Worlds 2019: Pros and Cons

Worlds 2019 has come and gone and it is not a weekend I will soon forget. While I could go on at length about the experience, I’ll leave that to the boys on the podcast. I’ve decided to put together something relatively succinct. Therefore, I’ve created a Pros and Cons list for Worlds 2019.

For reference, I attended Worlds 2018 but did not attend Worlds 2017. I only have two years of comparison but considering how dramatically different they were, I think this is a decent basis to work off of. So, without further ado, let’s get down to it!

PROS:
Staying with friends
* I was not an official member of the Golden Dice Podcast last year, so while I was friendly with Jack and we touched base a bit during Worlds 2018, I spent my time mostly alone when not grinding side events. This year I had the pleasure of staying with Jack (albeit one night), Brian, and Flockton. I’m sure this is something most everyone knows already but nothing beats spending time with good buddies while you prepare for and unwind from a large event like this.
The venue
*Worlds 2018 (and 2017, if I’m not mistaken) took place at FFG’s Games Center in Roseville, Minnesota. While it was definitely neat playing in FFG’s own dojo, with product, food, and beer on hand, it is not a venue well suited for the hundreds of Destiny and X-Wing players in attendance over the extended weekend. There simply isn’t enough space. This meant most side events were held in the nearby Hilton Hotel. This made things feel disjointed and while things were organized relatively well, it didn’t really feel like you were at Worlds. This year, all of the festivities were held within the Roy Wilkins Auditorium of the Excel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. There were hundreds of tables with set seating for main event play, side event play, pods, etc. With everything in the same area it really felt like a BIG event, suitable for Worlds. It also made everything more centralized; if you were grinding pods all day you didn’t have to walk half a block to the prize wall. It was all right there. Similarly, the arena is within walking distance of several hotels and fine eating establishments. (Shout out in particular to Patrick McGovern’s Pub. I probably ate a whole turkey from their delicious variety of sandwiches over the weekend).
The side events
*There were on-demand escape pods all weekend long for pretty much the entire day each day. These were an excellent and lighthearted way to grind prize tickets and test out your deck before the main event. There were a wide spread of side tournaments as well: 40/40 Infinite Highlander, Standard, Trilogy, Drafts, 3v3; anything you could want to dabble in was available at some point. Barring some delays for the side event tournaments, these events were cleanly and efficiently run. The pods were especially well done and I spent the majority of my free time grinding them with some excellent people within the community (props to the boys from Phoenix!). I hope everyone enjoys their Ewoks!
The prize wall
*Some people weren’t blown away by the monochromatic cards initially, and I was one of them. That being said, they’ve since won me over. Additionally, the surprise inclusion of official foils for the first time in Destiny history and beautiful new metal shield tokens based on various clone trooper helmet designs, I was very eager to cash in my tickets even if they were mostly spent on randomized packets of shields/monochromatics. With new resource tokens, playmats, and spot glosses, there was something for every taste.
The community
*The Star Wars Destiny community, by and large, is filled with delightful people. Even in the throes of tense tournament play I had a wonderful time meeting people from around the world as they came together to play this game we all love. Pods were exceptionally fun and I loved getting to meet fans, other content creators, and all around good humans. Kudos, Destiny fam.

CONS:
Staying in a hotel that only has one key
*We stayed in a nice “urban rental” suite. Chic, modern design with a full kitchen, bedroom, pullout couch, washer/dryer, the works. Not too expensive, either. BUT. There was ONE key to the room. That key was also the key to the building. Trying to organize the single key across three people as we went from Worlds to food to Worlds to bars to the room to bars was a massive pain. I wouldn’t recommend it for any groups that don’t plan on sticking 100% together the entire time.
Convention center food
*Being a relatively frequent convention goer, I wasn’t surprised that the food on-site was exorbitantly expensive. That being said it’s still a negative experience to see $15 chicken tender baskets and 16 oz. bottles of soda and water being sold for $5. The cheapest thing I saw sold was a toasted plain bagel and butter for about $2.25. I understand these venues have personnel to pay and plenty of overhead, but when you’re charging that kind of money for mediocre food it just shows that the monopoly is being exploited to its fullest. At least you could buy beer I guess.
Side event prizing, length
*While the side events were diverse and interesting, from all reports they ran entirely too long and did not give out enough prize tickets. If you were going into one of these events looking to get your money’s worth prize-wise, you were going to be greatly disappointed. The tournaments were usually 6 rounds long and often ran to time during the rounds. Considering you were committing about 4+ hours to a single tournament, the prize ticket payout for anyone but the winner felt mediocre considering you could run about 3 pods within that same time frame and guarantee yourself, at worst, 12 prize tickets. While I wholeheartedly encourage the diversity and unique events that were run, I think it’s time to pump up the prizing considering the time investment.
Online decklist submission
*This was a new feature this year and while I think it is a good idea, there is definitely room for improvement. Players in the main events (either Friday Day 1A or Saturday Day 1B) had to submit their decklists by 10:00PM CST using the online form provided by FFG. While I think online decklists are the way to go, this form was a bit of a mess. It required the filling out of each card in your deck individually, one by one. While having my laptop made things dramatically easier I know a lot of people struggled on their phones to get this process done successfully. The form did allow uploads or linking of SW DB lists/PDF files but it was still more of a hassle than it needed to be. Again, I like the idea but the execution was lacking.
Participation prize
*For participating in the main event you received prize tickets (2 for playing, 2 per win, 1 per loss) and………………..

*drumroll*

…..a deckbox. A cardboard deckbox. A non-sealing cardboard deckbox. This thing looks nice, sure, but it doesn’t have any latches or folds to keep it closed making it functionally worse than any store championship or prime deckbox that has been released previously. This thing is definitely a disappointment considering the quality of previous deckboxes seen at Worlds or elsewhere.

All in all, Worlds 2019 was a tremendously positive experience and despite a middling 5-3 result in the main event and failure to make Day 2. I took Reylo as it was by far the deck I was most comfortable with, especially considering I hadn’t played the game significantly since GenCon. I’m beyond happy I went and spent time with good friends and this excellent community. Props to FFG and the Destiny community for making this an unforgettable weekend.

-Eldis

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