Investigation Procedure

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A. Determining an Infraction

Any judge call which lasts longer than 1 minute requires that the Match be given an appropriate time extension, so a judge should take note of the time as they answer a call.

Time extensions should only be given for actual time lost during a round.

Examples A Judge approaches a Match with 3 minutes left in the Round. The players decide to appeal the ruling to the Head Judge. The total length of the appeal time was 7 minutes. The players should only be given a 3 minute time extension as that was the time lost during the round.
A Judge approaches a Match during End of Match procedures. The issue is resolved in 3 minutes. No time extensions should be given as no time is lost during the round as End of Match procedures are not timed.

A judge should never “reverse engineer” a penalty, by applying the penalty first and then determining the infraction.

A judge must first investigate, then determine the infraction, and only then apply the penalty.

Both players should explain what happened, and answer truthfully any questions the judge may have. The judge will examine the situation, and determine if an infraction has occurred. If so, the judge will then explain the infraction. If no infraction has occurred, the judge will quickly explain why.

Investigations are conducted in private. Some infractions, depending upon severity, might also be explained in private to the player committing the infraction. Not every situation that occurs is appropriate for public knowledge; so the judge’s decision to address the matter in private should be respected by opponents, spectators, uninvolved judges and tournament officials, etc. The Head Judge’s decision is final.

Just like questions about card rulings, players have the right to appeal to the Head Judge when they are involved in a tournament policy issue. The Head Judge’s decision is final.

A player may not appeal a floor judge’s ruling until the floor judge has completed issuing the ruling. Failure to do so may result in Unsporting Conduct penalties.

B. Applying the Penalty

Once an infraction has been identified, the judge will ask the player if they have received any other penalties for this same infraction during the course of the tournament. This helps the judge determine if a penalty might have to be upgraded. Players are expected to answer this question honestly – lying to a tournament official is against tournament policy. If it is a repeat infraction, the judge will notify the Head Judge prior to applying a penalty, as the Head Judge might wish to upgrade it. If this is a first time infraction, the judge will briefly educate the player concerning the infraction and then apply the penalty. The judge will then allow the players to continue play.

If the call took longer than a minute, the judge will note the appropriate time extension on the bottom left of the front of the Match Result Slip.

The judge will take the Match Result Slip from the table, and fill out the reverse side of the Match Result Slip with the penalty information. The information should be written as follows:

[Player’s full name] – [Konami Player ID] – [Infraction] – [Penalty given] – [Brief description of infraction] – [Judge’s full name]

The judge will then return the slip to the Match.

Judges should give written warnings as opposed to verbal warnings. Verbal warnings cannot be tracked, and do not allow the judges to determine if a player is repeating an infraction. Players are also less likely to take a verbal warning seriously, which undermines the point of the penalty.

C. Reporting Penalties

All penalties issued by a judge must be reported to the Head Judge and the Scorekeeper, usually by filling out the appropriate information on the reverse side of the player’s Match Result Slip. Scorekeepers will enter the details of the penalty in the official Konami Tournament Software so that it may be tracked throughout the course of an event. Konami reserves the right to contact a player who has accumulated an excessive amount of penalties for further investigation. In addition, Konami reserves the right to pursue further actions – such as suspensions from Sanctioned Konami events – based on continued infractions.

D. Game State

Whether or not a game state can be repaired can mean the difference between a Warning and a Game Loss. If both players can provide clear information and a judge can determine a way to fix or rewind the game state, the game should be repaired as far as possible and play should resume. A Game Loss is not an appropriate penalty for a repairable game state, unless as an upgrade from previous infractions.

An irreparable game state should never result in a double Game Loss, except as an upgrade. If both players share fault in a single game state error that merits a Game Loss, determine which player is most at fault, and award that player with the Game Loss. The player less at fault should receive a Warning.
An irreparable game state should never result in restarting a Duel or Match.

Irreparable Game States

Examples A player returns a face-down monster to her Deck to Special Summon Gladiator Beast Heraklinos from her Extra Deck, without revealing it to their opponent. There is no way to tell if the face-down card was a “Gladiator Beast” Monster, so the action is irreparable. It is appropriate to give the player a Game Loss.
A player forgets to discard down to the legal hand limit at the end of his turn. During their 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.

Repairable Game States

Examples A player shuffles his hand with his Deck. However, he had revealed his hand to the opponent earlier in the turn, and has not drawn or played any additional cards. Both the player and the opponent can clearly remember the contents of the player’s hand. It is appropriate for the player to restore his hand, reshuffle his deck, and continue play with a Warning.
Neither player has been keeping track of Life Points on paper for the current Game and there is a disagreement about the Life Point totals. The players, with the aid of a judge, should reconstruct the game from the cards that have been played, and either reach an agreement or accept the judge’s decision on the totals. Both players should receive a Warning and be allowed to continue play.
A player activates an effect to search for a card without a legal target in her Deck. After the player is unable to resolve the search effect, the Deck is shuffled, the player should receive a Warning, and be allowed to continue play.
A player forgets to resolve a mandatory effect and the error is not caught until a few game plays later. After investigation, the Head Judge determines the infraction was unintentional. Both players should receive a Warning as it is both players’ responsibility to maintain the correct Game State, and game play should continue from that point.

Click here to return to Tournament Penalty Guidelines.

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