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Playing in an Event

Finding Your Opponent

Pairings are posted online prior to the start of each round, as well as printed and displayed alphabetically by last name on pairings boards displayed throughout the event hall. Your pairing will include your name, table number, and the name of your opponent. When you find your table, verify that you’re playing the correct opponent.

If you cannot find your name on the pairings, ask a tournament official for assistance.

Time Management

Each player is responsible for being seated at the correct table when the round begins. The time remaining in each round will typically be displayed on a large digital tournament clock or television monitor. You should always assume that the next round will start as soon as the previous round ends and plan accordingly.

If you cannot determine how much time is left in a round, ask a tournament official for assistance. 

Playing a Match

You are responsible for tracking status information including your life total, available mana, energy counters, and poison counters with pen and paper. We also recommend that you track your opponent’s life and counters. Should a discrepancy arise regarding any of these things, a judge is likely to rule in favor of whichever player can provide the most detailed record (MTR, Section 4.1).

Offering your opponent anything in exchange for a concession is considered bribery and is against Wizards of the Coast's official DCI tournament rules (MTR, Section 5.2). Any player found to have offered or accepted a bribe will be issued a Match Loss in the tournament. Players who knowingly break this rule will be disqualified from the event without prize, and further disciplinary action may be taken against them by the DCI (IPG, Section 4.4).

Recording Your Result

In most events, the first player to win two games out of three will win the match. In the Top 8 single-elimination playoff rounds of Invitationals, the first player to win three games out of five will win the match.

At the beginning of each round, each match receives a printed match slip on which to record the match outcome. The completed match slip must be signed by both players and returned to the scorekeeping station onstage.

Your current match points, as well as pairings, are recorded on each match slip. You can also access your match points at Players receive three (3) points for a win, one (1) point for a draw, and zero (0) points for a loss. If at any point in the event you believe your match points are incorrect, notify a tournament official immediately.

If you no longer wish to play in the tournament, you should initial the Drop box on your match slip. If you decide to drop after turning in your match slip, you may do so by adding your name to the drop list at the scorekeeping station for your event. 

Tournament Styles

Swiss Pairings System

Most Star City Games® events are run using the Swiss pairings system, which allows each participant to play in every round of the tournament if they wish to do so. Each round, your pairings are based on your current record, ensuring that your opponent will always have a record similar to your own.

The number of rounds in a Swiss tournament can be based on the total number of players participating in that event or fixed at a pre-determined number of rounds. Typically, at the end of Swiss rounds, a tournament will cut to the top X players, usually eight (8), who will then compete in a single-elimination playoff. Find your event for more information.

In a straight Swiss-style tournament, the tournament is complete once the Swiss rounds are over. For example, all Challenge events are a set number of rounds, regardless of how many players may participate in any individual Challenge event. Prizes are then awarded based on final records.


All on-demand booster drafts are run as single-elimination events, in which players are eliminated from the tournament upon losing a match.


In a Constructed or Draft Turbo event, you will play a single match, and the winner will of that match will receive prizes. Check your event's schedule for information on formats and times.