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The Challenge: The Pro Circuit
Ian Estrin

Ready for more Organized Play information, friends? So far, we have covered premier events, and this week we're going to look at the Pro Circuit. As everyone reading this is aware (or at least I hope you are), UDE has a new gaming system that is coming out called the Vs. System. The first game that is being put out using this new system is the Marvel TCG. In addition to being a phenomenally good game, it is going to be supported by one of the most massive Organized Play pushes ever for a game. One of the biggest facets of this push is the Pro Circuit.

What is the Pro Circuit exactly? The Pro Circuit is a series of ongoing events that are held all over the world where players can compete for huge rankings increases, prestige, and serious cash prizes. By serious cash prizes, I am talking about $250,000 in cash given out at each of the Pro Circuit events. You could make a very comfortable living by being successful on the Pro Circuit. Hmm, that's one thing to consider should this writing thing not work out for me. Anyways, so you want to run out and join the Pro Circuit. Well, don’t go packing your bags just yet. To join the Pro Circuit, you have to meet one of two conditions: you have to either place high enough in a Pro Circuit Qualifier or Grand Prix Event or have a UDE Ranking high enough to earn an invitation. The rest of this week is dedicated to breaking down the Pro Circuit and its stops, and looking at how you can become a part of this series of events.

Pro Circuit Event


Grand Prix Event


Pro Circuit Qualifier

That is your Pro Circuit Tour as it stands right now—three different types of events that will bring some of the best from all over the globe together to compete for the title of Pro Circuit Champion. That title is as prestigious as winning the title of World Champion on the non-Pro Circuit Tour. Let’s break down each event to give everyone an idea of what those things up above actually mean.

Pro Circuit Qualifier (PCQ): These are events that anyone can participate in, but they are not for the inexperienced. You will find very good players at this type of event, as they are all there with one purpose in mind: to earn a spot on the Pro Circuit. These events are generally held in larger metropolitan areas with rather high population densities. For those of you that live out in the boondocks and want to play, it may be a little bit of a drive, but the rewards are most certainly worth the trip. In addition to possibly earning a spot on the Pro Circuit, you get to experience tough competition and play for some good prizes as well. Going back to the ranking system that I used for the Path to Worlds, I would say that the Pro Circuit would be in the 70–80 range of difficulty and skill. Beginners to the game will probably have a tough time at these events the first few times they go, but this is the best place to really learn and grow as a competitive player. Each Pro Circuit will have a different format, be it Constructed, Draft, Sealed, Team Sealed, and so on. PCQs and Grand Prix events leading up to each individual Pro Circuit stop will all be of the designated format. Playing in all of these PCQs will not only build up your competitive experience, but also give you lots of practice in each available format. The great thing about the Pro Circuit is the opportunity to experience new formats and ways to play the game. The top two finishers at each PCQ have spots at the upcoming Pro Circuit event waiting for them. You can make a little bit of money winning PCQs, but playing on the Pro Circuit is where the big bucks can be made.

Grand Prix (GP): A step up from the PCQ, but not quite a Pro Circuit event, Grand Prix are mid to high level events that can be run in an area that would not normally be a spot for a Pro Circuit event. These events will have some incredibly talented players and some of the toughest competition around, so be sure that you are on your game before you hit one of these events. These are open to anyone, so if you had some bad luck at a PCQ or your ranking just isn’t quite there, going to and placing high in one of these events can help bump you up to the Pro Circuit. Don’t get me wrong, though—winning one of these events is an incredible accomplishment and brings remarkable prestige along with it. Grand Prix events are not held with much frequency, so playing in one will usually require a good bit of traveling. Again, the chance to earn a spot on the Pro Circuit and the prizes that go along with it can certainly make up for a twelve-hour drive to the event. Attendance at these events will probably range from 250–1000 people, so there will be a ton of talented players there, and there will be long days that are associated with playing in a Grand Prix. Those of you talented enough to make the Top 10 at any Grand Prix will be rewarded with an invitation to the next Pro Circuit event.

Pro Circuit (PC): You cut your teeth on the Pro Circuit Qualifiers, got your ranking boosted high enough, or placed in the Top 10 at a Grand Prix, and now you have arrived. You are playing on the Pro Circuit, the events that are for pros only, the place where you can make a name for yourself and make some serious cash, too. There are four Pro Circuit stops each year, with $250,000 in cash given out at each event. No, I don't have the breakdown for what each place will receive, but rest assured, if you do well at each of the Pro Circuit stops, you could live solely off of your winnings. Do not think for one second that it will be easy to place high at these events, this is a 90–100 level of competition. The best players from all over the globe will fly to compete at one of these events, and they are all bound and determined to go home with that title of Pro Circuit Champion. Like I said before, winning this title is as prestigious as being crowned World Champion. To play here, you must have earned an invitation from placing high enough at a PCQ or Grand Prix or by having your UDE ranking be at a certain level. What that level is will vary from Pro Circuit to Pro Circuit, but it will be a substantial number. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.

So there you have it, folks—a brief but thorough look at the upcoming Pro Circuit for the Marvel and DC Trading Card Games. One thing that I am particularly excited about is how many different ways Marvel and DC can be played and how compatible they are together. The fact that you can play DC vs. Marvel, Marvel vs. Marvel, and DC vs. DC means that there will be a ton of available formats for all the Pro Circuits. Maybe you are exceptionally good at Marvel, but not so hot with DC—either just play in the Marvel Pro Circuit events or test your mettle and skill and dive into DC events as well. The possibilities are endless for the Vs. System OP program, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

Please send any questions or comments to metagamechallenge@yahoo.com.

Until next time . . .

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