This year’s world championshipship for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game will return to Japan in August as an in-person event for the first time since 2019. Three separate tournaments will be held, including the first sanctioned championship tourney for Master Duel.
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG’s publisher Konami revealed their plans on February 3rd, saying World Championship 2023 would be part of the trading card game’s broader, year-long 25th anniversary. The most recent Jump Festa in January advertised a celebration of the trading card game’s past - and an attempt to recapture wayward players - while also securing its future, both in digital and cardboard.
As part of that promise, this year’s world championship will expand its competitive offerings to make room for a specific Master Duel tournament, alongside the traditional TCG finals and the slightly older digital title Duel Links.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel released in early 2022 as Konami’s premier digital platform going forward, very much the TCG’s equivalent to Magic: The Gathering Arena and the still-in-beta Pokémon Trading Card Game Live. The app exploded in popularity in the months following its release, and Konami has consistently released events, updates and curated a separate digital ban list.
Exact dates and times, as well as details on how competitors will qualify, is coming later, according to the official World Championship 2023 website. One omission from the announcement remains fairly glaring - COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Konami has cancelled the world championship for three consecutive years - the last in-person tournament was held in Germany during 2019 - each time citing safety concerns regarding the still ongoing global pandemic. As we’ve already seen this year, many events are opting for fully open attendance and relaxing already permissive safety precautions such as mask mandates and vaccine requirements.
Whether these standards will eventually be implemented remains to be seen. Keep checking Dicebreaker for more information as it becomes available. Those inspired to start their own competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG career can read some advice straight from 2022’s European champion, Marcus Patel.