Star Wars CCG players,
Despite all of the hardships we faced during 2020, we managed to play a lot of Star Wars cards! Starting with our only live event of the year, the Endor Grand Prix in late January and culminating with an epic, 2-weekend, 16-game World Championship won by Player of the year Joe Olson, we celebrated 25 years of SWCCG. Now that we’ve taken time to relax and celebrate some holidays, and we’re on the cusp of the beginning of the 2021 tournament season, we in the Tournament Committee wanted to lay out our plan for 2021 Organized Play. This comes in conjunction with some slight changes regarding Player of the Year Points, as well as the creation of two new awards: Most Improved Player of the Year and Breakout Player of the Year (details can be found here).
We are excited for what 2021 has in store, and are hoping that with vaccine delivery in full swing, we will get to play some cards face-to-face again. Read on to find out what’s in store!
We have been given a wonderful gift in GEMP, and it has sustained us through the past year. We have seen growth as a community, and also have made exciting new strides, such as the new interface and GEMP-based playtesting! Even when it is safe to hold in-person events again, we want to continue improving and growing our online presence. To that end, here are some of the exciting events we have planned for GEMP in 2021:
•The OCS has been our preeminent online event for the last 3 years, giving everyone the chance to play competitive games on demand. The OCS season will be a little different this year: Rather than be played through a full 6-month consecutive schedule, the OCS months will be February, March, May, June, August, and September. Please check out the main post from tournament director Chris “Gogolen” Gogolen here for more information. Additionally, we expect the OCS top-16 playoff event to run from mid-October through mid-December (although we hope it finishes a little faster than that!).
•We will once again be hosting an Online Play Week, to be run from 2 April to 11 April this year. Online Play Week always has some great prizes that can only be obtained during that week (you can see 2020’s announcement here to get an idea of what’s in store), so block off your calendar now and get your game reports ready!
•Finally, as the year winds down, we’ll once again run the Outrider Cup in November and December!
We love that our community comes from all corners of the world, and that through these forums and online play, we get to know each other better despite our physical distance from one another. All of that said, we still want to encourage local play groups to continue playing with each other and forging bonds, so that we can all hit the ground running once it is safe to play in person. To that end, here are some of the events that we have planned to bring local groups together:
•One major component of organized play that we missed last year due to the pandemic were league events. But we don’t have to miss out this year, as 2021 leagues are live! Check out this post to see all of the details you need to either run or participate in a league this year. This is one series of events you’re not going to want to miss, otherwise you may miss your chance to battle it out with other league champions in the near future. These leagues are suggested to include six events, run at the convenience of the league, from March through October. Reach out to league administrators Bill “TacoBill” Kafer and/or Jared “Jnapolit31” Napolitano for more information. One note– we decided that it was not prudent to try to run in-person events for the first half of the year, which led to the unfortunate decision to cancel State Championships this year. However, we do strongly recommend that each league in a given state designate one of your six league events as a “State Championship,” run it on a single weekend just like old times, and we will find a way to add appropriate additional prizes to make up for it.
•By the time we reach July, it is possible that we will be able to see each other to play games in-person again. One thing we want to try to do is be able to run Regional Championships, but at this time we cannot project what things will look like. We will continue to have discussions about implementing a safe return to in-person play and have more information during the second quarter of 2021.
•Our other popular local event is the Local Tournament Weekend, which will be 6-7 November. If Worlds runs in-person and you were unable to make it, this is your best chance to play those decks you might have played. And if you make it to Worlds, this is your best chance to play that deck you decided against playing at 1am the morning before Worlds Day 1. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, this may run as “Local” GEMPTournament Weekend, but we are optimistic that by the end of the year it will be safe to once again have these events at your local game store!
The Majors are your chance to put your best foot forward and test your skills against the top players in the game! As in past years, we have several scheduled, as seen below, but if you have ideas for others, please feel free to reach out to us. The 2021 Majors planned so far are as follows:
•As is tradition, our first Major of the year will be the Match Play Championship, which this year will run from 23-25 April. We will be running this event online again, but that just means people from all over get their chance to play! I believe our record number of participants (when actually using match play) is 80, so we will be looking to break that this year. Registration will start sooner than you think, so look for details on this one soon.
•If we are able to run in-person events in July, another major event that we will be looking to have is US Nationals in Colorado from 15 to 18 July. The Colorado play group has been very active in the past few years, and was scheduled to host Nationals in 2020 before the pandemic hit. This year, we’re still uncertain if we can have this event live (because of, you know… *gestures to everything*) but will make a determination by 1 June to still allow for plenty of time for flights to Denver (whose airport may or may not have an apocalypse bunker for us to use). If this event does not run in Colorado, it will instead be run on GEMP and open to anyone who wants to participate. We’re having ongoing discussions with hotels in the area (and about possible online formats), so look for more information in the spring.
