As of May 9, 1998, the following policy is in place for official Sanctioned and Qualifier Council tournaments. A Sanctioned Council tournament is an MECCG event that requires advance approval for sanction status and use of the Council package for running the event, awarding Council prizes, and reporting results to ICE to rank the players. Winners of Sanctioned Council Events may qualify to participate in that year's Council of Lórien Annual Championship event. A Qualifier Council tournament is a special type of Sanctioned Council tournament that ICE determines in advance to guarantee the winner(s) participation in that year's Council of Lórien Annual Championship event.
ICE reserves the right to award Sanctioned or Qualifier status to MECCG tournaments and will periodically review its award policy. Non-sanctioned MECCG events may receive promo material and prize support, other than that reserved for Council of Lórien Sanctioned and Qualifier tournaments, from ICE, but winner(s) will not be ranked, and are not qualified to participate in that years Council of Lórien Annual Championship event.
Each Sanctioned or Qualifier tournament has a tournament coordinator. This is the person in charge of running the tournament. In the text below "tournament coordinator" means the coordinator or any staff member assigned by the coordinator to assist him or her. Tournament coordinators are responsible for seeing that the council guidelines are kept, prizes are properly awarded, and that that the tournament is run in a fair and impartial manner. Tournament coordinators need to make sure that all results (including the individual score sheets of each player) are returned to the Council of Lórien by the deadlines on page two so that they can be properly recorded. Failure to report the results of a Sanctioned or Qualified event may mean that ICE will not Sanction or Qualify future events run by said coordinator.
Each Player selects up to 10 characters to put into his or her pool of potential starting characters. This happens before characters are selected for the play deck. Certain cards may be revealed as thought they were starting characters. These cards are included in the pool of starting characters, but do not count against the 10 character maximum. Each player reveals his or her first choice for a starting character simultaneously with opponent. If a unique character is duplicated by opponent's selection, both characters are set aside (this character may not appear in either player's starting company).
Each player then selects a second character to reveal (but not a unique character revealed earlier). Each unduplicated revealed character goes into its player's starting company. Each player continues this process until one of the following occurs: the player has 5 characters in his or her company (6 for a minion player), the total Mind of that player's starting characters is 20, the player has exhausted his or her pool of 10 potential starting characters, or the player decides to stop revealing characters (i.e., he or she is satisfied with the starting company). Note that when one player stops, the other player continues revealing characters until one of the four conditions is met. A player may not reveal a character that would bring the total Mind of all of his or her starting characters above 20.
In his or her play deck, each player may now assign up to 10 characters, and this may include any unrevealed or duplicated (set aside) characters from his or her pool of starting characters. Note that the Character Draft differs from the rulesbook in that a duplicated starting character does not automatically go into the play deck, and that its inclusion in the play deck does count against the deck's 10 character maximum.
Allowing players to introduce characters in this fashion minimizes matches where each player starts with very few characters because of multiple duplications.
If both players have an equal number of marshalling points when the End-of-Game resolves (i.e., there is a tie), add one corruption point to each non-Wizard, non-Ringwraith character in play. Each character (including any Wizard) must make another corruption check. Marshalling points are recounted and victory is awarded to the player with the most marshalling points. If there is still a tie, add one more corruption point to each non-Wizard, non-Ringwraith character and each makes another corruption check. Again, assess marshalling points to see if a winner emerges. If not, continue adding one corruption point, making corruption checks, and reassessing marshalling points until a winner emerges.
If, in the unlikely event, all non-Wizard/Ringwraith characters in play are corrupted away by this method, and there is still a tie, each player receives 3 tournament points (see description of the Swiss System tournament format below).
Note that the Weakest Link Method simulates who will most likely fail in the final struggle against the enemy. The characters are not actually being corrupted during the End-of-Game. Instead, the End-of-Game Council is "peering into the heart and soul" of each character and assessing him or her.
In a Swiss System format (see below), the player receives the maximum tournament points for the capability of his or her deck. The tournament coordinator would have to make a judgment as to what the deck's capability is. There are exactly two choices: the deck is either capable of winning with The One Ring ; or the deck is only capable of the maximum marshalling points win. For a deck to win with The One Ring, the tournament coordinator must determine that the deck contains the cards necessary to make winning with The One Ring the deck's primary goal.
If a player drops out of a game, he or she drops out of the tournament, cannot reenter the tournament in a later round, and receives no consideration for prizes or tournament ranking. If a player drops out of the game, the player concedes the game and the opponent receives the win. In a Swiss System format (see below), the opponent receives the maximum tournament points for the capability of his or her deck (as outlined in 19 above).
In all cases, if a card "cannot be duplicated," a second copy of that card cannot be declared-unless the first copy of the card is targeted for removal earlier in the same chain of effects when the second copy is played. This is a clarification of Annotation 11 given on page 50 of the Middle-earth: The Wizards Companion.
In addition to these guidelines, a few rules which do not appear in older versions of the rulesbook take effect for tournament play.
The Council of Lórien has adopted a variation of the Swiss System for its official tournament format. This tournament format allows the success of each player to be determined by a total of tournament points awarded from the play of several games, thereby decreasing the deterministic role of luck in each game. Keep in mind that this format measures a player's performance versus the field of players, not necessarily against specific players. It is important that players not be allowed to scout their opponent's decks.
The Swiss System format can be used for any of the actual types of games being run (two-deck standard rules, sealed deck starter rules, scenario, etc.). The guidelines below assume a game type using an End-of-Game. will be run. This is as opposed to a Resource/Character scenario tournament; see the special section below for specific suggestions on running a Resource/ Character scenario tournament. Here are the basics of the Swiss System tournament structure that The Council of Lórien has adopted:
After awarding one player a bye, an even number of players will remain to play in the round. It is encouraged that the tournament coordinator take steps to avoid giving a bye for the first round. If at all possible, the tournament coordinator should have someone available to play or not play, to make sure there is an even number of players.
