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Colin presents the FiveShards Sapphire Cup (Updated and Complete)!

On March 14th-15th, many shard-masters will compete for a chance to take home the coveted Sapphire Cup as presented by Colin; this is the fourth cup in the first season of the FiveShards Shard Cup Series. After the huge turn out for the last three cups (each the largest community-run tournament yet), we are looking to make the Sapphire Cup just as awesome. Colin has made this tournament one of the most attractive in Hex history by offering cash payouts for the top 4 places!

The Sapphire Cup is standard constructed—that is, both current sets are legal.

Register here at the Challonge page. Confirmation begins at 8:00am PDT (You must pre-register) and the tournament starts at 9:00am PDT. To confim, you must log in to Challonge, go to the tournament, and push the confirmation button. If you do not confirm your registration prior to the tournament beginning, the tournament will drop you and we cannot re-add you to the tournament.

The top 8 will begin promptly at 10:00am PDT on Sunday, March 15th.



1st: $250, 36 Set 2 Packs, 20 Set 1 Packs
2nd: $150, 24 Set 2 Packs, 12 Set 1 Packs
3rd-4th: $50, 12 Set 2 Packs, 6 Set 1 Pack
5th-8th: 6 Set 2 Packs, 2 Set 1 Pack
9th: 5 Set 2 Packs, 2 Set 1 Pack, Ragefire
10th-16th: 3 Set 2 Packs, 2 set 1 Pack
17th-32nd:  1 Set 2 Pack, 2 Set 1 Pack

Door Prizes:

Set 2 Primal Pack
Set 2 Primal Pack
Set 2 Primal Pack
Set 2 Primal Pack
Set 2 Primal Pack

We will be giving the door prizes at the conclusion of round 2.


Specific Rules

1. We will stream the tournament from We will cast all pairings, coverage, and rulings on this channel. Players should have it open/accessible to hear updated news. If you are casting the game, we highly recommend you use a card blocker and/or broadcast delay to enable us to do feature match coverage.

2. Reserves and Decklists: We allow a 15-card reserve. Consequently, we require decklists of all participants. Decklists must include the Champion, 60+ card main deck, 0 or 15 card reserve (must be exactly zero or fifteen), and any gems used in the initial deck configuration. All participants must submit their decklists to us using this form (link) by 8:00am PDT (WorldClock) on the morning of the tournament, March 14th. Do not post screenshots. Submissions must be entered in text. We will post the full set of decklists after the final round completes and also highlight the top 8 decklists. You may change gems during reserves/sideboarding, but not in-between matches.

Template for Decklist

4x Card1
4x Card2
4x Card3
2x Card4 (Prime Ruby of Destruction)
So forth

4x More cards
4x More cards

3. Confirmation: Confirmation begins at 8:00am PDT (WorldClock) and the tournament starts at 9:00am PDT (WorldClock). To confirm your participation, just log into Challonge at any point within an hour prior to the start of the tournament (8:00-9:00am PDT) and click the “Confirm” Button. If you do not confirm your registration prior to the tournament beginning, the tournament will automatically drop you; we cannot add dropped players once the tournament starts.

4. Matches: Each match will be determined by the player that wins two games out of three. The match ends when one player wins two games. The client will decide the turn order in the first game using a coin flip. The loser of the previous game will determine if they play or draw in game.

5. Reserves: Players get 2 minutes to side in and out their cards.

6. End-of-time Procedure: Since we cannot realistically run best-of-three matches through the client presently, it is possible that—after 60 minutes—some matches will not be completed. When time is over, the current turn will finish and the players will play five more turns (combined, not each.) If neither player has won two games at this point and neither player has more wins, then the match is a draw. If, after 5 turns, the match is 1-0, then the player with one win wins the match.

7. Slow Play: Since we are not watching all the games in person, it is difficult for us to determine slow play. However, if you are streaming and your opponent seems to be intentionally playing slow, call a judge over to your stream and we will observe the match. The escalation of penalties for slow play is: warning, time reduction for the offending player’s clock, game loss, match loss.

8. Bugged Game Policy: Unfortunately, there are times when the game may substantially bug out or make it impossible to preserve the state of the game. If the players can preserve the state of the game, they should make efforts to do so. If the game bugs in a way that the players cannot agree to play through, neither player has fatal damage on the board/hands (if streaming or through provided screenshots), neither player is willing to concede the match, and the bug prevents the match from proceeding, then players are to restart the game. Players do not get extra time for bugged games.

A. Unfortunately, there are several interactions that we heard exist, but cannot confirm the precise steps to replicate those bugs. In interactive cases, we will have to treat several bugs “as is”. That is, play will proceed as if the bug were intended. Unfortunately, the number of existing bugs that we were unable to catch suggests that the number of restarts would be higher than necessary for the tournament.

B. If a bug fundamentally breaks the state of the game, we will have the players restart the game. The threshold for this categorization is higher and may include instances where a player’s self interactions trigger the bug.

C. If you find an interactive bug in your match that we have not listed, do report it to us. We will try to keep a running list of “as is” bugs on the FiveShards website for quick reference. Additionally, if you find a bug that fundamentally negates your opponents cards, not only are you obligated to inform the judging team, but you should inform your future opponents. For example, if we were to discover the Nibbler bug mid-tournament, it would be the player’s obligation to tell each future opponent that their debuff effects will not work on the card.

9. The administrators of the tournament are also the judges for the event. For the Sapphire Cup, the head judge is Zubrin and we will have a few judges on hand that will exist as the first point of contact. We will have a procedures and penalties document up prior to the tournament.

