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DCI logo.jpg

The DCI (formerly, Duelists' Convocation International[1]) is the official sanctioning body for competitive play in Magic: The Gathering and various other games produced by Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Hill. Created in January 1994, the DCI provides game rules, tournament operating procedures, and other materials to private tournament organizers and players.[2] It also operates a judge certification program to provide consistent rules enforcement and promote fair play.

DCI numbers[edit | edit source]

In order to play in sanctioned events, players must register for a free membership and receive a DCI number (PIN).[3] The DCI maintains a global player ratings database using the Elo rating system and members have access to their entire tournament history online. If a member commits frequent or flagrant rules infractions, his or her membership can be suspended for variable amounts of time depending on the severity, from one month to a lifetime.

Tournament formats[edit | edit source]

The DCI sanctions tournaments for a variety of games. Unlike those of many other game producers, a significant proportion of DCI events are organized and run by independent businesspeople and hobbyists, as opposed to by retailers.

Magic: The Gathering[edit | edit source]

The DCI maintains three format categories for Magic: Constructed, Eternal, and Limited. Each category supports a number of related tournament formats.

Constructed[edit | edit source]

In Constructed tournaments, decks must consist of no fewer than 60 cards, and no more than four of any one card. The basic lands and (in formats where they are legal) the cards Relentless Rats and Shadowborn Apostle, however, may be used in any quantity. A Banned List of specific cards is maintained for each format.

Additionally, a sideboard of at most 15 cards is permitted, from which a player may tweak his or her deck during a match to better deal with their opponent's strategy. Following the first game of a best-two-of-three match, each player is permitted to replace any number of cards in his or her deck with an equal number of cards from his or her sideboard. The original deck configuration is restored at the conclusion of the match.

  • Standard uses cards from the last three or four blocks in print.
  • Modern uses cards from the core set and expansions from 8th Edition forward.

Eternal[edit | edit source]

Eternal formats follow the basic Constructed format rules for deck construction, but expands the available cards to include virtually all published Magic sets.

  • Vintage is the only format to have a Restricted List. Each card on this list is limited to one per deck instead of the customary four. This is the only format that allows the "Power Nine".
  • Legacy uses the same sets as Vintage, but only has a Banned List and not a Restricted List.

Vintage and Legacy were very closely related until September 1, 2004, when R&D decided that splitting the formats was a good idea. Certain cards formerly banned in Legacy were unbanned and the format was allowed to develop on its own. Legacy once had a reputation for being the "poor man's Vintage" but today has developed into a format very distinct from Vintage.

Limited[edit | edit source]

Limited tournaments are based on a pool of cards which the player receives at the time of the event. Any number of basic lands may also be added to the deck. The decks in limited tournaments need only be 40 cards minimum; all of the unused cards function as the sideboard.

There are three common types of limited tournaments.

  • Sealed deck: Players each receive six booster packs of 15 cards.
  • Booster draft: Players each receive three booster packs of 15 cards. After being seated around a table, each player simultaneously opens one booster pack, selects a single card, and then passes the remaining cards to the next player over. After all players have drafted fifteen cards, they each open their second pack, and drafting continues. Players examine privately the cards they receive; direct communication between drafters is not allowed. A booster draft normally comprises eight players, but sometimes fewer will suffice. Once players have built their decks, they compete against the other players in the draft.
  • Rochester draft: Players each receive three booster packs of 15 cards. One player's first pack is opened, the cards are placed upon a table for all to see, and the players take turns selecting one card at a time until the pack is exhausted. The next player's pack is then opened, and drafting continues. A Rochester draft normally comprises eight players, but team Rochester uses two teams of three players each, who may communicate non-verbally during the draft.

Retired[edit | edit source]

Retired formats are formats which are no longer sanctioned by the DCI.

  • Extended uses cards from the last eight blocks and the last three Core Sets.
  • Block Constructed permits only cards from a single "block" of up to three sets. Most tournaments use only the most recent block, but each block is potentially available, if announced ahead of time.

Major tournaments[edit | edit source]

Pro Tour[edit | edit source]

Magic protour logo.jpg

Multiple Pro Tours are run every year around the world. A Pro Tour season begins in August (starting with the 2012 season), with an event held roughly every three months, In the months proceeding each Pro Tour, local qualifiers (Pro Tour Qualifiers) are held around the world, where invitations are earned. Players accumulate Pro Points by attending Pro Tour events and can receive many more by placing highly. Pro Tours are invitation-only events, and only players with either a invitation (For most cases, finishing high in Grand Prix or Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers), high number of Pro Points can attend.

