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YuGiOh Tournament Structures
A YuGiOh! Tournament
YuGiOh! Tournament Structure Intro
Yugioh have various tournament levels, ranging from hobby league at your local store to the annual world championship. The most basic of all tournaments are hobby league, then it goes up to local tournament, regional qualifier, nationals, Euros (if you are in Europe) and then World.
Hobby league is designed for causal play, when you are NOT supposed to use so called ‘Tier 1’ decks (those decks used by people at national levels). The idea is you score points for achieving various things instead of winning games. You supposedly would get a score card, and every time you did something, you call the judge over to stamp it for you. It could be things like you played a game, you tribute summoned a monster, you introduced a friend to play the game etc. It also awards you for showing up every week. So for showing up once, you may get a key ring and a promo card. If you show up a few weeks in a row, you could maybe get a play mat and T-shirt.
Hobby league is purely designed for the total beginner to play and to win some prizes even if they don’t win. However, seeing as most stores would have a good base of established players anyway, they just ignore that totally and run a normal Swiss tournament giving the prizes to the winners! The only time you find hobby league ran properly is at one-off promotional events or at place where it is not a usual gaming den, e.g. book shop wanting to sell more cards.
Local tournaments are typically weekly tournaments run by a shop. There is usually no extra prize support from Konami, meaning all prizes are from the entry fees, and you won’t win a huge amount. You can find these on forums or store locator on the Konami Yu-Gi-Oh! website. (The store locator has rarely worked properly over the years, so forums are still your best bet.)
Just about all local tournaments use the Swiss format. This is where you keep playing: with winners playing winners, and losers playing losers etc. So even if you keep losing, you will eventually end up playing people at similar level to yourself. Most people use these to test out deck and side decking ideas. So expect to see a diversity of decks.
Typically, you would have about half the players there that are causal players. Meaning they just have cards they’ve got, and build the best deck they could out of it.
About a third would be kids who just want to play the favourite character’s deck; and then you’ll have a few at national level who have access to any card they want for whatever deck type they wish to use. Obviously, the bigger and more accessible the shop, the more likely the player level is higher. You occasionally can win ‘champion packs’ at these tournaments. These are packs that are not for sale, and can only be won in tournaments.
A slight twist on local tournaments is the sneak peak. This is where you get to play a new set of cards before its release date, typically by a week or two. You would be given 5 packs of cards to start with (45 cards). You would try to build a deck with 20 cards minimum, and there is no limit on card numbers within those 20. All the other rules apply. They are great, considering you can nearly always buy the packs for below its selling price anyway, and get a special promo for entering. On top of that, if you know which card is likely to be more valuable in the future, you can try trade for it fast before other people notice and make a profit out of it!
YGO Tournament Game
Regional and National YuGiOh Tournaments
Regional qualifiers are a bigger version of local tournaments, and you usually have prize support from Konami. Meaning there are more things to win, like game mats and T-shirts. The ‘qualifier’ bit means if you win, you get an invite to Nationals! There are also top 8 qualifiers, where top 8 get invites. Shops would need to have a big enough player base to apply for top 8 qualifiers, but most would be ok for a normal one.
Apart from prize support, regionals are run more tightly, so you will need a deck list. Make sure you put in every card in your deck with the correct amount, as well as your full side deck and extra deck. Another difference is there is usually a ‘cut’. So after a certain number of rounds, the top 4 or 8 people would be put into a knockout tournament.
After that are the Nationals. Since Yugioh is big, these are by invitation only. But usually have side events for those that are going with friends. (considering you can’t go near them during the Swiss, you can’t exactly even try to cheer them on). The format is pretty much the same as Regionals, but the rules are even tighter, and the prize much better. You can typically win a games console or laptop plus the much sought after Shonen jump prize cards.
Speaking of Shonen jump championships, because they don’t have it in the UK, my knowledge of them is limited, but I do know they are top level tournaments and counts as qualifiers, with fantastic prize support.
Euros is open to top players from Europe (those that did well in their countries’ national), and world are for top players in the world.
So Yu Gi Oh indeed is huge and you can certain go as far as you like with it.
If you want to learn more about how to prepare for tournaments and give yourself the best chances of winning, or even start your own, go check out http://www.yugioh-guide.com for expert advice.