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Doomkaiser Dragon
Card# CSOC-EN043

Doomkaiser Dragon's effect isn't just for Zombie World duelists: remember that its effect can swipe copies of Plaguespreader Zombie, too!
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Player Beware
Alan Campbell

"Attention! Let me have your attention!" insisted the kid, leaping to his feet and pounding the table. The command was entirely unnecessary, as everyone but four others and myself had rushed from the tournament hall, down the stairs, and out of the building.

“My deck is missing”, continued the small boy, his voice echoing in the almost empty room. “I have a red deck box with a picture of Summoned Skull . . . "

“Pardon me,” I coughed as politely as possible, “but have you checked your backpack?” The little boy blushed furiously and plunged his hand into his bag. Feeling around, a look of relief came to his face as, triumphantly, he held up his deck and declared, “umm . . . found it. Thanks.”

“No problem” came my reply, “it happens to us all”.

Upon exiting the tournament hall, I reflected on that kid and the relief he felt that his deck wasn’t missing or, even worse, stolen. I remembered my own experiences where my own decks and deck boxes went missing or were stolen. How many times have I had my own deck stolen? Staring at my hands, I looked down and counted at least seven times to my memory within the past two years that it has happened. But that’s just myself—I’ve known others who have to resort to using their toes when it comes to the number of times they’ve lost their decks.

As with any product worth money, there is always risk that your deck could be taken or coveted by someone else. And when it is just sitting there on the table, and no one is looking, how easy is it to just slip it into your bag? The temptation is there, but only the truly unscrupulous individual would resort to such a thing. Sadly enough, however, this immoral depravity has become all too common.

It’s as if someone punched you in the gut, when your cards go missing, even more so when you lose the cards that you scrimped and saved for or rather, that your parents saved up to buy you. To some it may not seem like such a blow, but to the main majority of TCG players out there, this can be the last straw, so to speak on determining whether or not they will continue playing the game that they so dearly love.

In tournament rounds Upper Deck Entertainment has setup penalty guidelines for Tournament Organizers to use when the person has been caught stealing or in the act of theft.

UDE Penalty Guidelines

In tournament settings, certain rules and regulations are applied to discourage and prevent such scenarios as cheating, theft, and generally bad behavior on behalf of the people competing. The full UDE guidelines can be found at http://www.ude.com/op/. But for our purposes I’ve copied the ones pertinent to our topic of discussion here today.

“Tournament organizers cannot arbitrarily prohibit a player from participating in their tournaments unless they've engaged in acts of theft or vandalism, broken tournament site rules, and so on.”

This rule has been implemented to ensure that Tournament Organizers who simply do not like a player cannot keep him or her from competing. Though if the Tournament Organizer has reason to dislike you, you should evaluate just what it is that is upsetting him or her and try to resolve the issue . . . but I digress. If you notice, if you have been caught in the act of theft, the Tournament Organizer has every right to ban you from tournaments. Remember, people talk, especially Tournament Organizers. If you are branded as a thief at one tournament, you are branded for the rest of the time you are involved in the game.

Tournament Organizers also have the ability to put a permanent mark on your player record as well.

“Unsporting Conduct–Severe (Penalty: Disqualification without Prize)

Players are expected to behave in a sporting and professional manner towards other players, spectators, and tournament officials. This penalty is appropriate for extreme violations of the tournament rules. A statement must be sent to the address given at the beginning of this document outlining the incident leading to this penalty.”

-A player physically assaults another player.
-A player verbally threatens a judge.
-A player steals while at a tournament site.
-A player intentionally causes damage to the tournament site or someone else's belongings.

As a Tournament Organizer myself, I always hope I never have to give out a penalty. Penalties are my least favorite thing to do. I feel like a failure if I haven't planned accordingly or failed to remind people to keep their deck boxes in their bag when not playing. This is because for every person caught, there are far more that get away with the theft. It is truly upsetting to any Tournament Organizer or player to know the moment that they realize that the deck or cards are missing, that there is a better chance that they won’t be recovered than to have them happily returned. All of that player’s hard earned money down the drain, a prize for the unprincipled.

I’m sure a large percentage of you don’t fall into this category. I applaud and thank you. Every honest player out there thanks you. So let’s focus a little more on what is more important to players of your caliber—preventing theft of your own cards. The following represent a series of suggestions that each duelist can utilize when planning on attending their weekly, regional, national, or even world tournament event.

Put Your Deck in Your Bag When Not Playing

“I put my deck in my bag when I’m not playing.” —Julia Hedberg

I’m sure many of you have heard the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind”. If your deck is not on the table in plain sight, there isn’t that temptation to take it. Its far easier to track a backpack than it is to track a small deck box. Its also best to place any binder which may contain the cards you intend to trade with others inside of your bag as well. During tournaments I have personally attended, I have noticed that some do this and even take it to another extreme, by putting a lock on their bag. While maybe not entirely necessary, it does provide or ensure a little extra insurance that your bag won’t be tampered with while playing. Personally I just slip my foot between the straps. This prevents people from trying to run off with my bag and allows me to know if someone else is touching my backpack, as the movement from the bag can be felt.

