Disney Lorcana Is Abandoning Best-of-Three Tournaments

Art for the Disney Lorcana card Mickey Mouse - Trumpeter from the Into the Inklands set
Credit: Disney/Ravensburger

Art for the Disney Lorcana card Mickey Mouse - Trumpeter from the Into the Inklands set
Credit: Disney/Ravensburger

In a shocking twist to the formula, Disney Lorcana has announced that it will be abandoning best-of-three tournaments. Starting at the end of May, all Disney Lorcana tournaments in North America and Europe will be a best-of-two format instead. If you’re anything like us, upon hearing this news from Wargamer, you might be a little surprised and very confused.

Across the wide world of TCGs, best-of-three games tend to be the staple, especially for high-level play. Considering this format usually results in games having a concrete winner, you may be wondering why Ravensburger is changing things. According to Game Development Manager Tim Schilder, there are quite a few upsides, including “faster-paced gameplay” and “more efficient and engaging tournaments”.

The Best of Best-of-Two

On the surface, best-of-two tournaments have one major problem: drawing. Since only two games are played, how do you determine a victor if each player wins one? According to Schilder, you don’t, but that doesn’t mean the system is flawed.

Under the new system, for every match that a player wins in a Lorcana tournament, they’ll receive two points. Should one player win both matches in a game, they’ll receive a bonus point on top. Not only should this give a tournament a clear final winner, but it will also allow players to track their position and progress better.

There will still be a top cut after the best-of-two Swiss rounds are played. Players who make the top cut will participate in the best-of-three elimination matches following the conclusion of the Swiss bracket. This should hopefully keep the end of each Lorcana tournament feeling as thrilling as ever.

Right now, it’s unclear exactly how Lorcana players will take to this new tournament system. Thankfully, Schilder and Ravensburger have done their due diligence beforehand with “extensive playtesting sessions,” with a range of players. Hopefully, this means the new system will go down a treat once it debuts at the end of May.

It Just Works

Art for the Disney Lorcana card Stitch - Covert Agent from the Into the Inklands set
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Credit: Disney/Ravensburger

In their recent interview with Wargamer, Schilder explained how best-of-two tournaments were originally thought to be a joke. As time went on, however, Schilder and the Ravensburger team realized that the idea from Co-Designer Steve Warner had real merit. By cutting out a third match, games should not only be faster but also more fun.

Explaining the innovative format further highlighted the problem with draws in best-of-three matches. When a player is up one game, there can be an incentive for them to play for time and force a draw. Should things not be going their way, this potentially gives them a sneaky win, which doesn’t make for compelling gameplay.

In the best-of-two format, Schilder touts how this problematic slow play has seemingly been solved. “We have noticed a significant decrease in games going to time or instances where players end up not finishing the game,” Schilder told Wargamer. Miraculously, Schilder claims this was still true even when they shortened the match clock to just 45 minutes.

On top of seemingly making games more engaging, Schilder touted the benefits of this reduced time. Unlike in the best-of-three system, players and viewers shouldn’t be stuck waiting for matches to end. Instead, after the required two matches, everyone can move on after the brief, but inevitable, admin.

Our biggest worry with this new system? Variance is going to hurt a lot. One bad game of draws will directly lose you match points, which means that a combination of power and consistency is going to be much more important in competitive Lorcana. This could veer away from dishonest strategies that require a specific sequence but could also cause a major metagame streamlining as a result.

The Future Arrives Soon

Ultimately, while it seems there are quite a few upsides, best-of-two tournaments aren’t here yet. For now, we’ll just have to wait until the first Lorcana tournaments at the end of May to see how players react. Should the reaction be positive enough, there’s a non-zero chance that we could see other TCGs follow suit. Whether or not this will happen, however, remains to be seen.

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