DDR Ace Tournament Rules

Meet your DDR Ace TO!

Steve “ranatalus” Charron is one of the most high-profile DDR TOs in North America, running tournaments as far back as the DDRMAX2 era all the way through being the head TO and organizer for SUPER Extra Exclusive vs Extra Inclusive in 2020, the last event held at Eternal Amusement Tower in Akihabara before it’s closure. He strives to design new tournament formats and provide quality matchups for all participants, not just the top tier. He is also the 2006 US National DDR champion, and still routinely places in the top 100 worldwide for KAC qualifier rankings. When ranatalus is running a tournament, you know every match will be competitive, and we are thrilled to have him.


Sept 30 - Oct 2, 2022

Denver Central Park Embassy Suites

Denver, CO

Qualifier and Seeding

Qualifiers will be used only by TO request at signup. Players will qualify by playing 2 songs and totaling their combined EX score. Songs will be announced on Friday. Players will be permitted to play any chart for that song (including, if applicable, "special" versions). Players will have 1 set to play both songs, and may replay either song if desired. Players must inform the TO of their intent to qualify before beginning their set, and they may not make a second set attempt later. During the Friday qualifying period, players who wish to qualify will be given priority to play on the white cabinet. Tournament entry will be capped at 44 entrants.

Tournament Structure

AFK Con will use a single division. Players will play a Round Robin with promotions to the following round (also known as waterfall), with a double elimination bracket on Sunday. The number of players in the double elimination bracket will vary from 4-8 based on attendance, with up to 66% of the bracket being players who "float" directly from qualifiers and do not play in pools on Saturday.

Round Robin (Prelims)

Players will be placed into a Round-Robin Pod with 3 other players based on their seeding, beginning with the bottom 8 seeds. For example, in a 48-player tournament, the 2 first pods of the day would be as follows:

Pod A

Pod B

Player A



Player B



Player C



Player D



After being informed of who is in their pod, each player will secretly choose 4 songs; one of each level from a 4-difficulty range depending on the skill level of players in that pod. Players can pick any difficulty and are permitted to pick the same song on different charts. Then, each other player in the pod will choose 1 of those songs to play against them, beginning with the highest seed and working down. Once a song is selected, it is crossed off the list, and cannot be chosen by another player (a full “demonstration round” is at the end of this document to help clear up any confusion). In the event a song chosen during round robin pools has not been unlocked by either player, it will be replaced with a random song of the same difficulty.

Matches are played in the following order: Player B vs Player C, A vs D, B vs D, A vs C, C vs D, A vs B using EX score. The higher seed in each match will decide if they want to choose pad or determine the order songs are played, with the other player making the remaining choice. In the event of a tie after the first 2 songs, a tiebreaker song will be drawn as a 3-song random, with the high seed eliminating second. The draw will be from the same levels used for song selection on all difficulties, weighted 25% chance of each difficulty, and if one of either player’s picks comes up as a random, that song will be redrawn. Note that the 3rd song will only be played if there is a tie after the first 2 songs. A record of 1-0-1 (1 win and 1 tie) will not result in a third song.

Ties in the rankings will be broken in the following order:

  1. Win% for all matches in pod

  2. Win% on all songs in pod

  3. Head-to-Head

For these purposes, tied songs are considered ½ of a win. Any players still tied will play tiebreaker songs until a winner is determined. (same rules as above).

The top player from each Round Robin Pod will advance to the next level as the low seed in one of the next 2 Pods. Each of them will select a new slate of songs for this pod--they cannot reuse any charts they previously selected. The final Round Robin Pod may feature additional promotions depending on the number of players that qualify directly into double elimination.

Double Elimination Bracket

The bracket will be a double elimination bracket using card draw. All rounds will use the following difficulty range/weight distributions.

15: 10%

16: 25%

17: 30%

18: 30%

19: 5%

All rounds will be Best-of-3 (5 cards drawn, each player eliminates 1, better seed may choose pad or pick elimination/protect order) except Finals and Grand Finals which are Best-of-5 (7 cards drawn, each player eliminates 1). Songs will be protected/eliminated as follows:

Player A Protect

Player B Protect

Player B Eliminate

Player A Eliminate

Additionally, all players advancing to the bracket will be granted a “pocket pick”. At the start of the bracket, each player will be allowed to pick 1 song from the 15-19 range. One time, during a card draw, after songs are drawn but before any songs have been protected, they may opt to replace 1 of the songs in the draw with their “pocket pick”. The player using the pocket pick automatically uses their Protect for the round on it. The worse seed must declare their intention to use their pocket pick after seeing cards, but before the better seed declares their intention to use their pocket pick. If both players use their pocket pick, the high seed cannot remove the low seed’s pocket pick.

Tiebreakers (as needed) will be 3 songs drawn using the same distribution as the rest of the bracket. The player who eliminated 2nd in the original draw will eliminate first in the tiebreaker draw. In the event of multiple tiebreakers, elimination order will alternate until a winner is decided.


Bracket: All prize money will be paid out to the top 4, 45%/30%/15%/10%

Other Important Notes

  • No substances are to be applied directly to the pads other than cleaning solutions as needed. If you wish to use any other substance (for example, baby powder), you may apply it to your shoes while off the pad. Please be considerate of other players, other play styles, and convention staff, and use the minimum amount needed. You are expected to clean up any related debris. Repeated failure to follow these instructions can lead to disqualification.

  • Timeliness: Every effort will be made to prioritize available players over unavailable ones; however, in the event that you are not present for a scheduled match but your opponent is, you will be contacted via SMS. If you do not respond within 5 minutes (even just a response of "eating, will be back in 10 minutes"), you will be awarded a song loss. If you do not respond within 10 minutes, you will be awarded a match loss. It is your responsibility to be aware of when you are needed, to pay attention to your phone, and to keep TOs informed.

  • Recalculation of pad errors will be done at the sole discretion of the TOs. In the event that pad errors are recalculated, they will be upgraded to the worst step judgement otherwise received. For example, if a player PFCd a song other than a miss, and that step is determined to have been a pad error, that miss will be upgraded to a perfect. If they had a good FC, errors will be changed to goods (so no change to EX will occur).

  • In the event of network problems, all rules will remain the same EXCEPT that song choices must be from the default songlist. If this happens in the middle of a pod, the entire pod will be restarted. If this happens during the bracket, players may replace their pocket pick with a default songlist song (if applicable), but they must opt to do so BEFORE seeing the draw for a match. They may change back if network stability returns.