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Scott Elliott Interview: The Shonen Jump Yu-Gi-Oh TCG Championship Series
Toby Wachter
For those duelists who have wanted to prove they are the best, the Shonen Jump Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game Championship Series will provide the opportunity to compete at the highest level. Combining a great environment with the most challenging competition and incredible prizes, this tournament series is the best way to make a name for yourself and participate in the worldwide Yu-Gi-Oh! community. I recently sat down with Upper Deck Entertainment’s Organized Play Manager Scott Elliott to get the scoop on the first tournament in this series at Gen Con So Cal, and what the future looks like.

Metagame: So what is this tournament series all about?

Elliott: The Shonen Jump Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Championship Series is two things at once. We wanted to have some gigantic, larger than life Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments, where people could get together, show their best game, and play for some amazing prizes, like laptop computers and gaming systems. We wanted to give away cards that have never been seen before in the United States, like Cyber-Stein. You can always play at your local shop with 10 or 15 people, and it’s an amazing thing to play at a Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Regional Tournament, where you play against maybe 100 or 200 people. But what we hope to grow these into is a tournament series where you play against 500 or 1000 people at the same time, which is a phenomenon that most people haven’t been able to experience yet with the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. There have been some huge tournaments in Europe that have had attendance in excess of 1,000 people, and the response was tremendous. This is for you in the U.S.—we don’t want you to feel left out.

Metagame: What should players expect when they come to this first tournament in the series at Gen Con So Cal?

Elliott: What should they expect? We wanted to represent how exciting and vibrant Yu-Gi-Oh! is. The monsters are incredible and larger than life, so you’ll see that visually at the tournament. What you will see in terms of tournament play is people playing with Advanced Format decks. This will be the first time people play in a tournament of this size with the new Rise of Destiny set, which is pretty exciting. You’re going to see a brand new metagame. Other things you should expect to see include Challenge the Master, which will be a side event. You’ll get to duel against either the best from within the industry or people who have won championships. We’re going to line up the best duelists, and if you can beat them, you’ll win prizes.

Also, there’s more than one way to be successful at these championships. We don’t want to only reward the person who is the absolute best player, although it’s important to play well, compete, and excel. We also want to support someone who is willing to be consistent. So, while we’re giving out a Cyber-Stein to the champion, we actually have a second one reserved that we will give away to the person who accumulates the most points over the course of the weekend by playing in multiple side events. 

Metagame: What does the prize breakdown look like?

Elliott: The top prize will be a top of the line laptop computer, an uncut sheet of Ultimate Rares, a trophy, and a copy of Cyber-Stein. Second place gets a new “slim” Sony Playstation 2 and a Nintendo DS. Third and fourth place get a slim PS2, and fifth through eighth will get a Nintendo DS. Everyone in at least the Top 32 will win booster packs.

Metagame: Should we expect the same kind of prize support for future events in this tournament series?

Elliott: You should definitely expect prize support to be at least as good as this in the future. We only want to improve. So, if you think these prizes are good, they’re only going to get better.

Metagame: How many of these tournaments are you expecting to run in 2005, and are there any specific cities you’ve focused on so far?

Elliott: For 2005, we will run up to as many as twenty events in North America. Basically, you should expect to see them in major cities all over the U.S. The next one that is scheduled is expected to be at MegaCon in Florida. All the details have not been finalized yet, but there’s a very strong chance we’ll have that lined up in the next few weeks. Also, we expect to run one at Wizard World LA in March. Gen Con So Cal will definitely be the inaugural event.

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