Winning a Pro Tour is every competitive Magic player's dream. Currently, each Pro Tour carries a total purse of $240,245 [US], with the winner receiving $40,000 [US] (the exact payout varies by player's match record). Other benefits to top finishers include invitations to future Pro Tours, with the highest-ranking players over the course of several Pro Tour stops receiving additional prize money for participation.

World Championship[edit | edit source]

Magic worlds logo.jpg

The most prestigious tournament of all is the Magic: The Gathering World Championship, where the best of the best in previous season play against each other until the world champion is crowned. World Championships are played over four to five days, and an invitation is required to be eligible for play. By winning pro tour, placing very highly in Pro Point ranking, or finishing overall first in either Standard or Limited portion in previous Pro Tour season.

The World Championships are now held at the end of the year usually in August or September (before the first Pro Tour of the season but after some of the season's openerGrand Prixes), most recently (2016) in Washington D.C.

See also World Championship Decks.

Grand Prix[edit | edit source]

Magic grandprix logo.jpg

Grand Prix tournaments are open to everyone, both amateurs and professionals. The payout isn't as big as for a Pro Tour and winning a Grand Prix is not as prestigious, but they still attract international competition, as Pro Points and Pro Tour invitations are awarded to high finishing players. Grand Prix tournaments are also held both in the United States and in other countries. Some recent Grand Prix events have been in: New Orleans, Los Angeles, Brussels, Beijing, Taipei, Eindhoven, and other diverse cities. Many players enjoy travelling to Grand Prix tournaments simply to travel and to see the sights around the world.

Invitational[edit | edit source]

Main article: Magic Invitational

The Magic Invitational (formerly the Duelist Invitational) was a non-sanctioned tournament held for the 16 highest performers of the year. The winner of the World Championship, the Pro Tour player of the year, and several fan-voted players are among the contestants in a who's-who of professional Magic. The prize of this tournament is not money but rather the opportunity to design a new card for an upcoming expansion. When the card is printed, its artwork traditionally depicts the victor as well. It was retired after 2007 running.

The event was originally held in locations like Sydney, Australia, and Cape Town, South Africa, but in recent years, the Invitational has been held using Magic Online. Any player who has downloaded the Magic Online software can replay the completed matches.

The Magic Invitational winners to date, the cards they took part in designing, and the set they appeared in, are as follows:

Other tournaments[edit | edit source]

Prerelease tournaments are held in hundreds of locations around the world twelve to thirteen days before each new expansion, or set, is available for sale in stores. The prerelease provides a casual play atmosphere and provides an enjoyable atmosphere to get a preview of new cards. At Prelease tournaments, a special prerelease card is given away.

Friday Night Magic (FNM) and Arena League (currently defunct) are offered in many local game stores and clubs, allowing players to compete for special foil DCI cards and other prizes. These tournaments are mostly for amateurs and are a good place to start your Magic-playing career, but are only available at stores and clubs with Wizards of the Coast Premiere status.

Many other stores, school clubs, and community groups hold DCI-santioned events on a regular basis. Events are also held at almost all gaming conventions, such as Origins International Game Expo and Gen Con.

Changes[edit | edit source]

Legend membership program[edit | edit source]

The DCI originally offered two different membership levels: The free Mana membership and the USD$30 Legend membership. While the Mana membership was sufficient to participate in DCI sanctioned tournaments, the Legend membership provided some additional items, including membership promos[4] and a Magic poker deck. In 2001 the Legend Membership Program was replaced by the Magic Player Rewards program.

Planeswalker Points[edit | edit source]

As of September 2011, a new system called Planeswalker Points was used instead of Pro Points. Planeswalker Points is designed to let all players, from casual to competitive to pro, track and show off how much they play and win in Magic events.[5] Starting in 2012, the number of large-scale tournaments were significantly increased.[6][7][8]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Magic Arcana (August 06, 2009). "The First DCI Tournament". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Jason Carl (June 01, 2009). "The DCI Organizes Magic Play". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Magic Arcana (March 05, 2009). "The Lowest DCI Number". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Magic Arcana (April 11, 2003). "DCI promo cards". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mike Turian (September 06, 2011). "Introducing Planeswalker Points.". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Wizards of the Coast (April 14, 2011). "Changes to 2012 Tournament and Event Structure". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Aaron Forsythe (November 02, 2011). "Deep Dive into Magic's Organized Play Changes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Helene Bergeot (December 23, 2011). "Addressing Changes to 2012 Magic Premier Play". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]