Lords of Atlantis: What is Collusion?

The word of the day is Collusion. Say it with me, now – Collusion. What does it mean and what do you do?

“Hello there, kiddies! I’m your substitute teacher for the day: Joshua X Claytor. Your English teacher is a bit under the weather today, so I am going to pick up from where she left you all yesterday. The word of the day is Collusion. Say it with me now – Collusion. Okay, now can someone look that up in the dictionary and tell me what that word means?

“Yes, little Petey?”

“Collusion is simply defined as secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.”

“Very good job, little Petey! You are correct! Now can someone give me an example of collusion in the real world? Okay, Big Richard, the Gaming Nerd – you’re up!”

“This one time at a Magic tournament I was playing at, there were two players. One of these players had nothing to gain with a win, while the other player had to win to make second place. So, they play the game out, with two judges watching, and the game ends in a draw! Pretty exciting so far, right? Well, the best part is when one judge, the one that played (but was not judging that night), leans over and tells his friend to offer his opponent money for the win! Of course, the other player accepted his offer, and while the acting judge was turning a deaf ear to it all, the match result changed to a 2-0 win for the guy that needed it! This turn of events naturally changed the standing to where the guy that was third was bumped out of the money, and he finished in fourth place.”

“Wow – what a story! I can not believe that a game such as Magic would allow such blatant cheating to go on, even if it were in a small tournament setting. If you were the player that came in fourth after this happened, how would feel? Little Susan, it looks like you have something on your mind? You should share it with the class!”

“Well, if that happened to me, first off, I would be righteously pissed, and would never, ever play Magic at that store again. I mean, I earned my finish; I deserved the third place or whatever finish I would have came in. I played out my games legally, and never thought of offering my opponents a bribe in order to finish higher than what I earned. The next thing I would do is get the offending players out of my game. They are only there to ruin it, and hey, I am having a lot of fun playing it.

“So how would you go about getting these unethical players out of our game, Richard?”

“I would report the incident as soon as possible to Chris Zantides at [email protected]. I know that I have already emailed him regarding this very real incident. I know he is busy, so I am waiting as patiently as I await his response. Besides that, I have gotten witnesses at the ready to tell their side of the event. Hopefully, the DCI will be compelled to start an investigation, and these players and judges will get the punishment that they deserve.”

“Well the bell is about to ring but before you go off to other classes, I want you all to open up your DCI tournament handbooks. Little Bill, please read off section twenty five of the Tournament Guidelines book to your class…”

25. Conceding Games or Matches

Players may concede a game or match at any time within the following guidelines. The conceded game or match is recorded as a loss for the conceding player. If a player refuses to play, it is assumed that he or she concedes the match. The following actions are prohibited:

  • Offering or accepting a bribe or prize split in exchange for the concession of a match

  • Attempting to determine the winner of a game or match by a random method, such as a coin flip or die roll

Players who engage in these actions will be subject to the appropriate provisions of the DCI Penalty Guidelines.

Players may only agree to split the tournament prizes in exchange for concession of a game or match if all of the following conditions are met:

  • Splitting a prize in exchange for concession is only permitted in the final match of the single-elimination portion of a tournament (this means there are only two players remaining in the entire event). It is not permitted at any time in Swiss-only tournaments.

  • Offering to split a prize in exchange for concession must be done in the presence of a judge.

  • A prize-split agreement in exchange for concession must involve only the prizes associated with the first- and second-place prizes.

  • A player may not introduce any incentives other than the prizes associated with the tournament.


The first-place prize in an event is one box of boosters, and the second-place prize is $50. The two players in the very last round of the single-elimination portion of the event may decide to split the $50 and the box of boosters any way they wish. The decision to split the prizes must be done in the presence of a judge. They are not permitted to make an agreement that involves $150, as that is outside of the prizes associated with first and second place.

Players are allowed to share prizes they have won as they wish, such as with teammates, as long as any such sharing does not occur as an exchange for concession of a game or match.

Prizes may be reallocated in a manner other than originally announced by the tournament organizer only if all players remaining in the event agree on the new prize distribution. A concession may not be made in conjunction with any such redistribution of prizes.

For example, if all of the players in the Top 8 single-elimination portion of a tournament decide to split the first- through eighth-place prizes equally among themselves instead of following the original distribution announced by the organizer, they may do so as long as no matches are conceded in exchange for the prize split.

“To end out the class, I want little Michelle to read out section 160, subsection 161 to the class. What would you have done to the offending players?”

160. Cheating

This section deals with intentionally committed infractions that can give a player a significant advantage over others.

161. Cheating-Bribery/Collusion


A player attempts to bribe an opponent into conceding or changing the results of a match, or two players attempt to determine the outcome of a game or match using a random method such as a coin flip or die roll. Refer to section 25 of the Universal Tournament Rules for a more detailed description of what constitutes bribery/collusion.


(A) A player in a Swiss round offers his opponent $100 to concede the match.

(B) Two players roll a die to determine the winner of a match.

(C) In the last round of a single-elimination playoff, a player offers her opponent $300 to concede the match. The prizes given to the first- and second-place finishers total $200.

(D) A player in the last round of the single-elimination playoff, a player offers his opponent cash to concede the match. The prize given to both first- and second-place winners consists only of product.


Collusion to alter the results of a game or match is a serious offence. This type of action not only harms other participants in the current event, but also has lasting repercussions on the worldwide rating and ranking lists. Due to this, the penalty for bribery/collusion is severe. Please refer to section 25 in the Universal Tournament Rules to insure the proper application of this penalty.



All Levels

Disqualification without Prizes

I wrote this article to inform Magic players about collusion and the serious penalties that it incurs. Sadly, the incident that happened to Little Richard the gaming nerd is a real situation. It occurred in a local tournament where I play, in Louisville, KY. I want cheaters out of my game.

Joshua X Claytor

[email protected]