New to the SCG Tour? This guide will get your ready for your first event, whether you're ready to play or you just want to see what it's like.
- Why Attend the SCG Tour?
- Getting Ready
- Preparing for the Event
- Registering for Tournaments
- The Event Hall
Why Attend the SCG Tour?
Play big close to home. Star City Games® holds Opens in major metropolitan areas of the United States. You don't need an invitation, just a legal deck for the format being played and the entry fee. Check our event schedule to see when the SCG Tour will be near you!
Be a part of the crowd. Star City Games Opens routinely draw over a thousand of your fellow Magic players from across the region. Make new friends, trade for cards you've always wanted, and test your game against strong competition.
Win great prizes. Each Open pays out $20,000 in prize money with prizes down to 64th place. Make the Top 8 and you'll receive an invitation to the next Star City Games Invitational, which offers $100,000 in total prize money and $20,000 to first place! In Classics and side events, you can earn Prize Wall tickets you can redeem for booster packs, playmats, tokens, deck boxes, and more!
Enjoy a whole weekend of Magic. In addition to the Star City Games Open, each SCG Tour Weekend has at least two Classics, which each qualify the Top 4 finishers for the next Invitational. Over 30 four-round side events feature all of your favorite formats on a set schedule, while on-demand eight-player drafts and four-player Commander games are available all weekend.
Find an event near you. Our Event Finder lets you search for Star City Games Organized Play offerings in your area, including SCG Tour Weekends. The event schedule also lists these event months in advance, giving you plenty of time to plan. Once you find the name of a city close to you, click on it to get to the weekend's fact sheet.
Choose your weapon! Remember to make sure that your deck is legal for the format of the event - Standard, Legacy, or Modern. Need some inspiration? Check out top-performing decks from the SCG Tour on our Decklists page!
Online Registration. We take online registration by credit card or PayPal via links on our event schedule and on each event's fact sheet. Online registration closes at 11:59pm ET on the Friday before the SCG Tour Weekend. If you register online, there is no need to check-in with the events stage. Thanks to our Show Up and Play! Registration, simply arrive in time to take your seat for the player meeting at 10am.
On-Site Registration is available for all events until 10 minutes before their posted start time. This allows us to launch our events on time to keep you and everyone else playing Magic all day long.
Preparing for the Event
Plan your travel. Figure out how you're getting to the tournament and where you're going to stay overnight. Make sure you check out the venue and event hall on the Fact Sheet and plan for enough time to both travel to and get into the event hall.
Your DCI number. Have your DCI number ready to register for events quickly. If you don't have a DCI number yet, you can sign up for one online. If you have one but can't remember it, e-mail us at email@example.com and we can look it up for you.
Your entry fee. We accept cash or credit cards on-site. Online registration allows payment by credit card or PayPal.
Pen and paper. A written record is essential for settling life total discrepancies. Be aware that you are not allowed to use electronic devices or apps for life total tracking in Competitive REL tournaments.
Card sleeves. Matching sleeves for your deck and sideboard will protect your cards from excessive wear and reduce your chances of getting a penalty for having marked cards. Leave holographic sleeves, sleeves with art all the way to their edges, and potentially offensive sleeves at home; the Head Judge will disallow them. Don't have sleeves or need new ones? You can buy sleeves from an authorized vendor.
Dice and tokens. Bring dice to represent counters and any tokens your deck needs.
Your deck(s). Seems obvious, but we've had players sit down to Round 1 and discover they left their deck at home.
Don't pack a lot of extra stuff. The more stuff you bring to an event, the higher chance you have of leaving something sitting around. If you bring only what you need, it's easier to keep track of everything.
Registering for Events
Register online if possible. Star City Games Show Up & Play! Registration means you won't have to wait in line. Just be on time for the player meeting.
Register as soon as you arrive. Doors open at 8am. The registration line can get longer as it gets closer to the start of the tournament. Make sure to have your entry fee and DCI number ready. We recommend saving your DCI number as a contact on your phone for quick access.
Enjoy your free stuff. At the player meeting, each player in an Open or Classic receives a voucher for an exclusive playmat and the newest set of five exclusive Star City Games Personality tokens, while supplies last! Vouchers can be redeemed at the stage following Round One of the tournament.
Deck registration. Star City Games offers an interactive deck registration sheet that automatically counts maindeck and sideboard cards. No more accidental 59-card decks! Using the interactive deck registration sheet also makes sure judges can read your deck list. Just print a copy out and take it with you to the tournament venue. Deck registration sheets are also available on-site.
Publicity release. The back of the deck registration sheet includes a publicity release for the SCG Tour and other Star City Games media efforts. Without a filled-out publicity release, you will not be able to participate in an SCG Tour event.
The Event Hall
Tournament tables. The numbered tables in the center of the hall is where you'll play your matches. Table numbers are posted along each table, with some signposts throughout the room to help you find your way.
Main stage. Registration, turning in match result slips, and lost and found is all handled at the Main Stage. This is also where you can speak with a Star City Games representative about any issues that come up during the weekend.
Prize Wall. Redeem your Classic and side event Prize Wall Tickets for all kinds of prizes! The Star City Games Prize Wall has a great selection of booster packs, playmats, tokens, deck boxes, and more!
The pairings boards along the walls or just outside the tournament hall are where seating assignments for the player meeting and rounds appear.
Feature match area. The SCG Tour is broadcast worldwide on twitch.tv/scgtour and the feature match area is where the top SCG Tour players play their rounds under the camera. Spectators are encouraged to watch in the designated areas.
Commentary and coverage area. This is where the staff and SCG Tour commentators work to bring the SCG Tour from the event hall into your living room.