Learn Who Can and Can't Be Trusted

Knowing who is and isn’t trustworthy in your store is key to being able to prevent theft or loss of your personal collection of cards. Talk to the storeowner and other players. Of course no player is going to flat out tell you, “Hey I’m a thief.” But others are willing to tell you if there has been a theft problem and who to watch out for, especially if a person is known to have taken someone else’s property recently. Talking to the store owner can also help you gauge what kind of policies your Tournament Organizer has set up in his or her store to detract players from theft, misconduct and other infractions.

Don’t Lend Your Deck

“Don’t lend your deck to a stupid friend or sibling.” —Julia Hedberg

Lending your deck, while a nice gesture, can be a mistake. By handing your deck off to someone else you are placing your trust in that person that they are going to follow some sort of precautions to ensure that they don’t lose those cards. The longer someone else is in care of cards, the higher the risk that you will lose them. I’m not telling you to be completely paranoid, but if you do lend your deck or cards to a friend or sibling, check in with him or her every once in a while to make sure he or she still has everything. I can’t remember how many times I’ve personally lent cards to a player and he or she has walked off with them, whether intentionally or unintentionally, so make sure you’ve given them some sort of time that they must be returned by. Or if he or she has to leave early, ensure you have all cards returned to you first.

Keep Track of Cards When Playing

“Be aware when your opponent uses cards like Change of Heart, Snatch Steal, etc, and ensure that you are aware of getting your cards back.” —Ken Jackson

When in the heat of battle, it can become easy to forget your surroundings or what occurred earlier in a game. Cards flash and transfer hands fairly quickly. Let’s say for example your opponent activates Exchange, and you swap cards in your hands. If you don’t remember about the card when shuffling your deck or putting it away after the duel, you end up with someone else’s card, most of the time not even noticing it until after the tournament is over or in a later round, and that player has already left. At least this seems to be the case with me. Finding some sort of marking system that works for you is usually the best solution.

“I put a penny in my deck sleeves. That way, when my opponent takes control of my cards and they are of the same color, the card is easily identified and can’t be shuffled into his or her deck.” —Robert Smith

Some people make a mark on the card or sleeve, while others put a piece of paper in the sleeve. Others just rely on the color of the deck sleeve. All are viable options.

Don't Carry Your Entire Collection With You

“Players should not carry their entire collections . . . just their deck(s) and perhaps some cards for trading.” —Tim Mason

How many players at your tournament seem to, week after week, bring all the cards they own, no matter the rarity? Pretty much all, I would say. How many cards of those are actually traded or looked for? Maybe a few . . . Maybe. It’s not exactly worthwhile to carry your entire collection to begin with, but its even less worthwhile when you’re putting yourself at risk of losing all of your cards versus a few. Yes, its bad to lose a deck, but it’s infinitely worse to lose every card you own. My suggestion is to keep the cards at home. Bring your deck, and if you plan on trading for something, bring a few cards, which will facilitate that.

Use Unique Sleeves and Deck Boxes

In my travels around the nation for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Mall Tour, I noticed that once place in particular had some really neat sleeve ideas. That place is Sacramento, California. What they did was place their cards in clear sleeve protectors and print out an image on a piece of paper on their home printer, cut out the image and make it the back of their sleeves. Some players had pictures of Yugi or Kaiba, others had pictures of their girlfriends, and others scanned pictures, which they drew themselves. Of course, in order to be tournament legal all of the sleeves have to be the same, so if you have 40 cards in your deck, you’ll need to cut out 40 of them. This is both creative and adds a personal touch to your cards. Ideas like the one mentioned are both interesting and fun. Using different color sleeves other than the standard black and white sleeves is also recommended. It is easier to track cards that you use if they are a different color than your opponent’s.

Other personal touches can be added to your deck box. As it doesn’t matter what you carry on your deck box. You can personalize it. However you should at least make sure that you write your name on your deck box. Hopefully, your deck box will never be taken, but if it is, it helps the Tournament Organizer to identify and recover it more quickly.

Know the Contents of Your Deck

It is important to know the contents of your deck, not only for knowing what the best card to play at any given moment would be, but to facilitate the Tournament Organizer with another way to identify a missing deck. Before attending a tournament it is best to make a Keep the list in your pocket decklist of cards in your deck, and any others, which you will be taking to a tournament. Having a list will also help when you attend an event such as Regionals, or even National competitions, as they require your decklist.

Of course, there’s always an alternative.

When discussing the topic of this article with fellow writers from Metagame and other Tournament Organizers. Some rather . . . interesting . . . ideas were suggested.

“Blow your nose on your deck, where people can see you do it. No one will touch it then. It works for food too you know—if you got someone who eats off of your plate, sneeze on your meal.” —Julia Hedberg

 “Use mace, and I’m not talking about the wimpy peppery kind either. I’m talking the spiky ball and chain.” —Ken Jackson

Of course, don’t take these ideas seriously . . . Well, maybe the nose-blowing one, as I’m pretty sure that would actually work. Not many people would be partial to touching your deck box after that. But it might also brand you for the rest of the time you attend that tournament location.

Pay Attention

“Pay attention to what you are doing.” —Julia Hedburg

The main point in all of this, is first and foremost is to pay attention to what you are doing at all times. Keep an eye on your cards, your backpack, be wary of those who are less than reputable, but remember to have fun. Your tournament experience will always be more enjoyable if you are certain that you are not going to be ripped off!

And as always you should return each week to read up on all the latest strategies right here at Metagame.com. Any questions, comments, or complaints about this article can be sent to AlanC_writer@hotmail.com. Please include your name when writing. Good luck!

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