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GamesNet is implementing two new policy changes at its upcoming tournaments.  These changes are aimed to make tournaments more enjoyable to players and to bring us in line with international standards and requirements for Pro-level Magic events.

  1. Modified Double-Elimination at All Tournaments
  2. Rare Selection Process for Draft Tournaments

Keep reading for the full details.

1.  Modified Double-Elimination at All Tournaments

At upcoming Pro-level events, the single-elimination portion (usually at the end after a cut to the top 4, 8, or 16 players) is being changed to a modified double-elimination system.  This change makes it less likely that a one-time problem will have a disastrous effect in the finals.

For example, if you were to lose one match due to mana-screw in a single-elimination final, you'd be out of the tournament.  In a double-elimination system, you'd have a second chance.  You are eliminated from the tournament only after your second match loss. 

Since we run most of our events using a computer, the pairings and other details are handled automatically.  The only direct effect on the players in the top 4 (or whatever is selected for that tournament) is that they will play one extra match.

The reason for this switch is that upcoming premier events such as Nationals are scheduled to use double-elimination rather than the traditional single-elimination.  We want our players to get as much practice as possible using the new format before this major event.

2.  Rare Selection Process for Draft Tournaments

Some of our players have been worried that their playing skills are being affected by their (understandable) desire to draft high-value but low-playability cards.  In order to make it easier for players to focus on the game and not the card value, we are instituting a new procedure for selecting rares.  This new procedure (called a "rare prize pick draft") has been implemented at tournaments all over the world as a simple and effective solution that allows players to concentrate on the essentials of good play.

The core of the new system is that players do not get to keep the rares and foils that they draft.  In other words, any rares or foils that you draft during the tournament are not yours to keep.  Instead, at the end of the tournament, all the rares and foils are pooled and players  make their selections in finishing order.

Here is how this procedure will work.  Once the tournament is over or you drop or are eliminated, you hand your rares back in to the tournament organizer (TO).  Then, all the players and the TO gather around one table.  The rares are then shuffled randomly and laid out in full view.  All the players in the tournament take turns picking one rare.  The players pick in finishing order; in other words, the Champion picks one card, then the runner-up, then the third-place finisher, and so on.  Once the last-place player has chosen a card, the champion picks a second one, and the process is repeated until all the rares have been selected.

This process allows players to not worry about "rare-drafting" affecting how players make their picks for tournament play.  The rare prize pick draft makes the rares into additional prizes, and thus provides incentive for players to play better and finish higher.

The one exception to this policy is so-called "chase cards."  These are alternate-art promotional cards that are incredibly rare.  Wizards of the Coast started printing these cards with the Planeshift set. If a chase card is opened during a draft, the entire pack is removed and a new pack is issued to that player.  The player who opened the pack has a choice.  He or she can buy the booster with the chase card for the normal price and keep the cards in it (including the chase card), or he can return the pack and all its cards to the TO.

Note that we may change the definition of chase cards at various times.  Foil cards are specifically excluded from the definition of chase cards.

We strongly feel that this procedure will alleviate some of the painful decisions that players make, and allow everyone to enjoy the tournament without undue stress.

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