The Cheating Problem in One Piece Card Game

Sorry explains and shares his thoughts on the cheating problem in One Piece card Game.

It seems like some of the One Piece card game players are following the footsteps of pirates by breaking the “rules” of the game.

The community has been riled up and rightfully so over the increase of players cheating, in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents.

This has been brought up more on social media with players caught red-handed cheating in both in-person and WebCam tournaments. However, most of the heated discussion is over WebCam events.

What are WebCam Tournaments?

For those not in the know, WebCam tournaments are where both players jump in a video call, share their play area via WebCam, and play against one another. It's a convenient way to play physical card games regardless of where you are in the world and players won't need to spend a lot of money on travel expenses.

Although WebCam tournaments have solved many problems, players have voiced their concerns about whether these online events should hold this weight in the competitive scene.

The Cheating Problem

Cheating has always been a thing in card games, whether you're face-to-face or online. However, in Physical card games and playing face-to-face, it can be daunting for many players to attempt to cheat, especially with a person sitting in front of them, watching their every move. Nonetheless, it still happens and some do get away with it. But online? Well, that's a whole other ball game.

When it comes to online play, we have two methods to play OPTCG, through WebCam or SIM (digital Client). WebCam is where most of the controversy is at, since through the SIM, you can't cheat by manipulating your cards.

On multiple occasions, we've seen players cheat on WebCam, from hiding cards in their lap and switching them in when they need one specific card to having a person literally sit under the desk and slide cards into their hand. This isn't to say that cheating isn't occurring in an in-person tournament, but it can be harder to catch and deal with when it's online.

This is the main problem in WebCam events, the player has full control of the environment they play in. The players’ faces are also cut off, so you can't tell if they're nervous, acting weird, or signaling someone in the room. This lets them set the perfect “cheating stage” whereas the opposing player, judge, and viewers can only have a view of what the “cheater” allows them to see.

During one of noHEROES One Piece tournaments, viewers noticed something unnatural. The player was accused of having someone sitting under their desk and sliding cards into their hand. This went unnoticed by the casters, proving that a stage set up for cheating can be challenging to catch on the spot.

Another cheating attempt by tossing the whole hand in the Trash and "Countering" the opponent's last attack.

Playing on WebCam means the opposing players can't physically check the other side's cards, so players need to play slower and show exactly which cards are being used. This is where some cheaters take advantage of that, to try and sneak one on the opponent.

Maintaining Competitive Integrity

noHEROES have been doing their best to maintain the competitive integrity of WebCam events, being more strict on the quality of the players’ WebCam and the angle they’re streaming. (I mention noHEROES a lot and use them as an example because I'm usually watching their tournaments live on stream).

At any time any hand cards, Life Area, Trash, or deck area are gone out of camera view, the player is penalized with a game loss. This might sound a bit harsh, but it's necessary to maintain competitive integrity.

This is the learning part for tournament organizers, understanding what players are capable of and the different methods that can be used to cheat. From there, these events will improve as the cheating methods are shut down, bringing a more competitive WebCam scene.

I think the best punishment for cheaters is to ban them from competing in future tournaments. No warnings, an outright ban. It can be for a specific period or indefinitely, Bandai also needs to play a role in maintaining competitive integrity, players who are found cheating in events that are tied to Bandai should receive a punishment.

This sends a message to all potential cheaters, rules are strict and will result in harsh punishments. Just knowing the consequences of cheating will deter most players from even flattering the idea. However, when cheating cases occur and the player gets a slap on the wrist, this might encourage others to try and cheat their way into winning tournaments.

We've seen this before, where players were caught cheating with video footage, but we still see them compete in official events as if nothing happened.

There is also the argument of the severity of the "cheating" and whether it was intentional or not. At the end of the day, mistakes happen, we're humans. A player might attack with more Don than they have left, mess up the sequencing, or attack with a Character that was just played on the same turn. These things happen, a lot, and it's difficult to pinpoint if the player did it on purpose or if it was an honest mistake. This is where the opposing player and judge have an obligation to keep an eye on what is happening in the game and try their best to catch any of these "mistakes".

