When you go to Regionals or YCS's a whole bunch, you tend to see the same person over and over again. I'm speaking in a very general sense here: if you've seen one dude with a backpack and jeans that don't quite cover up his buttcrack, you've seen them all. It's good to remember that not everyone who plays this game goes to Regional Qualifiers, because not everyone who plays this game does so in a competitive sense. Shocking, I know.

If you're a judge, you may be tasked with judging or running Organized Play events at your local game store. Your weekly swiss tournament will usually have the same crowd, but a Duelist League or Sneak Peek will bring people to your store that have never been to a game store before, never been to an OP event before, and people that don't play in tournaments. Knowing how to run these events and being prepared for them will ensure that you give these particular players a good experience that will encourage them to join the scene which is beneficial to all of us.

This week on Black and White: Running Local Events! We'll be specifically speaking about Duelist League and Sneak Peeks as there's a Sneak Peek in just two days!

Duelist League
The Duelist League is geared towards younger and inexperienced players. It's meant to be an entry level event, so keep that in mind. These kinds of events should be low key, nothing too crazy. Kids will usually be excited to play the game at all, so you won't need to drum up interest on game day. Remember that they're children and you're the de facto authority figure. That means for a few hours, you're effectively the parent. Even if a kid's parent is there anyway, the parent is going to look to you to run the ship. Make sure everyone's where they need to be; don't let one slip under the radar. It would be incredibly unfortunate if you had to give a child a match loss because they were nowhere to be found when you started the next round.

Eligible players for Duelist League are anyone under the age of 14, and anyone who hasn't won three Duelist League events. Once you turn 14 and win three tournaments, you're no longer eligible to participate in Duelist League; time to play with the big kids.

Duelist League used to be run as an Open Dueling event, but the program was changed a year or two ago. Duelist League is now a Swiss Tournament with no playoff cut. First place after Swiss gets to choose two Duelist League prize cards, which are reprints of cards using unique colors of rare-style lettering. Then, each player starting with second place, then third and so on choose a prize card from what's left.

You'll want to treat Duelist League in the same way as you would a newbie's first tournament. You'll have to confirm that players have Konami player ID's, but importantly, you'll want to check each player's deck for Forbidden and Limited cards and other common first-time errors (like counterfeit cards and unusable Egyptian God Cards). You'll also want to stay visible during the tournament as a precaution; kids tend to value cards differently than competitive players. While you don't want to interfere in every trade, you'll probably want to make sure trades are fair by some standard. You'll need to exercise your own judgment for each situation.

#####CARDID= 4209#####

For Tier 1 events, as the judge, you're allowed to give out the penalty "Caution" for certain infractions that would normally necessitate a Warning. This penalty can be given for Procedural Errors Special Summoning a monster in the same turn as activating Pot of Duality, or attempting to go into the Battle Phase during the same turn you use Soul Charge or Pot of Dichotomy. Cautions are functionally the same as a Warning except it doesn't get tracked through Konami Tournament Software.

Cautions are used in Tier 1 events as educational tools. Again, use your judgment on whether you want to downgrade a Warning penalty into a Caution. I'd recommend giving some leeway to kids who may not be familiar with tournament rules, but don't let the Mistakes become habit; you'll want to keep penalties as Warnings if infractions continue to occur, and politely inform the players that the penalties can be upgraded as well. The threat of a possible Game Loss is usually enough to deter future infractions. But keep in mind that some infractions shouldn't be downgraded; irreparable game states and drawing extra cards unintentionally without being able to determine which cards were incorrectly drawn should remain Game Losses. To allow these infractions to be Warnings would allow a damaged game state and wouldn't be at all fair to the other player. And, if you've ever been a kid and you see a friend get away with something, you probably wanted to do the same thing too. If you don't give a Game Loss when it's needed, you'll open the floodgates and lose control very quickly.

Sneak Peeks
Sneak Peeks are events anyone can go to! You'll see a mix of both competitive players looking for the newest, hottest cards and the casual fans and collectors will be there because new Yu-Gi-Oh cards! Everyone who enters a Sneak Peek is entered into a random drawing where winners get an exclusive Game Mat with the new set's cover monster on it. The design on these mats have varied from "pretty" to "really flippin' pretty" over the last few years, so they're definitely worth having.

Previously, Sneak Peeks were run in an Open Play, official-but-not-sanctioned environment. You get five packs of the newest set plus a promo card, make a twenty-card Deck from your packs, then play casually with the other players at the Sneek Peek. This tends to exclude the competitive players as they aren't terribly interested in 90% of the set's contents.

Starting with the Primal Origins Sneak Peek, there's a little bit more to offer for competitive players: during a Sneak Peek, you can play in an official, non-sanctioned constructed-deck Swiss tournament that can include cards from the new set. Winners of these constructed tournaments will win a Sneak Peek Game Mat! See the official FAQ page for more info: http://www.yugioh-card.com/en/events/sneakpeek/sneakpeek_info.html

As with Duelist League, you'll want to keep in mind that a good portion of your audience is made up of people who don't frequent game stores or the TCG scene. So most of what I mentioned above regarding player interactions holds true here too: you'll want to go over the procedure, what happens at a Sneak Peek and what they'll need to participate. Parents will also have questions, so be sure to know what you need to know beforehand. As the judge, you'll be looked up to for all the answers.

If you're a judge, it will also be your responsibility to know how the event needs to be run. Your Official Tournament Store (OTS) will have an Operations Document e-mailed to them from Konami. Read it over yourself and know what has to happen. While it's the responsibility of the OTS to follow the document, you should know it yourself so you can provide the best experience for your players.

A note about Sneak Peek events: historically, Sneak Peek events have gone through many different procedures over the years. Don't assume that how you think they were run before is how they're run now. Always check the event FAQ and the most current Ops Doc if you have access to it for exactly how things should go down.

Draft And Sealed
These events may attract all kinds; you don't need to keep up with competitive trends to play a Structure Deck event or a Battle Pack Draft; you just need to buy the product and know how to play Yu-Gi-Oh. It's a great format to play in if you're put off by the current Advanced Format.

To run this event, first and foremost, you need sealed product. By the very nature of non-constructed events, there has to be product available to run them. Sealed and Draft Public Events at a YCS are usually 8 or 16 players and single elimination format, but for local events they can be any size and Swiss format, which is better for a local tournament anyway.

These types of events may be a new experience even for the seasoned players. You'll need to go through the process step by step with everyone all at once to get everyone on the same page. For drafts, I recommend going through each step and each round of picking cards one at a time, having everyone pass their cards at the same time. For Structure Deck tournaments, simply distributing product and explaining the format should suffice.

Another note I should emphasize: duelists will ask the popular question "can we keep the cards afterwards?" The answer is yes, yes, yes. Those cards are yours. That's all the fun of playing. You're buying the product at MSRP, and you're getting a tournament for no additional cost. Sounds like no downside to me!

I hope everyone has some good pulls at the Sneak Peek this weekend! If you have any questions about the newest cards from Primal Origin, tournament policy, game mechanics or other card interactions, send me an e-mail to askjudgejoe@gmail.com and your question may be answered in a future Court of Appeals!

-Joe Frankino