The Canadian National Championships are an invitation-only event, restricted to Canadian duelists who have distinguished themselves as top competitors. There are three ways to earn an invite.
A total of 145 invitations were given out this year for top placing in Regional and Shonen Jump Championships. Make Top 4 in a Regional or Top 8 at a Shonen Jump, and you’ve earned the prestigious right to play to represent Canada.
49 more invitations were given out to the top-ranked players in the country, provided they didn’t already have an invite from a Regional or SJC. Apparently this includes me! Imagine my surprise when this weekend’s head judge, Toronto’s Jason Luckhardt, informed me of this fact.
That’s a total of 194 invitations awarded thus far, but today’s duelists will have a shot at the third and final opportunity. Last Chance Regionals, 32-person events, are being run in single-elimination format, and the winner of each tournament will receive an invite to tomorrow’s main event. LCRs will be run continually until 6pm, so long as there are enough players.
Thirty-two competitors, five rounds of competition, and one invite: the pressure is on.
The field here today is a desperate crowd. For some duelists traveling from afar this is their first attempt to qualify this year. For others, today’s LCRs represent the last of a long string of failed chances. Meanwhile, duelists like Chris Pittao and Dale Bellido are already here on-site, observing the competition for tomorrow and getting a feel for the metagame.
So, what kind of coverage can you look forward to today? I’ll be following some of the weekend’s most promising unqualified duelists as they attempt to nab a Last Chance invite and, with at least one previous Nats Top 8’er in the mix, it’s going to be an interesting day filled with high-pressure feature matches. LCRs traditionally see a relatively flat mix of decks as duelists only want to play strategies that have proven to be reliable, but if there is anything truly interesting around you’d better believe it’s going to get a feature!
I’ll also look at the emerging metagame this weekend, plus I might take some time to talk to some of the country’s most famous players, given that several of them are just lounging around. It’s going to be a bit slow since the main event doesn’t start until Sunday, but business is picking up. Make no mistake: today is the calm before the storm.
The first Last Chance Regional is about to start, but before I go into full-on coverage mode I want to give a big thanks to Jerome McHale. Jerome stood in for me with little notice four months ago when life demanded that I abandon my post here at Metagame.com, and did an outstanding job of bringing you the year's best decks, feature matches, and metagame insight. Thank you, Jerome: without you there wouldn't have been coverage.