Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi… A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.
–Yoda, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars™: The Card Game takes you and your friends to interplanetary battles in a galaxy far, far away, but a vital part of Star Wars: The Card Game is participating in tournaments. Regional tournaments have already begun, but some new players may not know what to expect from a Star Wars: The Card Game competition.
If you’re unsure of what awaits you, today’s guest article by Matt Brown offers a closer look at how to prepare for any Star Wars: The Card Game tournament, from Regionals to Worlds.
Matt Brown on Tournament Preparation
A new Regional season has already begun, promising larger and more competitive tournaments than last year leading up to the National Championships. For many players, this may be their first exposure to any tournament larger than local league events. What should you expect as the tournament season progresses through Regional tournaments into Nationals and the World Championships? Today, I want to present a quick overview of the tournament process and offer some tips for tournament play.
Before the Event
- Make sure you contact the local store and know exactly when the tournament is going to start. You may also want to check in the day before the event to make sure that the time hasn’t changed. Nothing is worse than driving several hours for a tournament and missing it because you didn’t realize that the schedule changed.
- Decide on your deck lists as early as possible. Star Wars: The Card Game is a very tactical game, and knowing your deck well is extremely important. It can be difficult to make good decisions throughout the tournament if you change your deck the night before, leaving you without time to test it. Generally, last minute changes are acceptable if your testing identifies a critical weakness in your deck, and even then you want to have time to test your revised deck several times.
- Write out your deck list. When everyone comes to the event with their deck list filled out, the tournament starts much smoother. You don’t want to be the person flipping through objective decks and writing them down while everyone else waits to start. A pdf copy of the deck list sheet can be found on the support page of the Star Wars: The Card Game minisite.
- Read the most recent FAQ (pdf, 6.1 MB), also available in the support section. Know the current errata and rulings, especially as a few previous rulings have recently been reversed. Make sure you pay special attention to rulings or clarifications that could affect cards in your own deck, but be familiar with all of the rules so you know how your opponents’ cards work without needing to ask.
- Read the Tournament Rules (pdf, 8 MB), once again available in the support section. I’ll provide a brief outline of the tournament format below, but reading through the full version of the rules at least once is a good idea.
Click on the thumbnails above to download the new FAQ (left) and Tournament Rules (right)
What to Bring
- Your decks in opaque or art sleeves
- All materials needed to play: tokens, Death Star dial, Force marker, etc.
- A pen to record your game outcomes
- Water bottle and snacks are a good idea unless forbidden by the store. Tournaments can be long and keeping yourself hydrated and fed helps you play your best.
- Optional: a notebook or device to record match details between games. This isn’t required, but the community always appreciates a good tournament report and taking notes after the game helps you include more details if you decide to post one later. It is important to note that taking notes during a game constitutes cheating.
During the Event
- Arrive early to allow the tournament to start on time.
- Tournaments start with a Swiss-style section. This means that every round after the first, you will be paired against someone with a similar total score to yourself. Thus, if you keep winning, you’ll face other players who have also won. In the first round, pairings are random.
- Each match consists of two games, one with each side of the Force. Each game is worth four points. Additionally, winning the match nets you a bonus point. If both players win with their light side decks, the match winner is the player who won when the Death Star dial was lower. If both players win with their dark side decks, the match winner is the player who destroyed the most total objectives during the match. In the case of a true tie, neither player gets the bonus point, so each player scores four points.
- Matches have a time limit between sixty and eighty minutes. If you’re unable to finish both games within that time, you miss out on points throughout the tournament. You don’t have to be a speed master, but make sure you’ve practiced enough that playing two games within an hour isn’t too hard.
- After a number of rounds using the Swiss system, larger tournaments cut to a smaller number of players and play single elimination rounds. During this segment, winning a match determines who moves on to the next round instead of giving a bonus point. In the case of a true tie after the final cut, the player with the higher seed advances. The exception is the championship match – this is the only time a third game is played as a final tie breaker.
- Don’t be a sore loser or winner. You’ll win some games and lose some games. Either way, shake hands with your opponent and thank them for the game. If you lost, think about what you can learn instead of complaining about bad luck. If you won, be gracious. Resist any urge to point out your opponent’s mistakes unless they ask for tips, since unsolicited advice can come off as gloating.
- Teach others. No matter how long you’ve been playing, there’s probably at least one player present less experienced than you. Immediately after beating them probably isn’t the best time to correct their mistakes, but you can usually find ways to engage in discussion that can help them learn more about the game. A simple way to do this is by asking about their deck choices. If they’re playing something unusual, ask them why. You can discuss the pros and cons of the deck and why you might consider a different deck. Don’t discourage them because their deck is different, but really discuss their methods and things that need to be considered.
- Have fun! At the end of the day, we all play this game because we love it and we love Star Wars. Don’t let your competitive side overwhelm that. Smile, meet new people, make new friends, and enjoy playing Star Wars: The Card Game!
I hope you found this helpful as you prepare for the remainder of the tournament season. Whether you’re a new player or a seasoned veteran, make sure you get out to these events and have fun. Spread the excitement around your local play group. Get everyone together for a road trip to a distant Regional. The more enthusiasm we show for the game, the more attractive the game becomes for new players.
Now that you know how to gather the information you need from your opponent’s deck, you’ll need to make the most of it in your games of Star Wars: The Card Game. Look for more guest articles from Matt and others in coming weeks!
The characters, starships, and situations of the original Star Wars trilogy come to life in Star Wars: The Card Game, a head-to-head Living Card Game® of tactical combat and strategic planning that allows two players to wage cinematic combats between the light and dark sides of the Force.
© and ™ Lucasfilm Ltd.