Why I'm Psyched About Galactic Qualifiers!

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1. INTRODUCTION:


The Galactic Qualifier in Madrid (Spain) in December 2017, was officially what kicked off the YOUR Destiny Podcast and website ... we had started the podcast a couple of months prior to the event, but it was still very much in its infancy, and we were still finding our feet (and the website didn't launch until June 2018). I know, it's crazy, it seems as if we've been around forever, but we are actually still very new on the block.

Well .. It was when Mads Utzon and I met up with Miguel Villaroya, then Spanish Champion, and Tobias Winter, David Levy and Christine Hölz, who'd become the German "branch" of YOUR Destiny that everything started. So, you'll understand why my starting point for discussing the Galactic Qualifiers is full of fond memories.

I've only attended that one GQ, but I'm adamant that 2019 will be a year where I'll attend more, and in this article I'll explain to you "Why I'm Psyched About Galactic Qualifiers!"

LINKS:
1. FFG's ARTICLE REGARDING GQ's.
2. OFFICIAL GQ EVENT WEBSITE.

2. FFG'S ANNOUNCEMENT IN 2019:
February 7, 2019, Fantasy Flight Games released an article outlining their "new" ambition for the Galactic Qualifier programme, which seemed sort of lost for a while. I mean, the Galactic Qualifiers were running and all, but it just didn't seem like anyone really knew where they were held or what their role were within the Organized Play Scheme (the website for the GQ's weren't regularly updated - it was in fact never updated). We might not be any wiser regarding that, but at least FFG gave us a bit of insight into the ambitions of the GQ's going forward, whether or not they'll manage to fulfill those ambitions remains to be seen.

In their article they start out by saying:gq2jpg A lot of it is of course commercial banter, but one huge change from a European perspective is the fact that the Galactic Qualifiers are now widely embraced outside of the US and made available to a wider audience. Currently the events programme include 4 Galactic Qualifiers in the US, 1 in Canada and 3 in Europe, while I sincerely hope to see 1 in Oceania as well as one supporting the large community in Latin America (primarily Brazil).gq3jpg
The Galactic Qualifers were always meant to be both a platform for promoting the game as well as showcasing the best competitive elements of the game, and it would make sense if that ambition was translated directly into the locations of the events as well as the general availability of them to as large a group of players as possible!gq8jpg
Of course, I'd want for more events in Europe, but that's because I'm selfish. I can easily get to any of the 3 events already advertised (all of them are within 2 hrs in a plane) and will definitely do my bit to make at least 2 events!

EDIT: After completing this article they actually announced a fourth European Galactic Qualifier in Italy! HURRAAAH!

3. SUPPORTING THE FORMATS:
One of the most dividing issues in Destiny is without doubt rotation within the game. While some players feel that rotation is a way to cheat people out of their money (by making some cards from older series unplayable in some formats) others believe that rotation is the second coming and cannot wait to get their older cards out of their binders. I myself belong to the latter category, and had already mentally prepared myself never to play with a Force Speed or a Hyperspace Jump again ... The real question though was what would be the official policy on formats! We already knew that formal and premier events, i.e. the tournaments previously known as Regionals, Nationals, Intercontinental and Worlds, would be supporting Standard Constructed, but it wasn't entirely clear what would become of Infinite Constructed. I guess, we know now.gq4jpg
I for one think it's a beautiful solution to let the Galactic Qualifiers support all three formats, generally allowing as many players as possible to partake in whatever part of the Galactic Qualifier they see fit and are capable of:
  • TRILOGY (Convergence)
  • STANDARD (Legacies, Way of the Force, Across the Galaxy, Convergence)
  • INFINITE (All sets).
I'm definitely going to play all three formats, and while not everyone will be sharing my sentiments, that's maybe the beauty of the GQ's, there's something for everyone! Traveling for a Galactic Qualifier (internationally or long distance domestically) will probably require that you want to participate in more than one format as it looks like most Galactic Qualifier events will be composed of:
  • ONE TRILOGY event
  • ONE INFINITE event
  • TWO STANDARD events
It generally means, that although your cards from older sets might have taken a heavy hit on face value at least they are not rendered useless from a competitive gaming perspective. Whether that matters to you or not is of course another question altogether. I'm content with this subtle solution and maybe other tournament organizers will be following this lead to diversify the formats for their various tournaments.

4. PRIZES:
Fantasy Flight Games have always for most of their games embraced plastic, acrylic and cardboard as the main components for their tournament prizes. This is not satisfactory for some, while others love it. To the credit of FFG, they've actually never been anything but frank about their policy for tournament prizes. They never promised cash prizes. Or prizes that had any value. Whether we like it or not is a different matter altogether.

