Tournament Participation Packs – Past, Present, and Future
As long as there have been Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME official tournaments in North America, there have been tournament packs!
Tournament Packs, Champion Packs, and Turbo Packs have all been different names for the same idea: special, 3-card packs that you get when you participate in official events at your local store. (If you’re not playing in tournaments at a local store, you can find one here.)
Let’s take a trip down memory lane….
In the Beginning: Tournament Packs
It all started ten years ago. Tournament Pack 1 included 30 brand new cards (1 ultra rare – Mechanicalchaser, 4 supers, 10 rares, 15 commons). Mechanicalchaser was the biggest Level 4 monster in the game, and was a must-have for many tournament decks. Things got pretty crazy, with many people willing to pay $300 or more for a single Mechanicalchaser.
Tournament Pack 2 came with a couple Ritual Monsters, after the Ritual mechanics were introduced in Spell Ruler. But the highlight of the pack was Morphing Jar, its ultra rare card.
Partly in response to the Mechanicalchaser situation, Tournament Pack 3 began a tradition of reprinting hard-to-get cards, so that tournament players would have a chance to beef up their Decks just by playing. Mechanicalchaser was reprinted in TP3 to try and make it easier to get, along with cards from regular booster sets, like Horn of Heaven. The ultra rare this time around was Needle Worm, which opened the door wider for deck-out strategies.
Tournament Pack 4 brought us Royal Decree, a card that still sees heavy play to this day.
Tournament Pack 5 gave deck-out a little more kick, thanks to Magical Thorn. It was also the first place you could pick up Yugi’s Big Shield Gardna.
Tournament Pack 6 was Toon Time, and brought us Toon Cannon Soldier and Toon Table of Contents! (Toon Gemini Elf and Toon Goblin Attack Force were handed out at Duelist League events, around the same time.) Tournament Pack 6 also re-introduced brand new Normal Monsters, which had been removed starting in Tournament Pack 3 to make room for the reprinted cards. When Normal Monsters returned in TP6, we focused on monsters that were appearing on the artwork of other cards at the time, like Sleeping Lion (from The Big March of Animals) and Archfiend Marmot of Nefariousness (who appears on the various Aussa cards). This was because a lot of Duelists were getting these other cards, and asking “What’s this monster on the picture?”
Tournament Pack 7 gave us D.D. Warrior (also seen on Return from the Different Dimension), the conspicuously absent Fortress Whale, and new Normal Monsters like the handsome Haniwa (who featured prominently on The Law of the Normal), the precious Prisman, and the mysterious Millennium Golem.
Tournament Pack 8 was the second TP to have a Trap Card in the ultra rare spot: Magical Arm Shield. But the most sought-after card was Mai Valentine’s Dunames Dark Witch, a super rare.
The Shift to Champion Packs
Would it surprise you to find out that the tournament pack idea almost went away after Tournament Pack 8? It’s true! The very idea was almost abandoned, since Tournament Packs were not used in the Hobby League program that was being introduced at the time. But the pro-tournament pack arguments won out, and the legacy went on, although the packs were given a face-lift and became the new Champion Packs!
Champion Packs shifted the focus to more competitive and more regular tournament players, by reprinting more cards that were seeing a lot of tournament use. Common and rare versions would give players a chance to get cards they might be missing. The super rare cards would be reprints of hot cards, so that you could bling out your Deck with foil versions of cards you already had. The ultra rare would continue to be a new card.
We also cut down on the number of Normal Monsters to just 1 per set. (Reaction to Normal Monsters always seems to go in cycles. There were complaints about them in the first couple Tournament Packs, so we took them out. Then people complained there weren’t new Normal Monsters, so we added them back in. Then people complained about them again, so we took it down to 1 per set. Rinse and repeat….)
Champion Pack 1 brought Satellite Cannon and Thunder Kid (from DNA Transplant), plus reprints of stuff like Sakuretsu Armor, Solemn Judgment, Enemy Controller, Pot of Avarice, and the infamous, highly sought-after super rare Book of Moon.
Champion Pack 2 introduced Magical Stone Excavation and gave us Happy Lover, which has never been reprinted and saw some competitive play in Herald of Perfection decks a while ago.
Champion Pack 3 had Magicians Unite, plus super rare versions of Gravekeeper’s Spy and Snipe Hunter. Fairy Dragon was the new Normal Monster, since it was required as Fusion Material for both Kaiser Dragon and Aqua Dragon, which both came in the second McDonald’s kids’ meal promotion around this time.
