I went through some of the comments on the internet to find info on how YCS San Mateo ended. But safe the winner (Dragon Rules won again, big surprise), the thing people were commenting on the most was the DQ of Adam Corn, the rude behavior of the judges and the many warning (and their upgrades) that were handed out… because of marked cards.
And while I do realize that some of the people that were disqualified may have had intentional "markings" on their sleeves, I do have to add that most warnings (and the upgrades) were caused due to a ruling update on card sleeves.
Current policy on Card Sleeves
The current tournament policy goes as follows:
- A player may choose to use plastic card sleeves to protect their cards during the course of a tournament.
- All sleeves must be identical in terms of color, wear, and design, and all cards must be placed into sleeves in the same direction and manner.
- Players may not “double sleeve” their decks. Only one sleeve may be used on each card.
- Players may have only one card in each sleeve. Players may not have anything but that card in the sleeve.
- At Tier 2 events, the quality of player’s sleeves will be held to a higher standard. Any sleeves with noticeable patterns or wear may be subject to penalties.
- Sleeves with highly reflective backs are not allowed.
- Sleeves with artwork, provided they are all identical, are allowed.
- Sleeves with excessive wear, noticeable patterns, or other identifying characteristics may be disallowed by the Head Judge. If you have a question about the legality of your sleeves, the Head Judge is the final arbiter as to whether or not your sleeves can be used in that tournament.
Clarifications on this rule
Due to many questions / comments on the sleeve ruling, Head Judge Julia Hedberg announced a few clarifications on these rules:
1) All sleeves in the Deck need to be identical.
This includes the Side and Extra Decks. “Deck” as described in the policy document means the entire Deck, which in Yu-Gi-Oh! includes the Main Deck, and the Side and Extra Decks if they are used. This isn't a “new” rule, it’s merely a rule the majority of players and judges didn't notice until recently.
Note: The infraction given out is the warning "Marked cards: minor". This situation by itself should not cause a game/match loss.
2) Players are responsible to check their sleeves before the tournament, and then throughout the course of the tournament, to ensure they are in unmarked condition.
Even brand new sleeves are not guaranteed to be free of marks, factory defects, miscuts, and etc. Packages of sleeves from different manufacturing batches may not match exactly in color. Players must always carefully check their Deck ahead of time to make sure their sleeves are identical.
Players must always check their Deck during the course of the tournament, to ensure that the sleeves have not become damaged or dirty. The condition of their sleeves is always ultimately the responsibility of the player.
If you did forget to sleeve the extra deck correctly and a judge applies this minor warning to you, be supportive about it. Unsupportive behavior will only increase the severity.
If a judge gives you this warning and you are unable to sleeve the extra deck correctly due to circumstances (read as: money issues), inform the head judge of this and ask what you should/can do. If you do not inform the head judge, you might get repetitive warnings or it might seem as unsportsmanlike behavior (resulting in game losses or worse).
Also, if you accidentally draw into an extra deck card (which is now bound to happen a lot more), you can reveal that card to your opponent, put it in your extra deck and draw another card. If unsure how to handle the situation or in doubt of cheating, you can still call a judge.
Spreading the information
Until this "clarification" isupdated into the official rulebook or posted on the Konami Blog, it is up to the judges to spread the information via any communication channel possible (therefore, this blog post).
I know many people use different sleeves for their extra deck (and sometimes even the side deck). Please take into account that this will no longer be allowed at major events.
On a side-note: At locals judges should apply "caution" instead of "warnings". Have some mercy. ;-)
PS:: TL;DR? Just click on the following picture then. Credits for the pic go to Tyler Berger.