However, it's hard for me to believe someone sneaking in a card from their Trash or "Lap", is an honest mistake. Those players shouldn't be treated leniently, and it's best to kick them out of the competitive scene.

Should Online Events be Taken Seriously?

Many players have shared their opinions on WebCam events being taken too "seriously". What I mean by seriously is that Bandai holding Regional WebCam events with amazing prizes and high stakes. Part of the community wants those WebCam tournaments to tone down, keeping some level of competition but not necessarily as big as they currently are.

Another part of the community wants WebCam tournaments to be entirely shut down. In-person cheating can be difficult to detect as it is, so WebCam will be almost impossible to regulate.

I for one love WebCam tournaments, more specifically, online tournaments, that give players from across the globe the ability to participate in competitive events. Living in a country where the majority of players are only interested in Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh! makes it a challenge for me to find someone willing to pick up anything else.

So any online events that foster a competitive scene, be it WebCam or SIM, I'm always advocating for. However, competitive integrity is important to me. I've played Legends of Runeterra for over 3 years at a high-competitive level, and a fair tournament without any cheaters has always been something Riot Games and the community strived for.

So I understand the challenges that tournament organizers and Bandai are facing when it comes to WebCam events, hence, why I support harsh punishments.

A cheater fully knows what they're doing, how they're affecting the competitive scene, and robbing others of their wins. Indefinite bans or even a minimum of a 1-year ban should weed out these cheaters and serve as a warning to anyone who considers it.

An Official SIM

An official digital client would eliminate cheating through card manipulation, bringing a more fair online competitive system. Bandai Namco has already shown a willingness to launch a digital client with Dragon Ball Super Fusion World's digital launch. This is probably the best solution to create a healthy online competitive scene.

The current community-created SIM continues to improve, and small community tournaments have been testing it out. I'm not sure what Bandai Namco's stance on the SIM is, so I'm not positive we could have any "bigger" events happen on the SIM that are tied to Bandai.

Two problems with an online client: some physical card players might not enjoy the experience behind a screen. The other would be players that cheat by streaming their end to a friend and basically 2vs1 an opponent.

This has happened in Legends of Runeterra, where a cheater would hop in a call with a high-competitive player, stream their end of the game as it's happening, and discuss the optimal plays, lowering the odds of making misplays.

One method I've seen used to "control" this is through forcing players to be in a Discord voice channel and having a face-cam on them, to ensure they're not communicating with anyone.

False Accusations

The whole cheating situation has created stricter rule enforcement, but at the same time, it has fostered an "investigation community".

This is fine when the community is correct, but it could be damaging for the players when they're falsely accused. This happened during one of noHEROES live streams when viewers questioned the hand movements of one of the players going out of the camera view. Apparently, the full view of the player stream wasn't shown by the tournament organizers on the official stream. The reason was to provide a better viewer experience, part of it was cut through overlay.

So the question should tournament organizers provide the full view of the players' cameras, to eliminate any suspensions from the community? It has proven that at times judges might fail to notice someone cheating, and the community has managed to catch the person in the act and share it on social media.

Closing Words

Overall, I think the One Piece card game Online is a massive step forward to growing the game more and enabling everyone to experience the competitive side of the game. The current SIM has proven just that, with many players joining the One Piece TCG community before they even have a physical card collection.

The steps we should take aren't to outright remove online play but to find ways to shut down cheating and preserve competitive integrity.


Alaa "TricksterSorry" Yassine is a competitive CCG player. His passion for card games ignited during his childhood, with favorites such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon. After playing Hearthstone casually for a couple of years, he decided to take it a step further with Legends of Runeterra, competing in major tournaments and achieving multiple accomplishments. Now, he delights in exploring various card games and mastering them.

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