•One event that always draws a crowd is the European Championship. Tamas “Yoda007” Papp, Chris “Shadow 14” Menzel, and Paul “Paul McPherson” McPherson are monitoring the environment in Europe to see if we will be able to run this live in Bochum at Zu Den Vier Winden as usual, but will certainly have more information by the summer. If we’re unable, I’m sure they will again come up with a fantastic replacement event.
•The crown jewel of the SWCCG calendar is the World Championship, which will run 7 to 10 October (hopefully in-person) in Arlington VA (Washington DC). Our contract with the hotel is already done, and we’re hoping to have booking information communicated well in advance. If we are unable to run this event in-person, we will run this on GEMP very similarly to how Worlds 2020 was run (with the second weekend being 16 and 17 October), but we do hope to see you all in-person by that time!
Is the standard Open format not your thing? Need a break from the meta-deck grind? Well do we have some fun events cooked up for you! Check out these events, each of which has alternate rules or card legality, and opens up new possibilities for deck-building and gameplay!
•First up is the Jawas In Love event, the first organized event using the newest Jawa Banlist 3.0! This event will run from 1 February through 14 February and is a unique event in that there is no minimum or maximum number of games you can play. Girlfriend? Boyfriend? Wife? Husband? Spouse? Forget about ’em! There’s more Star Wars cards to play! You can see a complete list of registrants and an ever-expanding list of prizes here. Sign up with tournament director Kendall “Corran” Halman for your chance to steal your opponent’s heart (though you’re more likely to use R’tic H’weei to steal their force).
•Prefer to live like its still July in the year 2000, listening to Country Grammar, The Real Slim Shady, and It’s Gonna Be Me, and watching The Patriot and the first X-men movie? Well event organizer Jared “Jnapolit31” Napolitano and tournament director Robbie “rhendon” Hendon have a special treat for you. Starting 1 April they plan to run a throwback OCS-style event in the Premiere – Death Star II format. Look for more announcements with event details coming soon. You’d be a fool not to sign up! (And no, that’s no joke!)
•Another hugely popular event that we had last year was the Jawa Brawl, which will return again this year, running from 1 June through 31 July. As this will be about 6 months after the current banlist, and (hopefully) include at least 1 virtual set release, this will likely have a new Jawa banlist to play with, which always makes things interesting.
•To cap off the year, we present the return of the Jawa Cup, for those that didn’t qualify for the OCS playoffs or Outrider Cup and want to play this fun alternate event!
So there you have it! Those are our plans for Organized Play in 2021, and we hope that you are as excited about them as we are. We do have an open area in the calendar: In August and September, we intentionally left some time to run another GEMP event, but don’t currently know what event we will run. Do you have an idea? Please reach out to Chris “imrahil327” Schoenthal (or any member of the tournament committee, really) and pitch your ideas. We are already considering running Texas Mini Worlds again (if Robbie is up to it) or possibly another alternate-format event (Cube? Limited Resources? Legacy? Team event?). The possibilities are endless!
OCS: February, March, May, June, August, September (playoffs in October, November, and December)
League events: suggested 6 events between March 1 and October 31
Jawas in Love: February 1 – 14
Premiere-Death Star II event: beginning April 1 (length TBD)
Online Play Week: April 2 – 11
MPC (on GEMP): April 23 – 25
Jawa Brawl: June 1 – July 31
US Nationals in Colorado (or online): July 15 – 18
TBD event: sometime during August 1 – September 30
Euro Continentals: TBD
Worlds: October 7 – 10
Local Tournament Weekend: November 6 – 7
Jawa Cup: beginning early November
Outrider Cup: beginning early November
This is also a reminder that this is just a list of PC Organized Play for 2021, and while things may be added, changed or moved online, we still encourage you to play your own events, open play, kitchen table games, leagues on GEMP, etc. Ultimately this game is what you want to make of it, and playing more Star Wars cards is always a good thing. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Tournament Advocate Chris Schoenthal (or any of the TC members listed below) via PM here on the forums.
May the force be with you.
(Chris Schoenthal, Chris Gogolen, Casey Anis, Paul McPherson, Bill Kafer, Jared Napolitano, Justin Miyashiro, Justin Desai, Tom Kelly, Garrett Larson)
Star Wars CCG players,