DCI Field Report
Today the Duelists' Convocation International announced official sanctioning of Netrunner tournaments. The DCI is the organization that oversees the rules and procedures for Magic and Battletech tournaments.
|"I would be surprised if their stamp of approval means much to anyone considering taking up the game. It may well serve as a deterrent to experienced Magic players who are fed up with their heavy-handed and irrational rulings."||
Their history goes back to the Unlimited Edition of Magic, when they published the first issue of The Duelist, the WotC house magazine.
The DCI became important to tournament Magic players when they first published the Banned/Restricted list for tournaments. It instantly set some standards that eliminated instant-win decks. It also started down the slippery slope of selling cards (WotC) that were illegal to use in tournaments (DCI).
The elimination of ante was a sad change from Richard Garfield's intention for Magic. Ante is a stake each player puts up before a game begins. The loser gives his stake to the winner. The DCI ruled that no tournament game could be played for ante. This decision, more than any other, created the secondary card market that values a Black Lotus at $200.00 US even today.
The DCI introduced the Banned list to eliminate cards that required ante wagers or affected them. They soon banned cards that required too much time for a game. Then they banned cards that were too hard to adjudicate, followed by cards that were really powerful.
It got really silly when they started banning cards that players on the Pro Tour didn't like. And ban them they did, the list was almost unbelievably long.
In the early days of Magic, you could call a number and ask a rules question. You would always get an answer, half the time a correct one. Correct is somewhat subjective in this case, though. The DCI has been known to reverse the same ruling three or more times over the space of a few months.
Soon, as single-card sales threatened to crush the market for new booster packs, the DCI made a fateful (and horrible) decision: There would be two types of tournaments. Type I would be business as usual. Type II would only allow recently printed cards to be used. Guess which type is no longer played in tournaments?
I hung around the Type II scene for several months, even placing in the top 25 at a regional qualifier in Seattle (out of some 400). I wasn't happy, though. I had to be honest with myself and admit that my very large collection of mostly illegal cards was bothering me.
For a short time, the DCI decided that they would only allow the last two expansion sets (for NR players who don't know what an expansion set is, I am sorry). The outcry was so loud that the DCI changed its collective mind and went back to allowing all cards that were less then two years old (or something like that).
Does Netrunner need the DCI? Absolutely not. This is the latest effort by WotC to support a their twice-duped (Magic and Netrunner) customers without spending any money. Can the DCI do anything for Netrunner? I doubt it. I would be surprised if their stamp of approval means much to anyone considering taking up the game. It may well serve as a deterrent to experienced Magic players who are fed up with their heavy-handed and irrational rulings.
The DCI will recognize fan-extrordinaire Skipper Pickle as the official rules czar for Netrunner. This underscores the rubber-stamp effort being made by WotC. Although I disagree with a majority of Skipper's rulings, I am glad that the DCI is not taking a more active role.
I am also glad that prize support will continue. The announcement makes it sound like prize support is a new bonus, but it has been offered by WotC since the beginning of Netrunner.
I won't know more until the details of sanctioning become available. Today, I see a dark cloud moving over the bright SVGA fields of Netspace. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
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