For their first Galactic Qualifiers, FFG announced a series of new "spotgloss" cards: characters and battlefields, and add to that various play mats (originally two: A Hera Syndulla play mat and a Thrawn play mat). The spotgloss cards are acetate, transparent and pretty dope. They also sell for quite a bit on the second hand market, and although prices are bound to fluctuate according to market principles, you can generally get between 50 - 150 US$ for a spotgloss card obtained at a Galactic Qualifier.

When Mads Utzon and I went to the GQ in Madrid, we played two tournaments, one Saturday and one Sunday, with the following scores: 6-0, 5-1, 5-1, 4-2. That earned us collectively enough prize tickets for four spotgloss cards.

Since then, FFG has changed their prize ticket policy and that's basically good news for you:gq5jpg
(Photo credit: Justin Allen)

The image above is a bit gritty, but the main thing is that the number of prize tickets to obtain various spotgloss cards vary depending on the type, i.e. character, battlefield, etc. as well as depending on what cycle the cards belong to. Awakenings Cycle cards can be obtained at a "discount" (6 prize tickets), while Legacies Set characters are pricier (8 prize tickets) and Way of the Force and Across the Galaxy characters the most expensive (10 prize tickets).gq6jpg
(Photo credit: Justin Allen)

Players are allocated prize tickets dependent on their wins/losses and awarded bonus tickets for good results, which essentially rewards competitive players. The matrix would look like this, separated into scores, for any 6 round main event:
  • 0-6 (6 prize tickets)
  • 1-5 (7 prize tickets)
  • 2-4 (8 prize tickets)
  • 3-3 (9 prize tickets)
  • 4-2 (12 prize tickets)
  • 5-1 (15 prize tickets)
  • 6-0 (18 prize tickets)
On top of this players who drop from the main event can usually play a number of 8-man pods, earning the following tickets (again dependent on score):
  • 0-3 (3 prize tickets)
  • 1-2 (4 prize tickets)
  • 2-1 (5 prize tickets)
  • 3-0 (8 prize tickets)
This essentially means that if Mads Utzon and I had obtained the same results in a Galactic Qualifier today, we'd have earned ourselves 18+15+15+12 = 60 tickets that could have been used to purchase 6 spotgloss characters from Way of the Force/Across the Galaxy or 10 spotgloss characters from Awakenings! And mind you, that we only played two main events. IF you were to go 6-0 in four main events, you could rack up 72 prize tickets buying 7 of the newest spotgloss characters. If we assume that the average prize on the second hand market is 75$ for these, it'd amount to more than 500$ worth of prizes. That seems like an okay deal for a tournament that doesn't offer cash prizes.

Anyways ... what I'm trying to say is the following. It does look like FFG have listened to its player base, at least in some regards, and Galactic Qualifiers look like they reward both beginners, intermediate and hardcore tournament players! Well done Fantasy Flight Games!

They've also changed the format of the Galactic Qualifiers from double elimination, i.e. you are automatically dropped from the tournament when you lose 2 games, and instead run it as a regular 6 round swiss tournament. You can choose to drop from the main event at any time to start playing 8man pods or stay in the main event.

Ah! They also made some new awesome play mats! I'm not entirely sure what the current policy is on play mats, but as far as I've been informed, one of the play mats can either be purchased with your entry ticket or is given as a participation prize?! gq7jpg
5. EVENTS - NOT TOURNAMENTS:
It seems clear to me, but maybe just me, that Fantasy Flight Games, is pushing for the Galactic Qualifiers to become more than just tournaments, but instead events that are inviting to all kinds of Destiny players. And while I myself am not a gamer per se, I don't really care about other kinds of games, I'm also well aware that I might be a rare specie here, and think it's great that the Galactic Qualifiers is about more than just playing hardcore competitive games ... but there are many more aspects that could be explored by a tournament organizer.

Things that has worked well previously are social gatherings beyond the tournaments themselves, like cafés or even small cozy recreational spaces maybe even with a bar (yes yes, I know ... it requires permits and whatnot ...), maybe even Draft events, which I also see FFG advertise as a possible structure of the tournaments.gq9jpg
There could be Star Wars Trivia competitions ... you name it! If I'm going to travel and spend an entire weekend away from home anyways, why not get the most out of it. While many of these events are up to tournament organizers to structure, plan and run, there's plenty of good people out there who'd be willing to help. JUST ASK!

6. I'M PSYCHED!
I'm still not entirely sure how many events I'll be able to make during 2019, but I'll certainly prioritise the Galactic Qualifiers and make sure to reserve as many dates in my calendar as possible.

Finally, tournament organizers, remember ... make your announcements early! Many of us have jobs (and families) that does not permit us to drop the ball at any given moment! We need to know well in advance so holidays can be planned, families put up for adoption and trips prepared.


See you at a Galactic Qualifier near you!