If more than one eligible player exists with whom a player may be paired, the second player is determined randomly from all eligible players. If no eligible players exist with whom a player may be paired, the player is paired with a player with the next lowest total tournament points (chosen randomly if more than one player exists with the next lowest total).
Tournament coordinators must try to avoid having the same players play each other more than once. If a player's tournament points indicate that he should face an opponent he has already faced, try to rearange the pairings with other players of the same tournament points, so that all player's are facing a new opponent. If this is not possible, randomly choose a player from with the next lowest number of tournament points as that player's initially chosen opponent.
If more than one player is still in contention after criterion III is resolved, playoff rounds are held. The playoff rounds are formatted in the same manner as the tournament. See the Number of Rounds note above regarding the number of rounds to be played. If both players and the tournament coordinator agree, however, no tie breaker actions are taken, and each tied participant is recognized as co-champion. The pre-determined prizes for the number of top finishers equal to the number of co-champions should be divided up and awarded evenly amongst the co-champions.
If multiple players are tied in a lower tier, the previously mentioned guidelines also apply. Replace the concept of players tied with the most points with players tied with the same number of points.
The tie-breaking policy requires that tournament coordinators keep a running record of each player's opponent in addition to tournament point results each round.
* See the descriptions of the different games below for further information.
The following formats are allowed for sanctioned tournament play. Other formats will require a written proposal, as outlined above.
Hero alignment includes Wizard players. Minion alignment includes Ringwraith, Sauron, and Balrog players. Fallen-wizard alignment includes Fallen-wizard players. As new avatars come out in future expansions, they will specify to which alignment the avatars belong.
Each player is the same alignment: hero, minion, or Fallen-wizard. Any hazards from any MECCG expansion may be used, but only the appropriate resources, characters and sites may be used. As an exception, hero items may be used in a minion tournament, and vice versa, as per the rules on p.75 of the MELE rulesbook. In a Fallen-wizard only tournament, each player should declare which Fallen-wizard he or she is playing to the tournament coordinator. The tournament coordinator should, and is allowed, to break normal pairing rules to not pair two players with the same Fallen-wizard against each other. Single Alignment tournaments require players to each bring one deck.
You may play either any alignment you choose: hero, minion, or Fallen-wizard. You do not know the alignment of your opponent until he tells you at the start of the game. You may bring two decks of the same alignment to the tournament. One must be dedicated for play against minion opponents, and the other against hero opponents. Either deck may be used against a Fallen-wizard. You may have cards which are used in both decks, but each deck must contain the same cards for each game it is used in.
If your opponent declares he is a Fallen-wizard, he must also declare which one he is. You may add ten predetermined cards to your sideboard against a Fallen-wizard opponent. If you are playing with the Wizard corresponding to the Fallen-wizard your opponent is playing, then you may replace those Wizard cards with an equal number of other Wizard character cards that you have available (these need not come from any deck). In any case, you may not play the Wizard corresponding to your opponent's Fallen-wizard.
Due to size considerations, sealed deck tournaments only require a 25/25 card minimum deck size (as printed in the rulesbook). For a sealed deck game tournament, each player receives a starter deck and three booster packs. ICE suggest using either 3 boosters from Middle-earth The Wizards, or 1 booster from Middle-earth the Wizards and two from either Middle-earth: Dragons or Middle-earth: Dark Minions. No other cards are allowed in the play area besides the cards received from the Tournament Coordinator. Tournament coordinators should feel free to enforce this policy any way they see fit.
Each player is allowed 45 minutes to construct a deck for a one-deck game. It will have to determined if standard or starter rules are being used by the tournament coordinator. It should be noted that on average, seven cards (not counting region cards) from each player's set of cards will not be playable at all. Players should be aware of this extra baggage when constructing their decks. If a player does not have 25 playable hazards or resources, he or she should play with all that he or she does have, and still play with 25 of the other.
Players may exchange cards between his or her deck and the set of cards he received but did not use between rounds. Such exchanges must be completed in the time allotted between rounds and may not interfere with the running of the tournament (i.e., when the Tournament Coordinator announces that the players are to pair up and begin the next round, players must immediately stop exchanging cards and get ready to play the next round).
Each player brings a Challenge Deck to the tournament, or purchases one at the tournament. No cards may be added to or removed from the deck, and all cards in the deck must contain the proper icon for that deck. Standard rules should be used for the tournament, and it should be run as a two-deck tournament.
It is recommended that resource/character scenarios be considered by a tournament coordinator who has the means of communicating to all players in advance what the pool of scenarios will be for the tournament. It is suggested that the coordinator post (in advance) three resource/character scenarios that will be used for the tournament. Each player comes to the tournament with a deck constructed for his or her chosen scenario.
Present Official Scenarios-Presently, the three scenarios for official Council event tournaments are:
Resource/character scenario game tournaments can be run within the same tournament Swiss System structure as the other Free Council games (which are the games presented in the rulesbook). Each player attempts to complete the victory conditions of his or her chosen scenario instead of playing for the Free Council. After starting characters are revealed, each player must announce to the opponent which scenario he or she has chosen. The opponent then knows what victory conditions the player is trying to achieve.
Other resource/character scenarios can be used if approved by the Council of Lórien. To obtain permission, the tournament coordinator must submit a written proposal for the scenarios he or she proposes to use. Original scenarios so submitted become the property of Iron Crown Enterprises, which may choose to publish them (with credit to the original designer).