Closing Thoughts on 2020 (Inter)Continentals

The NISEI 2020 Intercontinental Championship and its Survival Swiss format were a huge success. Twenty-four of the game’s strongest players fought round after round for the title of Intercontinental Champion, which was ultimately awarded to Yannick “QVM” Stucki, piloting AgInfusion and Leela Patel.

We never announced that the Intercontinental Winner would receive the greatest prize in gaming™, but we never didn’t announce it either. As a reward for besting all three of the 2020 NISEI Continental Champions and winning Intercontinentals, QVM will work with NISEI’s design team to create a card for publication in a future set. Congratulations to QVM! Keep your eye out for their design in a future NISEI product.

With the Continental Championships complete, I wanted to wrap up the season and offer my final thoughts on the past four weeks. When the players didn't want to do five rounds of Swiss Top 8 for Intercontinentals, I was worried the event was going to not be well-received. I gave a vote to the players and ultimately we all came up with the Survival Swiss format we ended up using. For a weird format made in the space of a few days, it worked surprisingly well! Of course, some things were not perfect, such as having to do it by hand. What’s more, around Round 5, SimonMoon lost a pared-down game, causing a ripple effect of byes. Also I didn’t expect five players to be left on just one life, but, in retrospect, that made the crescendo all that more dramatic and nail-biting.

The drama began building early on, as QVM lost the first two rounds, leaving them with only a single life. Just one more loss would have meant elimination! QVM won eight nerve-wracking but awesome games in this precarious position. The final itself, between QVM and Patrick “RotomAppliance” Gower, was super tense. Both players had only one life left, so it was all or nothing. They held nothing back--and it made for a fantastic game.

The Survival Swiss format has issues that will likely prevent it from being used in future major events. However, for an invite-only event like the Intercontinental Championships, I quite liked it. It added tension and, much like other elimination brackets, it removed the ability to 241 or intentionally draw. But the Intercontinentals weren’t the only recent event. The road leading to them, otherwise known as the Continentals, were amazing as well. Over the course of three events, we saw 297 players compete over a period of three weeks, and we celebrated three champions: Whiteblade111, ChrisFerg, and Syd7.

I’m grateful to know that these events brought so many players together during the strange time we’re all living through, and wish to thank all of you who reached out to me with kind words about the events. Honestly though, the pleasure is mine. I’m looking forward to the inevitable return of in-person events, although I know I might be waiting a while. I look forward to helping run Worlds, and hope to make it even better than the Continental series was.

Speaking of Worlds…

Continentals may be over, but the NISEI 2020 World Championship is coming up fast! World Championships will be held online from October 9th-11th, 2020. If you’re getting green with envy over QVM’s opportunity to design a Champion card, Worlds is your next opportunity to prove yourself and win your own!

Border Control

Border Control art by Akira J. Mitchell

What can you expect from Worlds? Although we will miss seeing you all in person this year, there are some upsides to an online World Championship. Logic Bomb time: Worlds being online means that there is Zer0 need to use Falsified Credentials for Border Control. Even better, because you won’t have to travel elsewhere on the Atlas, you won’t need to Liberate your Account during what is essentially the opposite of a Career Fair.

Despite the unusual circumstances, the excitement of our 2020 Continental Championships was as familiar as ever, and we can’t wait to see you again for Worlds.

Please keep being the best community I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of. You all rock.