important for players to understand what kinds of behavior are not appropriate at an event, and for judges to use common sense when investigating the infraction and administering a penalty. While Konami encourages players to have fun at an event, they are expected to withhold from engaging in behavior that may be offensive or that may ruin the integrity of the event. There are 4 sub-categories for Unsporting Conduct: Minor, Major, Severe, and Cheating; which indicate the severity of the infraction.

1. UC –Minor: (Warning)

This penalty is appropriate when a player commits a minor intentional infraction.
Examples A player leaves trash behind on his table after a Match.
A player eats or drinks at a table during a Match.
A player swears or uses inappropriate or offensive gestures during a tournament.
A player insults a player, spectator, or tournament official.
A player fails to follow the instructions of a tournament official.
A player attempts to “rule-shark” his opponent (tries to use the rules to give him an advantage, instead of to support a fair and consistent tournament).
A person at an event is wearing offensive clothing, or has an offensive image on his Game Mat, etc. The player must remove or cover up the offensive article or risk a penalty upgrade.
A player makes a deliberately unfair trade with a less experienced player.
A player violates the buying/selling policy at a venue. In addition to the Unsporting Conduct penalty, the player may be required to leave the venue.

2. UC –Major: (Game Loss)

This penalty is appropriate when a player commits a major intentional infraction.
Examples A player uses profanity towards a tournament official.
A player makes a racial or sexual slur against another player, spectator, or tournament official.
A player throws over a chair in anger after losing a Match.
A player refuses to sign or rips up a Match Result Slip.

3. UC –Severe: (Disqualification)

This penalty is appropriate when a player commits a severe intentional infraction. The Head Judge must collect statements from the player and all parties involved describing in detail the incident leading to the penalty.
Examples A player writes on or otherwise damages or defaces tournament or venue property.
A player physically or verbally assaults or threatens another individual.
A player steals while on tournament site.
A player attends an event while intoxicated or under the influence of any substance.

4. UC—Cheating: (Disqualification)

This penalty is appropriate when a player is caught cheating at an event. This is the most severe penalty a Head Judge can give. KDE shows no tolerance towards cheating and takes this infraction very seriously. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, intentionally misrepresenting the game state, rules, or tournament polices. It also includes reporting inaccurate information or lying to tournament officials. Bribery and collusion are considered to be cheating.
Examples A player or players agree to intentionally Draw a Match.
A player intentionally draws an extra card from his Deck while his opponent is not looking.
A player intentionally conceals part of her Field in an attempt to influence the opponent’s game play decisions.
A player intentionally withholds information on how a card works to trick the opponent into revealing additional information, in order to gain an unfair advantage.
A player deliberately lies to a judge or tournament official.
A player intentionally marks a card or cards in their Deck.
A player offers their opponent cash, booster packs, or any compensation in exchange for the win.
A player accepts a bribe in exchange for a concession, deliberately losing a Match, falsifying a Match Result Slip, misrepresenting the game state, etc.
A spectator deliberately sends signals to a player during a Match, to convey information about the opponent’s cards. Judges will need to investigate before deciding if the player to whom the signal is sent is also cheating.
A player deliberately enters a tournament using a name or ID number that is not their own.
A player falsifies a Match Result Slip.
A player alters the results of the Match after the Match has officially concluded.
A player adds or removes cards to/from their Sealed pack card pool during Sealed play.

A person who is not currently enrolled in a tournament is not exempt from the Disqualification penalty. If the infraction warrants a Disqualification, the Head Judge may opt to enroll that player specifically for the purposes of Disqualification – this is useful if a severe infraction is committed by a spectator or someone else who was not originally enrolled in the tournament. A player who has already dropped may also be reinserted into the tournament, in order to be disqualified.

Click here to return to Tournament Penalty Guidelines.

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