A decklist is the list of all the cards you are playing in a tournament, both in your main deck and your sideboard.
Decklists are used in constructed and limited tournaments alike; the difference is that in a limited tournament you would use a checklist of the set you are playing, and in a constructed tournament a simple sheet of paper would do (even though there are official deck registration sheets provided by Wizards of the Coast if you want to use them).
Keeping that in mind let’s move on to their uses and how to fill them.
At every event with a Competitive Rule Enforcement Level (REL) or higher, decklists are used to make sure the decks being played are legal. Their use stops players from pulling cards that didn’t fit in their sideboard from their sleeve, or prevents players from playing against a pre-sideboarded opponent just because they knew our deck.
To enforce this, random checks to compare the played deck with the corresponding decklist (i.e., deckchecks) take place in every tournament. That’s the reason why judges need decklists. Now, let’s talk about how to fill them.
Since checklists are a bit more complex than the constructed ones, we will start with these.
First and foremost, we should always follow the judge’s directions when they require us to fill the “Player registering the deck” and “Registrant’s DCI Number”. At this point we might also be required to write down the assigned table number on the top right corner. When we are playing in a Competitive REL tournament we must also write down thes
e two things:
- The cards available to us or “Total”. This are all the cards opened in Sealed or Drafted.
- The cards in our main deck or “Played”. Every other card that is not in our main deck is considered our sideboard.
There are two columns in the checklist: the Total one, where we write the number of copies of a card that we have and the Played one, for the number of copies in our main deck. It is extremely important to accurately register every card we play, including basic lands. In this case, we only have a single column, since we just have to write down the basic lands we play – in case you open a foil basic land, you should ask the judge how to register it. Remember, the minimum number of cards you can play in limited is 40, and you can play more than four copies of a card, if available.
How we should do this? We will have 20 minutes to do it, so don’t panic. A method could be sorting cards by colour (and set) and then by name. Now, you can write them down in the total column.
Once we have done this, we build our deck and annotate the selected cards down the Played column. Again, you should not forget about the basic lands, it is a very common mistake. We will have 30 minutes to do this.
In competitive tournaments, we must play the first game of every match with the cards written down the played column; however, in second and third games we can play with any combination of cards that we have registered in our total column (you can even change the colours of your deck). It is forbidden to include cards that were not opened in the tournament, with the exception of basic lands.
Now, we are going to talk about official constructed deck registration sheets and how to fill it properly. In addition to this, I will discuss some personal pieces of advice that will help you to avoid making mistakes and ease the judges’ work.
First, you should complete the registration sheet with your personal information: surname, name and DCI number. Also you may add the pertinent information about the tournament such as date, format, deck name, etc. However, the most important aspects are the name and the DCI number.
Then, you have to register your deck. The minimum number of cards you can play in constructed is 60, and you may not have more than four copies of a card within your main deck and sideboard.
We have three sections: one long column at the left where we write down the spells we play, one short column at the top right were we write the lands and one at the bottom right for the sideboard. This helps players and judges when they have to check the deck. When you are not using an official sheet, you have to be careful and make a clear distinction between the main deck and the sideboard.
A personal advice is to write the same type of spells together: all creatures, all instants, all enchantments … and finally the lands. This will make it easier to notice if there is a card missing. In addition, you must correctly write the names of the cards, without abbreviations or nicknames. If you don’t do this, it may lead to confusion. For instance, if you only write “Liliana” in your decklist, it is impossible to know if you are playing Liliana of the Veil or Liliana Vess, which can earn you a game loss if you are deckchecked, or a Disqualification if you are doing it on purpose, to take advantage of the ambiguity depending on the opponent.
(You can download it here)
Finally, I would like to share the procedure that judges use for deckchecks. When a deckcheck is performed, firstly we check that the decklist is legal: that is, that it includes the minimum number of cards, that the cards included are legal and that they are properly registered. Then the actual deckcheck will take place.
At random, a table is selected, after players had finished shuffling their decks. They are stopped and asked to bring their deck and the deckbox with the sideboard. It is important to mention that the deckbox must only contain the sideboard cards, the tokens and the extra sleeves, and not any other card since they would be regarded as part of the sideboard. Promo cards handed in the event itself are excluded. For example, the GP promos.
Once we are sure that the deck is well randomized and that the sleeves are in a good condition, we check the the cards are the ones registered in the decklist. After this, the judges return the cards to their owners and give them extra time so that being deckchecked will not affect their match.
Finally, you must remember to take out the sideboard cards from your main deck after every round, and in case you use a checkcard for a double faced card, that checkcard should be marked in a clear way to avoid mistakes. These errors, together with having additional cards in your deckbox, are the most common mistakes, and easily avoidable.
Hopefully this article was helpful for you!