So WHY did Champion Pack 4 include Grand Tiki Elder (from Labyrinth of Nightmare) instead of a brand new Normal Monster? Simple: we released Masked Beast Des Gardius in the Tactical Evolution Special Edition at the same time. Des Gardius requires one of two Normal Monsters from Labyrinth of Nightmare, so we felt we should make at least one of them available again, for newer players that might not have been around when LON came out. Gernia was the one new card, in the ultra rare spot.
Champion Pack 5 was the first release of Fiend’s Sanctuary, which saw immediate play in several Decks. There was also a super rare Trap Dustshoot, which was a popular chase card to add to your Deck until recently (when Trap Dustshoot was finally added to the Forbidden Cards List). Amazon of the Seas was the Normal Monster, being another Fusion Material required for Aqua Dragon.
The big story in Champion Pack 6 was the first reprint of Elemental HERO Stratos. (He was kind of a big deal.)
Champion Pack 7 had Voltic Kong! Everybody loves a big monkey. Shovel Crusher was the Normal Monster – released at a fan’s request (you know who you are).
Champion Pack 8’s biggest prize was the super rare Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner. Lightsworn Decks were really popular at the time, and this was a very sought-after card. Mushroom Man was the Normal Monster (Mushroom Man #2 was in Metal Raiders… his predecessor finally showed up seven years later).
The original Tournament Packs had run through eight different series. By early 2009, the Champion Packs had also finally hit the eight-series mark. There was also a new TV series (Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s), making it was a good idea to re-theme the pack after the TV show.
So there was only one thing to do – come up with a new pack! And that’s how Turbo Packs were born.
Turbo Packs were basically the same thing as Champion Packs, with a few differences. First, the new Normal Monsters were removed again (and, sure enough, we started getting complaints about their removal…). Second, the ultra rare in each series was changed from a new card to a reprint (we were just running out of new cards by this point). Third, we added 1 ultimate rare card to each set, starting with Judgment Dragon!
Turbo Packs have been very well-received over the last 3 years. These releases have been pretty recent, so we won’t recap their contents like we did for the older stuff.
In any case, fast forward three years…
Now Turbo Pack 8 is out.
And there’s a new TV series: Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal.
And you know what that means!
Something New… Something Duel…
So it’s time for a new tournament pack series. But what do we call it? Something cool. It needs to be something related to Zexal. (“Feelin’ the Flow”… no, that’s too long.) Something about Dueling. Since we’re adding more foil (more about that in a bit!) it needs to be something shiny….
Shiny? Cool? Dueling? Only one thing fits the bill! After all, who else has an incredible knowledge of all things Dueling? So coming soon, when you participate in officially sanctioned events, you’ll receive the all-new, and shinier-than-ever ASTRAL PACK ONE.
Lots of things about Astral Packs will be the same as previous series:
- 3 cards per pack
- You get them for participating in official tournaments at your local store.
- You’ll get a chance to bling out your Deck with shiny versions of cards you might already have.
- We’ll reprint some other cards so they’ll be easier to get.
- Astral Packs will be a great way to get the latest (and most accurate) card text on complicated cards.
But we’re always learning and improving. Astral Packs needed to be better and cooler than Turbo Packs. So we made a few changes, as well:
- Ultimate Rares are really cool – so we tripled them! Each Astral Pack set will have 3 different Ultimate Rares.
- All cards that would have been normal Rares have been upgraded to Super Rare – there will be 10 different Super Rares per set!
- Since Super Rares are replacing Rares, the “1 rare card per pack” rule will now be “1 foil card per pack” (most of the time – manufacturing errors DO happen from time to time).
- Set size increased to 25 cards.
- There will be 1 new monster per set, like the old Normal Monsters. But it will be VERY hard to get.
So why did we take the normal Rares out? They just didn’t seem that exciting. If there are cards that we really want everyone to have, we just make them common. And the foil cards are there as the exciting chase cards. Normal rares just didn’t seem to have much of a purpose in this set, especially since the number of packs you can get is very limited, and based on how many times you can play in your store’s local tournament. So we just bumped all the Rares to Super Rare and called it a day.
We also removed the 1 Ultra Rare per set. With 3 Ultimates per set now, we just felt that the single, solitary Ultra Rare would just be over-shadowed. Sandwiched between the Ultimates and Supers, it just seemed to get lost in the shuffle.
With 13 foils per set – and a foil in every pack – we’re pretty sure that Astral Packs will be fun and exciting to open every time you play in your local tournaments!
Astral Packs are still a bit of a ways off, but once they come out, you’ll be able to bling out your Deck with cards like the Ultimate Rare Tsukuyomi, Super Rare versions of Kagemusha of the Six Samurai, Terraforming, Mask Change, and The Gates of Dark World, and easy-to-get common versions of cards like Swift Scarecrow and Thunder of Ruler.