Lets Talk About Time



As we all know Time procedures have changed vastly since the Origins Game Fair event back in June. Its hard to find a happy medium between allowing players to play the game, and allowing tournament organizers to keep a tournament going. No one wants to play 9 rounds and have it take 16 hours..If there was a single solution that made every party happy it would’ve been implemented by now. However, when time is finite, sacrifices need to be made thus there needs to be a compromise.

This past weekend I had the experience of playing with the time format rules provided by Core TCG at the Los Angeles Regional. I also had the experience of playing at Gencon which was organized by ARG. So lets take a look at each factor and try to see what is better for the game.


  • 60 Minutes Bo3
  • Timer is displayed
  • When Time is called: Stop all gameplay. Player with higher life wins the game. If life is tied, then the game is a draw.
    • If time was called during:
    • Game 1: Then the match is a draw
    • Game 2: If the outcome of this game is a draw, then Winner of Game 1 wins the match. If the outcome of this Game is the loser of Game 1, then the match is a draw.
    • Game 3: The match is a draw.
  • The rules for this came off as a surprise to everyone at CoreTCG. However, it was great to experience both these rules and the ARG rules.

– Most of the time with this method, there is a winner and a loser. This is great because a draw in most cases hurt both players. With this method the loser of the match is hurt, but if they lost, it is because they were in a losing position to begin with.

– Since the life rule is in effect, generally whoever has higher life is “winning” the game. We know that is not ALWAYS the case, but generally…Thus when time gets called it rewards those who are currently winning the game.


– Because the time rules favor the player with more life, this hurts all the decks that thrive on being low life! Imagine SSJ3 leader who generally starts with 6 life. Already at a major disadvantage…

– Since the Timer is being displayed, it leaves it open for time manipulation. The player who is winning can suddenly play slower, and ensure a win. If the timer isn't shown then the players generally play at a better pace.


None! The time rules are very fair and great for both the Players and the Organizers


  • 60 Minutes Bo3
  • Timer is NOT displayed
  • When Time is called: Game over. The game is concluded as a draw.
    • If time was called during:
    • Game 1: Then the match is a draw
    • Game 2: Winner of Game 1 wins the match.
    • Game 3: The match is a draw.

– Since the game is over immediately, as soon as time is called players drop cards and sign the match slip. This ensures 60 min rounds and roughly a 5-10 min window until the next round begins. This makes long brutal days much more shorter.

– The rules do not favor a certain deck. When the game is done, its over! Nothing can be done.

– The time clock is hidden in ARG tournaments thus making it hard to gauge how much time is left in a round.


– Since the game is rewarded a draw when time is called, this punishes the player who is currently winning the match. This is a technique that can be exploited by the player losing the game. If it is Game 3 and a player can gauge that time is getting close, they can intentionally start to slow play to hope that time is called and they receive a draw instead of a loss. I understand that intentional slow playing is not allowed, but it is a very tough for a judge to make that call. Some plays do indeed require lots of time to think about, especially when it is an effect like Goten that adds a card from a choice of 3. Not to mention, imagine a scenario where Player A combos 100k for the last damage and win the game, then Player B who is out combo’d “thinks” about how much to combo then Time gets called…


There is a very simple solution that would make MANY players happy.

“When time is called, conclude the current battle, then conclude the game”.

This will solve the problem of players going all in then having time called only for the match to result in a draw when it was clearly their win. Not only does it solve the gameplay problem, this at most adds a mere 30 seconds to 1 minute. At this stage of the game, there is no more thinking, the player either has enough combo power to survive, or they don’t, or it doesn’t matter because it wasn’t a lethal attack. Thus these scenarios IF they happen, will be irrelevant in terms of time added to the overall tournament experience.

Overall, I enjoyed the end of time procedures from CoreTCG’s tournament. As a player, I felt more in control of my destiny, rather than being hit with a random Time announcement and drawing a game that I could’ve won.

What do you guys think about the time rules? What can be changed? Remember any proposed idea, should keep in mind that we need to balance between the Player Experience and the Tournament Organizer Experience.

Thanks for reading and let us know your thoughts! - Markus Kantarci

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