Just a few short weeks from now on December 21st and 22nd, 24 of the best Magic players on the NRG Series will compete for their share of $10,000 and the title of NRG Series Champion! We’ve always looked to ensure that the Championship is a compelling experience for our competitors and viewers, and the changes we’ve made to the structure for the fourth iteration of this event represent our attempts to do so. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the structure of the 2019 NRG Series Championship!
|1st||$2,250||2020 #NRGChamp + Players Tour|
|9th-24th||$75 + $40 per point|
The first three stages of the Championship will feature group play. On the Friday before the Championship, we’ll randomly draw six groups of four players each. Then, the MVP (the player who’s earned the most points on the 2019 NRG Series Leaderboard) will get to swap any two players between any groups. That could mean moving themselves into a group of their choice or switching someone else out of their own group for another player. After the MVP has made their choice, we’ll get ready for Stage One play on Saturday morning.
Matches within Stage One will all be of the same format (either Pioneer, Modern, or Legacy), but we won’t announce which format that will be until just before the Stage kicks off. For Round 1, each player will be randomly paired against another player in their group. In Round 2, the winners of the Round 1 matches in each group will play against each other and the losers of the Round 1 matches will play against each other. After Round 2, each group will have one player at 2-0, two players at 1-1, and one player at 0-2. The 2-0 player wins the group and earns 3 points, and the 0-2 player loses the group and earns 0 points. For Round 3 in Stage One, only the 1-1 matches from each pod will play, awarding the winner 2 points and the loser 1 point. After Stage One, each pod should look something like this:
After three rounds of action, we’ll gear up for Stage Two. Each group will be semi-randomly made; we’ll make sure that each group has a player with 3 points, 2 points, 1 point, and 0 points, and also that no players are in the same group for Stage One and Stage Two. Besides these two restrictions, groups are completely random.
Then, we’ll kick off the rounds in the same structure as Stage One, but with one of the two remaining formats chosen at random. Note that players will be paired for each round based on their record within the group (and not necessarily overall record). Just as in Stage One, the 2-0 player in Stage Two will earn 3 points, 2-1 earns 2 points, 1-2 earns 1 point, and the 0-2 player earns no points.
It’s time for Stage Three, which will make or break our competitors’ hopes for reaching the Top 8. Which groups our competitors will be in is determined based on overall standing, with 1st-4th forming Group A, 5th-8th forming Group B, etc. Should players have the same amount of points, refer to our Tiebreaker system below.
Stage Three will use whichever of the three formats have not yet been chosen and will follow the same match structure as the previous two stages. Again, note that players will be paired for each round based on their record within the group (and not necessarily overall record). Just as in Stages One and Two, the 2-0 player in Stage Two will earn 3 points, 2-1 earns 2 points, 1-2 earns 1 point, and the 0-2 player earns no points.
After Stage Three, we’ll seed the Top 8 using the following tiebreaker method:
- Total points
- Number of group victories (a player who has 6 points by winning a group has higher tiebreakers than a player who has 6 points but did not win a group)
- Game Win %
- Head-to-head record (if applicable)
- NRG Series 2019 Leaderboard ranking
At this point, players who did not finish in the Top 8 receive $75 plus $40 for each point they earned in the first three stages. Players who are in the Top 8 will come back and play for the big money, the invites, and the trophy on Sunday.
Stage Four (Top 8 Playoff)
The Top 8 will use the same format we used for the 2018 Championship. These rounds will be paired in typical bracket-style, and in each match of the Top 8, the lower seed (#5-8 in the quarterfinals) in the match will start by vetoing one of the three formats (Pioneer, Modern, or Legacy). Then, the higher seed will choose which format to play between the two remaining formats. The higher seed will have the choice to play or draw during their match.
In the Top 4, the structure is the same, with one exception. The lower seed still can veto one of the formats, but if they were the lower seed in the previous round, they are not able to veto the same format. The higher seed will still choose which format to play between the two remaining formats. The higher seed will still have the choice to play or draw during their match.
Once we reach the finals, the two players will play up to three matches: one each of Pioneer, Modern, and Legacy. Each match will be played with best-of-3 games, and the higher seed will get to choose between play/draw or format for the first match. If the higher seed declares their intention to choose play/draw, then the lower seed will choose the format before the higher seed chooses the starting player. For the second match, whichever player lost the first match will choose between play/draw or format, and their opponent will make the other choice. If we get to a third match, the loser of the second match will choose play/draw and they will play whichever format has yet to be chosen. This is an update from a previous version of this article.
Whichever player wins two of the three matches will raise the trophy and be the 2019 NRG Series Champion!
Event Structure TL;DR
- Stage One (grouped randomly with MVP getting one switch): 3 rounds of Format A, points awarded based on standing in pod 3-2-1-0
- Stage Two (new groups, each has 3-2-1-0 points from Stage One): 3 rounds of Format B, points awarded based on standing in pod 3-2-1-0
- Stage Three (new groups by overall standing): 3 rounds of Format C, points awarded based on standing in pod 3-2-1-0
- Stage Four (Top 8): Lower seed vetoes a format, higher seed chooses between remaining formats and chooses play/draw. Top 4 works basically the same. Finals is best 2-of-3 matches.
We’re happy to be bringing you two full days of live video and social media coverage from #NRGCHAMP hosted at the Nerd Rage Game Center. Our video coverage on twitch.tv/NRGSeries will begin with our pregame show starting at 9:00 AM (all times CST). Our coverage team of Mat Bimonte, Joe Lossett, Wyatt Darby, and Brad Brown will be telling you what to expect from each format, giving their thoughts on players’ decklists, and sharing their predictions for who will raise the trophy. After the pregame show, we’ll bring you all 9 rounds of action starting around 9:30 AM. Then, on Sunday morning, we’ll cover every single turn of every single match of the Top 8 starting at 10:00 AM.
We’ll also be bringing you additional coverage and updates from the floor via Twitter, so be sure to follow along with us there!
The Final Countdown
The fourth year of the NRG Series is wrapping up soon with the Championship on December 21 & 22nd, but it’s still not too late to qualify! All three members of the winning team from the November 30th Team Constructed CT in Gurnee, IL will automatically qualify for the Championship. They’ll join nine players from the top of the NRG Series Leaderboard and the 12 players already qualified to compete for $10,000, invites to the Players Tour and the 2020 NRG Series Championship, and the title of 2019 NRG Series Champion. We hope you’ll join us in person or on Twitch to help us celebrate the flagship event of the 2019 NRG Series.
Max Kahn is the Event Manager for the NRG Series and the Judge Manager for all Nerd Rage Gaming events. When he’s not answering your judge calls or working behind the scenes at your local event, he splits his time between Chicago, Seattle, and Twitter.