10. If your deck is built around exploiting a bugged card that is clearly bugged in your own testing, you will forfeit the match you are currently in and we will drop you from the tournament. Since this is early in the set, there is a possibility that people will discover bugs not yet reported. All such bugs should be reported to the tournament administrators for banning consideration (as well as CZE). We strive to ensure the integrity of the tournament.

11. Deck Checks: If a player suspects that an opponent is playing with cards that are not in their original configuration for game 1, or if they are playing with cards that are not in their decklist or reserves, the player can immediately ask for a deck check. A tournament judge will then cross-check the suspected cards with the submitted decklist. If the player is found in violation, they automatically lose the game. If a player is found to make the mistake a third time, we will escalate the penalty to a match loss. Players may request two deck checks throughout the tournament and checks resulting in penalties will not count against the player’s total number of checks.

12. Any player caught cheating or attempting to cheat will be dealt with at the discretion of tournament organizers, including but not limited to disqualification, banning from future events, and withholding prizes.

13. Feature Match Policy: If you are playing in the Sapphire Cup and are streaming, we take that as consent that you are willing to allow us to use your stream as a feature match on the main channel ( If, however, you would not like us to do this, please let us know as soon as possible and we will not host your stream. If you would like, you can use our official card blocker here:


14. To drop from the tournament, you will submit a request to us via a form. You need to use your safeword (entered with deck registration) to properly drop from the tournament.

15. The play order for the first game in each match of the top 8 is determined by seeding.

Banned and Restricted List

Given the Tuesday patch, we will start to populate this after the patch. Given the lateness of this, we may have to hold off providing a finalized list until Thursday Night or Friday morning. We know this is vastly inconvenient for deckbuilders, but the nature of a new patch forces us into this position.

Banned Cards


  • Incantation of Fury – It currently gains charges while in your hand.
  • Cerulean Mirror Knight Alternative Art – Only use the normal art cards for this tournament. The AA inspires troops from the graveyard.
Exploitative Behavior
  • Highlands Shinobi – Using something that simultaneously gives you a charge and removes your opponent’s last troop will lock up the game. If you do this, you will receive a game loss.
Cards with Known Issues


  • Chaos Key – Chaos key’s effect currently cannot be responded to.
  • Swiftstrike (unconfirmed) – This may still cause you to skip your second main phase. If this happens, we will not call for a restart.
  • Reese the Crustcrawler – Reese can spawn both PVE troops and 0/0 troops.
  • Spellshield Inspired Troops – Filk Ape is currently not reverting these inspire triggers.
  • Check this List – Anything mentioned here that we did not post in the other two sections will not be grounds for a game restart and the players must continue to play the game as is.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the sponsor for this tournament?

The Sponsor for this cup is the exalted community member Colin. You may know him from the card Highlands Magus or his numerous contests and giveaways he has hosted to support the hex community.

You can sponsor Cups? How do I get in on that action?

Season one is fully sponsored at this point, but we will announce season 2 sponsorship packages in a few months. Keep an eye on this page.

I would rather help you all run the event than play, is there any chance you are looking for a few extra hands to help run things?

Absolutely. We would like for people to play if they would prefer doing that, but we also realize that even with the four of us last time, it would be easier to run things with a couple extra hands on deck. Primarily, at this point, we are interested in getting people to help us run judging. We think there will be fewer decisions this time around, but we want to make sure those casting the matches are not also embroiled in judging decisions. We may also be willing to enlist a few additional people to help shoutcast matches, but space for that is limited at the moment. If you want to help judge or have other ways you are interested in contributing, please do email us at We will have a formal call for judges up within the next week.

Michael Allen is a competitive HexTCG player, co-host of the 2 Turns Ahead podcast, and founder and moderator of the Hex Subreddit.

8 Comments on Colin presents the FiveShards Sapphire Cup (Updated and Complete)!

  1. I don’t see any limits/restrictions on cards listed.

    • Hey Gaius,

      I put this on the forum thread, but need to update here as well. Since there is a big patch tomorrow, making bans/restriction today would be a waste of time. As such, we will be trying to provide an evolving list that will become final either Thursday night or Friday morning. It is very inconvenient, but it is what we have to work with.

  2. No worries. I just thought someone should mention it.

  3. I’m confused. It would seem, both from context and common sense, that these matches will not use the sparring queue. Yet you say that play/draw for game 2 will be decided by the player who lost game 1. How does one override the coin flip to make such a decision?

    • Hey Scott! When you enter the second game in the proving grounds one of two things will happen. 1) The player who lost the first game will win the coin flip, and will decide to play/draw on their own. 2) The player who won the first round will win the coin flip, and will ask in chat “Do you want to go first or draw first?” (Wording may vary). If their opponent wants to play, they will chose to draw, and vice versa. Additionally, to address the first part of your comment, we’re avoiding the sparring queue for multiple reasons. They’re unreliable for large scale tournaments, and additionally have often been known to create issues that don’t exist in the proving grounds.

    • DeckOfManyThings // March 10, 2015 at 9:56 am // Reply

      The person who wins the toss can choose to play first or draw first. Either before the end of the previous game, or while the choice is up for the current game, the winner should ask the loser what they prefer.

      If they are silent and don’t respond call a judge and let them know that your opponent didn’t respond to the play/draw option for game 2 or 3. The likely outcome will be to let the loser play first.

  4. You win game one. Before you start game two you ask your opponent in whisper..Would you like to be on the play or Draw. Depending on what he replies and depending on who wins the coin flip you can put the opponent on the appropriate response.

  5. Chaos Key?!? Oh noes, not sure when it was added but I now see on the known issues list in the forums that you can not respond to Chaos Key on the chain. Will it be added to the banned list?

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