The first Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series in two years will take place in January at the Jaarbeurs convention centre in Utrecht, The Netherlands. This annual event and qualifier has been either canceled or delayed since 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns but is currently planning a full, in-person gathering of “over a thousand”.
The announcement from the trading card game’s publisher, Konami, has frustratingly little to say about the safety precautions Jaarbeurs will have in place to protect attendees and participants in the Championship Series. The press release provided to Dicebreaker links to the event’s registration page and simply reads, “Information on how to register for the event and any COVID-19 protocols will be shared at a later date.”
The Jaarbeurs’ official website states that it will request a Covid access pass from all visitors, though it isn’t clear whether and how that will be applied to hosted events. Those access passes can be obtained by providing vaccination records, a recent negative test or medical documentation showing an individual recovered from COVID-19 within six months of attendance date.
The Championship Series will take place over three days of competition as duelists vie for the chance to qualify for the European World Championship later in the year - a major stepping stone towards the final World Championship. Along with that honour and an accompanying YCS trophy are prizes such as a Duel Dragon, Ultra Rare Duel Link Dragon and video game systems, likely to promote the recent and upcoming titles that allow fans to play Yu-Gi-Oh! digitally.
The weekend series will also host non-tournament play for attendees rife with prizes, including giant-sized cards that have become a notable convention and event favourite among players. Konami mentioned a schedule of public events to come in the future that will list guest speakers, exhibition play and other activities.
Despite living in the perpetual shadow of Magic: The Gathering and the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Yu-Gi-Oh! remains a popular hobby. The upcoming digital video game Master Duel wants to do for the trading card game what Arena has done for MTG in providing a well-supported online avenue for ranked play. A recent booster box that sold for $584,000 at auction shows it's also cutting a slice of the speculation pie.
Dicebreaker has reached out to Konami and Jaarbeurs for comment on the Championship Series and safety guidelines. Keep checking Dicebreaker for information about this and other live events in the tabletop space.