Star City Games and other official dealer booths. These are the only places authorized to buy and sell Magic cards at the SCG Tour. Trading is fine, but buying and selling are not. Offering to make cash transactions outside the venue is also a violation of Star City Games policies.
Special Guests These may include artists, alterists, cosplayers, and others.
Playing in the Open
Know your pairings board. Because a Star City Games Open is such a large event, seating assignments are broken up among several pairings boards by last name. If your last name is Smith and your best friend's last name is Jones, you are unlikely to find your names on the same pairings board. You can skip the crowd at the boards by checking your pairing online at pairings.starcitygames.com.
Pay attention during the player meeting. This is where you'll turn in your deck registration sheet and waiver. Even if you think you've heard it all before, there may be specific instructions or reminders that are important to your event, so pay attention.
The Rules Enforcement Level (REL) is Competitive. Players are expected to know the game rules of Magic: The Gathering and the Magic Tournament Rules. Any errors will be handled according to the Magic Infraction Procedure Guide.
Rounds are 50 minutes. This means that you have 50 minutes to finish your match. Stay focused on your games and play at a reasonable pace to avoid running out of time. Your fellow competitors thank you!
After you shuffle your deck, present it to the opponent. Your opponent will then shuffle your deck, and you will shuffle your opponent's. This helps protect the integrity of the tournament. Make sure you shuffle your deck thoroughly before presenting it to the opponent; one or two riffle shuffles won't do.
Deck checks. To help protect the integrity of the tournament, judges perform deck checks to make sure that the contents of each player's deck match their submitted decklist. If you are deck checked, your deck and your opponent's will be taken to the judge area to be reviewed. Stay at your table. If there are any issues, the judges will let you know. You will receive a time extension for the match.
Never try to randomly determine the outcome of a match or bribe an opponent into conceding. The outcome of a Magic event should be determined by playing Magic. Therefore, there are strict rules that govern any prize splitting, intentional draws, and concessions. Any offer or action to improperly determine the outcome of a match carries at least a match loss penalty and may result in disqualification. If you have any questions about what is or is not legal when discussing determining the result of a match, please call a judge and ask your question away from the table. If your opponent makes such an offer, please call for a judge immediately to properly investigate the situation.
Communicate clearly. Make sure you and your opponent have the same record of life totals. Be clear about triggered abilities and where in the turn you are (main phase, combat, etc.). We suggest reviewing section four of the Magic Tournament Rules regarding Player Communication to be aware of your official responsibilities during play.
When in doubt, call a judge. Judges are at the tournament to make sure things are run fairly. If you have a question about how a card works, call a judge. If you and your opponent disagree on life totals, call a judge. If someone breaks a rule, even by accident, don't try to fix it yourself. Call a judge.
Never lie to a judge. The flip side of not being afraid of judges: you have to be 100% honest with them. If you make a mistake, don't try to hide it. Getting a warning, or even game loss isn't fun, but getting disqualified from a tournament and possibly suspended from all competitive Magic play is much worse.
After the match, fill out the match results slip. List each player's games won and sign on the appropriate line. Make sure everything is correct before you sign; we may not be able to fix an error discovered later. The match winner will then take the result slip to the main stage to turn it in.
When you are done playing, drop. Just initial the drop box at the right of the match slip. If you decide to drop after the match slip is turned in, stop by the main stage and put your name on the drop list. Leaving without dropping is treated as a match loss penalty and tracked by the DCI. Help keep the tournament fun for everyone still playing.
More than 30% of SCG Tour players don't play in the Open. If you are just coming for side events, you're not alone! The SCG Tour has a full slate of side event offerings starting at 10am every day for all types of players.
On-demand side events run all weekend long. Booster Drafts start as soon as eight players are signed up for them. Commander games start once four players join.
Check the Fact Sheet for scheduled side events. Each SCG Tour Weekend features at least two Classics on Sunday and a slate of side events packed with all of your favorite formats. Check your event's Fact Sheet for a full schedule.
Cash prizes are issued as checks. Checks are mailed after the tournament is over. If you have not received your prize check one month after the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fill out a tax form if you make Day 2 of the Open. US residents need to fill out a W-9 tax form (international players fill out a W-8 tax form) which requires your legal name, address, Social Security Number, and related information. This is a legal requirement for all players receiving cash prizes from Star City Games.
Classics and side events award Prize Wall Tickets. Redeem Prize Wall tickets for booster packs, playmats, tokens, deck boxes, and more! Prize Wall tickets are valid only on the weekend of issue and cannot be redeemed at future SCG Tour Weekends.
Magic Artists have contributed at least one illustration to an official Magic card. Magic Artists will sign cards on which their work appears, so pick out a few of your favorites (no more than ten) to get autographed. Artists usually have prints of their work, white-backed artist's proofs, and occasionally original paintings or sketches for sale. Check your event's Fact Sheet to see if there is a Special Guest artist.
Alterists may paint on Magic cards, create 3-D versions of them, or perform other alterations. Usually they will have examples of their work for sale and take commissions. Remember that alterists are vendors at SCG Tour Weekends and not employees of Star City Games.
Cosplayers bring Magic characters to life through costumes, makeup, and props. Want a picture? Just ask politely. Always remember that there's a person behind the costume, and to treat cosplayers with the same respect you would a judge or a Star City Games staff member.
Watch a Feature Match. What's cooler than watching top SCG Tour players on Twitch? Watching them in person! Two things to note:
- Only Feature Match players and judges are allowed in the actual Feature Match area. Usually this will be marked off so that players have room to breathe but spectators can still follow the action.
- Don't comment on a match in progress. Spectators who distract players or violate Magic tournament rules about giving advice will be asked to leave the venue.
Still Have Questions?
Contact us and we'll be happy to answer your questions. Good luck and we hope you enjoy your first Open!