Season 3 United States Judge Policies
Hello everyone, and welcome to Season 3 of Force of Will in the United States! I am Stephanie Shaw, your Head Judge for most of the Grands Prix this season, here to overview some of the new policies, as well as some alterations to existing policy, for this following season. These policies apply to any Grand Prix (GP) or equivalent-level national event run by the United States team, and they will be announced by the Head Judge at each of these events.
Please keep in mind that these policies may not apply in the states of California and Hawaii, as they are not under the contractual jurisdiction of the United States team, and that these policies do not apply in other countries, such as Canada or Mexico. For high-level event policies in those two states or other countries besides the United States, please check with their respective Head Judges.
Once your Ruler has been flipped to begin the game, if you are using a Ruler with [Energize] and going second, the object representing your will coin must be placed visibly on your J/ruler at all times until used. Once used, the coin must be completely removed from the playing area, in order to avoid confusion.
Your coin may be represented by almost anything large enough to be visible, but it cannot be the same item you use for counters, and it cannot be a die that you use for a [Force] mechanic. If you wish to use a die to represent your coin, but you use dice for counters or the [Force] mechanic, your [Energize] die must be a clearly different size, color, or brand than the dice you use for other game mechanics.
If you run cards with the [Force] mechanic, your [Force] die cannot be the same item you use to represent counters (or your [Energize] coin; see above).
Your [Force] die must also be translucent and unweighted. It may have a logo, as long as the logo replaces only the one or the six.
Official Force of Will translucent dice, such as the ones that come with the CFC Starter Decks, are legal for use for [Force] purposes.
Tokens may be any object, besides Force of Will non-token cards, that can clearly represent recovered and rested positions. This means that standard six-sided dice, coins, etc. are not legal for use as tokens. Tokens also may not be represented by the same object you use to represent your [Energize] coin.
Even if a Force of Will card is not legal in a specific tournament’s format (e.g. “Split Heaven and Earth” in a New Frontiers format), it still cannot be used as a token.
If you run multiple methods of producing tokens in the same deck, you must have a way of differentiating the different types of tokens you produce.
Official Force of Will tokens will always be legal for use. Cards from other CCGs are legal for use if they meet the above criteria, though you may be asked to use supplied tokens if your match is streamed.
Playmats or sleeves depicting sexually provocative or otherwise inappropriate artwork are barred from usage at all official Force of Will events. If you are found using one, you will be asked to change it immediately. If you refuse or are found using it again later in the tournament, you will be given a TE2/“Failure to Follow Direct Instructions” [Game Loss] penalty.
If you are asked to change your sleeves, you will have three minutes from the time you are asked to resleeve the respective deck(s) with the offending artwork. After this time, you will begin receiving TE4/“Tardiness” penalties. For this reason, please check with the tournament’s Head Judge *before* the tournament if you are unsure about the artwork on your sleeves, in order to avoid unnecessary penalties.
The Head Judge has the final say on what constitutes “inappropriate” or “provocative.”
Comprehensive Rules Changes
Beginning in 2017, the United States will begin issuing 3-month rules announcements. These announcements will introduce new mechanics and/or explain rules alterations. Any rules alterations that occur in between sets will be announced by myself roughly three weeks before the release of the next set, and they will be effective on release date of said set, alongside the effective date of the set’s updated Comprehensive Rules. Therefore, rules alterations will never go into effect in between set releases.
Prereleases, however, should be ruled as if any rules alterations are already in place.
All following rules have to do with penalty enforcement at Grand Prix-level tournaments. These will not be announced by the Head Judge, but they should be known by players to know what to expect in case of a penalty violation.
We are making two changes to Finals, due to the high-profile nature of the matches and the high degree of stress associated for the players. They are the following:
> The Head Judge will directly judge the Finals of every Grand Prix or equivalent-level event, effectively removing the ability of players to appeal in Finals. However;
> Previous penalties will not be counted towards upgrades during the Finals match.
GE3 [“Missed Mandatory Automatic Ability”] Enforcement
In Season 2, there were an unfortunate number of GE3 upgrades at Grands Prix in the United States, especially in Top 8 matches. As judges, we do understand the high level of pressure one is under at a tournament, especially in Top 8, and there is only so much lenience that can be given in a manner that ensures objective, consistent rulings from judges, while also maintaining player responsibilities.
As such, despite intensive efforts to come up with a more lenient policy that does so, we have ultimately decided to continue with last year’s GE3 enforcement, accordant to the Force of Will Penalty Guideline.
However, I did want to bring up one situation from last season that will be rolled forward into this season:
> If a mandatory automatic ability is missed and has only one legal target, it is considered to go on the chase immediately targeting that target. “Missing” a mandatory automatic ability is defined as either taking a non-Standby, non-[Stealth] action or passing priority to your opponent. If you play a non-Standby, non-[Stealth] spell or ability that does not require main timing (e.g. a [Quickcast] card or most activate abilities), and the trigger is not acknowledged beforehand, that action is considered to have been done in response to the trigger. No penalty will be given.
Ex: Player A attacks with “Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon.” No other resonators exist on board. Player A does not announce their Lancelot’s trigger, but instead plays “Rapid Growth,” targeting their Lancelot. Lancelot’s automatic ability is considered to have gone on the chase, targeting himself, and “Rapid Growth” is considered to have been played in response to Lancelot’s trigger. No penalty is given. In this situation, it will likely lead to Lancelot burning himself. This is an actual example from a Season 2 GP.
To give a brief, non-exhaustive list of penalizable missed triggers, consider:
> “Charlotte, the Mage of Sacred Spirit’s” life-gain ability.
> “Certo, the Blazing Volcano’s” damage-dealing ability.
> “Sorceress of Heavenly Wind, Melfee’s” damage prevention ability.
> “Rukh Egg’s” search ability (though this can also be a worse GE6 [Game Loss] penalty when combined with “Guinevere, the Jealous Queen’s” ability).
> “Messenger Familiar’s” search ability (see above about Guinevere).
> “Vampire Hunter, Christie’s” enter ability, if your opponent has two or more J/resonators.
In short, there are a lot of methods to “earn” GE3s. While my goal this season is for the number of upgraded penalties in Top 8 to be reduced, players still need to be responsible for their actions, so we will still follow the Force of Will Penalty Guideline regarding the official upgrade paths. Please take care to make sure you announce all of your automatic abilities this season.
That’s it for my announcements of Season 3 Judge Policies. I am looking forward to a great season judging all of you awesome men and women. As always, if you have a question about said policies, you may message me on Facebook or comment on my Facebook share of this article. You may also get in touch with whoever is Head Judging your specific AGP. Head Judges will be announced well in advance of each event.
Thanks for playing!
~ Stephanie Shaw