Wizards of the Coast has a desirable goal with the DCI and WPN: to make sure that no matter where you go, you will have the same kind of tournament experience. Blood Moon interacts identically with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, no matter if you’re in Boston or Bologna. A 33-player PPTQ will operate the same way around the world, irregardless of how much the tournament officials on-site would wish it to be 32 instead. For the judging side, WotC uses policy and process to help make sure events are run the same.

For scorekeeping, however, WotC can have much more agency over the process of the tournament, thanks to their control over the operation of WER. For many situations, the logistics behind a tournament’s mechanics are abstracted, handled within WER code instead of tournament rules. Indeed, the answer to many questions about a tournament’s mechanical makeup are answered simply with “whatever WER does is policy”.

The result is that control is that many of the more nuanced aspects of tournaments are simply undocumented, left to be learned via trial-and-error, or via lessons taught verbally by more experienced scorekeepers. SK211 will be a series of articles, each designed to look at some of the mechanics of tournaments, the scorekeeping process, and the demystification of processes normally left for others to surmise.


One major disclaimer with this series: these articles should not be read as official policy. I am not a member of any Magic Judge sphere or other group that defines [O] policy.

For the purposes of normal tournament operations, behavior of tournament software such as WER, even behavior you may think is incorrect, is considered policy. Deviating from the MTR or established policies can be construed and interpreted as Tournament Fraud.

Statements on my end regarding the behavior of programs are made from observation on the behavior of said programs, and do not come from any direct knowledge of the code or algorithms of said programs.