Recently, Jimmy and I have been focusing quite a bit on ways that we can help grow our local Destiny scene here in Nashville. We’ve created a Star Wars: Destiny flyer to hang at our local shop so people know when we play and created a “cube” that we can use to host free drafts, but we wanted to take it a step further and come up with a format we could play at our weekly meetups that would cater to both new and veteran players.
With Convergence dropping recently, we elected to try running a limited escalation league. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s a format where players start off with a limited number of cards to build a deck from, and are allowed to slowly add packs to that card pool over the course of the event (usually spanning a few weeks). The great thing about a league like this is it puts everyone on an even playing field. New players and veteran players have the same size card pool, so those with large collections aren’t at a huge advantage.
We had actually tried a league similar to this when Way of the Force released, and while it was a relative success, we had a few issues that we wanted to iron out this time around. Here is the rule set that we used for our Convergence Escalation League:
Week 0 (April 2): We hosted a Convergence draft to celebrate the launch of the new set on this date.
Week 1 (April 9-15): This week, each player chose either the General Grievous starter deck or Obi-Wan starter deck. Then, each player built a deck using their chosen starter combined with either the cards they drafted from the previous week OR 6 unopened booster packs they purchased that night. Most leagues should simply use 6 packs, but we didn’t want to make people pay for both the draft and 6 more packs if they wanted to participate.
Week 2 (April 16-22): Each player was allowed to purchase one additional booster pack to add to their deck, in addition to any additional packs from games played (Explained in the rules below)
Week 3 (April 23-29): This is the final week of the escalation league. Players may again purchase one booster pack to add to their pool of cards for their league deck.
Here are the rules we settled on for our league. I’ll note the rules we plan on changing in future leagues, but feel free to use any or all of this ruleset in your local league!
- Each player begins with one starter deck + 6 booster packs and builds a legal 30 card deck using standard draft rules (Ignore hero/villain restrictions, must follow color restrictions).
- Each week, players may purchase another booster pack to add to their decks.
- Players may play as many other players in the league as they want each week.
- Only the first game against each opponent each week will be counted toward your league record. For example, Player A can play Player B in weeks 1 and 2, but only if they play twice in week 1, only the first game will count for the league record.
- No trading will be allowed for sealed card pool eligibility.
- Once you play a game, you are responsible for recording the result of that game to the Google Form. (Note: Many track results via paper forms, but I elected to use a Google Form and Spreadsheet. It’s currently catered to my local playgroup, but if there is enough interest, I’d be happy to look into converting it for public use. Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page)
- For every three losses, players may add one additional booster pack to their pool of cards. (Note: We’re strongly considering changing this rule, see below)
- Overall standings will be determined by win percentage (minimum 9 games played)
In the spirit of trying to make the league as new player friendly as possible, we elected to go with more of a “tiered” prize system that allows players to earn prizes as they go without having to win every game. This system allows players to track their progress and have goals to aim for, even if they’re completely new to the game, and has gone over very well.
|Tier 1||Build a legal league deck||1 Convergene booster pack|
|Play a game against 3 different opponents|
|Tier 2||Complete Tier 1||1 alt-art The Force is With Me|
|Start a round with 3 or more resources||(2 copies will be awarded if the league has <9 players)|
|Defeat a unique Villain character|
|Defeat a unique Hero character|
|Tier 3||Complete Tier 2||1 alt-art Way of the Light|
|Defeat a "Leader" character or win with a "Leader" character on your starting team||(2 copies will be awarded if the league has <9 players)|
|Defeat a character with an attached downgrade|
|Use the same Power Action twice in a game|
|Tier 4||Complete Tier 3||1 Convergence booster pack|
|Deal 5+ damage in one turn||Choice of 1 of the following (while still available)|
|Win a total of 7 games||Alt art Holdout Blaster
Acrylic 1 damage tokens
Acrylic 3 damage tokens
In addition to the prizes above, an extra pack per player will be added to the prize pool, and awarded as follows:
- First place in overall standings: 3 booster packs
- Second place in overall standings: 2 booster packs
- Third place in overall standings: 1 booster pack
- Most total games played: 1 booster pack
- Any remaining packs will be randomly distributed
Overall Thoughts / Lessons Learned
So there it is! Those are the full rules that we’ve been using in our local Escalation League, and so far it’s been a big hit! We’ve got a couple new players involved, and the veteran players are enjoying themselves as well.
With that said, we’ve been discussing some of the finer points, and we’ve all agreed that we want to change a few rules around for when Spark of Hope launches later this year. Here are the proposed changes:
- Allow a booster pack for each loss.
- Every 3 losses feels like too much given the limited length of a league like this. Often players find themselves stuck with bad decks, but can’t play enough games to get the losses for a pack to improve their deck.
- Also, 1 pack per 3 losses actually incentivizes losing if you already have a record like 0-2. Getting two packs from that could improve your deck enough that you want to try to win again.
- It’s slightly more expensive, but these packs are optional, and it’s more fun to open more packs and constantly adjust your deck!
- This would also prevent someone from getting a good pull (like I have with my elite / elite ) and dominating everyone. People will catch up much faster with the extra packs.
- One player suggested using a randomized “schedule” of opponents instead of the “just play anyone” approach. The benefits of this would be that everyone plays an equal number of games and no one can avoid a certain player because of the strength of their deck. The downside is that it feels like it might take away from the intended casual nature of the league. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one, let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page!
Other “Set Launch” Ideas
I’d love to hear from all of you, what does your local group do to celebrate the launch of a new set? Do you run leagues similar to this one? Do you simply have a few drafts? Or do you jump straight to constructed tournaments?
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